MICKY Gray hopes his looks will hit the target as he undergoes a hair transplant live online.
The former Sunderland AFC star, who is now a pundit for TalkSport, is becoming the first in the UK to have the surgery streamed on the internet as it happens.
Ex-England footballer Michael Gray is to undergo the first UK hair transplant of its kind to be streamed live on the internet.
He is taking part in a real-time question and answer session as well as Tweeting through his surgery today in an effort to provide more information and answer questions about transplants.
The procedure is thought to be the first of its kind to be streamed live in the UK and is performed by Dr Bessam Farjo, an authority on hair loss and hair transplant surgery, who is also answering questions as he carries out the surgery.
Gray, 37, who played for premiership teams Blackburn Rovers and Sheffield Wednesday as well as Sunderland during his career, noticed he was receding when he was about 32.
And after seeing other celebrities undergo the procedure, said he decided to go under the knife.
“I think it’s more acceptable now and that was one of the reasons that I wanted to go through with it,” he said. “Cosmetic surgery now is an everyday occurrence.
“People might be out there and may be worried about the operation and if I’m going to get it done then why not let people see it.
“There’s a lot of people out there who are worried about it. Here they can see it from start to finish.”
He said the transplant would help improve his confidence.
“I’m working in the media at the moment and doing quite a lot of the TV and when I watch myself back I’m conscious about the way I look, so from the confidence side of things I’m hoping that will beat that.
“People refer to the harrowing experience a woman must go through when losing her hair, however it can be equally upsetting for men, who can suffer from a severe loss of self-esteem.
“I hope the live broadcast will help us to educate people about hair transplant surgery and open up discussions around the solutions available to those experiencing hair loss.”
The transplant will involve taking 3,500-4,000 hairs from the back and sides of his head and “re-planting” them into his receding hairline, said Dr Farjo.
The surgeon, in his 19th year of carrying out hair transplants, said: “Think about it as similar to gardening. We’re removing bulbs of hair from one part of the scalp to another but we can’t pluck it out, we have to move it with the bed around it, like soil.
“As long as you keep it alive, keep it in its soil, it picks up again.”
He said the procedure is expected to last around five to six hours and will involve a team of two doctors and eight nursing technicians.
After the operation, the hair will start to gradually grow and the full results will be seen in eight to 12 months, he said,
Dr Farjo, medical director of the Institute of Trichologists, said hair transplants have become more common as views on cosmetic surgery have changed and more celebrities have undergone the operation - such as footballer Wayne Rooney.
“Obviously 20 years ago people generally had a different attitude or feeling about things like cosmetic surgery and lifestyle issues, it was very much not talked about. It’s a far cry from where we are now.”
But he said many people still have questions: “No matter how much information they arm themselves with it’s hard for them to imagine what it’s like.
“They say a picture speaks a thousand words and it’s basically like that.
“I believe this is the first time a surgeon has attempted to broadcast a hair transplant live in the UK.
“We will be filming every aspect of the procedure, from donor extraction to re-implantation, whilst answering questions via Twitter.”
The event will be hosted by Brian Beacom - author of Diary of a Hair Transplant: A Journalist’s Search for David Cassidy Hair.
Dr Farjo added: “Our broadcast is intended to orchestrate a pioneering moment for the hair loss community, as well as the surgical field, giving the nation a first-hand look at the procedure and helping to dispel misconceptions around hair transplant surgery.”
Questions can be tweeted to @BessamFarjo or @mickygray33 using the hashtag #LiveTransplant.