With cosmetic surgical procedures becoming increasingly cheap and accessible, having the appearance you’ve always wanted is no longer the vaunt of celebrities and the wealthy. And since male pattern baldness is at the top of the list of things men would like to change about their looks, it’s no wonder that the hair transplant is becoming one of the most popular procedures around.
What is a Hair Transplant?
A hair transplant is a cosmetic surgical procedure that attempts to permanently re-establish healthy growing hair in areas that have become bald. It is typically a procedure that is used to counter male pattern baldness, but can also be used in the event of hair loss due to scarring, for example on the beard area, or even the eyebrows.
Hair follicles are harvested from a donor area that has healthy, bald-resistant hair, and moved to the recipient area, where they are re-established in as natural a growing pattern as possible. The donor area is usually the back of the head, where a strip of skin and hair can be removed, and the scar can be hidden in the natural creases of the scalp, and by regrowth of surrounding hair.
This strip is then cut into many tiny pieces, and re-grafted onto the recipient area. In an even more advanced procedure called follicular unit transplantation, individual hair follicle units are removed from the donor area rather than a strip, and the follicles, complete with as much of their glands and blood supply as possible, are individually grafted onto the bald area.
This technique not only avoids substantial scarring, but it also guarantees that the re-grafted follicles have a very authentic and natural growing pattern. Some surgeons claim that even hair stylists will not be able to distinguish between a hair transplant done in this way, and natural growing hair.
Either procedure is carried out under local anesthetic, and for male pattern baldness, an average of 2500 hair follicles are re-established in the recipient area per session. Depending on which procedure you opt for, the healing time varies between 1-2 weeks.
The Drawbacks and Problems of a Hair Transplant:
Whilst hair transplants can give a new lease of life to many men who have felt held back by their male pattern baldness, there are a couple of things to be aware of before committing to a procedure.
Firstly, surgeons are quick to be honest about the fact that even the most successful hair transplant will not give the fullness of hair growth that existed before the balding set in. But the improvements may well be significant enough to improve a quality of life regardless.
And secondly, the reality for some people is that hair transplants simply do not work. The reestablished follicles refuse to take, and the result is no significant improvement in hair coverage, and a large amount of money spent. For many, the risk is worth it, and even the smallest amount of renewed hair coverage is better than nothing. But it should be something that you are aware of when weighing up the pros and cons.
A good surgeon will always be honest with you about the realities of the procedure. Anyone who promises complete success and life-changing results should be viewed with suspicion!
Finding the Right Surgeon:
Not only do you want the best possible results for your money, but you also need to absolutely ensure that you are in safe hands when you choose to have a hair transplant. The risks of excessive scarring or a dodgy hairline are simply too great when you use an inexperienced surgeon. So take your time, and shop around.
– Read Testimonies:
- There is nothing more valuable than the insight of others who have already been through the procedure. From success to horror stories, reading testimonies is a great way to find out about recommended clinics, and ones to avoid at all cost.
– Don’t Skimp On Price: Hair transplants can be expensive, but it is always worth paying a bit more to go with a reputable clinic, than to save money and end up with disastrous results. Think of it as paying for quality.
– Consider The Procedure That Is Right For You: The latest, advanced procedure of Follicle Unit Transplantation will certainly mean less scarring and a natural hair regrowth. However, there is also a greater risk of failure with this technique, since follicles damaged in the process will often not survive. This means that more than one session is sometimes needed to achieve a desirable hair coverage, and if you don’t have the funds for that then you may end up back at square one. If you are on a budget, talk to your surgeon about which procedure is right for you, and they will be able to advise you on what will be the most successful course.
The Risks of a Hair Transplant:
As with any surgical procedure, the risks include infection, numbness and scarring. Sometimes, unnatural looking hair growth can occur, that results in patches or tufts. However, with an experienced and reliable surgeon, all of these risks are minimal, and if you have done your homework and are confident you have found the right clinic for you, there is no reason to be unduly worried.
Make sure you talk to your surgeon about the risks before you undergo the procedure, and about any health problems or allergies you may suffer from.
What Does A Hair Transplant Cost?
The cost of a hair transplant can vary from around £4000-£15000, with many people exploring the option of medical tourism to find countries that offer treatments for less. Whilst many people travel to the Far East to undertake the surgery in places like Thailand, others are venturing to Canada, to visit the highly revered clinic of Hasson and Wong.
Here, sessions are not cheap, but value for money is guaranteed: not only are you in the hands of two of the most experienced hair transplant surgeons in the world, but in an average session, they aim to do 4000 hair grafts, as opposed to the normal 2500. In fact, the most grafts achieved by this pair were an amazing 7000 in one session.
Bye Bye Baldness!
As more and more celebrities admit to having had hair transplants, the procedure just keeps growing in popularity. And with greater demand comes greater value for money. Perhaps its no longer beyond anyone’s capability to get back to that hairline they were born with!