9 common questions about hair transplants

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Crown Clinic'shair transplant surgeon Asim Shahmalak is one of the world's leading experts on hair transplantations. He is often asked common questions by patients considering a hair transplant – either a FUE (follicular unit extraction) or FUT (follicular unit transplantation) procedure. Here are the ten of the most common questions.

1. How much will it cost?

Prices at Crown Clinic start at £5,000 – this is for the more traditional method of transplantation, FUT, where a strip of skin is removed from the back or side of the scalp to source the donor hairs. FUT is cheaper than FUE where the donor grafts are removed individually from the back or side of the scalp. FUE is more expensive because it is more labour intensive – it takes longer to source the grafts. Around 80% of Crown Clinic patients opt for FUE.  

2. Will I be left with scarring after undergoing a hair transplant? 

Patients can avoid scarring by opting for a FUE transplant. The advantage of FUE over FUT is the scarring is almost impossible to

9 common questions about hair transplants

detect. FUT patients tend to have a lined scar on the scalp where the donor grafts are removed. FUE patients have visible red pin pricks immediately after the grafts are removed and replanted in the balding areas. These tend to go away after a few days and there are no visible scars thereafter. FUT is suitable for patients who wear their hair long because this hair covers up the scarring. FUT is not acceptable for patients who like to wear their hair short or shaved. 

3. Will I feel pain during and after the transplant? 

Not necessarily. There is an element of discomfort in any surgical procedure even if it is just the prick you feel when the anesthetic is administered. Most patients at Crown Clinic experience no great discomfort or pain while the procedure is carried out or in the days afterwards. Extracting and replanting the grafts takes several hours. Most patients relax during this time by watching a video. Some are so relaxed when this process is happening that they fall asleep!

4. Will a hair transplant help me to grow new hair?

Sadly not. What the surgeon is doing is redistributing hair around the scalp – taking hair from where there is an abundance (on the back and sides of the scalp) and replanting it in areas where the baldness is apparent. All men, however bald they are, have a permanent 'horse shoe' of hair around the back and side of the scalp. This is where all donor hair is extracted. The beauty of a hair transplant is that any hair replanted in balding areas tends to be permanent and will last the patient for the rest of his or her life. 

 

Get in touch with Crown Clinic to find out more about hair transplants

 

5. Will I continue to lose my natural hair after a hair transplant?

Hair loss is a continual process so, yes, there is a chance that you will continue to lose more of your natural hair even after a hair transplant. While the transplanted hair will be permanent, there is some risk that a patient will continue to lose their natural hair, particularly if they decline to take hair loss medication such as Finasteride. This is one of the reasons why Dr Shahmalak declines to operate on men under the age of 25. Men who start losing their hair in the late teens or early 20s tend to have quite aggressive hair loss and it is not a good idea to operate until the pattern of hair loss is established. 

6. How long will it be before I notice a difference after a hair transplant?

All hair transplant patients need to be that the positive benefits will not be visible immediately afterwards. In the days immediately following a hair transplant, the new transplanted hair will fall out. This is nothing to worry about and is entirely normal. The important thing is that the new roots are bedded into the scalp. Over time the new hair will grow back again and most patients start to notice a difference around three months after a transplant. But it will anything up to nine months to a year before the hair transplant will show its full effects.

7. How much time do I need to take off work?

We recommend a week. Almost all patients are treated in a single day – arriving in the morning and leaving in the afternoon with the transplant completed. After that, it is just question of waiting for the new hair to grow back. We don't recommend that patients drive home from the clinic because they can still be feeling a little groggy after the surgery. There are other precautions they need to take – sleeping upright for a few days after the procedure so as not to dislodge the new hair grafts. Patients should also wear a buttonned up shirt – because taking off a pull-over or a T-shirt could also disrupt the grafts while they are bedding in. We recommend leaving it a week before resuming more strenuous activities such as going to the gym. After a week there may still be a little scarring but most patients can resume normal life and return to work.

8. Will I need more than one hair transplant?

A single hair transplant is suffiicent for most patients unless they have fairly advanced pattern baldness. If they are heavily bald, we may not recommend proceeding with a hair trasplant because there will not be enough donor hair to cover up the bald spots. Someone like Prince William is so bald now that he has probably left it too late to have an effective transplant. Some patients have more than one hair transplant – particularly if they decline to take hair loss medication such as Finasteride. Crown Clinic patients, model Calum Best and Gogglebox star Chris Steed, have both had two FUE transplants at Crown Clinic. The TV doctor Christian Jessen has had two FUT procedures with our surgeon Asim Shahmalak.

9. What is the most important consideration when patients considering a hair transplant?

That is very simple: the choice of your surgeon. Do your homework and make sure you pick the very best. Check if they are affiliated to a respected professional body such as the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery.  Check that they have recent testimonials from satisfied patients. It is a good sign if they have lots celebrity clients – rich and famous people tend to be very careful about which surgeons they use. Do be very careful if you are thinking of going abroad for surgery to country like Turkey. The hair transplant industry there is largely unregulated which means, if they anything does go wrong, you will have no form of redress. That is not the case in the UK where every surgeon performing hair transplantation is very heavily regulated. Stringent annual checks are carried out on each clinic. 

If you’d like to find out more about the hair transplant procedure, please feel free to contact our team who will be happy to help.

Our Surgeon

Dr. Asim Shahmalak

Dr Asim Shahmalak is a world-renowned hair transplant surgeon who performed the UK’s first eyelash transplant in 2009. He runs Crown Clinic – one of Britain’s most successful and best known hair transplant clinics. He has treated a number of high-profile industry leaders and celebrities including the medical broadcaster Dr Christian Jessen, best known for Channel 4’s Embarrassing Bodies.

Expert hair transplant surgery by Dr Shahmalak

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When the sun comes out, we know that we need to apply sunscreen to protect our skin, but many people forget to pay the same care to protecting their hair. Between the sun, sea and swimming pools, many of our favourite summer activities can significantly damage our hair – so the next time you go out to enjoy the sunshine, find out what you can do to protect it.

 

Why does sun damage the hair?

 

Sun damage to the hair is caused by the harmful UVA and UVB rays, which damage the outermost layer of the layer – the cuticle – and weaken the protein structure of the hair, making it dry, brittle and more prone to breaking. Some people find that their hair lightens in the sun, as the rays act in a similar fashion to bleach, stripping the melanin from the hair.

 

Protecting your hair from the sun

 

Wearing a hat is an easy way to protect your hair and scalp from the sun, especially if you’re outside when the sun is at its strongest. Hair SPF is also an option, which can usually be bought as a spray to be misted over the hair. Pay extra attention to the scalp – many people forget that the scalp can burn just as easily as the rest of the skin, ending up with an itchy, flaky, burnt scalp. If you do burn your scalp, rinse your hair in cool water and apply aloe vera to the affected areas, and make sure to keep your head covered when going outdoors.

If your hair is looking dry, try a deep conditioning treatment to restore some of the lost moisture to the hair, and avoid wearing your hair in any tight styles that may pull on the scalp. Summer is also a good time to temporarily stop using hairdryers, straighteners and any other hot tools to avoid adding to the sun damage.

 

Protecting your hair from the sea

 

Salt water is notorious for drying out the hair. It leaches moisture out of it, making it incredibly brittle and tangled, which can cause significant breakage. Before you go swimming, saturate your hair with clean water to prevent it from absorbing as much salt water, and don’t let it sit in your hair – rinse it thoroughly as soon as you get out of the sea. Deep conditioners and hair masks will also help replenish the moisture.

 

Protecting your hair in a swimming pool

 

Just like salt water, chlorinated water is very harsh and drying on the hair, so you can take similar precautions to swim in the sea. You could also try a swimming cap, as this not only prevents the chlorine from damaging your hair, but it will also protect your scalp from sunburn. If you have highlighted or blonde hair, be especially careful when in a swimming pool, as the copper and chlorine in the water have been known to form a film that sticks to the proteins in hair, turning it a green shade. Thankfully, this isn’t permanent, but make sure to enter the pool with wet hair and rinse it as soon as you get out.

However you are spending your summer, if you have any questions or queries about your hair, take a look at our hair advice or give our team a call.

Over the past few months, there have been a significant number of reports in the news of people experiencing hair loss after being diagnosed with COVID-19. As a result, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has listed hair loss as a possible long-term effect of the illness, along with symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness and joint pain. 

A study published by the medical journal The Lancet reported that 22% of the patients it had observed suffered from some degree of hair loss six months after falling ill, with women being more affected than men. 

 

Why does COVID-19 cause hair loss? 

 

Although there are several studies linking coronavirus and hair loss, many of the reports we hear about are anecdotal – at the moment, it’s too soon for scientists to officially establish a link between the two. 

However, the type of hair loss that COVID-19 sufferers are reporting seems to be consistent with telogen effluvium. Telogen effluvium occurs when more hairs than usual suddenly enter the shedding phase of the hair growth cycle at once, causing a more noticeable amount of hair to shed at once. It’s normal to lose up to 150 hairs per day, but if you spot that you’re losing much more than that – such as clumps coming out when you’re brushing or washing your hair – it could be telogen effluvium. 

Due to the length of the hair cycle, telogen effluvium typically occurs two or three months after a period of significant stress, which can include illnesses such as COVID-19. When undergoing stressful situations, the body puts all its resources into maintaining essential functions only – which, unsurprisingly, does not include hair growth. As a result, you end up with hair loss. 

However, several other conditions can cause hair loss – such as thyroid issues or nutritional deficiencies – so if you are concerned, visit your GP, who can rule out other underlying causes with a simple blood test. 

 

Will my hair grow back after having COVID? 

 

If the hair loss is the result of telogen effluvium, most people will find that the hair will eventually grow back without the need for treatment. Typically, once the trigger or stressor is removed, the hair will grow back on its own. 

If you notice that the hair loss is persisting, there are a number of medical, cosmetic and hair transplant treatments available to help – Crown Clinic offers a range of options to support those struggling with hair loss, so don’t hesitate to get in touch

When performed by a qualified, experienced hair transplant surgeon, hair transplants are a very safe procedure. Hair restoration is a minimally invasive treatment that allows patients to return home the same day, with the procedure only requiring local anaesthetic. 

However, if you undergo a hair transplant abroad – such as in Turkey – the risk attached is much higher. 

 

Risks of hair transplants in Turkey 

 

It’s no secret that undergoing hair transplant surgery in countries such as Turkey is a gamble. Every year, countless patients are reeled in by the low prices and package deals offered by overseas clinics. Many of the clinics boast ‘five-star’ ratings and an active social media presence, duping unsuspecting patients into thinking they are visiting a reputable clinic. Although, when you dig a little deeper, you may discover the reviews are faked and the ‘after’ pictures are heavily edited or taken from other clinics. 

Another trick that patients fall for is believing that a surgeon will be carrying out the procedure, as many of the clinics advertise that a surgeon leads them to convince patients that they are legitimate. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean a surgeon will be carrying out the hair transplant itself. In fact, many clinics hire under-qualified technicians with little training to keep the costs down, only seeking the supervision of a surgeon if the procedure goes wrong. 

Over the years, Crown Clinic has fixed countless botched hair transplants, mainly from overseas clinics. The most common problems that we see are unnatural-looking hairlines and unsightly scarring as the result of the surgery being carried out by unlicensed practitioners. Other risks are infections, as sanitation is often extremely poor at the clinics and damage to the scalp due to the result of the incorrect tools being used to carry out the surgery. 

 

Are there any side effects to having a hair transplant? 

 

If you choose to have a hair transplant in the UK with a reputable surgeon, side effects will be minimal. The hygiene standards will be incredibly high, meaning the risk of infection is negligible, and you will be given clear instructions on how to take care of your scalp after the procedure. Crown Clinic has an excellent aftercare service, offering a day-by-day guide to ensure optimum healing and results.  

Unlike at overseas clinics, where it can be impossible to follow up after the procedure to discuss any concerns related to your hair transplant, Crown Clinic is more than happy to answer any questions you may have during this phase.