Tennis star Rafael Nadal considering second hair transplant

POSTED: 28 August 2018

The tennis star Rafael Nadal is reportedly considering having his second hair transplant at the age of 32.

Nadal, one of the most successful players of all time, had his first procedure at a clinic in Madrid two years ago.

But as regular readers of this blog will know hair loss is a continual process and if you have an aggresive form of male pattern baldness and a strong family

baldness gene, it is not a surprise that Nadal may need a second transplant only two years after having his first one.

We tend to find that sports stars are reluctant to take clinically proven medical treatments such as Finasteride or Minoxidil which can slow down or completely halt their hair loss.

There are powerful incentives for a star such as Nadal to have a second hair transplant.

He remains one of the biggest stars in the world and won his 11th French Open title in June.

The Spanish star earns a fortune from big brands such as Nike for his image rights.

Brands like Nike like to work with stars who look good, and it is inevitable that Nadal's appeal to potential sponsors would diminish if he were to lose more of his natural hair.

Nadal almost certainly had a FUE (follicular unit extraction) procedure when he had his first hair transplant two years ago. This is the preferred celebrity hair transplant technique of most stars and it is the procedure chosen by a string of high profile Crown Clinic patients such as the footballer Didi Hamann, model Calum Best, Homes Under The Hammer presenter Martin Roberts and Gogglebox star Chris Butland-Steed.

With FUE the donor grafts are taken individually from the back and sides of the scalp before being replanted in the balding area by the hair transplant surgeon such as Crown Clinic's consultant surgeon Asim Shahmalak.

The advantage of this method is that the scarring is minimal. Patients are left with a few red pin pricks where the donor grafts are removed and replanted, but these go away after a few weeks. Around 80% of clients at Crown Clinic chose FUE.

The other well-established hair transplant technique is FUT (follicular unit transplantation) - around 20% of patients at Crown Clinic chose this method including the TV doctor Christian Jessen who has had two hair transplants with Dr Shahmalak. FUT is less labour intensive than FUE - meaning it is more affordable to some patients. It differs from FUE in the removal of the donor grafts. Under FUT, they are taken all in one go by surgically removing a strip of skin from the back or side of the scalp. The grafts are then extracted from this strip by technicians and then replanted into the badling areas of the scalp by the hair transplant surgeon.

FUT patients are left with a lined scar on the scalp where the strip is removed but this is barely visible in patients such as Nadal who like to wear their hair long. There is some evidence to suggest that more donor grafts survive the process of removal under FUT than FUE because they are taken en masse. Around 20% of Crown Clinic patients still opt for FUT and Dr Shahmalak is one fo the world's leading surgeons in both procedures.

Whichever method Nadal chose, he is to be congratulated on his choice of surgeon. He may need a second hair transplant now but this may well provide a final solution to his issues with male pattern baldness, particularly as this tennis veteran's career on the court enters its final years. 

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