A wealth of recent newspaper stories about men signing up for hair transplants to try and deal with their hair loss suggests the start of a new trend and, perhaps, a slightly worrying one at that.
In fact, a new poll in the Daily Express suggests that most men are perfectly at ease with the idea of going under the knife if and when their hair starts to disappear (assuming they could afford the surgery). An overwhelming 86 per cent of respondents said “Yes, I definitely would” when asked if they would have a hair transplant.
The troubling part of this is that hair transplants are often a rather dramatic attempt at restoring lost hair, and until recently were often considered something of a last resort by many men. This is because there are other, proven, less invasive and more affordable options for people losing their hair to genetic baldness.
A course of Male Hair Loss treatment, for example, is suitable for many men who are experiencing a receding hairline, a thinning crown or simply the overwhelming feeling that there are more hairs in the shower than normal. A recommended treatment plan generally comprises one or both of the only MHRA-licensed and FDA-approved hair loss drugs – finasteride 1mg and minoxidil, with additional supplementary hair growth supporting products also being useful in some cases.
These two clinically-proven treatments address both the underlying cause of male pattern baldness – dihydrotestosterone perhaps more commonly referred to as DHT (finasteride 1mg is a DHT-blocker) – and help to promote hair growth (high strength minoxidil is a topical vasodilator).
The “normalisation” of transplants seems to be happening because of a growing number of footballers who have had one. Wayne Rooney, who has had at least two, was perhaps the first big-name player to ’fess up, but since then many more players have spoken publicly about having a hair restoration surgery.
The more cynical among us might have noted that when footballers do have a transplant they often wax lyrical in the press about the very surgery in the place where their operation was performed. Might it be that some of these players have received reduced-price treatment in exchange for an endorsement? Could this ‘Rooney Effect’ in turn, be adding a veneer of “cool” to transplants?
Or might it be that these players are so often photographed and filmed by TV cameras that they have no choice but to come clean? A surgical hair restoration procedure, after all, leaves very visible results – typically a shaven head followed by some pronounced reddening where the transplant has taken place. Unlike non-invasive hair loss treatments, which offer the chance of a more clandestine approach due to promoting a gradual improvement, having a transplant can be hard to hide.
McAteer joins the club
The Express conducted its poll as part of a report about yet another footballer who had undergone a hair transplant – former Liverpool and Bolton player, Jason McAteer.
“I was really conscious in my footballing days of my receding hairline, especially as it became just as much about the TV appearances and magazine shoots as the game itself,” McAteer told the newspaper. “Each day I was worried how long I had to last.”
The ex-player signed up for treatment at the Farjo Hair Institute, one of the UK’s most respected transplant surgeries, where surgeons are said to have used the Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) technique. This labour-intensive method sees surgeons remove thousands of individual donor hairs from parts of the head where they can be spared, and then implanted where they are needed. In some cases, this process can be sped up and allegedly made more accurate by a robotic “helper” named ARTAS. Continues below…
What often happens before a hair transplant is that a surgeon will recommend that new clients undergo at least six months of pharmaceutical hairloss treatment first so that they can stabilise shedding. It also means that surgeons may have more hair to work with by the time of the operation. Not all surgeons do this, however, meaning that many men may think diving straight into an expensive transplant operation – easily costing £5,000 or more – is their only option.
Media coverage and celebrity endorsements are almost certainly behind the rise in popularity of hair transplants – including those performed at bargain-basement prices overseas, Turkey being one particular hotspot. Such procedures come with a risk, however, and concerns over standards of aftercare and also the skills of some of the surgeons linger.
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.