COSMETIC TOWN JOURNAL



Expert Doctor

Hair Transplant Costs

Posted January 31, 2017

Ronald Shapiro, MD

Minneapolis, MN

Hair Transplant Costs

Cost is always one of the first things that a patient considers when choosing a treatment for their condition. Hair loss treatment is no exception. When determining what hair replacement option is best suited for a particular case, the cost is always as important as the patient’s needs and expectations. For those who are considering hair transplantation, here’s more information about this hair loss treatment and the price tag that goes along with it.

 

GENERAL INFORMATION

The most common hair transplantation procedure is called follicular unit transplantation. There are two methods through which hair follicles for transplant are harvested—strip harvesting and Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE). People often think that FUT and FUE are both types of hair transplantation.  In fact, FUE is just a method of extracting hair follicles and not really a transplant procedure. Simply put, FUE is under FUT.

The main difference between strip harvesting and FUE is how you get the hair follicles out. Strip harvesting involves taking a small “strip” of scalp tissue from the back of the head. The strip is about a centimeter wide and 20 centimeters in length and holds one to four hair follicles. This method can cause permanent scarring which can be bothering to the patient. For this reason, the FUE technique was developed. In FUE, a tiny punch the size of a pen head (0.8-1.0mm in diameter) is used to punch out the grafts. FUE doesn’t produce the linear scar frequently seen in strip harvesting. The procedure is also less painful and healing takes place faster.

Terms that you may frequently encounter when reading about hair transplants include donor area and recipient area. The donor area is the area from which the scalp tissue carrying the hair follicles is harvested. The recipient area is the area that will receive the hair follicles from the donor area. 

 

FUE COSTS

The FUE procedure generally takes longer to do so it is more expensive than strip harvesting. It can take as much as four hours to get all the grafts needed for the transplant. Practitioners often charge around $7-$10 per graft. There are a few who offer a much lower rate of $4 per graft. They are usually the ones who use motorized punches and therefore apply less effort to complete the procedure.

 

FUT (STRIP) COSTS

The cost of a strip FUT depends on the number of grafts required. Practitioners usually charge between $4-$6 per graft. A typical procedure requires around 2000 grafts which is equivalent to $8,000-$12,000. But since there are many practitioners who offer to do the procedure, some will offer a competitive price of $8,000-$10,000. If the procedure will have to be repeated a few years later, a patient may spend as much as $30,000.

The location of practice is also a factor in computing the costs. For instance, the price would be a bit higher in places like Los Angeles and New York by an average of $2,000. 

 

LIMITATIONS AND RISKS

The limitation of the hair transplant procedure often pertains to the naturalness of the results. But this is dependent on the skills of the practitioner and not on the procedure itself. So long as the practitioner knows what they are doing and what looks natural, there are no limits as to how good the results can be.

On the other hand, the risks involved in hair transplant procedures include pain and infection. The pain, which is mild in nature, should go away after a few days. Meanwhile, infection is associated with both FUE and strip harvesting. The patient can sometimes get an infection in the donor area. Necrosis, or tissue death, can also occur especially when too much tissue is taken off. But if the practitioner is skilled and well trained to do the procedure, this complication rarely happens and therefore is not much of a concern.

 

RECOVERY PERIOD

Recovery after hair transplant procedure is basically about two things— how fast the healing process will be and how long before the patient can go back to his or her normal life. In general, healing of the recipient area occurs within 10 days. Now, for the donor area, it depends on what method of harvesting was done. With FUE, the donor area heals within 10 days while it takes 14 days for strip harvesting. Patients do not have to wait for the donor and recipient areas to heal to resume their daily activities. They can go back to their normal routine almost immediately after the procedure.

 

DO EXPECTATIONS MATCH THE COST?

If the patient is a good candidate for hair transplant and the procedure is done properly, the results will be one where you can’t tell the difference between the transplanted hair and the normal hair. It can even look as good upon critical inspection. 

The variation in results comes from the patient’s hair density. Some patients have baby fine hair so even if the donor area has a sufficient number of hairs, you can still see the skin through it. The same goes for those who have normal thickness hair but very white skin. In general, patients can get a really good look with hair transplants using either methods of hair follicle harvesting.

 

CONCLUSION

If you chose FUT or FUE hair transplant, the average cost of each procedure can vary greatly depending on the surgeon and location of the facility.  However, it is important to remember that a hair transplant procedure is often difficult and complicated to revise. Spending a little extra money to get the best possible doctor and facility that will suit your needs may save you thousands of dollars and prevent the need for hair transplant revisions in the future.

 

Written by Cosmetic Town Editorial Team - AA

Based on an exclusive interview by Dr. Ronald Shapiro in Minneapolis, MN

Article Last Updated on January 31, 2017