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Trichologist warns against ‘botched’ hair transplant surgery


Hair transplants have become more common over the years (Picture: BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Ever since footballer Wayne Rooney debuted his hair transplant scars on the pitch, it seems that the popularity of this previously stigmatised procedure has soared.

Other celebrities like Elon Musk, Matthew McConaughey, Tom Hanks , and Jamie Foxx are rumoured to have undergone hair restoration surgery, and the International Society for Hair Restoration Surgery estimates that the market for hair transplants increased 64% between 2014 and 2017.

But like any cosmetic procedure, there are downsides if not done correctly.

Clinical Trichologist Eva Proudman MIT, IAT from the Institute of Trichologists has warned people about the dangers behind the rise of ‘on the cheap’ hair transplant surgeries and the devastation they can cause. 

Eva tells Metro.co.uk: ‘This procedure is not something to be taken lightly. It is major, appearance-altering surgery – but what many people don’t realise is that there is no formal training for it in medical school and its relevant specialities such as dermatology or cosmetic surgery.

‘This means that there are no qualifications in hair transplant surgery and no industry regulation around who does it in the UK.’



Hair transplants step by step

  • Local anaesthetic is administered to the donor and recipient parts of the head and the head is cleaned.
  • In some cases, follicular units (normally about four hairs) are harvested one by one from the donor part (usually the back of the head) using a tiny punch device.
  • In other cases, a large strip of skin is taken from the back of the head and follicular units are harvested from here before the strip is stitched up.
  • The practitioner uses a fine surgical blade to prep the recipient areas.
  • Follicular units are placed into these small holes.
  • In around 10 to 14 days these implantation areas will start to scab over and sometimes the hair will fall out.
  • Then, after around three to six months, new hair should start to sprout from the recipient area.

Although there are bodies like The British Association of Hair Restoration Surgeons (BAHRS) and the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgeons (ISHRS) designed to regulate the practice, all too often she’s seeing people who’ve gone elsewhere for a cheaper procedure and had it ‘botched’.

 ‘Nowadays, many of us are persuaded to have cosmetic procedures abroad as certain clinics entice people with shockingly cheap rates,’ says Eva.

‘A hair transplant from a reputable clinic should cost anywhere between £6,000 and £13,000.

‘Some clinics in countries like Turkey are offering the procedure for as little as £1,000, often with other ‘perks’ like free flights or discounted accommodation included.

‘As with many things in life, if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is.

‘The sad fact is that many people return with hair transplant surgery that has gone seriously wrong or has grave complications that are difficult and expensive to fix.’

The consequences of a ‘botched’ hair transplant can be dire (Picture: BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Eva mentioned the main problems she sees in her own clinic after people have undergone bad hair transplants:

She said: ‘The key problems that I see in clinic are:

  • No aftercare or ongoing treatment plan, therefore the results are not great and often with further hair thinning as a consequence.
  • Too much hair taken from the donor area leaving no options for further or corrective surgery.
  • Unnatural obvious transplant hair lines is a major concern.
  • Hair grafts transplanted too densely or sparsely with poor direction of growth; our hair have  forward, sideways or backward fall and the grafts need to follow this. Again this comes down to the skill of the surgeon and his team.
  • Scarring, pain and even infections that are not followed up or managed by the clinic that offered the initial procedure, with the patient finding real difficulty in contacting the clinic for help – it is always difficult for a Dr to take on work that he has no history of and is unclear what was used during the procedures.’

While baldness can seem like a daunting prospect, not doing your homework before this treatment can result in a much worse result that looks bad and can even cause you a lot of physical pain.

Eva continues: ‘This is why it is so important to respect yourself and your hair by seeking safe, effective and medically assured treatment through qualified professionals.’

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Get in touch at MetroLifestyleTeam@metro.co.uk.

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