Most of the general public is not aware that any individual with a medical license can legally perform hair restoration surgery.

As a result the surgical and aesthetic skill level of a physician offering to perform hair transplant surgery can vary significantly. Also although genetic hair loss is common and usually easy to diagnose, it is important that your physician understands the causes of hair loss and is properly trained to diagnose and treat other causes of hair loss properly.

Why An ABHRS Certified Surgeon?

Approximately 200 hair restoration surgeons have completed the rigorous pathway to achieve the designation of DIPLOMATE OF THE AMERICAN BOARD OF HAIR RESTORATION SURGERY. To become a Diplomate of the ABHRS a physician must demonstrate training, evidence of post-training surgical experience, aesthetic skill and a comprehensive clinical understanding of hair loss and its treatment modalities. In order to qualify for the annual examination a candidate must present case logs and operative reports with surgical details with before and after photographs providing evidence of high quality, cosmetic and aesthetic results. An applicant must successfully complete a comprehensive examination consisting of both an oral and written component identifying a thorough knowledge of hair restoration surgical techniques. The ABHRS exam stands as the only psychometrically and statistically validated examination dedicated to the specialty of hair restoration surgery. The ABHRS is the only recognized board certification by the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery, (ISHRS) the largest hair restoration education society in the world.

The ABHRS Certification Process

  • Applicant must submit photocopy of current valid M.D. or D.O. license in good standing from the appropriate authority in the jurisdiction of the applicant’s practice.
  • Applicant must submit a self declaration that all licenses in all jurisdictions are clear and unrestricted.
  • Applicant must submit evidence of current and valid Basic Life Support with External Defibrillator certification by the American Heart Association or comparable certification official in the jurisdiction of the applicant’s practice.
  • Applicant must submit two (2) reference letters from physicians who have personal knowledge regarding the applicant’s level of knowledge, skills, training and experience. Said references should offer their personal recommendation on the candidate to sit for the ABHRS Examination.
  • Reference letters should come from physicians who belong to the
  1. ISHRS International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery and/or
  2. ASHRS American Society of Hair Restoration Surgery.
  • Note: Reference letters are acceptable from current members of the ABHRS Board of Directors or the ABHRS Examination Committee.
  • Applicant must submit a current copy of his/her curriculum vitae.
  • Applicant shall provide a physician profile ordered by applicant from the American Medical Association, the American Osteopathic Association, or the Federation Credentials Verification Service of the FSMB. Please note this requirement is waived for physicians outside of the U.S.
  • Applicant must successfully complete a written and oral examination covering general knowledge of hair restoration procedures.

EXPERIENCE ROUTE:

  • Applicant must document proof of three years of experience in private practice of hairrestoration surgery. Applicants may be requested to furnish additional proof of three years experience in the field of hair restoration surgery in the sole discretion of the credential committee.
  • Applicant must submit case logs documenting completion of a minimum of one hundred fifty (150) hair restoration cases performed in the preceding three (3) years of date of application. Case logs must indicate the type of hair restoration surgery procedure, dateof procedure, graft count, patient age and gender.
  • Applicants must submit fifty (50) documented Operative Reports with applicant noted as primary surgeon. Eligible operative reports standards require, in general, sufficient information to identify the patient, support the diagnosis, justify the treatment, document the postoperative course and results, and promote continuity of care. Specifically, operative reports should include the date and location of surgery, the name of the primary surgeon and assistants, vitals, findings, procedures used, specimens removed, operative plan, post operative diagnosis and course including post operative complications and their management, discharge conditions, instructions for follow-up care and such elements as are necessary to assure a high standard of patient care.
  • Applicant shall submit the actual operative reports for each patient.
  • Of the 50 operative reports, the applicant must select five (5) cases which are complete with full case reports and include before and after photos that demonstrate satisfactory results. The five cases selected should be sufficient mix to illustrate a depth and breadth of knowledge in Hair Restoration Surgery and should include, where possible, but not limited to, secondary or complicated procedures other than typical single procedure male pattern hair loss.
  • Each of the five (5) Operative Reports requested above must include and meet the following with regard to the before and after photos:
  1. Ten (10) before and after photos must be submitted. All photos should be clearly marked and labeled with “Before” or “After” labels. Five (5) “before” photos must include top view, left side view, right side view, face view and vertex view, and five (5) “after” photos must include top view, left side view, right side view, face view and vertex view;
  2. Photos must be 4×6 inches or larger and shall be submitted in electronic format (PDF, JPG file) with clear indication of each before and after procedure at each angle required. Slides and prints on plain paper will not be accepted;
  3. Photos must be clearly marked as to how many sessions have been performed and the time since the last session. The “After” photos must be taken at least nine (9) months after the last procedure documented in each case report;
  4. “Before” and “after” photographs are to be standardized as to viewing angle and to be of quality appropriate for website publication, including uniform professional background, including but not limited to, light blue or gray background, uniform and constant proper illumination consistent in the before and after photographs, taken without barrettes or combs and the hair must be the same length (i.e. not shaved in before photos and long in after photos);
  5. In total, 50 photos must be submitted with the application; one set of ten photos attached to each of the five operative reports.

6) Applicant must submit evidence and completion of sixty (60) CME credit hours over the preceding three (3) years of date of application. Please note this requirement is waived for physicians outside of the U.S.

FELLOWSHIP ROUTE:

  • Applicant must have completed a one (1) year approved fellowship in hair restoration surgery, which includes completion of seventy (70) hair restoration surgery cases as an assistant surgeon in a program recognized by the ISHRS (International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery).
  • Applicant must furnish proof of a successful completion of fellowship.
  • Applicant must document proof of one (1) year experience in private practice in hair restoration surgery. Applicants may be requested to furnish additional proof of one year experience in the field of hair restoration in the sole discretion of the credential committee
  • Applicant must submit case logs documenting completion of a minimum of fifty (50) hair restoration cases performed during the minimum one (1) year period following successful completion of said hair restoration surgery fellowship. Case logs must indicate the type of hair restoration surgery procedure, date of procedure, graft count and patient age and gender.
  • Applicants must submit fifty (50) documented Operative Reports with applicant noted as primary surgeon. Eligible operative reports standards require, in general, sufficient information to identify the patient, support the diagnosis, justify the treatment, document the postoperative course and results, and promote continuity of care. Specifically, operative reports should include the date and location of surgery, the name of the primary surgeon and assistants, vitals, findings, procedures used, specimens removed, operative plan, post operative diagnosis and course including post operative complications and their management, discharge conditions, instructions for follow-up care and such elements as are necessary to assure a high standard of patient care. Applicant shall submit the actual operative reports for each patient.
  • Of the 50 operative reports, the applicant must select five (5) cases which are complete with full case reports and include before and after photos that demonstrate satisfactory results. The five cases selected should be sufficient mix to illustrate a depth and breadth of knowledge in Hair Restoration Surgery and should include, where possible, but not limited to, secondary or complicated procedures other than typical single procedure male pattern hair loss.
  • Each of the five (5) Operative Reports requested above must include and meet the following with regard to the before and after photos:
  1. Ten (10) before and after photos must be submitted. All photos should be clearly marked and labeled with “Before” or “After” labels. Five (5) “before” photos must include top view, left side view, right side view, face view and vertex view, and five (5) “after” photos must include top view, left side view, right side view, face view and vertex view;
  2. Photos must be 4×6 inches or larger and shall be submitted in electronic format (PDF, JPG file) with clear indication of each before and after procedure at each angle required. Slides and prints on plain paper will not be accepted;
  3. Photos must be clearly marked as to how many sessions have been performed and the time since the last session. The “After” photos must be taken at least nine (9) months after the last procedure documented in each case report;
  4. “Before” and “after” photographs are to be standardized as to viewing angle and to be of quality appropriate for website publication, including uniform professional background, including but not limited to, light blue or gray background, uniform and constant proper illumination consistent in the before and after photographs, taken without barrettes or combs and the hair must be the same length (i.e. not shaved in before photos and long in after photos);
  5. In total, 50 photos must be submitted with the application; one set of ten photos attached to each of the five operative reports.

LIFE ACHIEVEMENT ROUTE:

  • Applicant must submit case logs documenting completion of a minimum of four hundred (400) hair restoration cases performed as primary surgeon in the preceding eight (8) years of date of application. Case logs must indicate the type of hair restoration surgery procedure, date of procedure, graft count and patient age and gender.
  • Applicants must submit fifty (50) documented Operative Reports with applicant noted as primary surgeon. Eligible operative reports standards require, in general, sufficient information to identify the patient, support the diagnosis, justify the treatment, document the postoperative course and results, and promote continuity of care. Specifically, operative reports should include the date and location of surgery, the name of the primary surgeon and assistants, vitals, findings, procedures used, specimens removed, operative plan, post operative diagnosis and course including post operative complications and their management, discharge conditions, instructions for follow-up care and such elements as are necessary to assure a high standard of patient care. Applicant shall submit the actual operative reports for each patient.
  • Of the 50 operative reports, the applicant must select five (5) cases which are complete with full case reports and include before and after photos that demonstrate satisfactory results. The five cases selected should be sufficient mix to illustrate a depth and breadth of knowledge in Hair Restoration Surgery and should include, where possible, but not limited to, secondary or complicated procedures other than typical single procedure male pattern hair loss.
  • Each of the five (5) Operative Reports requested above must include and meet the following with regard to the before and after photos:
  1. Ten (10) before and after photos must be submitted. All photos should be clearly marked and labeled with “Before” or “After” labels. Five (5) “before” photos must include top view, left side view, right side view, face view and vertex view, and five (5) “after” photos must include top view, left side view, right side view, face view and vertex view;
  2. Photos must be 4×6 inches or larger and shall be submitted in electronic format (PDF, JPG file) with clear indication of each before and after procedure at each angle required. Slides and prints on plain paper will not be accepted;
  3. Photos must be clearly marked as to how many sessions have been performed and the time since the last session. The “After” photos must be taken at least nine (9) months after the last procedure documented in each case report;
  4. “Before” and “after” photographs are to be standardized as to viewing angle and to be of quality appropriate for website publication, including uniform professional background, including but not limited to, light blue or gray background, uniform and constant proper illumination consistent in the before and after photographs, taken without barrettes or combs and the hair must be the same length (i.e. not shaved in before photos and long in after photos);
  5. In total, 50 photos must be submitted with the application; one set of ten photos attached to each of the five operative reports.

PHYSICIANS NEW TO THE SPECIALTY

Applicants who do not meet the criteria in the three (3) routes of the certification set forth above may seek to obtain a Certificate of Added Qualification (CAQ) by meeting the following criteria (in addition to the general requirements set forth above): CERTIFICATE OF ADDED QUALIFICATION (CAQ):

1) Applicant must submit proof of attendance of at least two (2) ISHRS annual meetings.

 2) Applicant must submit proof of attendance at ISHRS endorsed programs consisting of a minimum of sixteen (16) hours of live surgery workshop.

3) Applicant must submit case logs documenting completion of a minimum of twenty-five (25) hair restoration cases performed as a primary surgeon. Case logs must indicate the type of hair restoration surgery procedure, date of procedure, graft count and patient age and gender.

4)Applicant must pay an examination fee for the written component only of the examination in an amount established by the Board of Directors.

5) Applicant must successfully pass the ABHRS written examination.

6) Applicant who successfully meets the above criteria will receive a Certificate of Added Qualification (CAQ). The CAQ does not constitute ABHRS Board Certification Diplomate Status. The Applicant will not be listed on the ABHRS website directory as a Diplomate.

7) Applicant who successfully achieves the Certificate of Added Qualification shall be eligible to sit for the oral examination upon satisfaction of meeting the minimum criteria for the Experience Route, Fellowship Route or Lifetime Achievement Route set forth above.

8) In order to become an ABHRS Board Certified Diplomate the Applicant must successfully pass both Written and Oral Components of the Examination.

PROCEDURE FOR NEW APPLICANTS

Application forms may be obtained from the Administrative Office of the American Board of Hair Restoration Surgery (ABHRS) or downloaded from the ABHRS website. Any applicant must submit all requested documents, a non-refundable application fee in an amount determined by the Board of Directors, and a completed application for review and approval by the ABHRS Credentialing Committee before being permitted to participate in the examinations. All forms must be typed or printed clearly.

Upon committee approval of one’s application, a candidate may challenge the Annual Examination. In the sole discretion of the ABHRS, facsimile (fax) or e-mail copies of the required forms and/or supporting documentation will be accepted. In the event the ABHRS determines the fax or email copy is not acceptable, applicant must submit an original copy of document requested within 3 business days of request. The Board recommends that applicants send important documentation by confirmed delivery service.

EXAMINATIONS

The certification examination is comprehensive, covering the biological sciences and clinical practice of hair restoration surgery. The certification examination in hair restoration surgery consists of two components:

Oral and Written

The Oral and Written Examination may be taken the first time it is given after applicant’s completion of the certifying requirements. The completed application for the Oral and Written Examination must be received in the Administrative Office at a time certain established by the ABHRS Board of Directors.

Following notification approval of the Oral and Written Examination Application by the Credentialing Committee, candidates must confirm their intentions to take the Oral or Written Examination by notifying the Administrative Office in writing, and by submitting the nonrefundable Examination Fee. A candidate’s cancellation of a confirmed examination shall result in the examination fee being deferred, if canceled by the designated deadline. Any candidate, who fails to appear for a confirmed Oral or Written Examination for 3 consecutive years, shall forfeit their examination fees.

Following confirmation of intent, candidates must take and pass both components of the Examination. A candidate must pass both the Written Examination and the Oral Examination in order to become Board Certified. The Written component contains multiple-choice test items. The Written Examination measures knowledge of facts, concepts, principals and procedures and the application of knowledge to simulated situations for testing problem solving and critical thinking. The Oral component contains oral protocols. The Oral Examination measures simulated clinical problem solving.

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