International And American Hair Loss Associations: Who are ISHRS and ABHRS?
A lot of people realize that after they decide to have the hair transplant procedure, there is chaos everywhere. Clinic websites have different designs and offer, but it is hard to trust information on a random website. After all, hair transplant journey is a long journey.
There are agencies too but the problem is the same, these are all on the selling/profit side. You need someone objective to help you through the decision making process. This is where ISHRS and ABHRS come to aid. But what are they?
ISHRS and ABHRS are two organizations, one international, one American. They are both non-profit organizations and aim to help people with hair loss and restoration.
Why Were They Needed?
Hair loss was a significant problem for a lot of people. With the increasing life-quality of the society, a need for preventing hair loss was present. The high-stressful jobs and lives we have caused us to lose more hair. Therefore, people started looking for ways to stop it.
In some cases, there was not any hair left to protect from the loss. For them, hair regrowth was necessary. These problems led doctors to start looking for solutions. Many different ideas and inventions were in the market to solve hair loss problem.
In the 1990s, the need for hair restoration led to the invention of the FUT technique. The surgeons were using hair implants to fill the bald area with hair follicles.
This new technology spread fast across the world. Many doctors from the different countries begun performing FUT operation.
Eventually, the FUT method was a significant solution to solve the hair loss problem permanently.
However, this created a need for establishing the highest standards in the hair restoration society. In 1993, some pioneer surgeons in this idea formed the ISHRS organization.
International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery
The idea behind this organization was, educating its doctors with new technologies and inventions so that the people suffering from hair loss could receive the highest possible outcome from the surgery.
They believe that this is only possible through educating their surgeons constantly. Consistent researching and development is ISHRS vision for its member surgeons.
Naturally, ISHRS has requirements for its surgeon to participate in congresses and researches frequently while performing the surgery personally. In each conference, the doctors from all around the world meet in one city.
For almost a week, participants demonstrate their inventions or techniques so that the doctors can perform it in their countries. The members present innovations in hair loss and restoration.
ISHRS has a critical mission. The organization aims to educate and protect consumers about the increasing numbers of unlicensed personnel or physicians with minimal training worldwide performing hair restoration surgery.
They want to inform patients about the dangers of medical tourism, and the importance of consumers researching a qualified hair transplant surgeon (ishrs.org).
Dangers Of Medical Tourism
We witnessed hundreds of patients each month suffering from the issues with the medical tourism. Especially in some countries, the share of the black market and technician use are increasing.
Some clinics and doctors aim to increase revenues. One of the ways for doing so is hiring technicians. They believe teaching the hair transplant procedure to an ordinary person and supervising that individual is sufficient.
The idea behind this strategy is to have multiple surgeries a day meaning various revenues a day. From a business point of view, this is maximizing profits.
ISHRS aims to stop this, and they do not accept any of their members’ activities involving these. If a doctor chooses not to follow this rule, the committee expels the individual.
ISHRS believes a doctor should be ethical, and loyal to their oath. Because usually when the patients complain about their surgery, we generally see technician involvement.
Imagine the outcome of operation when there is a risk even with a very experienced surgeon. Even the best surgeons make mistakes. Now, imagine a technician is the one performing everything.
Even when the surgeon supervises it, can he stop a mistake before it happens?
There is something even worse than technician involvement. That is the black market. Some people don’t want to pay a large amount of money for hair transplants.
Or they care about the financial part of the surgery more than the outcome. People in the market who are aware of this sad fact buy the equipment necessary for the procedure and perform it themselves.
A lot of people don’t believe that such a thing exists. But the ugly truth is, it does.
The black market increased significantly in the latest years and became an essential topic in ISHRS. Today, ISHRS actively fight the black market to protect the patients.
In 25 years, ISHRS expelled many of its members for not complying with the rules. But still, there was an issue with the current members; some doctors joined ISHRS only for the benefits.
Because it is the most reputable organization within the hair restoration society, doctors wanted to convert this into profits.
By doing the bare minimums, they stayed active members in the community and kept their certificates. Also, some other doctors wanted to be active, but either they couldn’t find time to participate more or afford the expenses, they stayed less active.
This led to a need for a higher class of members so that the people could distinguish the active and honorable members more easily. Therefore, ISHRS introduced its fellow members to the society.
“In order to be considered, the hair restoration surgeon must achieve a specific level of points in a system of various educational parameters such as serving in leadership positions, American Board of Hair Restoration (ABHRS) certification, writing of scientific papers, teaching at scientific programs, among others.
It is a great honor for a member to achieve the Fellow designation of the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (FISHRS). This recognizes the surgeon who strives for excellence in this specialized field. To maintain this status, the surgeon must continue to meet established educational criteria over time.”
This new class of surgeons within the organization ensured the highest standards possible for the hair restorations society. The most important reason is, these fellow members have to participate the community actively.
They have to score a minimum of points continually. Otherwise, they are no longer fellow members. These members host workshops and teach the new generation about the best hair transplant techniques.
The fellow members also need American Board Certificate, so this brings us to the ABHRS.
American Board of Hair Restoration Surgery
The United States market share in hair restoration is 5 billion dollars. This is more than the total market size of the rest of the world. Naturally, this created a need for the United States focused organization.
Therefore, the American Board of Hair Restoration Surgery was founded by the American ISHRS surgeons to examine the doctors in the area.
This organization helps the patients from the United States to continuously get the highest standard procedures from the doctors.
This means that the doctors who are members of this organization need to follow ISHRS rules. Also, you can assume a fellow member has the ABHRS certificate automatically as it is a requirement for being a FISHRS.
People often refer to ABHRS as an American hair loss association but actually, they concentrate more on to the improving the standards for the hair restoration.
ABHRS try to make sure the surgeons follow the rules of their practice to increase the hair transplant standards.
The Importance of ISHRS and ABHRS
ISHRS and ABHRS are more than hair loss associations. With the first FUT operation in the 1990s, the evolution of hair transplants has begun.
In time, a new and advanced way was founded, and the society called it FUE. Now, surgeons from all over the world try to find new ways to perform the surgery.
You might have heard of bio-grafts or neo-grafts, which are the same as the FUE technique only with some small differences. In the future, more new methods and innovation will be explored.
Adding the development speed of technology these days, it seems like we will have new inventions more often.
On top of that, the population is multiplying faster, and the need for hair restoration increases exponentially. With more demand, more people will join the market from different sides.
And not all of them will have positive intentions. All these reasons will make it essential for ISHRS and ABHRS to control the process. Not only control, but they will also need to guide it so that the optimum results can be achieved.
How To Use These Associations Effectively
So, these organizations try to make things safer and better for you. But they actually can help you make your decision. ISHRS and ABHRS are like a massive library dedicated to hair loss and restoration.
Not using their knowledge to your advantage can be a significant loss. We know it is sometimes challenging to find things online. And we also know you don’t have much time to read everything, evaluate and make the decision.
However, the entire idea here is, helping you find your strategy in this. From a business point of view, it is not smart to give you any advice. It might come back in unexpected ways.
We would prefer you make your strategy, and after the outcome is great, you take the credit for it.
Similarly, ISHRS and ABHRS want the patients to know about each doctor and clinic. They want you to know what to expect from your doctor.
You might think a member of these organizations would be more expensive, but there is a surgeon for every kind of budget in their organizations. And the best part is, it is for free.
Even if you believe you find your surgeon, getting a confirmation from these organizations would be wise. You may find out that your surgeon is just like you thought he is. Or you might find out there is doubt the way he operates. They can help you make a better decision.
Personal Experience vs. Information
Ultimately, you will be making the decision. The thing with the internet is, it contains both the personal experiences and information. And most of the time, they don’t match.
You read something excellent but then realize people’s experiences were different. Then it makes it difficult for you to choose because what is more important, experience or information?
You surf the forums and see a lot of information about the same doctor. Some approved him while the others complain. Then you see actual results where some look great while the others are not natural.
This is where these organizations step in, if you ask them, they will give you the accurate information. In a lot of forums and on the websites of individuals an ISHRS or ABHRS certificate is present, but is it valid?
The bottom line is, the internet is instrumental if you can find the relative and right information. However, many people end up finding fraudulent information and regret the outcomes eventually.
With more research and active cooperation with these organizations, you can significantly increase the quality of the results. There is always a chance of failure and sadly today is about reducing that chance.