Everything You Need To Know About NHS Hair Transplants
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 The Treatment Rooms London, we’re passionate about the work we do.
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 The Treatment Rooms London.
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.
How the NHS can help with your hair transplant
The NHS website recommends going through the CQC register to find a hair transplant clinic suitable for you. However, finding a clinic is actually quite simple, finding the right clinic can be a lot more difficult. We recommend carrying out extensive research before choosing a clinic, taking into account the type of procedures on offer, the cost of the hair transplant, and the hair transplant aftercare services that form part of the costs.
Before you choose to undergo an FUE hair transplant procedure, you must make sure that the chosen clinic follows strict health and safety guidelines and employs qualified surgeons that are regulated by the General Medical Council (GMC) and Care Quality Commission (CQC). These two bodies help to ensure you are being treated safely by trained professional hair transplant surgeons.
A pre-op consultation is needed to not only decide the best treatment for you, but it also gives the patient a chance to meet the surgeons and ask any questions that they might have.
All of our surgeons at The Treatment Rooms London are fully qualified with a license to practice and are registered with the GMC and CQC.
Advantages of going private
The NHS is arguably the United Kingdom’s greatest treasure, providing accessible first-class healthcare services to the wider population. It provides a service based on a patient’s need for healthcare rather than their ability to pay for it. Giving the public their human right to seek affordable medical services.
The NHS has been taking strain for a while now which is why the NHS cannot afford to provide certain treatments such as hair transplants. Private clinics though make hair transplants accessible and possible beyond the constraints of the NHS.
Opting for private healthcare unlocks an array of benefits, from:
- eliminating long wait times
- having access to a number of medicines and treatments that aren’t available through the NHS
- State-of-the-art medical equipment
- Faster access to the best medical specialists
- Advanced personal care
- Puts less strain on the NHS
Going private also gives you the ability to choose GP’s, treatments, hospitals, and even clinics. Private clinics like The Treatment Rooms London offer specialist care, experienced surgeons, and a range of hair loss treatments. Private healthcare also allows you to plan your surgery, ensuring that it doesn’t interfere with other areas of your life such as work, special events, or holidays.
Finally, the level of care post-surgery provided by the Treatment Rooms London ensures as comfortable an experience as possible. Take a look at our respective patient journey and hair transplant aftercare pages for more information.
Is a hair transplant right for me?
There are many factors to consider when deciding if a hair transplant is the right option. FUE hair transplant surgery is a bespoke service that is personal to each individual. Every patient has their own expectations about what they would like to achieve by having this treatment.
In your consultation prior to the surgery, we will explore whether or not trying non-surgical treatments might be your best option before going ahead with an FUE hair transplant. A hair transplant should be the last port of call, ensuring that all other hair treatment options have been explored prior to the patient making the decision to go ahead with the procedure.
Before the procedure, a patient must consider:
- Their age and severity of their hairline recession
- The current position of their hairline
- How much donor hair they have available
- Other options available to prevent further hairline recession
For more information, please read our in-depth blog discussing “5 considerations before having hair transplant surgery“.
Non-surgical hair loss treatment
The majority of hair loss patients should explore non-surgical treatments first before undergoing surgery as they may find treatments like Minoxidil or Finasteride as a more suitable solution.
The London Treatment Rooms offers a variety of non-surgical hair loss treatments that are entirely tailored to your needs. It can be intimidating to find the right hair loss treatment, and that’s why we offer a bespoke service with an initial consultation to decide the best option for you. Understanding your hair and the current stage it’s at can provide us with the information we need to come up with a non-surgical solution. For more information, visit our hair loss treatments page.
How much does a hair transplant cost?
The cost of a hair transplant completely depends on the patient’s needs and the complexity of the surgery. The average range is between £3,000 – £8,000, but this is determined by the number of hair grafts a patient requires.
Although it is considered as an expensive procedure, the cost of a hair transplant has significantly reduced over the years and poses many significant benefits that certainly justify the price.
Take a look at our FUE hair graft calculator to figure out how many grafts you might need. We are able to determine the price and number of grafts based upon the patients:
- Hair type
- Hair colour
- Hair loss area
An exact price for your surgery will be given during a face-to-face consultation with one of our surgeons. The quoted price will also include the hair transplant aftercare following the treatment, a step-by-step guide, and a recovery follow-up consultation.
Speaking with a hair loss specialist
One of your first ports of call would be to get in contact either with a hair loss doctor, a trichologist, or your GP. Your doctor should be able to carry out simple tests before advising you on what treatment you would benefit from.
The Treatment Rooms London is dedicated to providing advanced surgical procedures. We specialise in FUE hair transplants and non-surgical treatments to help restore our patient’s hairline and confidence. We stringently work to the ethical and clinical codes of conduct outlined by the British Association of Hair Restoration Surgeons, CQC, and GMC.
If you’re interested in a hair transplant and would like to find out more, please visit our contact page to book a consultation. Our surgeons will be able to review your current situation and decide the best option for you