The process of finding a hair transplant surgeon that you like is quite time-consuming. As I started my quest to find one I was struck by the fact how costly the procedure is. Since it is a cosmetic procedure insurance won’t pay for it, and IRS won’t allow you to use your flexible spending account since it is not considered a qualified medical expense. So basically it is an out of pocket expense, and a big one.
There are two types of hair transplant procedures. One is called Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) and the other is Follicular Unit Transplant (also called the strip method). In FUE, hair follicles taken from the donor site are individually implanted into the bald area. In FUT, a donor strip from the back of the head is taken and divided into small grafts (each graft can have 2-5 hair follicles), which are then transplanted to the bald area. The problem with FUT is that leaves a permanent scar. The FUE method does not leave any scar but is generally more expensive.
So first let me briefly summarize the differences between FUT and FUE in the following table.
|Less expensive||More expensive (up to 2x)|
|A strip of hair from the back of the head (donor area) is removed, cut into smaller pieces called grafts and inserted into bald area||Individual hairs are taken from donor area and inserted into bald area|
|Leaves a linear scar||Does not leave a scar|
|The surgery takes about half a day||Takes almost a full day|
|Each graft contains 1-4 hair follicles||A single hair follicle is inserted into the recipient area|
|Does not require shaving your head||Require shaving back of the head, the donor area|
|The procedure takes about half a day||Takes almost a full day|
Both types of surgery are performed under local anesthesia and there are minimal risks, if any, associated with them. Your surgeon will discuss the risks with you at the time of initial consultation.
In my next blog post, I will share my experience with hair restoration surgeons I visited.
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