Hair transplants are becoming an increasingly popular option for men suffering from male pattern baldness. The procedure is becoming less stigmatised, as more sportsmen and celebrities publicly confirm that they have had hair transplants.
Whilst it is encouraging that the procedure has become normalised and less of a taboo, it should also be recognised that it’s not a magical cure for everyone. For many men a hair transplant simply won’t work and there is a real risk that the patient can end up with a worse problem than before they underwent the procedure.
Counting the cost
Anyone considering the treatment should firstly recognise that they are in it for the long haul. This is rarely a quick option, with multiple visits to the same, or possibly different clinics over many years to get the desired results.
The patient needs to be fully committed to the procedure and ensure they have sufficient funds to see the process through, with transplant costs typically ranging from £2,500 to over £7,500. If the costs become prohibitive further down the line, then pulling out could leave the patient looking worse than when they started.
Playing the Odds
It’s not just a financial commitment though which affects the chance of success. Some heads are naturally more receptive to a hair transplant and produce more natural looking results. If you’ve got a close match in hair and skin colour for example then there’s a much better chance of successful results, simply because it’s harder to spot baldness where the tones are similar.
Hair thickness and shape is also a determining factor in successful transplants. Generally, the thicker and curlier the hair to be transplanted the greater the chance of success as less light can penetrate through to the scalp and reflect back, highlighting lack of volume and baldness.
Certain conditions make the transplant an unviable option. Diffuse unpatterned alopecia, for example is unlikely to result in a successful transplant because of a lack of suitably robust donor follicles. Success could even be determined by the flexibility of the patient’s scalp and the ease with which a surgeon can insert new follicles.
The success of a hair transplant is far from guaranteed and there is no substitute for thorough research and talking to a number of clinics about the likely costs, length of treatment and chances of meeting your expectations based on your specific circumstances.