Dr Shahmalak has summarised the following important points. The most important tip he can give any patients is a simple one: do your research.
1 Choice of surgeon
This is the number one consideration. Performing a hair transplant is a highly skilled surgical procedure and it can go wrong if you do not pick your surgeon very carefully. We have written before in this blog about the dangers of seeking treatment abroad, especially at clinics in countries like Turkey and India. Yes, the prices are cheaper but the hair transplantation industry is not heavily regulated in these countries, as it is in the UK. You are really taking pot luck in your choice of clinic abroad and will have virtually no recourse if things go wrong.
What all patients are looking for in a hair transplant is a natural look where the transplanted hairs blend seamlessly with the remaining natural hair. This is where the skill of the surgeon really is vital. Dr Shahmalak is one of the most respected surgeons in the world - known for the highly skilled way he replants the donor hairs during either FUE (follicular unit extraction) or FUT (follicular unit transplantation) techniques.
2 Beware of clinics which are sales driven
When you go for a consultation to assess your suitability for a transplant, you should be seen by a trained hair transplant surgeon - ideally the surgeon who will perform your hair transplant operation. Dr Shahmalak sees all his patients personally right from the start of a surgical booking. However, that is not the case with all clinics in the UK. Some are very sales driven and the first consultation is performed by a sales person rather than a medical professional. Their primary concern is making money and getting a fresh booking - not the medical needs of the patient.
3 Always check a surgeon's testimonials
The best recommendation a surgeon can have is from his former patients. If lots of people have been happy with their treatment at a particular clinic and are prepared to share their stories publically with a published testimonial that is normally a good sign. Look at the people your surgeon has operated on previously and see if you like how their hair has changed. Some clinics such as Crown Clinic have lots of well known people on their patient lists. That is normally a positive sign. For instance, Dr Shahmalak is known as the 'doctor's doctor' because of his work with well-known medical professionals such as the TV presenter, Dr Christian Jessen.
4 See if your surgeon is a member of a recognised medical body
At Crown Clinic, Dr Shahmalak is a member of the British Association of Hair Restoration Surgery. This is a hugely respected medical body representing all the finest surgeons in the UK. You don't become a member unless you are top notch. It is like a kite mark of excellence for the hair transplant industry.
5 Remember that hair loss is a continual process
All the transplanted hair is permanent and should last a patient for the rest of their lives. But there is no guarantee that they will not carry on losing their natural hair even after a hair transplant. Dr Shahmalak sometimes recommends the clinically proven drug Propecia (also known as Finasteride) to some patients - to be taken in conjunction with a hair transplant procedure. This won't help to grow any new hair but it should slow down or halt completely the loss of more natural hair.
6 A good surgeon won't operate until a patient is 25
That is because a pattern of hair loss needs to be established before surgery is appropriate. It is too early to detect this pattern prior to the age of 25. Dr Shahmalak turns down patients under the age 25 - as should all reputable srugeons.