Hi Doctor Rassman,

I’ve been trying to make sense of all the internet literature that states that “Board Certified” by ABHRS is not technically certification by medical standards. What would be the difference if ABMS were to include ABHRS? Would that keep incompetency to a minimum or make me safer?

Other statements made by AHLA such as, “the AHLC uses remarkably outdated information that is dangerous so avoid them etc.” It’s hard for me, to get a real confident feeling, not knowing how to determine whether I’m safe in my decision.

Thank you very much for your time and professional opinion

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Hair transplant surgery is NOT technically certified by medical standards. In the United States there are 24 approved medical specialty boards that are overseen by the American Board of Medical Specialties (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. I (Dr. Rassman) am ABMS Board Certified in General Surgery and my colleague Dr. Jae Pak is ABMS Board Certified in Emergency Medicine.

Hair transplant surgery is not a part of the ABMS so there can not be any physicians that are board certified as a hair transplant surgeon. This is mainly because there is no formal training or credentialing 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.

In the mid-1990s the American Board of Hair Restoration Surgery (ABHRS) was formed by a group of hair transplant surgeons to create an organization that could independently certify hair transplant surgeons. But the ABHRS does not monitor doctor’s training quality and once the testing process is complete, they do not have any authority to enforce any form of discipline. In states like California, doctors are not allowed to call themselves “Board Certified” if the only certification they have is from the ABHRS or other non-ABMS approved boards. They must qualify which board they are claiming.

Tags: hair transplant, surgery, board certified, medical board, hairloss, hair loss