8 things to consider when choosing your hair transplant surgeon

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At Crown Clinic, we are often asked for basic tips from men and women considering a hair transplant. Deciding to have any surgical procedure can be a daunting process, even though the results can make it very worthwhile in the long-term.

Here are the eight key points to consider

1 Picking the right surgeon and team

This is by far the most important consideration for anyone considering a procedure. Our advice here is very simple: do your homework. Check that the surgeon is affiliated to w respected professional organisation such as the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery.

The ISHRS is a highly select body featuring all the very best hair transplant surgeons in the world – only those highly regarded by their peers are invited to join. It is worth checking the testimonials on any surgeon's website. What you are looking for is lots of happy, recent clients who confirm that they have had a good procedure. If a clinic has worked with a number of celebrity patients successfully that is another good sign.

Crown Clinic's surgeon Asim Shahmalak is a member of the ISHRS and one of the most respected hair transplant surgeons in the world. He was a general surgeon in the NHS before switching to hair transplantation in a private capacity.

It is not just the surgeon who is important, but the team behind them. All good surgeons work with skilled technicians who help to separate the hair transplant grafts from the donor areas which are then replanted by the surgeon into the balding areas.

2 The very best clinic facilities

All patients rightly expect the very highest standards of care and hygiene at their chosen clinic. You can visit most clients prior to a procedure.

At Crown Clinic, we have recently moved to new premises in the next building to our previous clinic. We have one of the most advanced hair transplantation facilities in the world. Dr Shahmalak does regular consultations at the clinic, which is half a mile from Manchester Airport. He also carries out consulations at a separate premises at 10 Harley Street.

3 Face-to-face consultation

Any reputable surgeon will insist on doing a face–to-face consultation with a potential patient before undergoing a procedure. During this consultation the surgeon will discuss your expectations and desired hair coverage. The surgeon should assess whether these results are achievable and give a patient realistic expectations. Be wary of any surgeon who has sales people providing the first point of contact with patients. At Crown Clinic, all our patients are seen individually by our surgeon Asim Shahmalak before proceeding to a full transplant.

4 Which technique suits the patient best

There are two effective hair transplantation techniques. The most popular is FUE (follicular unit extraction) – chosen by around 80% of patients at Crown Clinic. With FUE, the individual donor grafts are removed individually from the back and side of the scalp and then replanted by the surgeon in the balding areas. It is popular because there is minimal scarring – just red pin pricks where the donor hair is extracted and replanted which go away after a few days. Crown Clinic patients who have had FUE procedures include the model Calum Best, Gogglebox star Chris Steed, football pundit Didi Hamann and Homes Under The Hammer presenter Martin Roberts.

The more traditional method of hair transplantation is called FUT (follicular unit transplantation). This is where a strip of skin is removed to obtain the donor grafts. The scarring is more noticeable than with FUE – there is a linear scar on the scalp, but this tends not to be visible if the patient wears their hair reasonably long. FUE is not suitable for patients who like to shave the back or sides of their scalp or wear their hair short. The TV doctor Christian Jessen has had two highly successful FUT procedures at Crown Clinic. It is cheaper than FUE because the grafts are harvested in one go – so it is less labour intensive.

5 Before and after pictures

It is always worth looking at a surgeon's before and after pictures. This is the simplest and most direct way of assessing their effectiveness. Bear in mind it takes between eight months to a year before the full benefits of a hair transplant to show through – that is when all the transplanted hair will have grown back fully. So don't panic if a surgeon doesn't get an immediate result in the weeks after a transplant.

6 Testimonials

All reputable surgeons will have lots of testimonials on their website. The key here is recent patients who have been provided with a high standard of care.

7 Price

You'll all be familiar with the phrase 'too good to be true.' And this is certainly the case about the claims and prices of some hair transplantation clinics, particularly those abroad and in countries like Turkey. With a hair transplant, there are two main costs – the time of the surgeon and the use of the clinic/hospital. You really do pay for quality when it comes to transplantation. Low prices mean ill-equipped and sometimes unhygienic clinics and inexperienced surgeons.

8 Aftercare

All reputable clinics pride themselves on their comprehensive aftercare. This means seeing things through until the patient is a 100% happy with the results of their procedure.

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.