In the age of social media and instantaneous entertainment, it is difficult to go five minutes without seeing another airbrushed celebrity to compare your looks to. Our hair plays such a vital role in how we present ourselves to others and can be a major source of pride for those blessed with luscious locks. However, many people are not so lucky, and thinning hair can be a serious knock on your confidence. With 25% of women and 50% of men suffering from hair loss by age 50, the issue is far more common than you might think.
As such, it is unsurprising that hair transplants are getting more and more popular, with demand increasing by 76% between 2006 and 2014. With the likes of Jimmy Carr proudly sporting their new locks on the small screen, it’s easy to see a hair transplant as the be-all and end-all solution for baldness. However, as with all surgeries, you should not make the decision to book your treatment lightly. There are plenty of questions to ask yourself to make sure this is the right move for you.
What Are the Downsides of a Hair Transplant?
Anytime you go in for treatment, there are risks and side-effects, and a hair transplant is no exception. While they are often far less severe than with more extensive procedures, there are several you should be wary of:
- Pain or irritation of the scalp: Within the first few days after surgery, there is almost guaranteed swelling and itching in the upper areas of the face. However, this will reduce significantly in the period immediately after, and anything remaining will fade gradually as your scalp and blood supply recovers.
- Scarring: One issue to consider is the definite scarring that will be left after a transplant. While technology has certainly advanced and reduced the size of scarring, the fact remains that follicles cannot be removed without leaving a mark. If this might be a deal-breaker for you, then we highly recommend the Follicular Unit Extraction method to minimise the visibility of scars. Rather than one significant mark, FUE leaves hundreds of minuscule scars on the back of the head where they are hidden from view.
- Infections: The invasive nature of the treatment means there is a small risk of infection around the stitched area. However, maintaining a good hygiene routine for your scalp will minimise this chance.
Is a Hair Transplant Right for Me?
With the potential side effects addressed, there are still some questions to ask yourself before committing, such as:
- Have I tried other treatments? Noticing the early signs of hair loss can send you panicking and reaching for the phone to book a hair transplant surgeon. However, it is important not to rush into the procedure and make use of the tried and tested hair loss remedies on the market. Medication like Minoxidil combat many of the causes of baldness and can even speed up hair growth, sometimes making them a much easier (and cheaper) solution. Of course, medication is not a catch-all solution, and some people may feel little to no effect.
- Do I want instant change? While a hair transplant will certainly make a noticeable improvement to your physical appearance, the days immediately after the surgery are not representative of the long-term effects. Your scalp needs time to recover, heal, and adjust to the new follicles. At times, it can take up to a year to enjoy the full results of your transplant. If you are searching for an instantaneous solution to your hair loss woes, you might want to look elsewhere. More than anything, a transplant is an investment in your future!
- Am I too young? Hair loss affects everyone differently: for some, it is a gradual process, but for others, it can be very stop and start. Rushing into a transplant at a younger age can be a mistake for several reasons. For example, the area from which the follicles are harvested may be prone to thinning later in life, leaving you with an uneven scalp. We recommend trying other solutions before considering the treatment.
- What are my expectations? It is crucial to have a realistic perspective on what you can achieve before deciding to have a hair transplant. The quality of the treatment relies heavily on the health of the follicles being donated. If your balding results from an autoimmune disorder, then a transplant might not be for you as the donor follicles themselves may not be healthy enough. However, even quite severe cases can see dramatic improvement from the treatment. When it comes to appearances, a little can go a long way, and that is especially true of your hair. A transplant can erase years’ worth of receding or thinning to enhance your presentation–but be realistic!
- Will I take the time to maintain it? While it is best not to touch the area too much immediately after surgery, you will soon have to start caring for and maintaining your new hair. More than just post-procedure hygiene, it can be a shock for people to begin practising good hair care. At the same time, it can be an exciting new chapter for your appearance, opening up a wide new range of options available to you, as long as you put the time into maintenance.
- Am I comfortable with my doctor? When it comes to surgery of any kind, you are putting yourself fully under the expertise of your surgeon. A strong relationship with your doctor is key to getting the most out of your procedure. If you are not comfortable discussing the ins and outs of the surgery with your doctor, then it is time to find a different one. Going in for any procedure can be stressful—especially if this is the first time—and your specialist should do their utmost to keep you as relaxed as possible.
- Is my doctor an expert? Even more than rapport, it is essential to have absolute trust in your surgeon’s qualifications. If you have doubts over the expertise or specialisation of your doctor, then please reconsider the treatment. At Aventus Clinic, we are proud to showcase our FUE transplant specialists’ qualifications and are happy to answer any questions you may have!
How Does a Hair Transplant Work?
A hair transplant is the relocation of hair follicles from healthier parts of the scalp to thinner spots. This allows the stronger follicles to coalesce into a consistent, healthier head of hair. Often, these balder patches have been weakened by the hormone dihydrotestosterone or, simply, a hereditary gene. However, many people find themselves affected by hair loss because of childbirth, iron deficiency, or stress.
While the principle of follicle relocation stays the same, surgeons can take two different approaches to collect these hairs.
- Option One – Named Follicular Unit Transplantation, this procedure involves a strip of skin being removed from the back of your scalp (the donor area). The surgeon will then extract hairs from this strip and relocate them to the necessary areas.
- Option Two – The more modern option, called Follicular Unit Extraction, is a relatively recent development in the field. Instead of taking a strip of skin to harvest, multiple tiny clusters of hair follicles are extracted from the healthier areas and then transplanted directly into the thinner spots.
Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages, and it is important to consult with your surgeon on which is the best option for you. There are various things to consider when deciding, such as where your hair’s thinner spots are and what kind of scar you would be willing to have, so make sure you come prepared beforehand.
How Do I Book a Consultation for a Hair Transplant?
The decision to get surgery is a major one. As such, it is important to be utterly sure of both your doctor and the procedure as a whole. If you have asked yourself all of the above questions and are confident in your answers, then it is time to take your first steps towards new hair.
Our state-of-the-art clinic is equipped with the innovative technology needed to restore confidence back into your hair. We have a team of experts ready to go above and beyond every step of the way. Book a consultation with Aventus Clinic for a professional, personalised, and safe surgery.