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Five of the most common questions about hair transplants answered by our surgeon Asim Shahmalak

Dr Asim Shahmalak, from Crown Clinic is one of the UK’s leading hair transplant surgeons. He is known as the surgeon to the stars through his work with Coronation Street star Jack P Shepherd, who plays David Platt in the soap, model Calum Best, TV doctor Christian Jessen, Homes Under the Hammer star Martin Roberts and Gogglebox star Chris Butland-Steed. Dr Shahmalak, who also has consulting rooms in Harley Street, was a general surgeon in the NHS before switching to private hair transplantation surgery 12 years ago when he opened his own clinic. As well as hair transplants, he also does more unusual procedures such as eyebrow, eyelash, beard and sideburn transplants. He was the first surgeon in the UK to perform an eyelash transplant – on a young woman from Greater Manchester 10 years ago.

1 What are the different types?

Dr Shahmalak said: “There are two different types of hair transplant for men and women – FUE and FUT.

FUE (follicular unit extraction) is the most popular and the one is chosen by around 80% of the patients at my clinic – Crown Clinic in Manchester.

With FUE, individual follicles are removed from the back and side of the scalp and then re-planted by the surgeon on the balding areas on the top of the scalp. The advantage of this method is that the scarring is minimal. Patients have small scabs where the hair is extracted and replanted which tend to heal after two weeks. FUE is particularly suitable for patients who liked to wear their hair short or shaved because the scarring is not particularly noticeable. Most stars have FUE for their transplants: my patients Jack P Shepherd, David Platt from Coronation Street, Calum Best and other big names such as Wayne Rooney.

FUT (follicular unit transplantation) is the more traditional method. The donor hair is obtained by surgically removing a strip of skin from the back or side of the scalp. From this strip, the donor follicles are extracted under a microscope and then replanted in the balding areas in the same way as FUE. Patients are left with a lined scar on the scalp which is not noticeable if they like to wear their hair relatively long. The TV doctor Christian Jessen has had two FUT procedures with me. FUT is less labour than FUE so it is slightly cheaper.

“FUE has gradually taken over in popularity from FUT in the last five years, thanks in large part because of FUE’s popularity with celebrity clients. Lots more men are wearing their hair very short or completely shaved at the back and sides and FUE is more suitable for those hair styles.

“As well as these conventional transplant procedures, other more unusual methods are also available using the same techniques.

“I am one of the few hair transplant surgeons in the world to perform eyelash transplants – most commonly on women who have naturally thin eyelashes or have damaged their eyelashes through the use of stick-on false eyelashes. The donor hair is extracted from the scalp in the same way through FUE or FUT and then sewn into the upper eyelid. It won’t work on the lower eyelid. Because head hair is extracted, it grows in the same way as head hair, so these new eyelashes need curling (to blend in with existing lashes) and trimming.

“Patients can also have eyebrow transplants – most commonly women who have damaged their eyebrows by overplucking. It works in much the same way as the eyelash transplant and again the transplanted hair needs trimming.

“Finally, I do beard and sideburn transplants for men who have thin beards – a surprisingly high number of men have this problem. It means they can grow a full beard without any gaps.”

2 How does each procedure work?

Dr Shahmalak said: “FUE takes around six to seven hours. Most patients start their surgery in the morning and are ready to go home the same day.

“The donor area at the back of the scalp is numbed with anaesthetic and then the donor follicles are removed individually, leaving small red scars where the hair is attracted.

“We typically extract around 1,500 follicles which amounts to around 3,000 hairs (because there is more than one hair in each follicle root). These are then replanted in the balding areas, again leaving small red scars which heal in around two weeks and just drop off like any scab.

“I advise most patients to take a week off work to allow for recovering after surgery.

“The procedure is relatively pain-free and most patients watch films on DVD during the extraction and replanting process. Some are so relaxed they fall asleep.

“Patients have to sleep with pillows propping up their back for the first couple of nights after the procedure so they don’t dislodge any of the transplanted hair. They should avoid strenuous exercise for at least week. But most patients feel as right as rain the day after the procedure and can lead normal lives while they wait for the scars to heal.

“My client Jack P Shepherd from Coronation Street was back filming the show two weeks after the transplant with viewers unaware that he had the surgery. That shows how quickly the scars heal.

“It takes up to a year for the transplanted hair to grow back so patients need to be patient – you don’t get an instant overnight transformation.

“FUT is a little quicker than FUE because the extraction of the donor hair is quicker – so the whole procedure takes around five hours. Scarring heals a little more slowly than FUE because a strip of skin is removed from the patient to obtain the donor hair rather than individual follicles.

“Eyelash, eyebrow and beard transplants take even less time – around four hours – because fewer donor hairs need to be extracted as you are covering a smaller bald area.

3 What are the benefits of using one over the other?

Dr Shahmalak said: “Around 80% of my patients chose FUE because the scarring is minimal and they would rather the donor hair was extracted individually rather all in one go with the removal of a strip of skin.

“FUE patients can wear their head short or shaved following a procedure without the scars being visible. It is why this procedure is so popular with celebrities.

“It is more expensive as a result because the extraction of the donor hair is more labour intensive.

“Around 20% of my patients still chose FUT – partly because it is cheaper than FUE. The scar from the removal of the strip of skin for the donor hair is noticeable but not if you wear your hair longer. There is some evidence to suggest that slightly fewer follicles survive extraction by being removed in a strip rather than individually, though I find that FUE is a highly effective form of hair transplantation and it has gradually taken over from FUT.”

4 Why might a hair transplant be needed?

Dr Shahmalak said: “A hair transplant is needed because the vast majority of men will experience hair loss at some point in their lives.

By the age of 30, around 40% of men will be losing their hair, this figure rises to half of men by the age of 40 and 60% of men by 50 onwards.

“As my patient Jack P Shepherd explained, a hair transplant is like the male equivalent of a boob job – it is a quick fix cosmetic procedure which will make a huge difference to their appearance. It can make men looks years younger and research shows that, as well as improving their self-confidence, it can also enhance their career prospects. There is a body of research pointing to the fact that men with a full head of hair earn more than those who are bald.

“But the main benefit is just to look and feel better. You can transform your life for the same cost as changing your car.

“We should not forget that 40% of women also experience hair loss in their lives. For many this is temporary – post-pregnancy or during menopause. However, a significant number of women have naturally thin hair or experience permanent hair loss and can benefit from the same procedures as men. About 10% of my patients are women.”

5 How does he think he has helped patients?

Dr Shahmalak said: “You only have to look at the experiences of my celebrity patients to see how hair transplants can help patients. They all say they look years younger and they are frank enough to admit that restoring their balding locks has benefited their careers. Their income depends on them looking good and they are to be congratulated on going public with their procedures and showing to millions of men how this simple procedure can transform their lives. Please read my testimonials to see what a difference I have made to patients’ lives.”

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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Hair transplants – where hair from the back of the scalp is extracted and transplanted in balding areas – may be a well-known or even commonplace procedure nowadays, but did you know that body hair transplants are also possible? 

Body hair transplants are certainly a lesser-known procedure, but still one that can be viable for the right candidate – here’s what you should know. 

How do body hair transplants work? 

Body hair transplants work in a very similar way to traditional hair transplants, except that hair is extracted from – you guessed it – donor sites on the body. Patients seeking this type of transplant have typically undergone several hair transplants already and exhausted their supply of donor hair on their scalp. However, for some patients, a body hair transplant is a preferable option if they have naturally thin, patchy hair or if they have acquired a scalp injury that impacts the typical donor areas.

Generally, donor areas for body hair transplants are the abdomen, chest and back. Hair follicles on the arms and legs may be in abundant supply, but the hairs tend to be too fine to use on the scalp. 

The body hair transplant process itself closely mirrors traditional hair transplants. The donor area is shaved before the surgery, and during the procedure the hairs are extracted from the donor area under local anaesthetic, before being transplanted into the thinning areas of the scalp. The length of the procedure depends on how many grafts are needed and the recovery process is comparable to standard hair transplants. 

Can hair be transplanted from the head to the body? 

Body hair transplants can work the other way around, where hairs from the scalp are transplanted in other areas of the body. A common example of this is eyebrow transplants, but head hair can be transplanted in other areas such as the chest or pubic region. Although a less common form of surgery, it can be an option for people who have lost body hair through genetic or external factors such as chemotherapy or injury. 

What are the results of body hair transplants? 

It’s worth noting that often body hair transplants do have a lower success rate than typical hair transplants, partially due to the lower levels of compatibility between the hairs on the head and the hairs on the body and the different structures of the hairs. However, during your consultation you will be able to discuss any potential issues with your surgeon. 

To find out more about body hair transplants and to find out if you may be a suitable candidate for the surgery, get in touch with Crown Clinic. 


For many men, the inability to grow a beard is something that they feel particularly self-conscious of. For those who can grow a beard, they often find that it doesn’t always grow in a uniform fashion, resulting in patchy facial hair.

Beard transplants are a permanent way to create a natural-looking, full beard. If you’re thinking about taking the plunge, here’s what you need to know if you’re considering undergoing beard transplant surgery.

What happens during a beard transplant

Beard transplants are carried out through either follicular unit extraction (FUE) or follicular unit transplantation (FUT). FUE is the most common transplantation technique for beard transplants, which involves individual hair follicles being removed from the donor area and transplanted in the sparse areas of the beard.

The surgeon will determine the direction that the hair should grow in to make sure the new hairs blend in seamlessly with the existing beard hair and to create the desired look.

If you’re a good candidate for beard transplantation

To be eligible for a beard transplant, prospective patients must have an adequate supply of donor hair – this is typically hair from the back of the head, as it tends to be one of the last areas to go bald.

However, beard to beard transplants are also sometimes an option for disguising smaller areas of hair loss. This technique involves follicles being taken from the area below the jawline and transplanted in the sparse areas.

When having your beard transplant consultation, your surgeon should give you a thorough examination to determine if you are a suitable candidate for surgery and discuss your options with you.

What the potential side effects are

Although beard transplants are a generally safe procedure, it’s important to follow the aftercare instructions provided to reduce the risk of infection. Your face and scalp may experience minor swelling and irritation in the days after the surgery, but this will be eased by sticking to the aftercare routine.

FUE surgery does often cause some scarring in the donor area, but the scars are so small that the natural hair growth will disguise them.

How much a beard transplant costs

The price of the beard transplant depends on several different factors, such as the number of hair grafts required. During your consultation, your surgeon will be able to give you an accurate quote for the surgery.

Booking a beard transplant consultation

Crown Clinic is one of the UK’s most reputable hair transplant clinics, offering state-of-the-art facilities and procedures under the care of Dr Asim Shahmalak, a world-renowned hair transplant surgeon. If you’d like to find out more about beard transplants, get in touch or book a consultation.

Whether you’ve had a disastrous haircut that you’re desperately trying to grow out or are simply bored of your current hairstyle, there’s a good chance you will have searched for ways to grow your hair faster – but is that actually possible?

It’s worth noting that even the healthiest hair only grows around an average of half an inch per month, or six inches over the course of a year. Understandably, this can make people feel as if their hair is growing at a glacial pace – especially when you consider that we also lose up to 100 hairs per day.

How does the hair grow?

Hair grows from the follicle – or root – that is underneath the skin. The blood vessels in the scalp around the base of the follicles supply the roots with oxygen and nutrients, which will help the hairs to grow.

Does scalp massage help the hair grow?

Scalp massagers – brushes with soft, silicone bristles designed to be used when washing the hair – are currently proving popular, but are they actually worth the money?

Although scalp massage can increase blood flow to the scalp, and therefore bring more nutrients to the follicle, there is no evidence that massage will stimulate hair growth. However, scalp massagers can help to remove product buildup and excess oil from the scalp, which will improve the overall health of the hair.

Does cutting hair make it grow faster?

One of the biggest hair myths around is that getting regular hair trims can make the hair grow faster. This is, of course, completely false. Hair grows from the follicles, which are unaffected when the ends are cut off the hair.

Getting a trim can get rid of split ends, which occur when the ends of the hair become dry and damaged. Split ends can gradually progress up the length of the hair, meaning that hair is more prone to breakage – so if you feel as if your hair has been the same length for months, it could be due to split ends. Keep on top of them with regular trims to keep your hair looking healthy.

Will hair vitamins help my hair grow?

Although you will have undoubtedly seen countless influencers pushing pastel-coloured supplements on their Instagram feeds, claiming they have transformed their hair, this unfortunately isn’t true in most cases.

If you are suffering from hair loss due to a nutritional deficiency, then supplements may boost your hair growth, but you will need to consult with a GP to make sure that you are getting everything you need. If you have no deficiencies, hair growth supplements are unlikely to have any impact on the hair.

There may not be any quick fixes to hurry along your hair growth, but the best thing you can do for the health of your hair is to look after your overall health – take a look at Crown Clinic’s expert advice to find out how to keep your hair looking its best.