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John Cleese’s Hair Transplant

John Cleese has had a hair transplant

You will have probably read by now that John Cleese has had a hair transplant. So, why did he choose surgery and not the established hair loss treatments?

Well, it’s not actually a choice.

Male Pattern Baldness affects the hair follicles over the top of the scalp, often leaving thick and bountiful hair around the sides .. the ‘power doughnut’ look of President Ford.

The idea of hair transplants is to take hair follicles from the side of the head and transplant them into the bald areas on top. Because those follicles aren’t genetically sensitive to DHT, the chemical derived from testosterone that causes all the hair loss trouble, they grow quite happily in their new site. Clearly once the evidence of surgery dies down this will look natural because it really is the person’s own hair.

So, what’s obvious about that? Well, if you take hair from the sides, there will be less hair there .. you’re just moving hair around. Sure, it’s probably better to have it up top than hidden around the back, but still.

If, say, you’ve lost 80% of your hair, moving the remaining 20% of your hair around isn’t going to give you the full head of hair you probably had when you were 18.

For hair transplantation to be successful, you really need to increase the hair you have, both because that will lessen the areas you need to transplant into, and it will provide more hair for you to harvest for transplantation. Maybe if less transplantation is required, the cost will be less too.

So if you’re trying to choose between a hair transplant and drug-based hair loss treatment, it’s the wrong question. It’s not a choice. Established hair loss treatment is a necessary first step. Once you’ve done that for a while, if you still want a hair transplant, you’ll have much better results. And if you’re having a hair transplant for a small area of hair loss (i.e. the hairline) you will need to use treatment to maintain the rest of your hair, which will most probably otherwise be affected in the future.

(Pic courtesy Luc Van Braekel on Flickr, some rights reserved)

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