Everthing You Need To Know About Hair Transplants

Disclaimer: I have NOT had a hair transplant

Disclaimer: I have NOT had a hair transplant

I've covered hair loss and hair restoration in my Limerick Leader column many times over the years and I continue to do so because it's still the topic that I get the most questions and feedback about. Just a few weeks ago on my Instagram I spoke about an alternative hair restoration treatment called Scalp Micro Pigmentation as it's available here in Limerick at Purebeau AO Aesthetic Clinic. However this time instead of looking at alternatives, I'm going to focus on the proverbial endgame of male pattern baldness – the hair transplant. In this guide, I'll look at how hair transplants work, the cost involved and the possible side effects.


Let me start by saying that I have not had a hair transplant nor am I currently considering one. But I will admit that if I did start to lose my hair then it's certainly the option I would go for. If you are currently losing your hair then you're not alone. Male pattern baldness affects around a third of Irish men under 30, rising to nearly 80% of men over 70. Nowadays, more and more guys are turning to hair transplants to combat male pattern baldness with the numbers undergoing this procedure rising by 60% since 2014. This is thanks in large part to the growing number of celebrities and sports stars that have had hair transplants to cover their receding hairlines in recent years. Wayne Rooney is probably the most well known in these parts as he publicly admitted to having had a hair transplant on Twitter in 2011, but the likes of David Beckham, Gary Barlow, Robbie Williams, Matthew McConaughey and most recently Manchester City star David Silva have all visibly defied the ageing process and grown more hair as they've gotten older. If you're considering joining this impressive crew then the bad news is that a hair transplant is both costly and painful and they really aren't for everyone. If its something you've thought about then read on for everything you'll need to know before you book that appointment and or flight.


Types Of Hair Transplant


A hair transplant involves transferring hair from an area unaffected by hair loss (the back of the head usually) to an area where the hair is thinning or gone. For some, you might, unfortunately, be too far gone but for those who are eligible, there are two different types of hair transplant: FUT and FUE. FUT (follicular unit transplantation) involves removing strips of tissue from the donor area and cutting these strips into individual follicular units. Small cuts are then made to the scalp in the host area for the follicular unit grafts to be placed into. Sounds pretty nasty and it kind of is, as you'll be left with large scars in the donor area. FUE (follicular unit extraction) is a more modern and humane approach to hair transplantation. For FUE, individual hair follicles are extracted directly from the donor area and then moved to the host area using a specialist surgical microneedle. FUE is the more commonly favoured methods as it leaves less obvious scarring. Whatever method you go for, the transplanted hair will usually fall out after 2 to 3 weeks. You should start to notice new growth in the host area after a few months and most people will see around 60% of new hair growth after 6 to 9 months. If you want a quick fix then buy a hat. Or a wig.


At What Age Should You Have A Hair Transplant?


As mentioned, Wayne Rooney has become somewhat of a poster boy for hair transplants since his surgery in 2011. However, Wayne has famously needed multiple "top-ups" as his hair has continued to recede. This is due to the fact that Rooney had his first procedure at the age of 25, while he was still going bald. Now that he's in his mid-thirties, hopefully, Rooney has gone bald for the last time but on his wages, he can afford to make this mistake. Most people will only be able to afford one shot at this so if you're considering getting a hair transplant, then it's best to wait until your thirties when your hairline has settled.


What Are The Side Effects?


For a few days after having the surgery, it's common to experience tight, achy and swollen scalp, some scabbing and you may find it hard to sleep for a while. Your head has to be upright because the hairs have to link up with your bloodstream, and as soon as the blood gets to the new hair it, in essence, glues it in. This can take up to 36 hours which means you essentially need to sleep in an upright position for three days after the procedure. As with any form of surgery, there's a small risk of excessive bleeding, infection or an allergic reaction, but your surgeon should be able to deal with these issues should they arise. There's also a risk that the transplant won't take but this is extremely rare.


How Much Does It Cost?


A hair transplant could cost as little as €1000 or as much as €35000 depending on the extent of the hair loss, the procedure you choose and the quality and location of the clinic. To have a hair transplant done in Ireland or the UK you're probably starting at around €6000 to fill in a hairline and going up in price the more you need done. If you're Wayne Rooney then that's a half days pay but if you're not, then that probably sounds like way too much. So many guys are no going abroad to have the procedure done at a fraction of the cost that the phrase "booking my flight to Turkey" has become a euphemism for having a hair transplant.


Home Or Away?


If you're not put off by the cost of having your hair transplant done in Ireland then it probably the easiest and safest option. You are after all having a major surgical procedure that will alter your appearance for the rest of your life so do your due diligence and choose a surgeon that's right for you. Don't forget to consider things like aftercare and what options you have in the event something goes wrong. If cost is a major factor then you can do like many and head elsewhere for your hair transplant. As mentioned, Turkey is one of the most popular destinations. Be warned, it's common for patients to meet with a doctor for their consultation thinking he'll be performing the surgery, only for a nurse or technician to end up carrying out the procedure. Again, doing your research is even more vital if you are travelling overseas. With some of the upscale Turkish clinics, you can have your consultation and aftercare done in Dublin so if this is your chosen path then consider this option as even though it might cost you a little more, it's worth it for the peace of mind you'd have if something went wrong.

Patrick McLoughney