We’ve all seen a lot of the former Croatia and West Ham football manager Slaven Bilic during the World Cup when he was one of the main pundits on ITV as Croatia made it to the final.
One of the most striking things about the 49-year-old’s appearance was his hair.
He has successfully covered up the bald patches on the top his scalp with at least two hair transplants.
Bilic has had these procedures over the last five years when he was working in the Premiership managing West Ham and having a hard time from fans because of the team’s poor performances.
There was such a change in his appearance at the time that Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker joked: “Most managers under the cosh might lose their hair, Slaven Bilic appears to be gaining it.”
Bilic was actually featured on TV showing the tell-tale signs of an FUE (follicular unit extraction) transplant – red pin pricks in his hairline where the transplanted hair is planted in the balding areas.
Those scars quickly faded and Bilic has got a great result.
He was also pictured wearing a woolly hat in boiling temperatures when he was managing Croatia and they were playing in the European Championship. He was almost certainly using the hat to cover up another FUE procedure.
Crown Clinic’s consultant surgeon Asim Shahmalak has worked with lots of footballers performing FUE transplants. Most are treated privately and are keen to keep details of their treatment secret.
The only clue that they have been treated by our esteemed doctor is when you see them on Match of the Day with noticeably thicker hair.
Summer is the peak time for footballer hair transplants because the players have a big break and can have the treatment in their down-time. It is very difficult to treat footballers during the season when they are playing matches twice a week.
Dr Shahmalak performed a FUE transplant on the former Man City and Liverpool footballer Didi Hamann. Didi admitted he had the work done so that he would look better on TV.
I suspect that Bilic had a similar motivation because he has been a popular pundit on ITV for several years.
Other celebrity hair transplant patients at Crown Clinic in recent years include the model Calum Best, Homes Under The Hammer presenter Martin Roberts and Chris Butland-Steed, star of Gogglebox.
Around 80% of Dr Shahmalak’s patients have an FUE transplant. This method has become increasingly popular over the last five years because the scarring is minimal.
Most patients have red pin pricks for a few weeks in the donor area and where the hair is transplanted but these soon go away.
The other method of hair transplantation performed at Crown Clinic is FUT (follicular unit transplantation), also known as strip surgery. The TV doctor Christian Jessen has had two FUT transplants with Dr Shahmalak.
FUT is less labour intensive than FUE. That is because the donor follicles are not removed individually (as in FUE) but in a single strip which is surgically removed from the scalp.
Around 20% of Crown Clinic patients chose FUT. There is some evidence to suggest that FUT is a slightly more effective way to obtain donor hair because fewer follicles die when they removed in a single strip.