IAHRS Members Support The Truth
IAHRS accepted member, Manchester, UK hair transplant surgeon Dr. Asim Shahmalak stops by the studio to discuss the importance of honest, open patient education and the dangers that today’s hair transplant patients face when trying to navigate this treacherous field.
Spencer Kobren: I think there are a few doctors who really understand that it's not just about us providing you with the credentials or recognizing you. You are also supporting our message, and our message is truth in advertising. Surgery is a last resort. Not everyone is a candidate for surgery. If you're choosing to have surgery, then you really need to do your due diligence. And your support of that is helping more people than you know.
Asim Shahmalak, MD: Absolutely. The role of a good doctor is to educate his patients first. Every patient who comes through the front door, not necessarily he would need any kind of surgery. He may just get on with medications and that certainly would help them.
I've always been trained and taught that a good surgeon is the one who knows when not to operate. Everybody can operate, but a good one knows his shortcomings or his limitations, but more importantly, what's the best for the patient. And you do not just put a knife on everybody and you do not just offer surgery for everybody. So there's, of course, limitations with that.
And our job is to educate our patients. Our patients, when they receive loads and loads of advertisement on the Internet and on these hoardings and papers, they should know what they're going for. They should do their research.
Spencer Kobren: But that's easier said than done, unfortunately, because there's so much information. The Internet has brought about this tremendous amount of noise that people have to cut through and navigate, that it makes it very difficult. That's the point we're trying to make, that it's not just the top of the search engine or the ad that you see on the side or the cheapest prices. That this is real surgery.
Asim Shahmalak, MD: Absolutely. Well, there's a popular saying in English: "You buy cheap, you buy twice." And cheapest is not the best, but the more important thing is, it's up to the patients as well. When they decide to visit a clinic, they should be deciding and they should be asking the particular doctor. They should see the doctor, rather than a salesperson, or rather than a consultant. And they should be asking the clinic or the doctor who would be performing the surgery on them.
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The International Alliance of Hair Restoration Surgeons is a consumer organization that selectively screens skilled and ethical hair transplant surgeons. The IAHRS does not offer an open membership policy to doctors practicing hair transplatation, and is the only group that recognizes that all surgeons are not equal in their skill and technique. Its elite membership seeks to represent the best in the discipline, the true leaders in the field of surgical hair restoration.