Billionaire Elon Musk, who will soon become the owner of Twitter, in recent days has received several descriptions. Freedom of expression fighter. Revival of Donald Trump. Platform destroyer. But one description no one mentioned: baldness. That’s because Musk, who is now 50, likely had a hair transplant a few years ago.
And, as befits the richest person in the world, the results, according to Dr. Atika Khan, hair transplant surgeon at Bronte, Sydney, trichology, look fantastic. “The front hairline has natural density and hair direction and appears to be very well planned and executed.”
The hair allegedly cost Musk nearly US$20,000 (AU$29,000) a figure that doesn’t surprise Khan, who believes Musk likely had two procedures, known as FUT, or follicular unit transplantation, which involve cutting a long strip of scalp Head The skin on the back and sides of the head through which individual hair follicles are dissected and then transplanted into the hairless areas of the forehead. The only drawback is the scar it left behind.
While experts believe Musk had a couple of FUTs sometime in the early 2000s, technological advances now mean that scars — and the need for longer hair to cover them — are a thing of the past. “Current hair trends such as skin fades and buzz cuts are why the latest FUE (follicular unit extraction) method is becoming more popular, especially in younger men,” says Khan.
This involves extracting each hair follicle individually – that’s right, one by one – so that no stitches are needed. “At Hair Doctors, we perform the micro FUE procedure in sizes as small as 0.75mm leaving barely visible scars at the back.” The cost can range anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000.
“Men are starting to take pride in their looks now…Most beauty treatments for men are on the rise and hair transplants have definitely started to gain traction,” says Khan, adding that the majority of her clients are still in their early thirties, a change she considers beneficial. “This is better for seeing patients in very advanced stages of hair loss where hair transplants may not be a viable treatment option.”
“Current hair trends such as skin fades and buzz cuts are why the latest FUE method has become so popular.”
Atika Khan, hair transplant surgeon
According to the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery, based in the US, the market size for hair transplantation increased by 64 percent between 2014 and 2021 and now represents US$6.5 billion. They say a total of 735,312 hair restoration surgeries were performed worldwide in 2019, which is a 16 percent increase from 2016.
The International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery puts the increase in a minimally invasive way, usually taking no more than a day. And of course, concerned men (who make up about 85 percent of clients) now have self-care practices.