Patients Before Profits - Hair Transplant Surgery 101
As the hair transplant field continues its massive expansion the overall quality of care has not only diminished, but has become more dangerous than it has ever been. Spencer Kobren speaks with IAHRS accepted member, Newport Beach hair transplant surgeon, Dr. Christopher Varona about the the current state of the field and warns patients about what really goes on behind the scenes even in the practices that attempt to present themselves as being ethically beyond reproach. Caveat Emptor, “let the buyer beware.”
Spencer Kobren: What are your thoughts on, besides not knowing what it is, from what you see, what are your thoughts about the way the, I guess, the old guard or the politicians of this industry are handling the current situation, and how do you feel about this black market campaign?
Dr. Christopher Varona: Well, I know this isn't going to make me popular, but unfortunately a lot of the people that are standing on the soap box talking about everyone else are, I know for a fact, doing some of the things that they're accusing everyone else of doing. I really ... I don't have a lot of respect for the effort-
Spencer Kobren: Well, you know-
Dr. Christopher Varona: ... because I think it's kind of untruthful.
Spencer Kobren: Well you know who this is going to make you popular with? Patients who need you, and that's why you're here.
Dr. Christopher Varona: Well. I'm here because I've been around for a while, 11 years. I've been with lots of different situations in terms of being employed in the industry. I've never done anything else for 11 years, and I've seen little things, and sometimes they're big things, that just they give you pause and sometimes you see these things like in your undercover series. You see these things that you just, I don't know how people sleep at night knowing that they were doing this to somebody that doesn't know what's happening.
Dr. Christopher Varona: Because these patients are coming to you in this vulnerable situation. They're coming to you for your expert advice and your technical skill and your artistic ability, and you being a physician ... You have to be able to look beyond anything for yourself, and you really have to be completely altruistic and separate this whole revenue driven side of the business from the medical procedure that you're about to perform or the counseling that you're doing with the non-surgical aspects of it and put the patient first.
Dr. Christopher Varona: When you're cutting corners or you're doing some of these things behind the scenes, it just ... it makes my skin crawl, because I came from a ... I used to call my dad the pope, because he was this old country doctor. He did all of his admissions and his own deliveries, and he had two clinics. He literally worked probably 80 to 100 hours a week, but he was so interested in anything to get the patients what they needed from him, and that was really his calling. It wasn't a job for him. It was really his calling, and he put each one of his patients first, no matter what.
Dr. Christopher Varona: I kind of grew up with that as the ideal, so I believe that as a physician you just ethically, you have to be beyond reproach, and if a question ever pops in your head even whether to do the right thing or the wrong thing and nobody's around to question you, and you choose to do the wrong thing, then you really shouldn't be in medicine.
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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.