What are the costs, recovery times and potential complications of hair transplantation surgery?
Approximately two thirds of men experience some degree of hair loss by age 35. About 85 percent have enough hair loss that they make good candidates for hair replacement, such as through hair transplantation surgery. If you find yourself considering your options for hair restoration, surgery is a big consideration. But the results truly can change your life.
Hair Transplantation Types
You no longer need to worry about noticeable “plugs” from hair transplant surgery. Unlike methods of the past, today’s surgeries provide natural-looking results. These methods include follicular unit transplantation (FUT) and follicular unit extraction (FUE).
For FUT, your hair restoration surgeon harvests healthy hair from another area on your head. This procedure involves removal of a strip of donor hair for transplantation where you suffer noticeable thinning. The surgeon attaches this strip in the new location for the follicles to permanently produce new hair.
Of course, FUT is like any other surgery, in that it produces a scar. Your surgeon works to make this scar as minimal as possible. But if you prefer wearing your hair very short, it will remain at least slightly visible.
A newer method of hair restoration surgery, FUE, involves transplantation of individual hair follicles. The surgeon removes these follicular units using a “micro-punching” method. Because the transplanted follicles are so small, you experience little scarring and can enjoy wearing shorter hair styles with confidence. Of course, FUE takes much longer to perform than FUT. FUE is best suited to small treatment areas.
How does hair transplantation surgery work?
Both types of hair transplantation surgery take place on an outpatient basis. You first receive local anesthesia, so you feel no pain. But you remain awake during the procedure that takes about four to eight hours. Some of these surgeries require more than one session, with these additional sessions scheduled on separate days.
Because FUT and FUE are surgeries involving removal of healthy hair for transplantation elsewhere on your scalp, you first sign consent forms. After the procedure, you likely require some bandaging. Before you leave the outpatient setting, you learn about how to care for your surgical wounds.
How much does hair transplantation surgery cost?
How much your hair transplantation surgery costs depends on multiple factors. These include:
- Where you have the surgery
- Which procedure you undergo, FUT or FUE
- Travel required for your surgery
- Which surgeon you choose
- Your individual treatment needs
- Complexity of your hair transplant
Some people require less transplantation than others, to achieve the look they want. You may need multiple surgeries spread out over a period of time. This is an important consideration in your final cost.
Most people pay between $3,000 and $15,000 for hair transplantation. This is a wide range due to all of the individual factors listed above. But your hair restoration is certainly an investment in how you look, feel and carry yourself for years to come. Like any elective procedure, it is your decision whether to have the surgery and it is not medically necessary.
Also because there is no actual health need for hair restoration, the surgery is considered cosmetic. This means your insurance likely does not cover any of the costs. Some exceptions exist for this rule, however. Hair loss caused by injury or illness sometimes falls under insurance coverage. Talk to your insurance agent to understand the rules for your individual healthcare policy.
How much recovery time do I need after hair restoration surgery?
Surgery requires recovery time and personal attention to care of bandaged areas. This involves being careful when removing your dressings and keeping the areas dry and clean.
Your transplant areas and the donor region will experience swelling. Some surgeons prescribe steroid medication to reduce these effects. You will possibly start using minoxidil after surgery, too. This is a topical solution that helps hair grow. Whatever medications your surgeon prescribes, follow the instructions carefully and let them know if you notice irritation or other side effects.
At about two or three days after your surgery, you can very gently wash your hair. But you must avoid wearing pullover shirts for at least a few weeks.
Actual healing time depends on whether you undergo FUT or FUE. FUE surgery requires only one to two weeks of downtime before resuming regular physical activity. But FUT requires two to three weeks.
Complications of Hair Transplant Surgery
Like any other surgery, hair transplantation surgery can lead to complications for some individuals. Some of these complications occur more often than others. Talk openly with your hair restoration professional before your procedure. Ask all of the questions you must, to feel comfortable about any risks involved in your treatment plan.
Some complications possible with hair transplantation surgery include:
- Cyst development at suture area
- Anesthesia reactions
- Heart problems in surgery
- Dissatisfaction with results
Get Your Questions Answered in an Individual Consultation
The best way to get all of the answers you need about the costs, recovery and complications associated with your hair transplantation is to schedule a consultation with AZ Hair Restoration in Raleigh or Apex, North Carolina. Call the Raleigh office on Creedmoor Road at (919) 615-0577. For the Apex office on Williams Street, call (919) 830-3778. Both offices also offer online consultations.