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Cost of Hair Transplants and Everything Else You Need To Know
Before considering a hair transplant, you should consider the following thoughts:
Transplants are not a cure for someone suffering from baldness, regardless of gender. A transplant will not reverse the effect of hair loss in areas that are bald or have been bald for a long time.
If there is little hair on the head before the transplant, without the inclusion of hair growth medications, the length of the hair transplant may remain the same and not be stimulated to grow further.
How much does a hair transplant cost?
Many clinics are reticent to state exactly how much a hair transplant will cost – in part because of the uniqueness of each person’s hair loss requirements.
In general, it is not cheap, especially since some patients require a second session to achieve a thicker amount of hair. The cost will vary greatly depending on the following factors:
1. Doctor – Who is doing the surgery and their level of experience.
2. Experience of teams supporting the chief physician.
3. Location – The place where you perform the procedure, ie. medical tourism now caters to patients traveling to countries with a lower cost base for hair loss procedures, including hair transplants, transplants, FUE treatments, etc.
4. The chosen hair transplant method-
(I) Strip method (average) – cost of grafting is between $3-6 per strip
(II) Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) (average) – as this is a longer process, it takes more time for the doctor. Consequently, prices are normally double the bar method. The price can vary from 5 to 12 dollars per graft.
The graft is a follicular unit and is how the hair appears in its natural form.
For example, you can have a special graft that has 1, 2, 3 or 4 hair units. Each of them has the same cost.
In terms of overall price, think of your hand bent up to the size of a fist and place your fist over where there is a bald spot. That space is approximately 1500 grafts.
Often patients want to double the amount, or do a second session to achieve greater density. An estimate for the cost of the procedure can range from 3000 to 6000 grafts depending on the patient’s desire for thicker hair density.
Then multiply that by the number of grafts required.
There will be some patients who want a second session to make sure they get maximum coverage. The range is wide and only when you have had a consultation will you know a face figure for your requirements.
Therefore, expect an average cost to be between $3,000 and $30,000.
5. Anesthesia – Sometimes this may not be included in the overall cost of the hair transplant. Be sure to ask if it’s included.
6. Post-operative support – After hair transplant surgery, 1-2 follow-up sessions may be required to determine how the graft is settling into the scalp. Ask your surgeon if follow-ups are included.
7. Time off work – it is normal for people to take time off work to minimize the chance of infections by reducing contact with the public.
This is another cost (period of lost earnings) that needs to be factored into your plan. If you choose this procedure because of an accident at work, or if something happened outside of your control that resulted in hair loss, you may want to talk to your health insurance company or employer about financial support for related expenses.
8. A follow-up graft – for many people, they are happy to invest in a hair transplant to restore a full head of hair.
But unfortunately, it’s not always as simple as a one-stop cost. Evidence has shown that the younger a person is when transplanted, the greater the tendency for their hair to fall out faster.
This is partly because the donor skin areas are not genetically resistant to hair loss. As sad as it is, the ideal candidates for a hair transplant are generally middle-aged men with moderate hair loss.
A complete medical examination should be performed by a doctor before undergoing a hair transplant. This may also include seeking your doctor’s professional opinion about the procedure and how it should be performed taking into account the medication involved during and after the procedure.
Care should be taken to consider the type of anesthesia used during the procedure if a person is already on medication.
It is important that the doctor and anesthesiologist are aware of how the surgery medication will react with any medication the patient is currently taking.
Pain relief medications should also be factored into this equation, as well as the person’s medical history.
Today’s most modern transplants include the following:
First a hair consultation is done with a certified and reputable doctor. This includes a review of a person’s hair growth pattern, rate and level of hair loss, previous family history/genetics of hair loss. Within this consultation, the doctor will review any previous hair loss treatments or past surgeries and their outcome.
Once the procedure has been agreed, it’s simply a matter of booking in for the procedure when an appointment is available and arranging time off work.
The current hair transplant procedure tends to follow the following format:
a. Hair is cut short in areas of the scalp chosen as ‘donor’ areas (where hairs have been selected to be removed).
b. Hair follicles from the back and sides of the head are removed. These follicles generally have greater capacity to hold and retain hair. A local anesthetic is used during this process as it is an uncomfortable procedure.
c. Removed hair follicles are inserted (or grafted) into areas of the scalp where bald spots appear. They are usually inserted just above the forehead and top of the head or crown.
d. Care is taken during step (c) to insert the hair follicle into areas of the scalp where blood flow is good and the follicle is likely to be stimulated to grow hair.
e. After surgery, side effects such as bruising, swelling, pain and general throbbing may result. This can be managed by a sedation treatment plan.
Sometimes the hair transplant area will be covered with bandages which will need to be removed within a short period of time after the surgery.
p. The doctor will warn against exercise, strenuous activity, or any activity that will increase blood pressure or friction on the scalp.
Due to the post-operative inability to participate in any physical activity, this will also include minor physical activities such as grocery shopping and taking the animals for walks.
Make sure you have everything you need such as food, pet care and the necessary support to help you with your daily activities.
Arrange for someone to help you while you are in recovery if you live alone.
Alternatives to a hair transplant
Other hair transplant options include:
a. ‘Scalp reduction surgery’ – this involves a local anesthetic followed by a strip of bald skin being cut from the scalp. The scalp is pulled together at the removed section and sutured to bridge the gap in the scalp.
b. ‘Flap surgery’ – this involves an extensive hair transplant where a large amount of skin tissue from the scalp is prepared over a period of time to grow cells. After the cells have grown, a large part of a bald patch is removed, to be replaced by hair that has been prepared to grow. Generally due to the complexity of this procedure, a hospital stay of several days may be required.
The transplant itself can take several hours (3-7 hours) and generally, patients return for several treatments to cover the scalp.
A treatment plan for pain relief is provided at the end of the process as the areas where the follicles were removed and then inserted are quite sensitive and will take time to heal.
It is important to note that there may be challenges during the process, which may include:
Infection – once the skin surface has been cut and exposed to the open air, it is important to minimize the risk of germs entering open wounds.
Antibiotics are usually prescribed to minimize the likelihood of infection.
Allergic reaction to the procedure or medication.
Bleeding and scaring – Bleeding is usually contained by a cleansing at the end of the procedure and minimized through careful handling of the head.
There may be scarring as a result of piercing the skin. The doctor will prescribe a treatment and care plan to minimize scarring.
Nerve damage – where a person may no longer feel sensitivity or hypersensitivity to the area of the head involved in the procedure.
What should you consider before getting a hair transplant?
It is extremely important to verify the credentials and license of your prospective physician who may perform the procedure.
There are many unscrupulous characters who have set up hair clinics to perform this type of surgery at a lower cost. It is important to do your homework to verify that your prospective hair transplant doctor has successfully performed this surgery many times before.
Evidence – don’t just accept the written word of previous patients or the doctor’s good word. Ask to see and talk to individuals who have gone through the same process with the same doctor before.
This serves two purposes. One is that you will be able to see for yourself the success of the hair transplant. Second, you can ask the individual any questions you may have about the procedure and post-operative support.
Not all hair transplants are successful and this may not be known until 9 months after surgery.
Only hairs can start growing after 9 months, as it takes some time to get used to the new environment and during this time, cells or tissues may die.
It is important to remember that this procedure does not guarantee the success of hair growth and the transplanted hair may fall out after a few months.
But the good news is that there are many people walking around with full thick hair, the result of a hair transplant that looks like 100% natural hair growth.
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