More men are turning to hair transplantation surgery to restore their thinning hair – and the procedures work just as well for women, too.
Over the last five years, we have seen a 25% rise in bookings at Crown Clinic with many men copying their favourite celebrities such as Wayne Rooney and Calum Best in
seeking help with their hair.
This trend has continued over the last few years with more male celebrities being honest about their procedures including Robbie Williams and Crown Clinic patients such as
the former international footballer Didi Hamann and the TV presenter Martin Roberts.
Another factor driving the growth in popularity for hair transplantation has been improvements in the technology over the last decade.
At Crown Clinic around 80% of our consultant hair transplant surgeon Asim Shahmalak's patients now opt for the more modern FUE (follicular unit extraction) technique.
This is where the donor hair is extracted individually. Patients have some red pin pricks scarring from where the donor hair is extracted and replanted to restore the balding areas, but these
go away after a few weeks. Most of the celebrities you see with hair transplants have opted for FUE.
Some patients are put off having FUE by reports that they have to shave all of their head to obtain the donor hair. This is not the case at Crown Clinic where our surgeon
Dr Shahmalak has developed a long haired FUE technique which allows patients to avoid a full shave. We shave only a very small section of the back or side of the scalp to obtain the
donor hair. The shaved section is either in a square shape or, more likely, in small lines down the back of the scalp. An upper layer of hair is lifted and then we shave underneath,
allowing the hair above to fall over the shaved area – covering it up. The shaved area is only really detectable to those who know you have had a transplant, and obviously
the hair in the shaved area grows back quickly.
Around 20% of Crown Clinic patients still use the traditional form of hair transplantation, FUT (follicular unit transplantation), also known as strip surgery.
With FUT a strip of skin is removed from the back of side or the scalp to obtain the donor hair. This leaves a scar on the scalp which is not visible if you like to wear your hair long.
The TV doctor Christian Jessen has had two FUT transplants with Dr Shahmalak.
Patients can see the outline of their new hairline immediately following treatment and the hair will start to grow right away. However, it is normal for some of the new hair to shed
a few weeks after treatment before growing back. Hair growth comes progressively, with a good indication of the final look being seen after five to six
months. The full results are achieved after approximately a year.
Hair transplantation for women
Both FUE and FUT are available for women, with FUE the most popular option. According to the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery, of which Dr Shahmalak is a member,
over half of women undergoing hair restoration surgery are aged 30 to 49 – similar to men. Genetics are the most common cause of hair loss, so patients are encouraged
to manage their expectations.
Hair transplanted from the back and sides of the head has no genetic predisposition to fall out, so it will last a lifetime. However, grafts will not stop the progression of hereditary
hair loss and gaps may form on the head. These may need to be repaired through additional surgery, meaning some patients may require more than one procedure in their lifetime.
Crown Clinic patient Calum Best has had three hair transplants with Dr Shahmalak. He said the results have been 'life changing' and
the boost to his self-esteem has been 'immeasurable.'
Three important tips
1 Hair transplants are considered non-essential so they are not usually available on the NHS. However, your GP might be the place to start your research and enquiries. They can offer
guidance and advice and may be able to refer you to a practitioner who specialises in the field.
2 Finding the right surgeon for your type of procedure is crucial to success. Check that the hospital or clinic you are considering is registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC),
which regulates cosmetic treatments that involve surgical procedures.
3 For further information on hair loss treatment and restoration, visit the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery’s website, ishrs.org.