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Clinics in Manchester, Harley Street - London

Adeleh from Channel 4’s Embarrassing Bodies

Posted in on Tue, June 12, 2012
Before the transplant
Before the transplant

Dr Shahmalak stars in Channel 4's Embarrassing Bodies - available to watch now on 4oD - treating a transsexual who had suffered a botched hair transplant.

Adeleh went to Thailand for a hair transplant on the cheap after suffering male pattern baldness from taking testosterone before being diagnosed as 'intersex' aged 28.

Surgeons had stitched a strip of skin across her forehead, leaving her with an unnatural 'Frankenstein' hairline, thinning patches and severe confidence issues.

The 34-year-old told Embarrassing Bodies presenter Dr Christian Jessen: "I couldn't afford to go to a proper surgeon - so I went to a butcher, basically."

Examining Adeleh, Dr Christian told her: "A chunk of skin has been sewn into your forehead at the front and the problem is that you have got very thin, patchy hair on the front today."

He referred Adeleh, who grew up as Adam in the West Midlands and suffered years of bullying as a result of gender confusion, to Dr Shahmalak's Crown Clinic outside Manchester.

On camera, Dr Shahmalak and his team performed a seven hour grafting operation, taking a 2cm strip of scalp from the back of Adeleh's head, dissecting it and then individually transplanting more than 3,000 individual follicles into her forehead.

He told the show: "We planted nearly 2,000 grafts from Adele, that means 3-3,500 hair follicles. It was a long procedure but I'm sure she will be pleased at the end of the day."

When Adeleh returned to Embarrassing Bodies six months later, her hairline was growing naturally with thick natural hair and her confidence was booming.

Before the transplant
After the surgery

She told the programme: "I'm really happy. I had a Frankenstein scar and now you can't see it."

Dr Christian told her: "It's so much better. Your hairline looks so natural."

Now Adeleh says: "Since I've had the operation I don't worry anymore about whether people will know if I'm trans or not. For a woman your hair is an important part of you. I've got so much more confidence as a woman now.

"Dr Shahmalak and his team did such an amazing job. They were all lovely and so supportive. It was totally different from the experience I had in Thailand.

"The hair came through really quickly, it seemed to take overnight. It's thick and lush now, very good quality hair. A lot of the hair I had transplanted in Thailand fell out, or was weak and snapped off when it grew to about an inch."

Dr Shahmalak said: "For any doctor the greatest reward is a positive outcome and a happy patient so I'm very glad we were able to help Adeleh.

"It was a difficult procedure because we were repairing damage caused by an earlier botched operation. It's never easy transplanting onto a scar but in this case the results were very good and I was pleased.

"Adeleh's procedure was quite long because we were undoing damage, and implanting the follicles close enough together to give thick womanly hair. Generally operations last from four to eight hours.

"I was very pleased to see Adeleh with her delightful results on the programme. Seeing such a happy patient gives peace of mind to any doctor and I'm glad we've been able to help change her life.

"I only wish she'd come to us first, it would have saved a lot of heartache and pain, but we were delighted with the results." Adeleh added: "I'm so happy with the results of my treatment and very grateful to the team at Crown Clinic."