In recent years, hair transplants have become a much better value. Not only has quality improved dramatically but graft prices have come way down.
The leading hair transplant clinics are doing larger surgical sessions that have improved hair transplant cost efficiencies for patients while providing thicker and fuller results. Increased competition and price shopping online has also driven prices down.
How Much Does a Hair Transplant Cost?
Twenty plus years ago it was not unusual for a clinic to charge as much as $15 per graft while providing patients with only small sessions of a few hundred grafts.
Today, the average cost of a hair transplant depends on several factors.
Firstly, the location of the hair transplant surgeon can dramatically affect the price. Secondly, the type of harvesting technique that is being utilized i.e. FUSS or FUE can impact hair restoration cost.
Lastly, the number of grafts required to restore the individual's hair or reach their desired appearance can dramatically alter the price of surgery.
Factors Affecting Hair Transplant Cost:
1. The Type of Procedure Chosen
• FUE: FUE is a minimally invasive procedure that involves a hair transplant surgeon removing follicular units one by one from the patients’ donor site with a small punch between the sizes of 0.7 and 1mm in circumference.
Visible signs of hair loss occur once 50% of the natural density has been lost. This formula can also be applied to the donor supply (back and sides of the scalp) of a patient.
Most individuals are born with approximately 100,000 hairs on their head. This means a typical Norwood 6 patient would have approximately 25,000 hairs in their safe donor zone (area safe from the effects of DHT). The majority of individuals have about 2 hairs per graft, so if we do some simple division 25,000 hairs break down to 12,500 grafts.
Now since we know hair loss does not become visible until 50% of density has been lost, most patients would be able to transplant 6,250 grafts via Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE). Now it's important to remember these numbers are not set in stone and will vary from person to person. Some may have more grafts available and some may have less.
But how does this relate to hair transplant cost? The bottom line is, FUE is more expensive and typically costs between $6 dollars and $10 a graft.
• FUSS or Strip Surgery: FUSS or Strip Surgery is performed by removing a strip of donor tissue from the back and sides of the scalp which are genetically resistant to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Strip surgery relies on the elasticity of a patient’s scalp, because every time a strip of donor tissue is removed, the patients' scalp becomes tighter and loses elasticity.
Thus, reducing the number of surgeries a patient could have without severely compromising the scalp. The term "stripped out" refers to the patients’ scalp which can no longer withstand any further donor tissue removal. The amount of hair transplant procedures an individual can have depends on the elasticity of their scalp. Some individuals can have up to four hair transplant procedures and others may only be able to have two.
Strip surgery is less expensive than FUE and can range anywhere from $2.50 to $5 per graft on average. It is also still considered more consistent than FUE in terms of growth because technicians are visibly cutting the grafts outside of the scalp whereas with FUE, they are blindly being extracted and the surgeon must rely on feel.
2. Number of Grafts
The number of grafts an individual need will vary because each person has a unique size and shaped head. Additionally, the donor hair characteristics of each individual are different. In fact, people with thick, curly coarse hair will require fewer grafts to achieve a dense appearance than an individual with fine, straight hair. However, for the sake of generalizing, most individuals require anywhere from 3,000 to 4,000 grafts in the crown alone to restore density.
Therefore, to restore the hairline and mid-section of the scalp, an individual may require anywhere from 3,500 to 4,000 follicular unit grafts. This means to restore the appearance of fullness in the entire scalp a person may require 7,000-8,000 grafts.
Unfortunately, not many patients have this many grafts available in their scalp donor hair supply. However, the number of grafts available can be expanded if a combination of both FUSS and FUE is employed. This approach is perfect for someone with advanced boldness and good donor hair.
Typically, a surgeon will start with FUSS and perform as many procedures as he or she can over a couple of years until there is no more donor hair available via strip. Then, the surgeon will begin performing FUE to acquire as many grafts as possible over one or more sessions. Performing both procedure types over a long period of time can restore a lot more hair than either procedure type alone.
Luckily, most patients can restore the appearance of fullness in the front 2/3rds of their scalp, leaving the crown (vertex) either bald or with light coverage. Please click on our easy to use graft calculator which is a valuable tool to help you determine how many follicular unit grafts (and hairs) you might need depending on the area of the scalp you need covered and desired density.
Why is location important? It’s simple! The cost of living affects the surgeons overhead which will determine what they are able to charge for the procedure.
For example, in San Francisco, California, the cost of living is 3 to 4x more expensive than the rest of the United States. Alternatively, the housing market in New York is nearly 50% less expensive. So, what does this mean? The wages will have to be significantly higher in California and lower in New York to offset the costs in comparison to other states.
Moreover, the cost of leasing office space will be a lot higher in California and potentially lower in New York. All of these costs factor into what surgeons can charge to be able to stay in business.
4. Travel Expenses
Generally, surgeons will provide travel vouchers for anywhere from $200-500 dollars if you are having surgery performed out of state or out of country.
Some surgeons even provide their own travel accommodations which includes food and lodging. That said, it is important to remember that the determining factor on whether or not to choose that hair restoration surgeon for your procedure should always be their proven ability to produce consistent results.
While convenience and price are important, it’s far better to travel to undergo surgery with a top hair surgeon then go to an unknown local surgeon who may or may not produce excellent results. Remember, donor hair is limited so choose wisely the first time or you’ll end up having to travel anyway for a hair transplant repair procedure with less available donor hair and far less money.
This isn’t to say that a local surgeon can’t produce excellent results. But why take the risk? Now if you’re one of the lucky ones who happen to have a proven, top hair transplant surgeon in their backyard, then there’s no need to travel.
5. The Surgeon you choose and his experience:
Does Price Equal Quality? The short answer is no. But that doesn’t mean that you should go to the cheapest surgeon/clinic either. This is why research is so important. You cannot base your decision solely on cost. There are very good surgeons who perform high-quality results for a reasonably low price, but the vast majority of hair transplant clinics who advertise extremely low prices DO NOT perform high-quality procedures. In fact, the majority of these clinics are known as “black market FUE” clinics.
These black market FUE clinics carry out the entire procedure without the presence of a surgeon or even a doctor. The entire procedure is performed by inexperienced technicians. Conversely, just because a clinic is charging high-prices doesn’t mean they are performing great surgery either.
Comparing Follicular Unit Strip Surgery (FUSS) vs. Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) costs
Hair transplant prices can vary from clinic to clinic however; the type of donor harvesting technique used can alter hair transplant surgery costs.
For instance, a typical follicular units strip surgery (FUSS) procedure can range from $$2.50 to $8.00 per graft, with $4 to $5 per graft being about average. However, a typical follicular unit excision (FUE) procedure - formerly called follicular unit extraction can range from $5 to $15 per graft, with $6 to $10 per graft being about average.
• Follicular Unit Strip Surgery range $2.50-$8 per graft
• Follicular Unit Excision can range from $5-15 per graft
Normally the price per graft also drops as the size of the surgical session increases.
The reason why FUE is typically more expensive is because it’s more tedious and time-consuming to harvest follicular units then via FUSS.
Surgical Hair Restoration Cost Comparison with Non Surgical Treatments
Hair transplant surgery is not inexpensive. But it can be the best hair restoration value since the results life long and natural.
In the long run, the cost of non surgical treatments like a hair system or hair loss medications can exceed the cost of hair restoration surgery.
For example – A quality custom hair replacement system on average costs $1,200 and needs to be replaced about once a year. It then needs to be reattached and groomed every 5 to 6 weeks for about $75 per visit or $675 per year.
The average cost of a hair system + maintenance over 15 years
• Hair system $1200
• Hair system maintenance yearly fee $675
• Hair system annual upkeep over 15 years $28,125.00
Therefore the cost of buying and maintaining quality hair systems over 15 years is about $28,125.00 ($1,200 plus $675 in annual upkeep = $1,875 x 15 years = $28,125.00).
The average cost of multiple hair transplants over a lifetime
• Follicular Unit Strip Surgery 3,000 grafts at $5 per graft = $15,000
• Second Follicular Unit Strip Surgery 2,000 grafts at $4 per graft = $8,000
• FUE procedure 1,000 grafts at 1,000 grafts at $6 per graft = $6,000
Now let’s assume an individual is young with 30+years left to live. The cost of a hair system will far exceed the price of a hair transplant. For example, the price to maintain a hair system for 45 years is $84,375.00, not to mention all of the time and hassle associated with maintaining a system.
Note - The cheapest option is shaving your head with an actual net saving due to no expense for shampoos, conditioners, combs, brushes, or hair stylist. Of course, with this option, you get no hair.
Hair Transplant Cost Worldwide
For the sake of generalizing we will be providing some prices per graft based on the location of the clinic/surgeon.
In the United States, most surgeons charge anywhere from $6 to $10 for Follicular Unit Excision (FUE). For Follicular Unit Strip Surgery (FUSS) the vast majority charge anywhere from $2.50 to $5 per graft. FUE is more labor intensive for the surgeon thus, the prices are more expensive.
In Europe, most surgeons perform FUE, but there are still plenty of surgeons in Europe that perform both. Most surgeons in Europe charge 5-8 Euros per graft for FUE and 4-6 Euros for FUSS.
Medical tourism prices vary depending on the country, but the hair transplant hot-spot has been Turkey in recent years. There are some clinics charging as little as $1 per graft for FUE. Unfortunately, these clinics are leaving many of their patients with no hair growth and a completely depleted donor site (back and sides of the scalp). High-quality hair transplant surgeons in Turkey charge anywhere from $3-5 per graft for FUE.
Another hot-spot destination for hair transplant surgery is India. The vast majority of hair restoration clinics in India charge anywhere from $1-5 per graft. The prices vary from clinic to clinic. This is why consulting with surgeons is important.
Consult a hair restoration physician for a cost estimate.
Your final cost is dependent on how much hair restoration you desire and on which clinic you select.
To get an estimated cost of restoring your hair, do a free consult (link to consult form) with one of our pre-screened and recommended hair transplant surgeons.
Affordable Hair Restoration Prices and Monthly Financing
Today most hair transplant clinics offer free, no obligation consultations with surgical sessions priced either per graft or by the session. Financing with low monthly payments is also often offered.
The Bottom Line
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to surgical hair restoration. This is why consulting with hair transplant surgeons with a proven track record of producing excellent results are important. Getting a personalized quote is essential to receiving long-lasting results that will be undetectable to the general public. Receiving a personalized quote will not only provide the estimated cost of the procedure but will explain how many grafts are required to achieve the desired appearance.
Cost and graft estimates go hand in hand. And remember; don't be afraid to ask questions. This is your scalp have a right to know what's going to happen from A-to-Z before, during and after the procedure.