These days, most specialists recommend a simple course of medical hair loss treatments to help restore the hairline, but there was a time when hair plugs or flap surgery were considered the only viable options. And while the Fleming Mayer Flap technique may seem barbaric and prehistoric to some, it is still being practiced in a few surgeries.
What is the Fleming Mayer Flap?
The Fleming Mayer Flap is a procedure that involves marking out a strip of hair-bearing skin on the side of the head, loosening the flap via incisions but making sure it remains attached to the head, slicing out the bald area, then twisting and flipping the flap over the head and sewing it in place of where the bald patch was.
The procedure is usually done over a period of two weeks and performed under general anaesthesia. Patients will need to wear a dressing for three or four days after the flap rotation. The stitches at the hairline are usually removed after about a week, but the stitches behind the flap and on the side of the head are left on for close to two weeks.
The Fleming Mayer Flap procedure is extremely invasive and has many recognised limitations.
Is the Fleming Mayer Flap Procedure Safe?
Many risks and complications are associated with scalp flap procedures, especially when they are performed by a surgeon without extensive experience. The procedure itself is technically demanding and should only be undertaken by truly experienced surgeons.
What Can Go Wrong With Fleming Mayer Flap?
1. Further hair loss – the Fleming Mayer Flap does not solve the problem of hair loss. Some patients continue to lose hair after the surgery and a second flap is needed to be moved behind the first flap. Scalp reduction surgery is often required if this scenario arises.
2. Improperly located and uneven hairlines – Some degree of temporal recession is normal but the Fleming Mayer Flap procedure can leave the hairline looking severely blunt.
3. An unnatural appearance – The high density of hair harvested from the side of the head often looks unnatural on the frontal hairline and the odd direction of hair growth can add to this effect.
4. Visible scarring – The incision can leave a visible surgical scar along the edge of the frontal hairline which is accentuated since the backward-directed hair is unable to fall forward for camouflage.
5. Complete failure of the flap – The cut and paste method of the Fleming Mayer Flap procedure carries the risk of severing the blood supply to the hair follicles.
Alternatives to the Fleming Mayer Flap Procedure
There are much more modern, effective and less invasive hair restoration techniques than the Fleming Mayer Flap procedure. Surgically speaking, the Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) is widely accepted as the technique which provides the most natural result. However, depending on the type of hair loss, medications for hair loss will generally need to be used following the surgery to prevent to loss of any more hair.
Most specialists, for this reason, recommend the use of clinically proven hair loss treatments before considering surgery. Extensive studies have concluded that these medically licensed treatments can stabilise the balding process and stimulate renewed natural hair growth for the majority of users.
The Belgravia Centre is the UK’s leading hair loss clinic, offering free consultations to men and women and an online diagnosis for those who can’t make it to the London centre for a face-to-face analysis. If you’d like more information about your specific condition or would like to know what method of treatment is most suitable for you, call them on 020 7730 6666 to arrange an appointment or complete and submit the online diagnostic form.