What Is the Average Cost and Recovery Time of Hair Transplant Surgery?

Question: Please answer the following questions about hair transplant surgery. I would like to know if there is any scarring, the recovery time, the length of the hair transplant procedure, the time it takes for the hair to grow, any steps that I would need to take before the procedure and the approximate price. Answer: If you are considering hair transplant surgery, I highly suggest that you spend a considerable amount of time researching these and other questions on our hair restoration forum and social network. There is much to be learned about this procedure. In the meantime, please see the following, brief answers.

  1. Any surgical procedure will result in some degree of scarring. There are two very different hair transplant procedures. Follicular Unit Hair Transplants (FUT) commonly known as a strip procedure will result in a fine linear scar around the back and sides on the head. After this type of surgery, it is typically necessary to wear your hair a minimum of 1” in length to cover this scar. FUT is the gold standard in hair restoration as it generally provides better yield, the possibility for larger session sizes and it is more affordable. The next procedure is called Follicular Unit Extraction (formerly known as Follicular Unit Extraction) (FUE). With this procedure, follicular unit grafts are extracted individually. The scarring in this procedure is typically very minor and in many cases may allow the patient to wear a much shorter hairstyle.
  2. Recovery time varies from patient to patient. Most patients take between one and two weeks off from work after their procedure. Sutures are typically removed at around 7 days and the grafts are considered to be firmly anchored by ten days post-op. Depending on a variety of factors including the amount of existing hair one has, skin tone and healing characteristics, your transplant may be undetectable in less than one month’s time. However, some patients remain very pink in the recipient area for two to three months.
  3. The length of the procedure depends on the number of grafts and the type of procedure but you can count on anywhere from 5 to 8 hours for a typical hair transplant.
  4. The transplanted hairs will begin to sprout between 3 and 4 months post-op. It will take one year for the hair transplant to fully grow and mature.
  5. Your doctor will give you a list of things to avoid prior to hair transplant surgery. You will need to avoid caffeine, alcohol and some vitamins and supplements. In addition, your doctor may recommend that you start using Propecia (finasteride) and Rogaine (minoxidil) for several months to one year prior to surgery in order to stabilize your hair loss and regrow as much hair as possible.
  6. In the US the average cost for FUT is between $4 and $6 per graft while FUE costs between $6 and $10. It is more expensive in some countries and cheaper in others.
If you are interested in learning more about hair transplant surgery I recommend you consult our interactive map and locate the prescreened quality hair restoration physicians nearest you. David (TakingThePlunge) Forum Co-Moderator and Editorial Assistant