Men with the hair loss condition Male Pattern Baldness are being given new regulatory protection in Scotland when they choose to sign up for a hair transplant operation.
As of 1st April 2017, all independent clinics that offer surgical and non-surgical cosmetic procedures are required to sign up with the Scottish watchdog Healthcare Improvement Scotland. Members will then be subject to regular checks to make sure that clients are properly looked after.
Surgery can be uncomfortable
Whilst they have certainly increased in popularity recently due to ‘the Rooney effect‘, hair restoration surgery is not normally the “go-to” treatment for men with male pattern baldness. These invasive hair transplant procedures are typically very expensive, easily costing £5,000 or significantly more. Additionally, surgery can be uncomfortable, with very visible evidence of the operation for several weeks afterwards, and while modern techniques can be impressive, operations don’t tackle the underlying cause of the hairloss.
A testosterone by-product named dihydrotestosterone – or DHT – is to blame, and in men with a genetically predisposed sensitivity to it, hair is likely to continue to shed even after a hair transplant operation – usually from the front of the head and the crown. Male hair loss treatment, using clinically-proven products that help to stop the production of DHT and encourage regrowth is the preferred option of many, and is also recommended for transplant patients once their procedure is finished.
Hair transplant clinics have proliferated over the past decade, thanks in part to some high-profile celebrity patients, including the actor James Nesbitt and the aforementioned Wayne Rooney, both of whom are understood to have undergone two separate restoration surgeries in order to achieve their current results.
The dangers of succumbing to the lure of cheap foreign hair transplants has been well-documented, but even in the UK it certainly pays to choose a reputable clinic with a great track record. And the new scheme in Scotland is hoping to raise the bar.
Healthcare Improvement Scotland’s Claire Sweeney told the Daily Record: “Regulation has been introduced in Scotland to help improve safety and to ensure that clinics continue to improve the services that they provide.”
At the time of writing, only one clinic had thus far registered, but Ms Sweeney said: “We look forward to welcoming many more clinics between now and the end of March.”
The article goes on to cite the case of a man named Colin who, at 29, is losing hair to Male Pattern Baldness. Having been treated at an “unregulated” clinic (perhaps something of an unfair description in this instance as only one clinic in Scotland had actually been added to the Healthcare Improvement Scotland list thus far), he needed further intervention because of “a string of errors.” These included grafts that had been inserted at an unnatural angle and significant scarring. Many such horror stories about hair transplants going wrong come from people who chose to try and save money by having their operation done overseas. Continues after video…
Straightforward in principle
In principle, a hair transplant using a technique known as Follicular Unit Extraction – arguably the most advanced and expensive option there is currently – is straightforward. Doctors use a small ‘punch’ type device to extract individual hair follicles from areas on the head where they are abundant – usually the back of the head but sometimes the sides – and then re-seed them where they are needed.
A lot, however, can go wrong. An unskilled doctor can fail to take into account such matters as the direction of hair growth or follicle pattern, and he also needs to know how to work effectively and quickly with each follicle to ensure it has the best chance of survival once it is implanted. Additionally, more reputable surgeons also often defer surgery – rather than rapidly taking a patient’s money – for at least six months so that men can undergo a pharmaceutical hair loss treatment course first.
By following a plan tailored around one or both of the only MHRA licensed and FDA approved medications for male pattern baldness, the patient has time to see what kind of hair growth he can achieve without surgery. Some men – like Andre, a Belgravia Centre client whose video testimonial you can watch here – respond well to this non-invasive approach and decide that they no longer need the operation. However, if they decide to continue down the surgical route, this preparation can give the surgeon the maximum number of hairs to work. It also makes for a ‘cleaner’ area to work with once hair shedding has been stabilised.
Additional concerns highlighted in the Daily Record article are pay-as-you-go-schemes, as well as patients being offered transplants when they don’t necessarily need one.
A consultation with a reputable hair loss clinic can help by providing anyone worried about losing their hair with a full diagnosis and an explanation of the various treatment options available. As with any such concerns, it is always best to get as much information as possible, from established credible sources, in order to decide which treatment route you are most comfortable with and are more likely to get the desired results from, before deciding.
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.