I am looking into finding a doctor to discuss my plan of attack for hair loss, and i was wondering what is the ISHRS International society of Hair Restoration Surgery? Is finding a doctor off of that website reliable as finding one from the American hair loss association website?
The International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) website lists doctors who are members of a learning society. The American Hair Loss Association (AHLA) is a similar site. You must understand that any doctor can be a member of these associations and societies as long as they pay a yearly membership fee. These societies do not have the power to enforce or regulate a doctor’s practice and skills, and the hair restoration/hair transplant field does not fall under the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS).
In the United States, there are 24 approved medical specialty boards that are overseen by ABMS, a not-for-profit organization. Certification by an ABMS member board has long been considered the gold standard in physician credentialing. To be ABMS board certified means that the physician has undergone formal educational and clinical training at a medical institution after earning their medical degree, and has successfully passed a level of competence via written or practical or oral examinations.
Since hair transplant surgery is not a part of the ABMS, there can not be any physician that is board certified as a hair transplant surgeon. This is mainly because there is no formal training or credentialing in hair transplant surgery. You read that correctly — there is no board certification in hair transplant surgery! There is no standard curriculum. There is no oversight or direct review of the quality of the work being done. Unfortunately, there is no ABMS sanctioned facility to enroll and learn hair transplant surgery. To date, the only way to learn how to perform hair transplant surgery is to read a book, attend a seminar, or become an apprentice to a private practice hair transplant surgeon. Even ABMS board certified plastic surgeons do not receive training in hair transplant surgery as part of their formal training.