At Crown Clinic, we are often asked for basic tips from men and women considering a hair transplant. Deciding to have any surgical procedure can be a daunting process, even though the results can make it very worthwhile in the long-term.
Here are the eight key points to consider
1 Picking the right surgeon and team
This is by far the most important consideration for anyone considering a procedure. Our advice here is very simple: do your homework. Check that the surgeon is affiliated to w respected professional organisation such as the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery.
The ISHRS is a highly select body featuring all the very best hair transplant surgeons in the world - only those highly regarded by their peers are invited to join. It is worth checking the testimonials on any surgeon's website. What you are looking for is lots of happy, recent clients who confirm that they have had a good procedure. If a clinic has worked with a number of celebrity patients successfully that is another good sign.
Crown Clinic's surgeon Asim Shahmalak is a member of the ISHRS and one of the most respected hair transplant surgeons in the world. He was a general surgeon in the NHS before switching to hair transplantation in a private capacity.
It is not just the surgeon who is important, but the team behind them. All good surgeons work with skilled technicians who help to separate the hair transplant grafts from the donor areas which are then replanted by the surgeon into the balding areas.
2 The very best clinic facilities
All patients rightly expect the very highest standards of care and hygiene at their chosen clinic. You can visit most clients prior to a procedure.
At Crown Clinic, we have recently moved to new premises in the next building to our previous clinic. We have one of the most advanced hair transplantation facilities in the world. Dr Shahmalak does regular consultations at the clinic, which is half a mile from Manchester Airport. He also carries out consulations at a separate premises at 10 Harley Street.
3 Face-to-face consultation
Any reputable surgeon will insist on doing a face--to-face consultation with a potential patient before undergoing a procedure. During this consultation the surgeon will discuss your expectations and desired hair coverage. The surgeon should assess whether these results are achievable and give a patient realistic expectations. Be wary of any surgeon who has sales people providing the first point of contact with patients. At Crown Clinic, all our patients are seen individually by our surgeon Asim Shahmalak before proceeding to a full transplant.
4 Which technique suits the patient best
There are two effective hair transplantation techniques. The most popular is FUE (follicular unit extraction) - chosen by around 80% of patients at Crown Clinic. With FUE, the individual donor grafts are removed individually from the back and side of the scalp and then replanted by the surgeon in the balding areas. It is popular because there is minimal scarring - just red pin pricks where the donor hair is extracted and replanted which go away after a few days. Crown Clinic patients who have had FUE procedures include the model Calum Best, Gogglebox star Chris Steed, football pundit Didi Hamann and Homes Under The Hammer presenter Martin Roberts.
The more traditional method of hair transplantation is called FUT (follicular unit transplantation). This is where a strip of skin is removed to obtain the donor grafts. The scarring is more noticeable than with FUE - there is a linear scar on the scalp, but this tends not to be visible if the patient wears their hair reasonably long. FUE is not suitable for patients who like to shave the back or sides of their scalp or wear their hair short. The TV doctor Christian Jessen has had two highly successful FUT procedures at Crown Clinic. It is cheaper than FUE because the grafts are harvested in one go - so it is less labour intensive.
5 Before and after pictures
It is always worth looking at a surgeon's before and after pictures. This is the simplest and most direct way of assessing their effectiveness. Bear in mind it takes between eight months to a year before the full benefits of a hair transplant to show through - that is when all the transplanted hair will have grown back fully. So don't panic if a surgeon doesn't get an immediate result in the weeks after a transplant.
All reputable surgeons will have lots of testimonials on their website. The key here is recent patients who have been provided with a high standard of care.
You'll all be familiar with the phrase 'too good to be true.' And this is certainly the case about the claims and prices of some hair transplantation clinics, particularly those abroad and in countries like Turkey. With a hair transplant, there are two main costs - the time of the surgeon and the use of the clinic/hospital. You really do pay for quality when it comes to transplantation. Low prices mean ill-equipped and sometimes unhygienic clinics and inexperienced surgeons.
All reputable clinics pride themselves on their comprehensive aftercare. This means seeing things through until the patient is a 100% happy with the results of their procedure.