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H. H.
Chicago
Disclaimer: individual results may vary

How much does a hair transplant cost?

Hair transplant cost varies widely. Here are some facts of how the cost is figured, and some things you can do to save money.

The usual cost of a hair transplant ranges between $3,000 and $20,000 USD. Of course, you can find cheaper and more expensive, but the exact cost is influenced by a number of factors. The main things that determine the cost of a hair transplant are:

The biggest influence on the cost of the procedure is the number of hair grafts needed. A hair graft is a small piece of scalp tissue with one or more hair follicles embedded in it. Taken from an area of the head which is more resistant to hair loss (the donor area), this graft is then planted in the area of the scalp with thinning hair.

Each graft is charged for, and the cost per graft can go as low as $3 US, up to $9 or even more. So the more grafts you need, the more the hair transplant is going to cost. Some doctors offer a sliding scale where the cost per graft goes down as quantity goes up.

The number of grafts needed varies, but for practical purposes, the counts are usually figured in round numbers, generally 100s. While you may discuss a certain number of grafts at the beginning, this is usually a ballpark figure.

The final number is likely to change as the procedure is done. The surgeon may find that more are needed to complete the hair transplant with a natural look. If your surgeon says while doing the transplant, "I need to do another 75 grafts to make this look right." you're probably not going to argue with him.

Types of hair transplant grafts

There are two different types of grafts, and they are usually priced differently.

Hair transplant cost calculator

How many grafts are needed is determined by the extent of your hair loss.

Let's take the Norwood scale to get some idea of the number of grafts needed, as well as price range. The grafts needed are estimates, as are the prices. Prices are based on $3 FUT grafts, and $6 FUE grafts.

Number of transplant sessions

You may require more than one hair transplant session, and the cost increases with the number of sessions. This is not, however, as dramatic a cost difference as the number of grafts needed for your hair transplant.

Each transplant session may have its own associated fees, like anesthetic, facility fees, etc. But these expenses are minor compared to the overall cost.

A hidden cost in hair transplants

For many men there is a very big hidden cost in hair transplants.

Having to do another hair transplant.

This possiblity is rarely discussed up front.

Some men have had four transplants or more. What happens is a first one is done, filling in a thinning hairline for example. But the hair loss continues unstopped.

A gap develops between the transplanted hair and the receding thinning hair area. Another transplant is done, filling this in. The hair transplant cost just doubled. A third or even fourth transplant can make this even more expensive.

There is also a very real risk of running out of good donor area. If you've had two FUE transplants, you may have better luck than if you've had two traditional transplants. Traditional transplants, since they take a whole strip of skin out, have the effect of tightening the scalp. Two of these may leave no more room to stretch the scalp. But even without the potential scalp problem, eventually there's no place left to take more hair from.

This situation can also turn in to a nightmare where the hair loss continues, revealing very obvious hair plugs. The scalp ends up looking like a doll, and there's not enough transplanted hair to cover.

Repairing this situation can be very expensive, leaving no choice but to shave the head and reveal obvious scarring. There are men out there who would give anything to just be bald, not having to hide the hideous results of failed hair transplants.

Bumps or pits in the scalp are a very real living nightmare for those who have had hair loss continue past the transplants. The only option became to get rid of the transplants, and there is no way to undo the damage, at which point you become the guy who always wears a hat.

So if you have men in your family that look like this:

and you currently look like this:

your first hair transplant may not be your last. Be prepared for the possibility that one single hair transplant may involve you in repeated, expensive procedures.

The best way to save money is to not need a hair transplant

If you have hair loss in the early stages, the best thing you can do is stop it now. Reversing hair loss at this point avoids the entire matter of a transplant in the first place.

What you want to do is hold on to what you have, at a minimum; better yet you want to reverse the loss that has already occurred. Your total expense of buying a laser and doing any other treatments is going to be far less than the cost of a transplant.

So if you are researching hair loss treatments at an early stage of the game, well done. You have the best options at the lowest cost. Act now to take advantage of your situation before it progresses.

Hold on to what you have. The best way to cut the hair transplant cost is to not have one at all.

If you must have a transplant, make it a one-time expense

If you must have a hair transplant, you want to give it the best chance to succeed. Making sure your transplant takes hold and that your hair loss doesn't continue keeps the cost of the surgery a one-time expense.

To stop hair loss from continuing after your transplant, use the laser. This will help hold on to the hair you still have and lets you avoid a second or third transplant. Your hair transplant costs you only one time - if you also stop the hair loss.

For men who are already at stage 5, 6 or 7 on the scale, this may be the only option. The laser alone will not regrow hair in areas that are completely bald and have been so for some time. If you are at this point already, your best option may be to have a hair transplant and then follow up with the laser to make sure it doesn't progress any further.

The laser can help you stop the hair loss, and make sure it doesn't get any worse. It can only stimulate follicles if those follicles are still alive. Once you reach stage 5 and above, you already have a lot of dead follicles.

You can begin using the laser as soon as the tranplant heals. Generally this will be several weeks after the procedure. By stopping any further hair loss at this point, you can enjoy your nice new head of hair from here on out.