When hair loss strikes some men decide a transplant is the way to go, but surgery is not always the quick and permanent fix that many assume it to be.
There is little doubt that men’s hair restoration procedures, whether FUE – Follicular Unit Extraction – or FUT – Follicular Unit Transplantation – have become more advanced over the past decade. Surgeons have become more skilled at excavating follicles and implanting them where they are needed, thanks to technological developments in the devices used. But there’s a lot more to it than that.
Male pattern baldness and hair transplants
Most men undergoing a hair transplant do so to combat the genetic condition Male Pattern Baldness. Hair is harvested from a donor area at the back of the scalp between the nape and the crown – the ‘occipital’ area, shown in grey here. This is because the hair in this area tends to be fuller, given it is not subject to the effects of the hormone DHT which causes thinning hair in cases of genetic hair loss. This only affects the follicles located around the top of the scalp and hairline.
Donor hairs are then ‘replanted’ into small incisions in the thinning or receding areas where grafts are required. Male pattern hair loss tends to appear in distinct patterns such as a receding hairline or as bald spot due to a thinning crown, so these are the areas most commonly addressed by hair restoration surgeries.
It can take 12 to 18 months for the new grafts to take properly and for normal hair growth to become noticeable. However, how successful an operation of this kind will be in the long-term depends on a whole host of factors, crucially including how he approaches preventing baldness after the op.
“Many men think that simply by getting a hair transplant this will permanently cure for their hair loss but that is rarely the case,” says senior Belgravia hair loss specialist, Leonora Doclis. “It is important for those with androgenetic alopecia – male pattern hair loss – to understand why they are losing hair in the first place and why the hair surrounding the new grafts at the top of their scalp will continue to thin and eventually fall out unless specific steps are taken to intervene.”
The ‘specific steps’, Doclis mentions refer to those involved when men follow a pharmaceutial hair loss treatment course. These can feature one or both of the only two medications MHRA-licensed and FDA-approved for this purpose. The first, finasteride 1mg is an oral tablet taken once each day in order to act as a DHT-blocker; the second is the topical solution high strength minoxidil which comes in a number of formulations and works by actively promoting hair growth locally. These can both be used alongside additional hair growth supporting products to help the hair reach its full potential.
Hair loss after hair restoration surgery
Any man who has a hair transplant will likely see their new hair shedding again in a relatively short time – but often this is nothing to worry about. Any operation can cause temporary hairloss from a condition called Telogen Effluvium which tends to present around three months after the trigger, and lasts for no more than six months. The implanted hairs will also shed as part of the follicle’s bedding in process. Again, this is rarely anything to be concerned about as they are likely shedding in order to make way for thicker, stronger hair to grow through.
What is key for men wanting to preserve the look of their new hair and prevent hair loss moving forward, however, is to follow an aftercare programme. Generally this takes the form of the same hair loss treatment course their surgeon likely recommended using for at least six months ahead of the procedure. This usually means no break in taking finasteride 1mg tablets, with minoxidil use stopping just before the operation and resuming once the scalp has healed.
If the transplanted areas do not provide the right look or level of hair density that the client was expecting, or if another area starts to look thinner and a further top up is required, it is common to have another hair restoration procedure. Whilst for some men one hair transplant is enough, this is not the case for everyone. Two or three can be normal. This is only possible, however, if there is sufficient donor hair available.
Everton footballer and celebrity hair transplant poster boy, Wayne Rooney is believed to have had at least two restoration ops. Actor James Nesbitt has admitted to having two hair transplants, whilst Chelsea FC manager Antonio Conte has had three hair transplants to try and fix his thinning hair. The Daily Mail states that his third was necessary because of two earlier “botched” operations in his native Italy. Reality TV star Calum Best has also had three hair restoration surgeries, and tweeted that he could have no more following his third transplant. He didn’t explain why, but the most obvious reason is that he has exhausted his donor areas.
Any man considering dealing with his hair loss is made aware of the best options for his specific situation during a consultation with specialist. This includes whether or not the surgical route may be beneficial. For instance, even though Belgravia specialises in non-surgical hair loss treatment programmes, anyone visiting our London hair loss clinics who decides to investigate this option further can be referred on to a reputable surgeon for advice and assessment.
The Belgravia Centre is an organisation specialising in hair growth and hair loss prevention with two clinics and in-house pharmacies 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 Form from anywhere in the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world’s largest gallery of hair growth comparison photos and demonstrates the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time to arrange a free consultation.