JOE talks hair loss and hair replacement
JOE talks hair loss and hair replacement with one of Ireland's leading Surgeons
Hair loss is something which affects almost every man, regardless of his age, to some degree or another. In fact, you might now know that once you hit puberty, that's as full and strong as your hair will ever be, as it becomes subject to thinning and loss to one degree or another from that point on.
However there is something you can do about this, so we sat down to chat to Dr. Andre Nel, one of Ireland’s leading Surgeons in the field of hair replacement. It turns out that to date over 1 million hair transplant procedures have been carried out worldwide.
Is there a stage where it's too late to perform the procedure?
Generally speaking its better to act earlier than later. Prevention is still better than the cure! People normally come in when they feel emotionally and mentally ready. Everyone has hair loss to varying degrees really, and people's perceptions of how they see themselves change as they get older. As you get older you can accept that ageing process a bit more.
It does depend on the age of the patient, the degree of hair loss, and there are odd cases where it might be inefficient to do something meaningful on the patient if they have very severe hair loss and a poor donor area to choose from, but it's an evolving picture. Male pattern baldness is an evolving process, so it's about, again, looking at what's realistic.
What does the process involve and do I need to go under general anaesthetic for the procedure?
The follicles of the hair on the top of the head undergo change over time, basically they miniaturise, and they become smaller in length, thinner in calibre and become like baby hairs. The band of hair that's around the side of the head don't tend to undergo this process, so we take hairs from this area, which we call the donor area, and insert them on to the top of the head in a way that looks natural. It's all done under local anaesthetic too, so you don't have to go completely under.
Is the procedure painful?
No, once the area is numbed you won't feel it, but initially there's a little bit of discomfort as you'll feel the initial few jabs.
What about recovery?
We ask people to take it easy for about two weeks afterwards, a lot of people will actually take a bit of a holiday for a week to recover 100%. The donor area itself heals up within a week or ten days maximum, and the recipient area takes about two weeks to heal.
When can I expect to see results?
Within about four months you'll start to see some shedding and new hairs sprouting. Those hairs grow at a normal rate and within 12-18 months you'll have the full effect. The calibre of the hair is important, so the hairs that appear after four months are still of a thin calibre, while later on they get thicker, robust and more visible.
When the results come in does it look natural?
It grows exactly the same as it was growing before baldness, and it is your real hair so it looks natural.
There were rumours that Wayne Rooney, who had a hair transplant, needed two procedures. Is that usual?
It's actually more common than not. People have certain expectations, an area that they want covered and a certain budget that they want to stick to. All those factors play a part in how many follicles will get transplanted. For example, someone might need 4,500 follicles replaced but their budget won't allow it so they only get 1,000. Normally that person will come back and while they're happy with the effect they want to get a fuller look, so they will have a second procedure. It's all subjective, but we try to determine all their expectations in that initial first consultation. It's rare that you'll find someone that only has one procedure because of the ongoing nature of hair loss. On average, people will probably have three in their lifetime.
Do you notice that patients change their attitudes and are more upbeat?
Yes, most definitely. The vast majority of people are very happy and it makes a big change for them psychologically. They feel more self-confident and it puts a spring in their step. They make better eye contact and smile a bit more readily. The irony though, is that other people don't care about your hair loss, there's nothing wrong with being bald, but it's how people feel about it themselves. There are plenty of confident bald men, but for some people its a big issue, and it affects how they project themselves. For them it makes a huge change.
Finally, what's the cost like?
It depends on how many follicles need to be transplanted and how big the area that needs to be covered is. There are two basic procedures, follicle unit extraction, which removes them one by one and is the more modern technique. This is also more labour intesive so it is more expensive, the average price is about €3.95 per follicle.
The other option is a strip procedure where you take a strip from the donor area, you again calculate the follicles, but the price works on a sliding scale so the more you transplant the cheaper it becomes per follicle.
To arrange a private & confidential consultation at Therapie Hair Restoration contact 1890 202 203 or head to the Therapie Hair Restoration website to find out more about the hair restoration procedure.