Crown Clinic surgeon Asim Shahmalak’s new mercy mission to help acid attack victims in Pakistan

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Crown Clinic surgeon Asim Shahmalak lead a team from Crown Clinic on a new mercy to help victims of acid attacks and burns in Pakistan.

He provided free eyebrow transplants to a number of patients in Karachi. Here is the full report on his work.

Three women horrifically scarred in acid attacks and a gas explosion bravely show off their injuries and reveal how their faces have been rebuilt by Crown Clinic surgeon Asim Shahmalak
* Mother-of-two Fatima Muneer, 45, was doused in sulphuric acid in a family feud over money and has had four reconstruction operations;
* Shopkeeper Niaz Bano, 53, lost her left eye after being pelted with acid disguised in a cup of tea in a row over her daughter's wedding;
* Asim Shahmalak travelled to Pakistan to provide the women with free eyebrow transplants;
* Dr Shahmalak from Crown Clinic in Manchester is one of only nine surgeons in the world qualified to carry out eyebrow transplant surgery

Three women horrifically scarred in acid attacks and a gay explosion have bravely showed off their injuries and told how their faces have been rebuilt by Crown Clinic surgeon Asim Shahmalak.
Mother-of-two Fatima Muneer, 45, was doused in sulphuric acid in a family feud over money and has had four reconstruction operations.
She bravely raised her arm to protect herself as the attack unfolded and was left with deep scars all over her face, arm and upper body.
Shopkeeper Niaz Bano, 53, lost her left eye after being pelted with acid disguised in a cup of tea by an embittered relative in a row over her 16-year-old daughter's wedding.
She has had eight operations so far to repair the damage.
Cleaner Zahida Parveen, 24, was badly burned when a gas cylinder exploded in her kitchen and she has had four reconstruction surgeries.
All three women, from Karachi, are being helped by British surgeon Asim Shahmalak who travels regularly to Pakistan on mercy missions to assist women whose lives have been blighted by acid attacks.
Bottles of the acid used in the attacks can be bought for as little as 15p with no questions asked.
Dr Shahmalak provided the women with eyebrow transplants as part of their facial reconstructions at a hospital in Karachi.
He is one of only nine surgeons in the world qualified to carry out the procedure.
Dr Shahmalak took a team from Crown Clinic in Manchester where he is best known for carrying out hair transplants on such celebrities such as Calum Best and Gogglebox star Chris Butland-Steed.
Father-of-two Dr Shahmalak, 56, said: “I wept when I heard their stories.
“Fatima was incredibly brave and tried to protect herself as the attack took place.
“She was doused with a lot of powerful acid and her injuries went right up her arm and over her upper body.
“Surgeons have done phenomenal job performing grafts on her arm and returning her face to normality.
“I played a small part by providing her with a new left eyebrow to replace hair lost on her brow in the attack.
“I took hair from the back of her head and replanted it in the gaps in her eyebrow.
“This new transplanted hair will grow back in the same way as her head hair so she will need to trim it every now again when the eyebrow transplant beds in.
“But in a few months the damaged brow will be completely repaired.”
Fatima said: “I cannot thank Dr Shahmalak enough. I've been very lucky to have been helped by such a wonderful team of surgeons and I am really getting back on my feet.
“I love my new eyebrow and I cannot wait to see it grow back.”
Niaz Bano was scarred for life by a relative who mixed acid into a cup of tea and then threw it at her face in a row over her daughter's wedding.
Surgeons have spent the last ten years rebuilding her face and Dr Shahmalak filled in gaps in both her eyebrows with hair transplanted from her scalp.
He said: “Niaz's face has been transformed by the surgery. She has bounced back brilliantly from the attacks and now runs a successful grocery store from her home.
“I gave some symmetry to her face by performing transplants on both eyebrows. The new hair will grow back in her brows in the next few months and the bald patches will be gone.”
Niaz said: “I love my new brows and this feels like the last stage of my the efforts to rebuild my face. Thank-you to Dr Shahmalak and the all the surgeons who have helped me.”
Dr Shahmalak, who lives with his doctor wife Rubina in Cheadle, Manchester, also operated on cleaner Zahida Parveen, 24, who was badly burned when a gas cylinder exploded in her kitchen.
She has had four reconstruction surgeries and Dr Shahmalak provided her with her a new left eyebrow.
The trip to Karachi was the third time Dr Shahmalak has performed surgery for free on acid attacks victims.
He was introduced to the women by the Karachi-based charity Depilex Smileagain Foundation whose founder Masarrat Misbah has worked tirelessly to help victims of acid attacks.
The charity not only finds surgeons like Dr Shahmalak to perform surgery for free but also secures jobs for the women afterwards.


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.