Should the cost of a hair transplant matter, or are there more important issues to pay attention to? The ISHRS recognizes that patients seeking hair restoration and surgical hair transplant options are oftentimes quite cost conscious. However, one should never forget that hair transplant surgery is a real surgery, and there are many details that should be considered when making the decision to have a hair transplant. When patients are not aware of what these details are, it can lead to a lower quality final outcome especially by fraudulent clinics operating outside the ethical standards of hair restoration surgery.
Know the Facts
The regulations regarding safe health care practices have been established globally, and the cost of delivering safe health care varies regionally according to variable costs of living. (Places where it is cheap to live pay less for all types of healthcare and surgery). This also applies to the cost of hair transplant surgery, with variable prices reflecting cost of living differences and not necessarily the quality of care. It’s important, however, for potential patients who may be shopping for a lower price to be sure they are not giving up healthcare safeguards in exchange for their discount.
The International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) includes members in good standing from around the world where lower costs of living in some countries may be reflected in their surgery fees. However, with the introduction of FUE (follicular unit excision), there has been a rise in unscrupulous clinics often marketed and run by non-doctors, who have learned that they can take shortcuts and process large numbers of patients. They offer a lower fee but also neglect safeguards and protections for patients in how they perform your hair transplant.
Many of these clinics are bypassing the use of licensed physicians, which would normally be performing your surgery, and who’s license requires them to incorporate safeguards, for example, like protecting you from the risk of cross contamination from other patients for infections like hepatitis or HIV. Instead they incorporate low wage, unlicensed assistants (often an illegal practice) that have little to no formal medical training.
While this allows the patient to have lower out-of-pocket expenses for their procedure, the clinic reaps the rewards of performing high volumes of hair transplant surgeries, oftentimes involving ten or more surgeries in a single day. The benefit to the clinic with the high-volume model is a very nice profit. And while patients may believe they are benefitting from receiving a great deal, this belief has increasingly been short lived, when weeks and months later the dream of great results from their discounted surgery eventually turn to nightmares with poor graft growth and unfixable donor area scars.
What is The REAL Cost of Hair Transplants?
What happens when a patient chooses a low-cost clinic that uses unlicensed non-medical people to do your surgery as opposed to a real doctor?
Poor growth, improper graft preparation, mis angled graft placement, unnatural hairlines, a pluggy appearance and complete donor decimation are often reported by patients of such clinics. This is because the emphasis for the clinic is volume; performing as many hair transplants as possible each day for the maximization of profits.
Why should you choose a clinic where a physician performs the surgery?
When a physician has taken the time to earn their medical degree, they will often spend additional time and resources to properly learn their craft so that they can offer the best medical service possible. Many hair restoration surgeons have spent numerous years learning from their peers and attending ISHRS-sanctioned surgical workshops to learn the advanced and basics of proper hair restoration surgery. This significantly reduces the chances of negative outcomes due to the time invested to learn the craft of hair restoration.
Technicians, however, have no such training. Any training that a technician receives in a technician-driven clinic is usually from technicians learning from technicians. And that technician most likely learned from another technician, and so on. This means that there is potentially very little effort and time invested in learning the craft of hair restoration surgery, to the point that the methods necessary for achieving naturalness and high rates of growth are poorly understood.
Moreover, the technicians never went to medical school and are not licensed to practice medicine! Most of these clinics do not understand even the most basic fundamentals of naturalness as it has taken many of the finest hair restoration physicians several years to master this aspect of their craft. All of the research into all of the meaningful areas of hair transplant surgery are performed by doctors, and this information is shared among colleagues.
So, the real cost of hair transplant surgery should be looked at from the perspective of your long-term results and satisfaction and not only from the perspective of how much you can save for your first surgery. The true cost of hair transplant surgery can be found in the details AFTER your first surgery because the repair work you need to correct the previous mistakes made by inexperienced and unscrupulous clinics may make your cheap hair transplant the most expensive surgery that you’d be wise to avoid.