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Are Hair Transplant Surgeries FREE On The NHS 
Hair Transplant Surgery: Is it FREE on the NHS? 
 
The question is, does the NHS provide hair transplants? The short answer is that in most cases, they don’t. There are however other routes that those in need can take to securing a hair transplant. 
 
Over the years, hair transplants have become an increasingly popular option to treat male pattern baldness and other types of hair loss. In fact, since the beginning of 2020, hair transplants have seen a 40% spike in demand as patients’ living habits have shifted to more of a home-based model. 
 
Since the 1950s, hair transplant treatment has significantly developed as a result of medical advancements and access to a greater number of experienced surgeons. Hair transplants have become less invasive and more accessible to the general public. 
 
With the increased pressures of ‘looking good’ brought about through social media and the surge in influential celebrities opting for cosmetic procedures, maintaining one’s appearance has become an essential part of everyday life. 
 
Unfortunately, for many people, there is a significant toll placed on one’s mental health that correlates with these social pressures and the constant pursuit of looking a certain way. 
 
There is an argument to say that the impact of hair loss on one’s mental health should constitute access to a hair transplant as an ‘essential treatment’ on the NHS. This is unfortunately not the case for a variety of reasons that we explore below. 
 
In this guide, we’ll explore under what circumstances a hair transplant is possible through the NHS and what options are available if you are not eligible for a hair transplant on the NHS. 
 
Can you get a hair transplant on the NHS? 
 
Unfortunately, a hair transplant is not widely available on the NHS due to limited resources. The NHS may in exceptional cases fund some transplants; for example, if a patient has been affected by burns. However, this would need to go through specialised funding applications that take a considerable amount of time. 
 
More often than not, these applications are rejected and this leaves a patient with no other option but to look for a private hair transplant clinic. Thankfully, a wide range of affordable private and independent hair transplant clinics exist that offer a variety of hair loss treatments and surgeries. 
 
The advancements in hair transplant processes and technologies have resulted in the significantly reduced cost of a hair transplant providing greater accessibility to people in need. 
 
The level of expertise and quality in the UK is high when it comes to hair transplant surgeons. This has helped to dissuade patients from traveling to other countries to receive cheaper, unlicensed procedures. 
 
Why aren’t hair transplants provided on the NHS? 
 
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) assesses the practicality and uses of a procedure based on strict criteria to see whether it should be conducted on the NHS. 
 
The potential effect it can have on a patient is measured against the time and funds invested by the government. As the demand for NHS services has increased over the years, funding constraints mean that resources need to be prioritised and delegated to areas where they are needed most. Unfortunately, this has meant hair transplant surgery is not routinely funded by the NHS. 
 
Whilst a hair transplant poses many psychological benefits, from improving one’s self-confidence, self-esteem and mental health as well as helping patients change genders, it is not considered a life-saving treatment. 
 
Mental health and hair loss 
 
As mentioned previously, hair transplants provide a number of physical and psychological benefits. People who suffer from hair loss may argue that NHS hair transplants should be accessible due to the fact that for many it directly impacts their mental health. 
 
The stigma attached to hair loss can generate severe mental health issues, such as body dysmorphia, depression, anxiety, and social phobias. Not to mention, some mental health problems can actually be the cause of hair loss. For example, in some anxiety-induced stress disorders, large clumps of hair can fall out, resulting in patches of hair loss. 
 
Hair transplants and hair loss treatments can reverse the damage caused by alopecia and other health conditions, giving patients a new lease on life, and that’s why here at Elite Hair Restoration, we’re dedicated and passionate about the work we do within Hair Loss Surgery & Hair Reshaping. 
 
Transgender hair transplants 
 
Unfortunately, due to the NICE’s stringent guidelines on hair transplants, transgender hair transplants are not available through the NHS. But not all is lost. There are many clinics available that specialise in transgender hair transplants, including Elite Hair Restoration. 
 
Increasingly, we are seeing a number of transgender patients looking to have a more masculine or feminine hairline following their transition. For the best results, transgender patients are also taking medication, like oestrogen replacement therapy and anti-androgens, to help with the process. 
 
Studies show oestrogen promotes hair growth by effectively counteracting the effects of testosterone and DHT in your body. We are also able to advise on a variety of non-surgical treatments for transgender patients. 
 
Who can have a hair transplant 
 
A hair transplant is suitable for people with permanent baldness, the type that runs in families. 
 
It's not usually suitable for people with other types of hair loss, such as the type that causes bald patches (alopecia areata). 
 
Follicular unit transplantation (FUT, or strip method): 
 
a thin strip of skin with hair is removed from the back of your head and divided into pieces, each containing 1 to 4 hairs (hair grafts) 
 
the grafts are placed into tiny cuts made in the scalp 
 
the site where the hairs are taken is closed with stitches 
 
you'll have a scar on the back of your head, but it should not be visible unless you have very short hair 
 
The head does not need to be shaved – only the area where the skin is removed is trimmed. 
 
Follicular unit extraction (FUE): 
 
the back of the head is shaved 
 
individual hairs are removed 1 by 1 (grafts) 
 
the grafts are placed into tiny cuts made in the scalp 
 
you'll have lots of tiny scars, but they will not be very noticeable 
 
Hair transplants usually take a day, but you should not need to stay overnight. 
 
If a large area is being treated, you may need to have 2 or more sessions a few months apart. 
 
Your surgeon will tell you how to look after your graft. You should be given a spray to use to help recovery and hair growth. 
 
Recovery 
 
Most people are able to return to work about 3 days after having a hair transplant. 
 
You need to be very careful with your transplanted hair for the first 2 weeks after your operation. The grafts will not be secure. 
 
You may be told to cut down on exercise in the first month to reduce scarring. 
 
After 2 to 5 days: any bandages can usually be removed, but you should not touch the grafts. 
Day 6: you should be able to wash your hair gently by hand. 
After 10 to 14 days: any non-dissolvable stitches can usually be removed. 
After a few weeks: the transplanted hair will often fall out, and later start to grow back. 
After 6 months: new hair will usually start to appear. 
After 12 to 18 months: the full results should be seen. 
 
Side effects to expect 
 
It's common after a hair transplant to have: 
 
a tight, achy and swollen scalp for a few days 
 
temporary scabbing where the hair was transplanted 
 
a single scar or a number of very tiny scars 
 
What could go wrong 
 
A hair transplant is generally a safe procedure, but as with any type of operation there's always a small risk of: 
 
bleeding 
 
infection 
 
an allergic reaction to the anaesthetic 
 
Your surgeon should be able to treat these problems quickly. 
 
There's also a small risk the transplant will not take and the hair falls out, or a noticeable scar may form. 
 
Your surgeon should explain how likely these problems are and how they would be treated. 
 
Your hair might continue to thin around the transplant. Your surgeon should plan the design of the transplant to make sure the hair looks natural as time passes. 
 
If you wish to discuss any aspect of Hair Transplant Surgery in more detail please contact Elite Hair Restoration Ltd on 0800 1712430 or Email us at info@elitehairrestoration.co.uk 
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