A former American football player has stunned fans by “reversing” more than a decade of baldness when he stepped out on TV with a full head of hair. Brian Urlacher, who became famous as a line backer for the Chicago Bears, decided to tackle decades of hair loss full-on by signing up for a hair transplant.
Now 37, the sportsman-turned-pundit had embraced the bald look for the duration of his 13 year career, his Male Pattern Baldness having resulted in an advanced widow's peak when still in college. Though the hair at the back of his head was still thick as is the norm with MPB due to his receding hairline Urlacher chose to shave his head two or three times per week to avoid locker room jibes.
After unveiling his new look, the future Hall of Famer explained to various media outlets that a friend who had undergone a hair transplant encouraged him to give it a go.
“My first reaction was, ‘Hell, no!’" says the former NFL player in an online interview. "Then I started thinking about it and wondering what it would be like to have hair. I really felt that my buddies my age with hair looked younger.”
Talking on the local WGN Morning News programme, he admitted he didn't think it would work but seemed delighted with his results, even though his "showers take longer now". The Bears legend even told a story about being mistaken for a younger-looking lookalike of himself after being spotted with hair in public for the first time.
Urlacher’s one-day procedure used the Follicular Unit Extraction method.
FUE involves using a small 'punch' device, which looks like an electronic pen, to remove individual or tiny groups of hair follicles from the donor area at the back of the head. These are then surgically grafted into incisions elsewhere on the top of the scalp or around the hairline, wherever the restoration is required.
This method is thought to produce more natural-looking results and leave less scarring than the older 'strip surgery' Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) version.
It turns out Urlacher's procedure was actually carried out in November 2014 but he wore a hat for just over a year to keep it secret while it settled in.
In the interview footage below he claims he has no scars on the back of his head and says that he has only had the current density for the past four months. When asked how long it took to start seeing results from the operation he confirmed, "[After] Four or five months I actually saw the hair like grass growing... by eight months I had a bush". Continues below...
In a separate interview with ABC News, Brian Urlacher noted a downside of his hair transplant experience: "The worst thing about the whole procedure was the post-procedure because my head was itching because it was healing".
Whilst Urlacher fit the relevant criteria and seems to have responded well, not every man is suitable for a hair transplant. Many reputable surgeons also prefer only to operate on men who are at least 25 but ideally 30 years old or over.
During a proper consultation the hair and scalp will be carefully examined to ascertain if there will be enough good quality donor hair to move to parts of the head where it is needed. If the balding area is too large or the donor area hair is too thin (or both), the overall effect of a transplant will be disappointing and unnatural-looking. Hair will appear sparse and thin.
A further thing to consider before signing up for a transplant is the fact that this is very much a cosmetic procedure and the root cause of male hair loss will still need to be addressed to maintain results from the procedure and to prevent hair thinning in other areas on top.
The reason hairs thin and fall out in cases of MPB is because of a genetic sensitivity to the testosterone by-product DHT which causes hair follicles around the top of the head to shrink and wither.
Luckily, those who have had a hair transplant operation - as well as those who haven't - can often enjoy many years of hair by seeking specialist help. Whether used as on-going maintenance following surgical restoration or whether used before even considering surgery, a bespoke hair loss treatment course featuring clinically-proven medications can help to inhibit DHT formation and promote regrowth.
In fact, had NFL star Brian Urlacher thought of using proven medications, particularly high strength minoxidil, in his glory days or better still, while still at college things might have been very different. An early diagnosis of MPB and a timely approach to treatment can produce compelling results.
The Belgravia Centre is a world-renowned group of a hair loss clinic in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation from anywhere in the world for home-use treatment.
View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world's largest gallery of hair growth photos and demonstrates the level of success that so many of Belgravia's patients achieve.