Published on May 29th, 2014 | by Natasha Cornall0
Celebrity hair implants: are they any good?
Louis Walsh has done it. So has Jason Gardiner. James Nesbitt’s done it too. Gordon Ramsay’s reportedly done it. And, probably most famously of all, Wayne Rooney’s done it; it seems as though male celebrities are lining up to get the latest hair implants treatments. But how do they work, and are they worth the expense?
The X Factor judge Louis Walsh and actor James Nesbitt have both visited Dublin’s Hair Restoration Blackrock - they were so pleased with their transformations they have even appeared in testimonials for the clinic - where Dr Maurice Collins specialises in Ultra Refined Follicular Unit Transplantation (URFUT).
Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) involves the removal of a strip of skin from the back of the scalp, including the hair follicles, while the patient is anaesthetised and/or sedated. These follicles are then dissected into smaller groups of one to three hairs under a microscope and replanted at the front of the scalp, or wherever the patient’s hair is thinning or balding. The procedure can take between three to six hours, and patients can expect to see significant hair growth within six months. URFUT is regarded as the best form of hair transplant surgery, where surgeons are able to make even smaller incisions for quicker healing and the appearance of fuller hair.
Footballer Wayne Rooney chose to undergo Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) after his teammates nicknamed in ‘Bobby Charlton’ on account of his premature balding. FUE differs from FUT in that hair follicles are removed individually from the scalp, rather than harvested from a strip, and than replanted into the balding areas of the patient’s scalp. It is a more time-consuming procedure than FUT, but it is said to result in a lower chance of scarring.
So-called ‘Undetectable’ FUE (U-FUE) is one of the latest hair transplant techniques. Unlike in standard FUE transplants, the patient’s hair remains unshaven during U-FUE; this means that when the patient leaves the clinic, their hair looks exactly the same as when they first entered. This procedure is proving popular with patients who don’t wish to tell their family or friends that they have undergone hair transplant surgery.
The donor hair follicles used in hair transplant surgery almost always come from the back of the scalp, where thinning and baldness is much less likely to occur. This means that transplanted hair should last forever - but if the thinning and balding process moves towards the back of the head where the transplant has come from, then the ‘new’ hair could be affected as well. There is also the issue that some patients might not have enough hair at the back or sides of their head to be suitable for transplantation.
Most clinics and hair transplant surgeons recommend that patients in their mid-30s and older are more suitable for these procedures. This is because, while younger men may experience hair thinning or baldness, their hair loss pattern isn’t usually established until they are older.
Potential patients should also take into account the fact that the hair transplant industry is currently unregulated. It’s important to make a shortlist of clinics run by trained professionals and look up patient testimonials - don’t just opt for the cheapest clinic - and make sure you get a consultation with the surgeon who will be operating on you, not a salesman.