Advances in methods and techniques of surgical hair transplantation over the last two decades have vastly improved the quality and viability of hair transplants. In addition, the level of satisfaction and overall value has improved as well.
The cost of hair transplantation varies widely, due to a number of factors, which are unique to each patient. As a rule, cost depends largely on the size of the area to be treated, the number of follicles transplanted and the method of harvesting the donor hair.
There are two methods of donor hair harvesting. Both methods are performed under local anesthesia:
FUE is a method of harvesting the hair by individual follicles, punched out from the scalp in micro-grafts of between 0.6 mm and 1.25 mm in size. Each follicular unit (FU) consists of a single hair follicle, which contains between one to four hairs.
These grafts are then transplanted to the balding areas. This method is the most expensive of the two, but healing time is shortâ€”usually around a week, scars are minimal and there are no sutures required.
This method extracts hair follicles by removing an entire strip of scalp from an area of the head, then the wound is sutured closed. Strip harvesting is done in locations where hair will easily cover the resulting scar, such as the back of the head. The harvested tissue is then separated into follicles for transplantation. Strip harvesting is generally less expensive than FUE, but healing time is lengthened, due to the size of the wound created in the harvesting. Stitches will also need later removal.
The cost of hair transplantation surgery varies widely between around $4,000 to more than $20,000. Depending on the size of the bald area(s) you would like covered, the number of sessions (procedures) required to accomplish your goal factors into the overall cost as well. Most often, the cost is calculated by pricing individual grafts per procedure.
Depending on the total number of grafts needed, prices can range between $5.00 and $12.00 per graft. Accurate figures on the number of grafts necessary for your particular situation requires a consultation with your hair transplant surgeon, but you can calculate a ballpark figure to help you get an idea of the total cost involved before you search for a provider.
Estimating Number of Grafts
Figuring out how many grafts you will need to replace your lost hair takes a bit of math. On average, the scalp has a density of approximately 1 follicle per millimeter (or 10 follicles per centimeter). People with a naturally thinner distribution of hair have fewer follicles per area; those with thicker hair have more. The best hair transplants can graft more than 50 follicles per square centimeter, accomplishing a density that appears natural.
Using this average, measure the amount of bald area you would like restored with a fabric measuring tape, using the metric side. Measure the approximate length and width of the area (or multiple areas, if you have multiple bald spots) in centimeters. For each area, multiply the length and width of each to get the total square centimeters. Then add up each area measured, if you have more than one balding area. Multiply the total square centimeters by approximately 50 and you have the total hair grafts needed for your particular situation. For accurate estimates on the number of grafts and overall cost, you will need to consult with a hair restoration surgeon in your area. Most surgeons offer a free, no-obligation consultation.
Overall, hair transplant surgery is not cheap, but price should not be the primary consideration. The experience of the surgeon plays a big part in the overall cost as well as the overall quality and success of the procedure.
When compared with other forms of hair restoration, including hairpieces and weaves for covering up bald areas, hair transplant surgery has proven to be a good investment. Weaves can actually cost more over time, as regular maintenance is required. In terms of satisfaction, surgical hair transplantation provides the best permanent solution for hair loss.