What Does a Hair Transplant Cost & How Is It Priced?

By Dr. John Frank, M.D. | IAHRS, ABHRS, ISHRS, AHLA, XM Radio: ‘The Bald Truth’, NYC, August 10, 2012

What Does A Hair Transplant Cost and Why

Understanding how markets price surgical hair restorations can help you get the best value for your money (Image courtesy of 401kcalculator.org)

The question “what does a hair transplant cost*” breaks down into two questions: 1) how much do I need to pay and 2) what value am I getting for my money?

A simple dollar estimate answers the first question.  But as we shall see, that answer hardly suffices.

In truth, the second question opens the door to all the information you need to insure a successful surgical hair restoration procedure that meets your expectations.

How The Market Prices Surgical Hair Restoration

Three main components factor into the overall price: 1) the cost of a hair graft, 2) the cost of the technique/technology used, and 3) the experience/skill/artistry of the surgeon.

Hair Graft? What’s That?

You can think of a hair graft as one “follicular unit” that holds (or produces) 1–4 hair stems.  Doctors often price their procedures by the number of grafts transplanted to a part of the head that has permanently lost hair. Each graft costs somewhere between $3 & $7 per graft.  The average procedure involves around 2000 grafts, so at $5/graft, on average, the typical case costs $10,000.

Unfortunately you can’t assume each graft will survive the transplant, and even the best doctor cannot precisely predict how many of your particular donor grafts will survive, so – does it make much sense to price hair transplants by the cost of each grafts?  No. And therefore you can’t just gather a bunch of cost per graft quotes and pick the one with the lowest cost per graft.

Rather than each graft, you really want to pay for the number of grafts that live to survive the transplant, and you want those grafts to contain enough hair follicles to give you the hair coverage you need so that the transplant looks full and natural.

Note: Beware of estimates that depend on “graft splitting,” i.e., splitting a four hair follicular unit into two units of two hairs each and giving you a deal that sounds like two for one. For example, one doctor might charge $4 per graft per 1000 grafts, or $4000. Another doctor will spilt those grafts in half, resulting in 2000 grafts, and he or she will charge you $3 per graft, or $6000, which sounds like a deal, but it isn’t.   When comparing costs per grafts, make sure you’re comparing true follicular units, not split units with full units or – worse – individual hairs with follicular units.

You Need to Consider More Than Just the Cost per Graft

You also need to consider the technique used to harvest and transplant the hair grafts.  Only consider today’s state-of-the-art hair transplant technique, i.e., follicular extraction1. Two variants on this technique exists. Each treats a slightly different type of hair loss sufferer, but both are excellent. The high precision of these techniques create an unprecedented natural look in surgical hair restoration, but they are different in terms of their labor intensiveness, and this will affect  the cost of the procedure.

There’s More To It All Than The Cost per Graft & Impressive Sounding Techniques

First, cost per graft and technology used mean nothing without the skill and experience of the hair restoration surgeon and his or her support surgical team.  Your doctor needs, at minimum, to have the proper credentials.  You can find the most highly qualified hair transplant surgeons on the following sites of credentialed and/or recommended doctors:  The American Board of Hair Restoration Surgery2 and/or The International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery3 and/or The International Alliance of Hair Restoration Surgeons4 and/or The America Hair Loss Association5.  You can also check any doctor’s public records at DocInfo.org6 for around $10.

The Beauty of an Exquisite Hair Restoration Procedure

Beyond the technology, the education, the experience and the skill of your surgeon, he or she should have great sensibility of where and how to harvest and transplant the grafts to achieve a natural and personally unique look.

Work With the Nice Guy (or Gal)

Finally, when you’ve narrowed down your candidate list of doctors based on the above requirements, you want to go with the hair restoration surgeon that has compassion, the ability to listen, and someone who makes you feel comfortable, someone in who you have absolute confidence.

Absolutely The Best “Cost” Advice I or Anyone Else Can Give You

Choosing the right doctor involves considering factors far beyond cost. Arm yourself with as much knowledge as you can (check out our blog for great informational articles) and just take your time to find the right doctor. Please visit Anapelli Hair Clinic’s hair transplant cost page to learn more about our services and payment options.

© 2012, Anapelli Hair Clinic

References

1A Review of Modern Surgical Hair Restoration Techniques (Shiell, J Cutan Aesthet Surg. 2008 January; 1(1): 12–16).
2The American Board of Hair Restoration Surgery (ABHRS – Commitment to Excellence & Safety)
3The International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS – Achieving Excellence in Patient Outcomes)
4The International Alliance of Hair Restoration Surgeons (IAHRS – Unparalleled Commitment to Excellence in the Field of Surgical Hair Restoration)
5. The America Hair Loss Association (AHLA – Hair Loss Education, Research, Commitment).
6DocInfo.org  - The Premier Physician Profile and Disciplinary History Report Service

Notes

*One factor that keeps hair transplants relatively expensive is the limited supply of hair follicles from a donor area, i.e., hair transplant surgeons must expend considerable time and effort  to find and extract the best follicular units and not damage them as they do so. But what if you could grow an unlimited supply of your own? See Hair today, Hair tomorrow, The Economist, Jun 5th, 2008.

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About author:

Dr. John Frank, M.D. is Board Certified and recommended by the IAHRS, ABHRS, ISHRS, AHLA, & XM Radio's 'The Bald Truth.'