Zoom calls fuel ‘boom in hair transplants’

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ritons are flocking to Turkey for hair transplant treatment after becoming dissatisfied with their appearance on Zoom meetings during the pandemic, according to one of the country’s leading clinics.

Estenove, which treats 250 patients a month, said just a fifth of its patients were from the UK in 2019 but expects the proportion to rise to 50 per cent this year.

The firm’s co-founder Batuhan Dizdar said the surge in British patients was down to the fact that many have “spent hours being forced to look at themselves” on Zoom during Covid. The video-calling app became the most popular platform for hosting work meetings during the pandemic.

“It’s a completely different thing to looking in the mirror a couple of times a day. We have had dozens of patients who have become dissatisfied with how their hair loss has affected their appearance after seeing themselves on Zoom. It has made people more conscious about their hair than ever before,” he said.

“At the same time, young and middle-aged men are more aware than ever that hair loss is a problem that can be fixed nowadays, and they are deciding that they are prepared to travel abroad to get the best treatment at the most cost effective price.”

The clinic at Estenove

/ Estenove

Prices for the procedure are much cheaper in Turkey than in the UK. The country is also a popular destination for teeth whitening as a result of lower prices.

EsteNove treats 3,000 patients a year from all over the world at its clinic in Istanbul. It treats patients from as far as Australia as well as the US, Ireland and France.

The clinic has pioneered a system called Nove MIC, which uses a microscope to examine and classify graft hair follices collected from the donor site, usually the back of the head. This is used to analyse the number of hair follices, minimising the risk fo graft failure which enables high success rates.

Some hair follicles are stronger and healthier than others and others can be damaged during extraction. If damaged hair follicles are transplanted, hair will not grow in a healthy manner.

The operation takes between five or eight hours under local anaesthesia, depending on the patient’s needs and the number of grafts transplanted. To reduce the pain, EsteNove uses a special device to shoot anaesthetics into the skin without any injections.

It can take up to 18 months for results of the transplant to be seen, and patients receive one-on-one aftercare for up to 24 months after the procedure.

The clinic says that the age demographic of its clientele is getting younger. This year, it expects around 18 per cent of its patients to be aged between 20 and 39 – up from 17 per cent in 2020.

“We are definitely seeing much greater interest in hair transplants as an option among men in their 20s,” said Mr Dizdar.

Matt Vjestica, a 29-year-old dancer and actor from London, started to lose his hair aged 23. Within three years, he said hair loss had become a “real problem” and prevented him applying for certain jobs.

“I looked into medication and other things that might help. But I decided I didn’t want to be taking a pill every day and anyway it seemed like the best result you could get was preventing further hair loss rather than regrowth,” he said.

He said that London clinics were quoting prices of up to £6,000 and the quality of treatment varied. Eventually, he began speaking to Turkish clinics and came across Estenove.

Mr Vjestica flew out in January this year and was able to return home the next day, paying £2,500 in total.

‘I am delighted with the regrowth I have seen. No-one notices that I have anything other than a normal, full head of hair. It looks perfectly done,” he said.

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