Hair transplant compensation claims


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Although the ratio of for every Wayne Rooney there’s a Donald Trump might be something of an exaggeration, there’s no doubting that for every discreet and professional hair transformation undergone by men whose follicles give up the ghost, there are a number of cover-ups which tend to look a bit Trump-esque.

Hair transplants represent big business these days, as men strive to both roll back the years and restore their previous look (and often the confidence that a full head of hair brings with it). Where once men of previous generations contented themselves with a comb-over if and when their hairline began to recede, nowadays there are a host of contemporary means to replace/re-style/re-grow natural hair so as to transform appearances. Which is great news for men, as they’re now afforded the same range of appearance opportunities as women, which back in the day just wasn’t an option. And hence the rise of the dreaded toupe or the equally obvious, ‘you’re-kidding-nobody’ hair piece.

However it’s not all smiles and a welcome return to shopping for male grooming products, alas, as occasionally hair transplant surgery (one of the most popular means of stopping time in its tracks) can go wrong. With an increasing number of men who have suffered premature hair loss or early onset baldness choosing to undergo hair transplant surgery, with it comes a notable upturn in unresolved issues based on health problems clients have encountered.

What’s more, there are numerous misconceptions doing the rounds regarding what can (and cannot) be achieved with hair transplants, whilst significant drawbacks and side-effects aren’t always suitably highlighted from the outset, by the parties offering to carry out the surgery. Which all-in-all helps to explain why we’ve seen a rise in personal injury compensation claims amongst men whose hair transplants have gone awry.

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Who’s more commonly affected by hair transplants that have gone wrong?

Well, put it this way, not the likes of TV chef Gordon Ramsay (or actor, James Nesbitt), both of whom have undergone expensive – and well publicised – hair transplant procedures of late; not least because they can afford the very best of treatments direct from London’s Harley Street. No, it’s more normally the man on the street, as it were, who instead opts for less grand surroundings in which to have their hair weave. Perhaps unwittingly plumping for the more unscrupulous of companies offering what (should be) a very delicate service for what can sometimes be a very delicate matter for some of the male populace of the UK.

Are you trying to tell me that hair transplants REALLY are big business?

Very much so. A fact underlined recently by the British Medical Journal which released a report showing that British men are now as concerned about their appearance as women, and high on their superficial agenda is the not inconsequential matter of combating the advent of hair loss. Especially as statistics suggest that some 60% of men are affected by hair loss before they reach the age of 40.

What exactly is a hair transplant?

Essentially it involves the extraction and relocation of healthy hair follicles from one ‘donor’ area of the head (which is blessed with an abundance of hair and habitually tends to be the back or sides of the head) and subsequently repatriating them to a more barren area; or to put another way, implanting them in a ‘recipient’ bald (or perceivably thinning) area of the scalp.

The procedure itself must be performed by an experienced surgeon so as to reduce any potential side and/or after effects which might blight the patient/client in the long run. Think along the lines of pain, scarring and even greater hair loss, perversely. The very latest hair transplant techniques are constantly evolving, as are the prices quoted for such work to be carried out, with figures of around £30,000 routinely cropping up; and hence why it’s often the preserve of men of a certain financial means.

The technical terminology of this procedure (of transplanting hair from one area to another) is the Follicular Unit Transplantation Technique; and there are two main methods employed by surgeons which are listed as follows:

  • Strip Harvesting – Effectively this sees the surgeon making an incision in the patient’s scalp to remove a strip of skin from a place on the scalp containing a more plentiful volume of healthy follicles. The follicular units are then dissected and implanted into the area of the scalp where the hair loss has occurred. The plus point of this particular technique is that there’s no chance of damaging the follicles during the process, however the disadvantage is the initial incision can leave scarring. Which of course would mean that the patient would, ultimately have to maintain a certain length of hair so as to disguise the scar
  • Follicular Unit Extraction – Whilst this application requires no surgical incision (which equates to no scarring risk), it’s only really advised/suitable for those hair transplants which tackle smaller areas head on (if you excuse the pun). That’s because this technique is based around removing follicles individually and implanting them directly into the designated area of the scalp

How can hair transplants can go wrong?

Like any surgical procedures or treatments, hair transplantation offers no guarantees of success, and often is singled out for both scepticism and indeed, criticism from some quarters. An example of one specific voice of discord is that of America’s highly respected New York Times, which went as far as to refer to the hair transplant industry as the ‘wild west of medicine’; and going on to imply that rules and regulations governing its practices (at least, in the USA) could, arguably, leave a lot to be desired.

Similar to all medical procedures risks are evident from the get-go, yet the choice of surgeon could well be the difference between a good and bad experience according to experts, who also point out that the unregulated nature of cosmetic treatments here in the UK heighten potential dangerous scenarios from unfolding.

What are the potential side-effects of a hair transplant?

For starters it’s estimated that anywhere between one third and a half of patients attending hair transplant clinics are there for corrective procedures, having experienced botched efforts previously, and as with any other ostensibly cosmetic surgery, sub-standard and compromised procedures can and do result in permanent disfigurement, physical pain and emotional trauma for victims. And don’t forget the consequent financial costs involved in correcting surgery already paid for once.

In terms of damage that can potentially occur, scarring is probably the most recurrent, and these scars will become increasingly noticeable as the hair continues to thin. In addition to this prognosis, it’s worth remembering that the scarring will be worse if the incisions in the scalp become infected, which then brings the subject of clinical hygiene into question; and specifically the facilitation of sterilised surgical implements.

Furthermore, poorly performed surgery can also lead to trauma to the scalp, which in turn can trigger both implanted follicles and the remaining hair to fall out. And then there’s the matter of nerve damage to consider, which when directly affecting the scalp can go on to instigate the loss of sensation in the donor and recipient areas. Meanwhile hair transplant surgery is usually undertaken under local anaesthetic, and it’s obligatory for clinics to ensure that medical background checks have been carried out to prevent the risk of the patient having an allergic reaction. Elsewhere and other side-effects (although usually subsiding over time) can include; swelling, itching and numbness.

Who can I make a hair transplant claim against?

Irrespective of the acknowledged lack of regulation relating to cosmetic clinics and surgeons practising in this area, patients are justifiably expectant of any procedures being performed to be done so in a reasonably competent and skillful manner; whilst anything short of this unofficial benchmark might well be classified as medical negligence.

Those injured by a hair transplant procedure should consult specialist personal injury solicitors with experience in claiming compensation for sub-standard and damaging cosmetic surgery, first and foremost. The emphasis is on identifying the individual surgeon/company who acted in a negligent manner as far as you’re concerned, whether those failings being recognised as manifesting before, during or post-op. there’s no escaping the fundamental fact that it’s the sole responsibility of your surgeon to ensure that patients are fully aware of the risks and what is required before and after the surgery. In addition, they must take the utmost care during surgery to ensure that they don’t make mistakes.

When it comes to a failed hair transplant you could be left with a number of injuries which you could claim for and some of these include:

  • Rashes – The chemicals used during a hair transplant could have a reaction with your head and cause swelling, burning and irritation as a result
  • Loss of hair – Either through the process or several years into the future this procedure could leave you with bald patches
  • Severe scarring – You could be left with severe scarring on your head as the result of a failed hair transplant procedure
  • Divots or bumps – You could be left with divots or bumps on your head as the result of negligent surgery

What other costs could I include in my claim?

There are a few flagged up below and worth noting:

  • Additional medical fees – If you have had a failed hair transplant you may be required to undergo additional treatment to rectify any unresolved issues (or infections) that might have incurred, this will be costly and ergo you may be eligible to claim for these costs
  • Trauma – A failed hair transplant can be an incredibly traumatic experience causing you to lose your self–confidence as well as impacting on your social life. With this in mind you could be eligible to make a claim for emotional distress as a result
  • Loss of income – If you are unable to work as the result of failed hair transplant surgery then you may suffer from a loss of income, you may be able to claim a percentage (or all) of this money back in the form of monetary compensation

How to make a claim?

If you’ve undergone what you believe to be an unsuccessful hair transplant, caused by the perceived negligence of a cosmetic surgeon, then it’s fair to say you could be entitled to make a claim for compensation. Which is why it’s imperative to speak with a dedicated personal injury claims specialist ASAP to establish how you go forward from this point and actively pursue a claim against the culpable party.

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