The growth of hair transplants

Hair loss pulls no favours when it comes to who it chooses, and even the rich and famous aren’t immune from a receding hairline. One of the world’s best-known golfers Tiger Woods is the latest in a long-line of celebrities to admit he’s facing a losing battle with his hair, confessing in a recent Fox Sports News interview that “It's a no-win fight, but I'm hanging in there".

Hair loss practitioner Spencer Stevenson has written on Woods’ hair loss for The Huffington Post, commenting that he believes the condition is affecting the sports star more than he admits and the emotional trauma is taking its toll on his game. If this is the case, Woods certainly isn’t alone. One study suggested that 60% of people suffering with hair loss would rather have more hair than money or even friends. 

It’s staggering statistics like this that partly explain the procedure’s pull. In the first half of 2014 The Private Clinic saw a 120% increase in the number of hair procedures taking place. However thinning locks have always been a problem, so what is responsible for this recent rise? 

One reason could be the growing number of celebrities like Woods that accept their fate and admit it openly, with some, like Wayne Rooney, famously confessing transplants. Alongside this, however, sits the procedure’s progression into a less invasive and more successful treatment. FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction) hair transplants, for example, are a far cry away from traditional methods, yielding significantly less risk of scarring and much better results.

Traditional FUT (strip method) transplants take whole areas of extracted scalp to place on the balding area, leaving the potential for large scars on the donor area and sometimes an unnatural result that doesn’t flow with the rest of the hair. The FUE method, meanwhile, works by extracting individual hair follicles for transplantation and inserting them into the selected areas, one by one.  This means that only the best hairs are used and placed in the natural direction of growth for a natural result without the risk of long-term visible scarring.  

The nature of the FUE procedure also means it can be adapted for a more unique fit to each patient. Unshaven FUE transplants are increasingly being sought due to the fact they are ‘undetectable’ with no need for the patient to shave their head pre-procedure. Some clinics are also able to use body hair for head transplants when supplies on the scalp are limited, creating more options for hundreds of people suffering from thinning hair. 

But while these advancements are huge steps in the treatment of hair loss, it is always advised to take caution when approaching a clinic or surgeon about surgery. Procedures are highly skilled and very specialised; in the wrong hands they can easily leave a patient without any change in their hair and, more frighteningly still, scarred for life. Most clinics will turn down a large proportion of those who come to see them, so if you’ve been turned down and someone accepts you elsewhere, be sure to do your research and ask why. 

Hair loss can be a traumatic experience for some sufferers, affecting both confidence and everyday life. But it doesn’t have to be. With better technology and more understanding of how hair loss can be treated, surgeons have been able to develop pioneering methods that are safe, less invasive and, somewhat crucially, more effective.

About The Private Clinic

The Private Clinic is a specialist minimally-invasive group of clinics with over 30 years’ experience. Their hair transplant team include two of the world’s most recognised hair restoration surgeons, and their advanced offerings include Unshaven FUE transplants, FUE transplants using body hair for the head, FUE facial hair transplants, and hair transplants for afro-Caribbean hair. 

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