Most frequently asked questions about FUE hair transplants at Crown Clinic

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Around 80% of the patients at Crown Clinic choose a FUE (follicular unit extraction) procedure with our surgeon Asim Shahmalak. This is where individual grafts are removed from the back and sides of the scalp and replanted in the balding areas.

In the last five years, FUE has gradually taken over from the more traditional method of hair transplantation FUT (follicular unit transplantation) and 80% of Crown Clinic patients chose FUE. FUE is more popular because the scarring is less noticeable than FUE. Patients are left with some red pin pricks in the areas of the scalp where the hairs are harvested and replanted but these go away after a few days. With FUT, a surgical strip is removed from the scalp to obtain the donor grafts – this linear scar is not noticeable if you wear your hair long but it can be seen if you like to wear your hair short or shaved.

Most of the celebrity patients at Crown Clinic such as Calum Best, Gogglebox's Chris Butland-Steed, Homes Under The Hammer star Martin Roberts and the former footballer Didi Hamann have chosen FUE. The TV doctor Christian Jessen – another Crown Clinic patient -opted for FUT for his two transplants with Dr Shahmalak but he does like to wear his hair longer.

Here are the most frequently asked questions about FUE.

How much does it cost?

FUE is slightly more expensive than FUT because it is more labour intensive – grafts need to be removed one-by-one rather all in one go in a single strip. Prices at Crown Clinic start from £5,000. Prices depend on the number of grafts – the more grafts, the higher the price because more work is required of the Crown Clinic team. If you have more grafts, you can cover a larger balding area.

Who is suitable for an FUE transplant?

Our surgeon performs transplants on both male and female patients (around 10% of his clients are female). What he is looking for in a patient is a good covering of donor hair at the back and sides of the scalp. Nearly everyone has a permanent 'horse shoe' of hair covering the back and side of the scalp – however bald they are on the top of their scalp. This is where the donor hair is taken. 

When will the transplanted hair grow back?

It takes between six months and a year to see the full benefits of an FUE transplant. In the first few weeks after a transplant, the transplanted hair falls out. This is entirely normal. What is important is the that roots of the new hair are well-established and happy in their new home. With healthy roots, the new hair will grow back and it should provide a good covering for the balding area at the end of six months. This process takes longer in some patients than others – but all patients can see the best results after a year.

How long will it take me to recover from a procedure?

We recommend that patients take a week off from work following their procedure. As with any surgical procedure, there is a recovery period. You will feel fine but you need to wait for the swelling to go down and you need to take it easy to ensure that the new hairs get settled in their new home.

How long does the procedure take?

Most patients are in and out of Crown Clinic in a single day. We don't recommend that patients drive home after a procedure because of the effects of the anaesthetic, but most patients are pleasantly surprised at how quickly a transplant can be completed.

We recommend that patients sleep upright for a couple of days after a procedure to protect the new hairs and wear button-down shirts so they not displacing the new grafts by pulling a sweater over their head. It's best to have a break from the gym for a few days but in all other respects you can live your life completely normally after a procedure.

Will I have to have my head shaved?

We do shave the treatment area and the donor area but there is no requirement to shave the whole sclap. 

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.