A 43-year old businessman based in Mumbai’s Sakinaka died on Saturday, 50 hours after undergoing a hair transplant surgery. The doctors aware about the case said that the death was likely due to a strong allergic reaction or the surgery carried out by unqualified professionals. However, the postmortem report remains inconclusive on the cause of death of the businessman.
Shrawan Kumar Chaudhary, the businessman who underwent hair transplant developed swelling on his face and throat, and was experiencing breathing problem when he was taken to the nearby Hiranandani hospital of Powai. The doctor on duty could identify the signs as that of a life threatening allergic reaction.
The hospital also called a cardiologist anaphylaxis to revive his heart when Chaudhary went in a state of shock. However, he could not be revived. Consequently, he took his last breath around 6:45 am on Saturday. According to the report by TOI, Chaudhary was implanted with 9,500 hair grafts in a procedure that lasted for over 15 hours. Meanwhile, the inquiry has been initiated.
There was a similar incident which took place in Chennai in June 2016, when a 22 year old medical student died two days after undergoing a hair transplant surgery in a hair transplant centre. The boy developed fever immediately after the 10-hour procedure involving around 1,200 hair transplants and died on the third day after the surgery.
In another incident which took place in July 2016, Tariq Khusroo, a Non-Resident Indian (NRI) underwent a hair transplant surgery in a private hair transplant centre in Hyderabad, Telangana. Soon after the surgery, he developed life threatening complications within 12 hours of the surgery which resulted in the removal of his right eyeball, thus losing his left eye.
According to the reports, he developed swelling in his head and eyes. The doctor who performed the surgery told him not to worry. He was unable to move, eat or even breathe properly.
When Ajanta News took cognizance of the incident, it reached out to Dr. Viral Desai, a well known plastic surgeon and a hair transplant surgeon too, to find out some of the possible causes of the death of Chaudhary. “You must emphasize on a fact that a lot of hair transplant clinics are technician driven and they are not even run by doctors. This is the case in India specially, so for the people, they must check whether the doctor is registered by Medical Council of India, does he have a MMC or Maharashtra Medical Council registration number. These factors are very important. Many naturopathy, ayurveda doctors claim to do hair transplant which is not possible, they call technicians who are poorly trained to perform the hair transplant and you get the side effects. The technicians can just know how to remove and put hair, they don’t know the doses of anaesthesia, they don’t know what to do when there’s a problem, and they don’t know how to recognize the problem early.” explained Dr. Desai to Ajanta News.
We tried to find out other insights about the hair transplant surgery from Dr. Desai to make our readers aware of the do’s and don’ts when going for the hair transplant surgery. We asked a number of questions to Dr. Desai who patiently answered the questions for the benefits of the readers. The synopsis of our conversation with Dr. Desai is delineated below
Our Question: What is the procedure for a hair transplant surgery?
Dr. Desai: Hair transplant involves taking the hair from the back of the head which is called the donor area which is the permanent donor zone where the hair follicles never fall. You take all the extra roots from the back and put it in the bald areas in the top and the middle and the front portion of the scalp. This is the procedure of hair transplant, in short.
Our Question: What are the side effects of a hair transplant surgery?
Dr. Desai: Mainly, there are two-three kinds of methods of the surgery. If you take a strip procedure or Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT), there’s a possibility of infection, there’s a possibility of bleeding sometimes, there’s a possibility of wound dehiscence, what we call as stitches giving up. There’s a possibility of hypertrophic cards, there’s a possibility of poor growth, getting some infection in that area, swelling is also possible. If the surgery is done by unqualified people, then you can have some artery or nerve injury causing some damage. If you talk about Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) technique, then there’s possibility of some infection, rarely poor growth, rarely bleeding but all these side effects are very uncommon. Generally, whatever procedures by which we do hair transplant are supposed to be the safest procedure. Let me also mention, we give local anaesthesia and adrenalin, that’s a drug, if you don’t monitor the dose properly, you can give extra adrenalin and then you can have some heart, cardiac side effects, increase in blood pressure, all those kind of things and if you give high dose of local anaesthesia then you can have anaphylaxis or shock reaction to that, then you have convulsions like to the central nervous system, then you can also have some ventricular tachycardia, so that is possible.
Our Question: There are some cases where the patients have died after few hours of undergoing a surgery. What do you comment on this?
Dr. Desai: If you go globally and you see death in hair transplant is practically unheard of, even if you Google it you’ll find this. Hair transplant is the commonest procedure done in males. There are thousands of procedures happening globally, now if it is done by unqualified people or people who are not trained properly, they land up giving higher dose of local anaesthesia or adrenaline, if they don’t use properly sterilized tools then there is a possibility of infections getting septicaemia but these things are so unheard of. Even if one case takes place, it gets blown over in media. To get these kinds of side effects, you have to do the procedure badly or you have to have poor hygienic conditions. There is no other way..otherwise these things can never occur. Hair transplant is generally very safe procedure.
Our Question: What is the percentage of hair transplant surgery are successful?
Dr. Desai: If it is done by qualified people after selecting the right candidate, it is always 100% successful. If you don’t select the right candidate and is done by unqualified hands, then you can have failures of as much as 50%. When I talk about failures in hair transplant surgery, it is poor growth. Hair doesn’t grow, that’s it.
Our Question: What is the possibility of a person dying after the hair transplant surgery?
Dr. Desai: If you search the literature, there are not more than 5 to 10 cases in these years, so this itself proves the point. The incident which took place in Chennai, few years back, it was done in a beauty parlour and it was done by unqualified people, that was proved. You cannot afford to do hair transplants or any kind of minor procedures in such setups. You have to have a proper sterile procedure and you have to have a trained doctor.
Our Question: Does a person’s body have to be in a healthy state while undergoing a hair transplant surgery, for example, if he is suffering from diabetes or likewise diseases?
Dr. Desai: Yes, for any surgery, you must do a general check up like temperature pulse, heart rate, cardiac system, ECG, blood counts, haemoglobin, sugar level, etc. All these basic tests have to be conducted. If there are some infections or any diseases like fungal infections, that need to be tackled before the surgery. Some blood tests and some examination is required.
Our Question: What causes hair loss?
Dr. Desai: Hair loss is mainly because of hormones. It is hereditary hair loss, hormonal hair loss or androgenic hair loss, what we call it as. There are mainly genetic factors along with certain environmental factors like poor diet, poor hygiene, stress, sleep factors, excess of smoking, access of alcohol, b12 deficiency, calcium deficiencies, all these kind of factors lead to increase in hair fall. Fungal infection on the scalp, then of course, there is diseased hair fall.
Our Question: Should a person think twice before undergoing a hair transplant surgery?
Dr. Desai: No. Not at all. Like you see the statistics, hair transplant is the most common procedure done globally amongst male patients and compared to that, the side effects are practically unheard of (referring to the Mumbai businessman death case). There has to be something grossly wrong, may be done by unqualified people. A hair transplant traditionally is only to be done by a dermatologist or a plastic surgeon, sometimes by a general surgeon too. However, a plastic surgeon or a dermatologist is mainly qualified to do a hair transplant surgery, sometimes an Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) specialist can also do this surgery.
Disclaimer: The conversation between Ajanta News and Dr. Viral Desai is purely generic and doesn’t apply on any specific person/case. Anyone who wish to step forward for hair transplant like surgery must primarily consult his/her physician/surgeon beforehand.
(With inputs from TOI)