The initial consultation - A guide to Hair Transplant Surgery

What can you expect?

You can expect for this consultation unless you are part of a ‘no-fee consultancy’deal with the clinic. This may be a package in which you pay a set amount to the clinic which includes the initial consultation, the hair transplant and the aftercare.

If not then you can expect to pay £50 or more for this meeting.

Make sure that this initial consultation involves you meeting the surgeon who will carry out the procedure and not another member of staff.

This is where you can discuss your needs and your expectations with your surgeon. He/she will inform you if he/she thinks that they are able to meet these expectations or if they are unrealistic.

If you are not suitable for a hair transplant then the reasons for this refusal will be explained to you. He or she will be able to recommend an alternative, for example a wig.

He/she will ask you about your lifestyle and general health and will also take a full medical history.

The surgeon will look at your hair loss and will assess this against a set of criteria. He/she will use the Hamilton-Norwood Scale for men and the Ludwig Scale for women.

The type of hair transplant method used will be discussed thoroughly and you will be invited to ask as many questions as you need to about this. If you are not sure at any time then ask and feel free to ask the same question until you are satisfied with the answer given.

The surgeon will use a special micro-camera to measure your recipient area (bald area) and your donor area (donor hair). He/she may show you some ‘before’ and ‘after’ photographs of people who have undergone this procedure. You will be asked to sign a consent form which is standard procedure before surgery.

The surgeon will aim to anticipate the progression of your hair loss and plan your treatment accordingly. He/she will not want to act too hastily but to plan it so that he/she can delay your hair loss. This is particularly important if you have male pattern baldness.

A good, reputable surgeon will discuss the surgery with you, whether you are likely to need more than one session, the type of graft and how realistic this, depending on how much donor hair you have left.

Your decision

If you are happy with what has been discussed then it is up to you to make a decision. What can help is to take a couple of weeks out to think about it –known as a ‘cooling off’period - which can help you to see things in an objective manner.

Talk through your plans with your partner, family and friends and see what they think. If at the end of the two weeks you still want to go ahead then it’s a case of booking a date for your surgery.

You will be given a set of instructions on how to prepare for your operation. You will also be asked to pay an amount, similar to a deposit before your surgery which is a confirmation of your decision to go ahead with the procedure. This also shows that you have given this a great deal of thought, understand what it involves and are happy to go ahead with it.

The rest of the cost will be paid on the day of the surgery.

It may be the case that you need several sessions in order to achieve the results you want. If so then there will need to be a period of several months in-between each surgery to allow your scalp to heal properly.

As a result of this you could be looking at a year of surgery and eighteen months to fully achieve your desired look.

What are the alternatives if I am not suitable for a hair transplant?

A wig or toupee is one option as is electric pulse treatment or medications such as Propecia.

These and other forms of treatment are discussed in more detail in our hair loss guide.

Another option and one that may sound rather drastic is to shave your head completely bald. This is far more acceptable than it used to be and in some cases it is seen as a sign of virility.

However this is more of an option for men than women.

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