Hair loss is extremely common for men and is usually caused by your genetics. The belief that hair loss is inherited from your mother’s side is actually a myth, it’s a condition that can be passed down from either your mother or father.
If genetic hair loss is something you’re dealing with — and is something you’d like to change — a hair transplant might be the right option for you. CEO and co-founder of Gro Clinics, Mikko Myllymaki, is extremely passionate about helping men achieve hair growth through the transplant procedure.
“Our mission is to help people feel confident so they can make their dreams come true,” Myllymaki told TheLatch—. “That’s what I remind our team about all the time.”
One of TheLatch—’s very own volunteered as tribute (after a little pestering from us) and recently underwent the procedure to test the effectiveness of the hair transplant performed at Gro. While it’s still early days for our teammate, it’s definitely a case of so far, so good.
Said teammate was experiencing some hair thinning at the front and on his crown but wasn’t actively looking to correct these. Since having the procedure though, he’s looking forward to seeing the results over the coming months.
“To be completely honest, my hair hasn’t been an issue for me,” he told TheLatch—. “I’m married and have kids and I’m comfortable in the way I look and who I am.
“Although I wasn’t fussed about losing the hair, knowing that it’s a choice to keep it or lose it, I would definitely choose to keep it!”
Making the decision to have the procedure can feel daunting at first but if hair loss is holding you back, a hair transplant could help inject a little more confidence back into your life. Here’s everything you need to know about Gro’s hair transplant procedure, from the clinic’s co-founder, Myllymaki and our transplant guinea pig.
— The consultation
Gro is a tool for anyone who is concerned about hair loss. As there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to hair loss, the team at Gro are able to provide targeted treatment for your specific issue. To start, head to the Gro website and answer three questions about your hair loss. From here, the team at Gro will be able to determine the next steps for you.
If you’re keen to explore your options when it comes to the hair transplant procedure, you’ll have a consultation with the team at Gro in order to determine whether you’re eligible. You may not be a suitable candidate for a hair transplant if:
- You don’t have enough hair in the donor area to be able to take out donor follicles
- You have either not lost enough hair or you have lost too much hair
- You have unrealistic expectations about what this procedure will be able to achieve
- You’re unable or unwilling to undergo the procedure and follow the necessary post-operative care instructions
Our volunteer found the consultation to be extremely informative and he was given lots of information about the procedure and aftercare as well as when he will begin to see results.
“There’s not really anything that you’re left in the dark about,” he said. “The consultation is incredibly useful in bringing you up to speed, and everyone involved (the doctor and nurses) are constantly making sure you’re ok and asking if you have any questions.”
“There’s not really anything that you’re left in the dark about.”
Hair transplant consultations take place in person at the clinic and you’re given all the nitty-gritty details you need to know before the procedure.
“After we determine whether you’re eligible for the procedure, the consultation is about bringing the patient up to speed on the process, which includes how long the procedure takes, the fact that there’s local anaesthetic involved and the fact that it can be quite a boring day,” Myllymaki said.
“You’re lying on your stomach for the first few hours while the hairs are being extracted and then in the afternoon, after a lunch break, you’re able to watch Netflix or many people are on their phone while we implant the hairs into the scalp. You usually feel quite tired after that day but it’s worth it. We always make sure we’re on the same page with the client before the procedure.”
— The procedure
The Gro microsurgery transplant is a minimally invasive procedure that is always performed by a certified doctor. This is pretty rare, with the majority of the other clinics in Australia using technicians over doctors.
The technique used at Gro is a variation of the Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) method and is extremely refined so there’s no need to cut into patients’ skin. Instead, small incisions with a diameter of 1mm or less are used to extract hairs one by one from the donor area.
“We re-distribute the patient’s hair from the back and sides to the thinning areas. It’s done in a very delicate way and we don’t need to cut into the skin,” Myllymaki said. “It’s more like piercing the skin, getting the individual hair follicles out from the so-called donor area and then we use an implanter tool that gives the doctors full control over how the hair is placed.
“This technique gives us the ability to control the angle and placement of the hair so it grows naturally and the whole idea is that the result doesn’t look like a hair transplant. It’s something you can be proud of and no one can really detect that it’s a hair transplant.”
“The whole idea is that the result doesn’t look like a hair transplant.”
The technique of the transplant will determine how the transplant turns out and whatever the outcome is, that’s how it will stay.
“The technique is so important as a hair transplant is a treatment that gives you a permanent result every single time,” he said. “So, if the result is bad, it’s permanent. If it’s good, it’s permanent so it’s really important that you choose a technique or method that is going to give you the result that you’re after.”
Our teammate admitted to feeling a little nervous before going in for the procedure but ultimately found it to be a pretty pain-free and pleasant experience.
“I had a bloody great two days,” he said. “I have two kids, so it was a good break [laughs]. I was literally laying down on a reclining bed with my face through a hole (like a massage bed) and watched Netflix and laughed with the doctor and the two nurses.”
As for the pain, he says it really wasn’t all that bad.
“The pain was only from the local anaesthetic, which stung pretty bad but I knew it wouldn’t last long,” he said. “I actually kept dozing off over the two days and snoring the day away in between chatting to the doctor and Netflix.”
The procedure took two full days (7:30am to 7pm and 7:30am to 5pm) but this varies for each client depending on their hair loss. According to Myllymaki, the team mostly perform procedures that take one day but this will be determined in your consultation.
— The aftercare
After the procedure, it’s common to experience redness and swelling and you’ll probably be able to see signs of the produce for roughly two weeks after. Hair transplants recipients also deal with a little scabbing, which usually goes away seven to 10 days following the transplant.
“You’ve just got to be careful of the newly implanted hair in the first couple of days, these are the most critical and there’s a saline solution you need to spray on the follicles,” Myllymaki said. “On the third day, you’re allowed to start rinsing the scalp again and that’s normally what people are wanting for as it tends to get quite itchy over the first few days.
“You’re also on antibiotics for a few days to prevent against infection and we also give you medication for anti-swelling. There’s always going to be some swelling but we try to minimise it as much as possible. We try to have you back to normal life about one week after the procedure.”
“We try to have you back to normal life about one week after the procedure.”
Our guinea pig says he felt a little daunted by the aftercare at first, but it has been a relatively easy process and better than he expected.
“It was a little tender on the donor area (where they take all the hairs from) for a couple of days following the procedure and it’s currently incredibly itchy!” he said. “What I wouldn’t give to scratch the hell out of my head where they put the hairs [laughs]. But there wasn’t really much pain after surgery and I’ve had a very quick recovery, physically.”
You’re allowed to remove the bandage 24 hours after the surgery and for the first three days, you have to spray your head every half an hour with a saline solution and spray bottle given to you by Gro.
“Your head dries out and scabs up where they implanted the hairs and you’re not allowed to wash it under pressure (that means showers) so instead you have to rinse your head with a cup filled with warm water,” he said.
According to our test case, the hardest part of the recovery for him is not being able to rest his head on his regular pillow.
“I’ve been sleeping on an aeroplane pillow for three weeks so far,” he said. “Its really not ideal, but the trade-off is worth it.”
— The results
It generally takes around 12 months for the full results to be noticeable, so keep in mind that this is a process and not a quick fix. But, if you’re lucky, you might start to see some results around the four-month mark.
“You might start seeing some growth around four months post-procedure but full results take a year so it’s a waiting game but quite an easy waiting game,” Myllymaki said.
“You might start seeing some growth around four months post-procedure but full results take a year.”
Our teammate says he noticed a difference to his head immediately after surgery, as they shaved his hair to 0.5 before the procedure and his head looked full as soon as the transplant was complete.
“While it is quite red, the hair looks like a relatively normal shaved head (after the swelling subsides), for the first couple of weeks,” he said. “Then, between weeks two and six, all the transplanted hair will fall out, so you basically look like you’re back at square one.
“But that’s when the growth begins. They said the front area will show full results by 12 months (but usually by month six its looking pretty good), and the crown area can take up to 18 months to show full results.”
Gro Clinics constantly achieve over 90% survival rate of transplants compared to industry rates which fluctuate between 50-90%. Because of this, Gro is the only hair transplant procedure to offer a 100% Guaranteed Natural Result. This helps you feel safer when going in for the procedure as it guaranteed to look natural.
A hair transplant is a permanent treatment so the results will last as long as the follicles from your donor site do. If you’re experiencing further thinning or hair loss, or think you probably will, the doctors at Gro Online Clinic are able to prescribe you with hair loss medication to prevent further hair loss.
— The cost
Having a hair transplant is definitely an investment but it’s a worthwhile one — something that our teammate attests to. The price for a procedure starts at $6,000 and goes up to about $20,000.
According to Myllymaki, some treatments can cost a little more if a client needs more hair transplanted but the general price range is capped at $20,000.
“We have payment plan options where you can pay weekly, monthly or over a year or a couple of years so it really comes down to how important it is for you,” Myllymaki said. “If you are conscious of your hair or the hair loss, it’s probably worth looking into.”
While hair loss wasn’t a major issue for our guinea pig before the procedure, he’s happy to have been able to undergo the transplant and is looking forward to seeing the results for himself.
“If you can afford it — go for it,” he said. “I had no idea this was a thing but the results I’ve seen on other people are absolutely amazing. People have no problem getting their teeth whitened or having lipo or Botox and filler put in their face. If you can move some hair from the back of your head to the areas that need it, why wouldn’t you?
“I would recommend it to everyone. So many mates could use a little tune-up due to thinning at the back or receding at the front and most of that can be fixed in a day.”
For more information, head to the Gro website.