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Deceptive Advertising in Hair Transplantation

The other day I saw an advertisement on a board that shouted out- ‘Get a hair transplant before it is Too Late!” This made me LOL! For, if it is too late, you were never a candidate for a hair transplant.

In the past one decade, the number of hair transplants has significantly increased. Consequently, there has been a sudden increase in the number of ads via television, posters, and hoardings. Even online advertisements are upfront in luring hair loss patients to undergo transplant surgeries. In fact, the web is ruling with images of before and after pictures of hair transplant patients. But anyone who has undergone this procedure knows the reality of these false ads quite well.

If you are witnessing receding hairline, you may opt for hair transplant surgeries. However, before moving on, it is important to understand what hair transplant can truly do for you. Here is a detailed analysis of hair transplant procedures and a comparison between deceiving advertisements. Hope it helps your decision.

A brief intro to hair transplant
It refers to a surgical procedure that shifts or relocates good quality hair (grafts) from a permanent zone to the areas that are bald. The area from where the surgeons extract hair follicles is the donor area and the location where they plant these units is the recipient area.

Theoretically, any place on the body like the scalp, beard, chest, armpits, pubes, or legs can serve as the donor area. Likewise, the grafts can be planted in any area, viz., scalp, eyelashes or brow and experts call this technique as Follicular Hair Extraction (FUE). FUT is an older method which is decreasing in vogue even in the last bastion of FUT- the US of A!

In Follicular unit extraction, the surgeons remove hair root clusters manually using coring devices called punches and plant them in the hairless site. On the other hand, in strip harvesting, a chunk of hair-bearing tissue from the back of the head is excised and grafts split on the dissection table and shifted to the bald areas, the donor being closed with stitches leaving a linear scar.

Surgeons nowadays prefer relying on FUE technique for effective hair transplant procedures. In addition to minimal scars, the recovery period is also less (generally within 1-2 weeks). On the other hand, FUT has a longer downtime and the patient is severely restricted in activities for the first 4-6 weeks. Having had a FUT and an FUE procedure myself in 2007 and then an FUE procedure in 2012 I can vouchsafe for the fact that FUE procedures are far less morbid. However, the latter is time-consuming. But the results are close to natural. As an icing on the cake, it does not leave behind any discernible marks/scars even when a close crop like a fade cut is taken. This is the reason why most people opt for this procedure despite it being comparably costlier.

The process involved in hair transplant
• Assessing the patient’s scalp on the Norwood scale.
• The physician would ascertain the amount of donor hair present on your scalp as follicular unit grafts depend on the patient’s hair density and scalp density.
• Find out the characteristics of patient hair such as the color of hair, size of the shaft, etc. and ascertain if it fits hair transplantation requirements.

Assessment of available grafts
Prior to performing the treatment, the selection of available grafts depends upon availability, requirement, and future hair transplant needs. A surgeon needs to have seen many cases and operated on thousands to have foresight about how you will progress in a lifetime before he suggests the best option for you.

Cost of transplant
Hair transplant companies may charge either per session or depending on the number of grafts. Generally, most transplant experts opt for the number of grafts. So, the higher the number of grafts the higher would be the cost of transplant. Don’t get into the deception of false advertisements that try to lure you through cheap or discounted hair transplant procedures. Possibly, there will be a hidden cost that they might reveal afterward or the facility at these clinics won’t be as per promised. Worse still you will be dying to meet the surgeon who claimed to have been in touch with you on phone/mail. So beware! ( please refer to this Consumer Alert guide here. )

Healing time
Experts perform the procedure generally on outpatients and the facility is usually daycare. After the procedure is over you return to the hotel and follow strict instructions of care like spraying the planted grafts every 20 mins on the first night and every 2 hours for the next 2-3 days, taking antibiotics and other medications. There are some restrictions in posture esp. on the first night. In the first 2 weeks, the head cleaning will be only with prescribed medical solutions provided. You can only go under the shower after 2 weeks, whether the crusts have fallen, or not.

You can return to work the very next day if you have a desk job. In other cases, you should stay at home for 3 days. Going out shopping and watching a movie is allowed even the very next day.

No sun exposure without a headcover for 3 weeks. No swimming for 3 weeks. No contact sports for 6 weeks. Tight helmets/ turbans cannot be worn after a hair transplant for 6 weeks.

Going to the gym is allowed after 7 days.

The results are close to natural. The implanted hair sheds within 2-4 weeks and in its place, the root starts to grow hair naturally. This would continue for the patient’s lifetime. The procedure is painless when performed with local anesthesia. The patient can leave for home even on long flights 36 hours after the treatment.

Deceiving advertisements on hair transplant
Hair loss causes a lack of self-esteem and the patient who is adversely affected by this is emotional and gullible. Anyone holding out a false promise to him will succeed in getting him to do a hair transplant procedure. Mostly these patients will not take advice from friends, colleagues, peers or relatives since they are too embarrassed about their hair loss. Usually, clinics show photographs that claim Follicular Unit Extraction can enable them to achieve bountiful hair even when suffering from advanced levels of hair loss or baldness or people with just a hairline issue but a poor scalp donor area that has miniaturised. Clearly, this is false! Truly speaking, hair transplants cannot do such a thing. Though we create an illusion of fullness, we are not Magicians, and Miracle Cures are not what we are known offer!

If you have come across ads that promise to fill your bald scalp with evergreen (read black) hairs, then be aware that it is a sheer marketing strategy. The ability of the technique is exaggerated in order to deceive the readers.

The fact is that the success rate of these scientific techniques varies from person to person.

Hence, when choosing a hair transplant clinic, never aggressive marketing strategies. Usually, such clinics are hair mills and specialise in churning out one bad hair transplant result after another. Take your time to d your research. There is a dedicated community for Hair restoration discussion online. One may take suggestions from the online community to ensure you are well aware of the procedure and can expect realistic results. If you want the best results without falling prey to deceptive advertisements to take an honest, no-obligation consultation with Dr Bhatti. Our advertisement is minimal and we rely mostly on word of mouth publicity based on our strong client base of happy patients.
See you soon!

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