Do hair transplants actually work?

Hair Transplant Surgery

Hair loss occurs in different ways. The most frequent among men is the genetic condition of male pattern baldness. It begins with the recession of the hairline at the temporal regions and goes toward the back of the head forming an M-shaped pattern. The frontal central area just above the forehead soon follows with the vertex region experiencing hair loss as well. This progression may be observed on the Hamilton-Norwood scale for hair loss. Another occurrence of hair loss is through alopecia areata. This leaves circular bald patches all around one’s scalp and could progress to alopecia areata totalis or the total absence of hair on one’s head.

The cause of male pattern baldness is through the fusing of dihydrotestoserone (DHT) with the androgen receptors of hair follicles. The binding of testosterone with the 5-alpha reductase enzyme produces DHT. This new hormone serves as a barrier to the nutrients received by the hair follicles by blocking the blood from circulating with the papilla of hair. The lack of essential vitamins and minerals causes the hair follicles to shrink and eventually, the hair to shed.

This is almost a similar case when it comes to alopecia areata. Instead of DHT binding with the androgen receptors, it is the white blood cells that attack the cells in the hair follicles causing it to shrink. The stem cells that supply the hair follicle with new cells however, is spared. In effect, the hair follicle cannot generate new hair but it has the potential to grow once the aggression ceases.

Kyran Bracken after his hair transplant

Alopecia in any form can be treated. One celebrity that admitted to have undergone a hair transplant procedure is Kyran Bracken of England rugby fame. He shares that his hair loss condition began when he was in his twenties. This became quite apparent during his stellar rugby career as a scrum-half. Now in his forties and sporting a full head of hair, Kyran states that he is quite happy that he had a hair transplant to treat his balding. Bracken says that there was some tenderness on his scalp for about four to five days though the discomfort quickly disappeared soon after. Like what usually happens after any procedure, his transplanted hair was lost in about two weeks. This however started to grow back within two and a half months. By the time the sixth month came around, he noticed that his existing hair aside from his transplanted hair was also being lost. This occurred during the regrowth stage of the hair transplant procedure. He was prepping to go onstage during the Dancing on Ice show in 2007 when a make-up specialist detected the bald areas. She treated it using natural hair fibres, a supplemental remedy that Kyran is known to practice to this day.

It is not known what kind of transplant Kyran Bracken went through. It could have been a follicular unit transplantation (FUT) operation or the “strip method”. This procedure basically harvests a thin strip of scalp taken from a healthy area and is divided into grafts to be placed unto where it is most needed. This would have left a very noticeable scar on the back of his head measuring about twenty centimetres long. It can however, be covered by his existing hair once it grows back. Another hair transplant method is through follicular unit extraction (FUE). This is also known as “direct extraction” where the hair follicles are individually taken out of the donor area and implanted unto the balding regions of the scalp. While this is considered a more advanced process than FUT, it is also more tedious. It takes more sessions to complete depending on the amount of hair loss when treating it with FUE than with FUT.

Though success rates are not at one hundred percent, hair transplants are can be effective at addressing hair loss. The costs however can range between £10,000 and £30,000, depending on the severity of the condition and the quality of the treatment. Would one like to take the risk knowing the high price and the lack of assurance that it will always work? Even if it does work, hair transplant patients might also need to further remedy the situation through other means. These are just among a few things to consider should one opt to go for a hair transplant procedure.

Do they work? They can do, but rarely as well as promised. If you opt for surgery, be prepared for multiple procedures during your lifetime and extensive recovery periods each time. Check out our scalp micropigmentation treatment if you want a more effective option that is easier to live with.


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