American Board of Hair Restoration Surgery - What You Need to Know

Posted February 21, 2020
Learn about the American Board of Hair Restoration Surgery

Hair loss impacts thousands of men and women across the country and many of them turn to hair restoration to gain the dense and full hairline they desire. A hair transplant moves hair from the donor area of the scalp, typically the back and sides of the scalp, to the area of the scalp where the hair is balding or thinning. It takes an experienced and steady hand to move the hair grafts from one area of the body to another while still maintaining a natural look to the appearance of the hair. Patients that are searching for a doctor to perform their hair restoration procedure should make sure that their surgeon is board-certified by the American Board of Hair Restoration Surgery (ABHRS). 

American Board of Hair Restoration Surgery Creation

According to its website, the idea for the American Board of Hair Restoration Surgery was first discussed in June 1995 during a seminar in Chicago. A group of speakers brought up the idea of a certifying board in the field of hair replacement surgery.

The discussions continued for another year and, in 1996, the American Hair Loss Council invited all of the various specialty groups with physicians that performed hair restoration surgery to be part of a discussion of a board-certification process about hair restoration surgery. From their meetings, it was” recommended that an independent examining body be organized to develop a credentialing and examination process, the successful completion of which would assure the public of the individual’s educational ability to perform safe, aesthetically sensitive hair replacement surgery.”

In June 1996, the organizational meeting for a hair replacement certification examination was held in New York City. Finally, in September of 1996, the first formal board meeting was held in Nashville. The elected officers and committee chairpersons “embarked on the development of a written and oral examination, each of which is statistically validated with regard to their ability to discriminate between those whose practice habits were consistent with safe, aesthetically sensitive hair restoration surgery.”

American Board of Hair Restoration Surgery Certification Process

American Board of Hair Restoration Surgery CertificationIn order for a surgeon to become board-certified by the ABHRS, the organization “requires demonstration of training, evidence of post-training experience, and successful completion of Written and Oral Examinations on the entire scope of the specialty. All applicants must submit a signed and notarized examination application and include the general application requirements.”

When the American Board of Hair Restoration Surgery is evaluating the standards of practice of a surgeon, the ABHRS Credentials Committee will base the acceptance criteria on “generally accepted methods of hair restoration surgery as published in current hair transplant journals and textbooks.

Beyond the general requirements put forth by the Board, ABHRS applicants must meet all of the additional criteria for one of the routes listed below to achieve their goal of being board-certified by the American Board of Hair Restoration Surgery:

  • Fellowship Route
  • Experience Route
  • Lifetime Achievement Route
  • Certificate of Added Qualification for Physicians New to the Specialty

American Board of Hair Restoration Maintenance of Certification

In order to maintain their certification, diplomates must meet four criteria as discussed below:

  1. Professional Standing – Diplomates must submit written verification of a medical license that is valid, as well as unrestricted, and that is shown to be in good standing in all of the jurisdictions where the Diplomate maintains a medical or osteopathic license.
  2. Lifelong Learning and Self-Assessment – Diplomates have to complete 100 verifiable hours of CME (continuing medical education) hours every three years. Fifty percent of the 100 hours must be specifically related to hair and all 100 hours must be AMA PRA Category 1.
  3. Cognitive Expertise – Diplomates must attain a passing score on a rectification written exam that demonstrates their “fundamental, practice-related and practice environment-related knowledge to provide quality care in hair restoration surgery”. In addition, diplomates must take the recertification exam every 10 years.
  4. Practice Performance Assessment – Diplomates will be evaluated in their clinical practice according to the standards set forth for patient care. The diplomates will be asked to demonstrate their ability to assess the quality of care they provide to patients in comparison to their peers as well as national benchmarks. In addition, they must show that they apply the best evidence or consensus recommendations to improve the care of their patients when the patients are visiting the doctors for follow-up assessments. Diplomates can satisfy this fourth component by submitting a patient outcome monitor for the three year period prior to the certificate expiration date. The patient outcome monitor can include any of the following items:
  • Proof of an internal chart review that is normally required by an accrediting agency
  • Copies of patient satisfaction results that the doctor keeps as part of his or her medical practice (8 surveys per year for the past three years for a total of 24 surveys)
  • ABHRS surveys completed by actual patients and returned to the office of the doctor for submission to the ABHRS administrative office

Find a Board-Certified Doctor on the ABHRS Website

Patients that are interested in finding a hair restoration surgeon that has been deemed to be board-certified by the American Board of Hair Restoration can visit the physician directory of the ABHRS website to learn more about the board-certification status of their doctor of choice.



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