Now, having hit the recommended age for hair restoration surgery, he is believed to have gone ahead with the procedure in Madrid.
Same procedure as Wayne Rooney
Suspicions as to whether the clay court ace had had a hair transplant started circulating after the player was photographed by a fan with uncharacteristically short hair. As the head often needs to be shaved before such an operation, it can be a tell-tale giveaway.
Widely reported, sites from the Mail Online to the Sunday People state that Nadal opted for a Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) style transplant. This is the same type of procedure footballer Wayne Rooney is said to have favoured.
FUE involves having individual hairs removed from a donor site at the back of the head as this area is unaffected by Male Pattern Baldness which only damages hair around the top of the scalp and hairline. These are usually taken by a surgeon using a small ‘punch’ device, though this part of the operation can also be carried out by a robot.
These ‘grafts’ are then implanted into small incisions in the areas of the scalp where hair thinning is occurring. It can take around six to 12 months for the hairs to settle in properly, and after the initial operation it is also possible for a period of hair loss to occur.
Rafa Nadal, whose thinning on top looked to be moderate before the operation, is said to have had 4,500 grafts – so, 4,500 individual hairs – embedded under local anaesthetic. Hair transplants are usually priced per graft and Nadal’s is thought to have cost in the region of £7,700.
Going on the attack
Whilst going the surgical route to addressing male hair loss can be effective for some men, it will only help to prevent shedding in the areas that have been replaced. The original hairs surrounding the grafts still remain susceptible to the ravages of male pattern baldness.
The DHT which caused Nadal’s thinning on top will continue to be produced and, despite his surgery, will continue to latch on to susceptible hair follicles around the top of his scalp and hairline, due to his inherited genetic predisposition. DHT causes a process known as ‘miniaturisation’ in cases of male pattern hair loss whereby, as the testosterone by-product binds to the affected hair follicles, they gradually deteriorate leading to hair loss and even potential baldness.
Failure to properly address this following a transplant can lead to the hair around the restored area thinning out, leaving unnatural results. To prevent this and preserve the new look, it is important to follow a comprehensive after-care routine. This involves using clinically-proven male hair loss treatments on an on-going basis.
Luckily for Nadal, both finasteride 1mg – the once-a-day tablet which inhibits DHT – and high strength minoxidil – the topical hair loss treatment used to promote regrowth – are suitable for sports professionals. And luckily for men who have hair loss like Rafa Nadal but not his pay packet, hair loss treatments can be a far more affordable solution to surgery.
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.