A cautionary tale for the New Year: if you’re thinking of a hair transplant as a solution to any hair loss issues you may be having, a new consumer alert suggests you should do your research very carefully first.
Hair transplants to deal with the genetic condition male pattern baldness have been enjoying something of a golden moment these past few years, thanks in no small part to numerous footballers and celebrities openly telling the world that they have had one (or more). Whilst expensive, transplants are certainly one of several proven solutions for men with receding hairlines and thinning crowns, but the new alert from the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) is warning that increasing numbers of unlicensed personnel worldwide are performing substantial medical aspects during the operation.
Patients being put at risk
In doing so, says the Society, these unqualified staff are putting patients at risk. The Society further claims that growing numbers of people are seeking help from ISHRS members and asking them to correct hair transplants they have paid for that were unsatisfactory.
The ISHRS has now issued some guidelines to help people understand what they’re signing up for– plus a few things to consider – when they seek out a hair transplant surgeon:
* Remember that even minimally invasive hair restoration procedures still require medical expertise. “Important clinical decisions requiring expert clinical knowledge must be made during procedures,” states the ISHRS.
* The procedure should only ever be performed by trained and licensed physicians.
* If having a transplant overseas, make sure you understand local laws which may not be so stringent with regard to the person who performs the operation.
* Unlicensed personnel come with heightened risks of making a misdiagnosis or recommending unnecessary procedures.
The society also warns that there have been some false advertising claims of late, including the promise of completely scarless surgery. Claims that operations can be entirely performed by a machine that is capable of automatically performing all aspects of the surgery are also deemed untrue. The ARTAS robot – the equipment many mean when they refer to a ‘hair transplant machine’ – harvests donor hair, but the grafts are inserted into the scalp by a surgeon.
A typical hair transplant operation in the UK can take a whole day and can easily cost £5,000 or even a lot more; prices are generally charged on a per-graft basis.
While the chances of being offered a transplant in the UK by an unlicensed surgeon are small, the same is not necessarily true for people who opt to undergo surgical hair restoration overseas. In Turkey, for example, hair transplant surgeons abound, and while some of these will be skilled professionals, others may not be. Additionally, when seeking cosmetic surgery abroad, language problems and poor after-care may also be an issue.
Encouraging hair growth without surgery
The non-surgical alternative to a hair transplant is a hair loss treatment course which makes use of one or both clinically-proven medications to reduce hair fall and encourage new hair growth, as well as preventing baldness on an on-going basis, whilst it is followed.
One of the two MHRA licensed and FDA approved male pattern hair loss treatments is finasteride 1mg. This is a once-a-day tablet that inhibits production of a hormone named dihydrotestosterone (DHT). By minimising the amount of this testosterone-byproduct in the system, hair growth affected by genetic hair loss – whereby DHT binds to the sensitive follicles along the top of the head and hairline, shrinking them and gradually causing increasingly thinning hair – should continue unhindered.
The second recognised male pattern hair loss treatment is a topical medication which comes in various formulations and is known as high strength minoxidil. It is applied directly to the scalp where needed, to promote localised blood flow, encouraging hair growth. This can be particularly useful when treating areas such as a receding hairline, given frontal hair is the slowest to regrow and finasteride 1mg has not be proven for this particular pattern of shedding.
This approach can be further augmented by the use of additional hair growth supporting products. These include the follicle-stimulating, home-use LaserComb, and premium nutritional support via targeted food supplements. Belgravia’s hair experts have devised exclusive Hair Vitalics for Men supplements comprising key vitamins, minerals, amino acids and botanical extracts including biotin, zinc and selenium for the maintenance of normal hair growth.
Anyone concerned about losing their hair who would like advice on the options open to them would be best advised to have a personal consultation with a hair loss specialist. They can then talk them through their situation and recommend the most appropriate solutions.
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.