Hair restoration surgeries can proceed safely in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) says. The organization has established suggested protocols for resuming hair restoration practices and offers patients guidance in finding hair restoration clinics deemed "COVID-protected facilities."
The ISHRS's general recommendations for practice reopening includes following members' national/local governmental health authority guidelines, practicing strict social distancing and using appropriate PPE, masking, and sanitation. ISHRS members are also advised to adhere to strict universal precautions for infection control and utilize comprehensive COVID screening tools and laboratory testing before patients can enter practices.
In addition, the ISHRS Guidelines for Patients Seeking Hair Restoration Surgery outlines recommendations to help protect patients from getting infected with COVID-19 and inform them of possible modifications that should be expected in hair restoration physicians' practices. Of importance, the ISHRS stresses making sure the patient's selected surgeon is the one performing the surgical steps of the procedure—rather than delegating it to unlicensed technicians or non-physicians.
"While in many ways COVID-19 has changed everything, the safety of our patients has always been a driving factor in our practices so the adjustments being made now to prevent transmission of this new virus are built on a strong foundation of controlling infection," says Spanish hair surgeon Francisco Jimenez, MD, FISHRS, president of the ISHRS. "The ISHRS COVID-19 Task Force has worked diligently to establish best practices in tandem with governmental guidelines to allow our members to safely reopen their practices and help patients struggling with hair loss find effective surgical and non-surgical solutions."
To combat the growing problem of fraudulent, illicit clinics performing hair restoration surgery on unsuspecting consumers, the ISHRS recently started the public awareness campaign Fight The FIGHT, which stands for Fight the Fraudulent, Illicit and Global Hair Transplants, to address the alarming problem of non-physicians illegally performing hair restoration surgery around the world.