TV doctor Christian Jessen came to Crown Clinic for a second hair transplant to boost his hairline
The star of the hit medical show Embarrassing Bodies had the £5,500 operation after a recent bout of pneumonia caused his hair to thin – and when internet bullies taunted him about his ‘curtains’ hairstyle.
Our surgeon Asim Shahmalak transplanted 3,000 hairs from the back to the front of his scalp.
Dr Jessen, 36, had procedure four years after his first op because he had continued to lose his natural hair and he wanted a fuller hairline.
He trusted Dr Shahmalak so much the first time there was only one surgeon he was going to use for his second procedure.
Dr Jessen said: “I am very pleased that I had it done again – it has been very empowering for me.
“I thought to myself, ‘Why am I always telling people how to change things about their bodies that they dislike if I can’t do the same thing for myself?’
“We view cosmetic surgery for men and women so differently.
“Having a boob job for a woman is seen as such an every day thing these days, but for a man to have a hair transplant is seen as a far bigger step.
“There are so many men out there who want to have this done but don’t dare.
“I just hope by talking about it openly that I will remove some of the stigma attached to men having cosmetic procedures.
“It’s great that other celebrities with transplants like Wayne Rooney and James Nesbitt have gone public as well.
“It may mean that more do not suffer in silence. When a transplant is done well, it can really transform your life.”
Up 30% of male hair transplant patients end up having a second procedure.
That is because while the transplanted hair from the first procedure remains permanent, they can carry on losing their natural hair.
Dr Jessen had 1,800 grafts (3,000 individual hairs) transplanted in a procedure known as Follicular Unit Transportation.
The operation involved taking a strip of hair from the back of his scalp, then dividing it into individual hairs and planting them like seedlings into his hairline.
Dr Jessen had his operation in March but you can already see the positive changes in his hair in our before and after pictures.
It will take up to a year for the transplanted hair to fully grow back.
Dr Jessen had his first transplant with Dr Shahmalak in October 2009.
He had always had naturally high temples and he disliked the ‘curtains’ hair style he had at the time with a floppy fringe.
It lead to some wounding comments on chatrooms and websites like Twitter.
Dr Jessen, who works out up to six times a week, explained: “I am not on TV for how I look. I am on TV because I am doctor but I guess at first I didn’t realise that your appearance is important and all part of the game.
“I did get some pretty hurtful comments. Some people would just say, ‘You’ve got **** hair.’
“After I had my first transplant all those negative comments stopped immediately and no one ever commented on my hair again.
“I have to do a lot of photo shoots for my job and I had never really enjoyed them before.
“I may give the impression when I am on TV that this all comes very naturally to me, but believe me, it doesn’t.
“The new hair really boosted my confidence. I found doing photoshoots much more bearable.”
Hair transplant patients in their 30s like Dr Jessen are usually advised to take the drug Propecia after a procedure to help stop further hair loss.
However, Dr Jessen said the drug left him with night sweats and he stopped taking it.
As a result, he carried on losing his hair.
A year ago, he suffered from a debilitating bout of pneumonia, resulting in further hair loss.
He explained: “Most of my hair grew back after the pneumonia but there was just a bit less. Any serious illness can result in hair loss. The same thing can happen to women after they give birth.”
Dr Jessen realised his hair could do with a second boost and was delighted when Dr Shahmalak offered to help.
Dr Jessen said: “I hadn’t realised that there was an option for a second hair transplant.
“When I was told it was possible, I thought it would be good to make my hair thicker at the front. There were also a few gaps which need filling.
“I am really pleased I have had it done again. The techniques have improved a lot in the four years since I had the first one.”
Dr Jessen said the fact that he worked out regularly had created an added pressure over his body image.
He said: “I’ve slightly dug a hole for myself. I have always worked out and I guess I got known as the ‘fit young doctor,’ though it was never a label I sought. There is then this enormous pressure to keep it up.
“Your name crops up on blogs, chat rooms and forums like Twitter. They are not talking about your medical skills or your bedside manner – they just comment on your looks.
“After I went public after the first procedure I had so many emails asking me about it and where I had it done. You realise this is a very important issue to a lot of men.
“I guess if they see someone like me making no secret of the fact that I have had it done it might make it okay for them to have it too.
“I’m not urging others to have it done. My message to men who are unhappy with their hair is to at least inquire.
“And if you do decide to have it done, be very careful about the surgeon you chose.”
Dr Jessen said he chose Dr Shahmalak because they had worked together on his Channel 4 medical show Embarrassing Bodies.
He said: “We filmed him on the show after performing a hair transplant. The patient looked fantastic afterwards and I remember thinking, ‘Wow that is great.’
“It occurred to me that I could benefit in the same way.
“Dr Shahmalak has a very nice manner and is very calm and I am very pleased with the results he gets.”
Dr Shahmalak said he had enjoyed working with Dr Jessen for a second time.
He said: “I was able to fill in the gaps in his temples and transplant some new hair in his mid-scalp.”
He said that many patients top up their first hair transplant with a second procedure a few years later.
Dr Shahmalak said: “Many men discover they need a second procedure a few years after their first one because their hair loss continues.
“You tend to find that if men start losing their hair at a relatively young age – say in their 20s – this hair loss tends to drop off in their mid-40s.”
Dr Shahmalak said he was thrilled to operate on another doctor.
He said: “All my patients get the same level of care but it is true that there is an added pressure when you are operating on another doctor, particularly one like Christian who is so well informed and well read.
“I love the fact that I am the doctor’s doctor. Being recommended by a doctor or treating a doctor is the ultimate compliment.”