Hair implant surgery dates back to the 1950's. From 1950 to about 1985, the surgery produced limited results. Since the small bundles of hair moved from the donor were grouped too large, the result coined the phrase, “plugs.” Usually this appearance occurred when the patient lost their existing hair a few years following the procedure when it produced a "corn row" or "dolls head" look. These “plugs” were unsightly and highly noticeable.
The industry has come a long way since then. The surgery has been refined into what is referred to as a follicular unit implant. (FUT) A strip of tissue is removed from the donor safe zone. Today, high magnification is used to dissect the tissue into follicular units. Follicular units can contain one, two, three, or four hairs. Sites are created in the thinning area and are tiny holes the doctor makes using a very fine instrument. The doctor will use the proper angles and spacing in order for the new hair to grow natural and as close together as possible.
This is an outpatient procedure and takes from four to six hours depending on different variables. Local anesthesia is used with minimal discomfort. If the procedure is done properly it is quite a rewarding experience. If done improperly, it can become a patient's worst nightmare. This is where in most cases you cannot afford to buy a cheap hair implant.
Some of these hair implants are being offered cheap! The hair implant is the number one cosmetic procedure chosen by men. If you make the mistake of choosing the wrong clinic, based on price alone it could end up costing you plenty! Hair loss affects about 60 million men and women. By age 50, 50% of all men will be experiencing some stage of hair loss. The hair loss industry is loaded with companies selling potions, lotions, shampoos, herbs, pills, laser lights, and many other unproven remedies to stop, slow, or even grow back one's hair.
There has been a very limited amount of success with any of the above. However, it seems every few months a new miracle cure is hitting the late night home shopping channel. The only real proven solution that can grow hair in a thinning or bald area is known as a hair implant surgical procedure. Most hair loss in the 60 million men and women is genetic. It is for this reason the hair, when moved from the donor area will not fall out. It is genetically programmed not to fall out and this is the primary reason why a hair implant procedure works.
Since the procedure is extremely labor intensive it requires skilled staff. A skilled staff requires an
above average wage per hour. The doctor surrounds himself with experienced staff. Would you rather pay
less and get less experienced staff? Less experienced staff will not prepare the tissue as well. Some of
the hair grafts will not survive. Less experienced staff will not place the tissue as well. Misplaced
tissue will create an environment where the hair will not grow. You cannot afford to have the hair not
Another way companies will try to lower your price is to have you agree to have your surgery along with three, four, or maybe even five other patients on the same day. That means more revenue for the practice. An example would be comparing one patient paying $12,000 for a procedure and being the only patient of the day or five different patients having surgery at the same time and paying $6,000 each. Which is better for the practice, $12,000 or $30,000? I think we know the answer to that. But let's get back to staff. If there are five patients and each patient will need at least three staff for proper service, that's fifteen staff members.
Let's say three surgeries start at 8AM and 2 start at 1PM. If that is the case, let's reduce the staff down to ten. How do you feel if you are the 1PM patient and your staff members are getting tired? Remember, this is a very labor intensive procedure. Cutting tissue under a microscope is not easy. How about the fact that there is an inexperienced staff working on you. You cannot afford a cheap hair implant.
The reason you cannot afford to buy a cheap hair implant is your result may be set up for failure. If that is the case and hair does not grow, you have wasted your money and will need to do it all over again, most likely pay more, and have less donor area to work with. That is the best-case scenario. The worst-case scenario is what normally walks through the door of most hair specialists on a daily basis. This is where the patient is scarred in one or both areas of the procedure. Usually there is an excessively wide scar. And the recipient area where the hair was placed has a cobblestone look or is pitted. Now, the specialist is limited and need to perform corrective work.
That will result in at least another procedure if not two more. Now you know why you cannot afford to purchase a cheap hair implant. The following are some helpful hints when it comes to pricing a hair implant procedure. Make sure the doctor you choose is a specialist meaning all he does is hair surgery. DO NOT choose a plastic surgeon that does hair surgery a few times each week. Choose a practice where you will be the only patient or no more than one of two on any given day. Try to find a practice that prices in cost per hair, NOT cost per graft or follicular unit.
They can manipulate grafts and follicular units. No one can manipulate hairs. Make sure to ask questions
regarding how many hairs it will take to fill in an area and get a good idea of the density in that
area. Here is a clue. In an area that is completely skin bald, you will most likely need a second
procedure for that area. However, this will be solely based on your own personal expectations.
A cheap implant will cost you more than just money as most cheap implants will not yield the results you desire and therefore you will spend more than you intend on two or more procedures all in an effort to gain density. Also, with a cheap implant you have a high risk of something going wrong and having a botched surgery, requiring more money to correct it. Spending more in the beginning will save you more in the end.
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Dr. Brett Bolton is the founder of Great Hair Transplants, a hair restoration clinic specializing in
hair implants for both men and women. Our organization is internationally known and serves patients
with genetic hair loss from all over the United States and the world.
Most of our hair loss patients travel from outside our Great Hair Transplants local area. In fact, we have treated patients from all parts of the world. We feel that you shouldn’t be penalized for having to travel to find the best hair transplant doctor. That’s why we offer a hair replacement travel incentive of up to $1,000 for our patients. For additional information on this topic please visit our travel incentive page.
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