A survey conducted by the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) has shown a boom in the demand for hair transplantation procedures.
In 2016, there were 635,189 hair transplants performed globally. This figure had shot up by 60% on the figure from 2014.
Crown Clinic's consultant surgeon Asim Shahmalak is a member of the ISHRS – it is the most respected medical body in the world for hair transplantation.
So what is driving this surge in popularity for hair transplantation? We think there are five key factors.
1 Improvements in techniques – there have been rapid developments in hair transplant technology over the last 20 years. We can all remember seeing those stars who underwent the very early hair transplants 20 and 30 years – people like Sir Elton John and the ex-England cricket captain Graham Gooch. There were left with unsightly 'dolls' hair' clumps because all the transplanted hair was clustered together. Those days are long gone. In the hands of a skilled surgeon such as Dr Shahmalak, the transplanted hair is perfectly blended with the existing natural hair for a very natural improvement to the hairline or crown.
2 The growing popularity of FUE (follicular unit extraction). Five years ago, 80% of patients at Crown Clinic were choosing the more traditional method of hair transplantation, FUT (follicular unit transplantation), also known as strip surgery. With FUT, a strip of skin is surgically removed from the back or side of the scalp to obtain the donor hair. This leaves a scar on the scalp if you like to wear your hair short or shaved. The TV doctor Christian Jessen has had two FUT procedures with Dr Shahmalak. He wears his hair slightly longer so the donor scars are not visible on him. But the fear of this scarring did put a lot of men off having hair transplants.
Over the last five years, FUE has largely taken over from FUT at Crown Clinic – around 80% of patients opt for it. The donor hair is harvested slightly differently with FUE – grafts are removed individually from the back and sides of the scalp. This is more labour intensive than FUT – and FUE is slightly more expensive as a result. Patients are left with red pinpricks where the donor hair is removed and replanted, but these go away after a week or so. Crown Clinic FUE patients include Calum Best, Gogglebox star Chris Butland-Steed, Homes Under The Hammer presenter Martin Roberts and the former international footballer Didi Hamann.
3 The Rooney/Calum effect – the boom in hair transplantation amongst celebrities has definitely encouraged more men to seek help with their hair. They see their heroes looking noticeably younger following a procedure and decide to do the same. It helps that so many celebrities have been so open about seeking help.
4 Boom in male grooming – men care more about their appearance these days, and that has to be a good thing. They are investing more in improving their looks and buying more products such as moisturisers. Having a hair transplant costs about the same as upgrading your car to a new model. Many men are keeping hold of their car for a few more years and spending the money on their looks instead.
5 Boosting a man's looks, self-confidence and even earning power – there are appreciable benefits to having a procedure. Crown Clinic patients report improvements in their home life (with their partners loving their new look), surging levels of self-confidence and even a boost to their pay packet. Surveys show that men with a full head of hair tend to earn more than those with hair loss.