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Hair Transplant: The New Male ‘Must-Have’ Procedure

Elon Musk, Lewis Hamilton and Turkey have something in common

Hair transplant preparation

Ever spent ages gazing at your favourite TV presenter wondering ‘has he, hasn’t he?’ Well, we’re not surprised if you’re having difficulty trying to work out whether he appears to have grown more hair.

That’s because male hair transplants are pretty impressive these days. They’ve certainly come on leaps and bounds from the days of hair plugs where the hair was too thick in patches — or even transplanted hair strips where the scar at the back of the head was always visible.

Today’s procedure is much more sophisticated, involving nothing more than a cut and an implant.

Successful celebrity hair transplants 

And actually, we can see that for ourselves. Some of the more impressive male weaves include Elon Musk, Lewis Hamilton, comedian Jimmy Kerr and actor James Nesbitt. Others who have had scalp work done include footballer Wayne Rooney, celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay and former X Factor judge Louis Walsh. None of these hair transplants looks false – to the extent, it’s hard to tell someone has had the procedure unless you had seen them beforehand.

The above list of male celebrity hair transplants is just the tip of the iceberg, as it were. Thousands of medical tourists undergo hair transplants annually the world over. In recent times Turkey and Istanbul, in particular, has proved a popular destination for such hair grafting procedures. That’s down mainly to a strong reputation for quality hair transplants and cost.

It costs far less to undergo a hair transplant procedure in Turkey than in America, the UK and most European countries. In fact, you’re looking at a difference of around £6,000 in many instances.  And yet, in most cases, the procedures are the same.

According to research company Global Market Insights, the hair transplant market is expected to surpass USD 31 billion by 2025.  

What does a hair transplant involve?

There are two main methods of transplanting hair – the FUE method (Follicular Unit Extraction) and DHI (Direct Hair Implantation).

FUE involves cutting the head and ‘mapping out’ where the hairs will be implanted. DHI means cutting and implanting at the same time. With both methods, a Choi Implanter Pen is typically used. This gives more control over depth, direction and angle of placement. Meanwhile, each hair follicle is examined microscopically and tweaked depending on how many hairs are growing from it (anything from one to four). Of the two – FUE and DHI, the latter is a much faster procedure.

Both methods achieve natural results, but your doctor should determine which transplantation method is best for you based on your hair loss classification, the size of the thinning area, quality and quantity of donor areas.

Turkey: hair transplant pioneers

The government in Istanbul is encouraging Turkey hair transplant clinics to expand and attract overseas clients. It does this by offering cash incentives for medical tourism. This includes tax exemptions and new investment subsidies.

There are more than 500 different clinics in Turkey for hair transplant. In fact, the country was one of the first to introduce the FUE method of hair transplant. The low cost of running a business in Turkey allows the clinics to keep their prices down, with the result, they can look forward to a constant stream of foreign trade from countries such as the UK, Europe, the Gulf and even America.

Sapphire FUE method

The Sapphire FUE technique and Soft anaesthesia are two emerging treatment trends for hair transplant in Turkey. The first leads to more precision, and the second to less pain.

With the sapphire blades, smaller incisions than usual can be made in the scalp before the hair is transplanted. This means healing is faster. With Soft anaesthesia, there’s no need to use needles. The result is the patient doesn’t feel anything.

How long is the recovery time?

For a few days afterwards, patients often wear a band to help ease the swelling that results from the transplant. Pain killers are also prescribed for the first couple of days. However, after a week, most patients are fine to return to the office and their regular lifestyle.

For the first month after the hair transplant going back to the gym, excessive sweating and hot showers should all be avoided.

The transplant’s full results usually aren’t visible for up to a year while the hair settles and thickens. According to the clinics, most men are already delighted with the initial results of their hair restoration procedure anyway.

Turkey is fast becoming a top destination for hair restoration. The country welcomed 662,000 medical tourists in 2019, the last full trading year before the pandemic. You can be sure, many of them headed for a hair transplant or other aesthetic procedures.

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