Aesthetic and hair transplant guidelines: What are they?

The National Medical Commission’s (NMC’s) Ethics and Medical Registration Board issued new guidelines on aesthetic and hair transplant procedures. The new guidelines are an attempt to curb growing salons that offer aesthetic and hair transplant procedures without having required qualifications.

It is unethical for a medical practitioner to provide training to perform or assist surgery to an individual who does not have a required health professional license, according to the ethics board. The guidelines state that aesthetic and hair transplant procedures do not fall under emergency procedures because of which untrained individuals should not perform them under the excuse of “exceptional circumstances”.

“Aesthetic procedures including hair transplant as with any other surgical procedure, may have complications and require skills and training in appropriate patient selection, differential diagnoses and surgical techniques and appropriate post-procedure care to optimise outcomes. It is suggested that anyone who wishes to perform these procedures should be adequately knowledgeable and trained and should ensure that they have adequate infrastructure and manpower to manage any issues that may arise due to the procedure performed,” the ethics board has reportedly mentioned in the guidelines.

Watching such procedures in workshops or on YouTube or similar platforms does not translate into professional training to work on aesthetic surgeries or hair transplant, according to the board. Assistants or OT technicians should have adequate medical education and they should be given structured, systematic and proper training. Surgical assistants should perform procedures only under the supervision of a medical practitioner, the guidelines stated.

Hair transplant should be performed only by those with formal surgical training such as MCh/DNB (Plastic Surgery) and MD/DNB (Dermatology), while aesthetic procedures should be performed by the medical practitioners with adequate training according to their curriculum.

The ethics board said that the centres offering aesthetic procedures should be registered as hospitals and have necessary facilities for treating indoor patients. Moreover, such centres should maintain proper records of operated patients with pre- and post-operative photos and records of complications.

Earlier this year, the Delhi High Court stressed on framing of national-level medical guidelines for medical practitioners performing aesthetic and hair transplant procedures. The court had directed the Centre and the Delhi government to work towards controlling the growth of salons offering such procedures.