Hair Transplant Costs

During the initial consultation with the doctor for determining whether the patient is a good candidate for hair transplantation, one of the issues to discuss will be the cost of the procedure.

Keep in mind this is surgery, and as with any surgical procedure there is equipment to be used, a suitable, sterile environment in which the doctor can perform the transplants, and the expense of the doctor’s time.

Also keep in mind that this is an option you chose to pursue, so it is best to understand the potential expense involved.

How much does a hair transplant procedure cost?

How much you can expect to pay for the complete procedure will depend on a number of factors.

Obviously, if more than a single transplantation is recommended by the doctor it will be more expensive. However, some doctors may reduce the fees if you will be required to return for multiple procedures.

Another factor will be the experience and expertise level of the doctor. A long history of success will demonstrate the skill of the doctor and thus increases the chances of having a successful and satisfactory hair transplant. This history of success means that the doctor has encountered a variety of problems and situations and has learned to solve these problems to the patient’s satisfaction. Therefore, it is likely that any potential problems encountered with your particular situation will be resolved as well.

In numbers, the average hair transplant procedure cost will be determined on a per graft basis. The more grafts that are required to complete the procedure, the more it will cost the patient. Averages of between $8 and $15 per graft can be found at a number of hair transplant clinics. An average number of grafts replaced during a normal procedure is 1,500 but maximum grafts in a single session can be as high as 5,000.

The math for a single procedure is then:

Minimum number of grafts: $8 x 1500 = $12,000 on the low end or $15 x 1500 = $22,500 on the high end
Maximum number of grafts: $8 x 5000 = $40,000 or $15 x 5,000 = $75,000 on the high end.

Many doctors offer reduced per graft rates based on a sliding scale rate of pay.

In determining whether the expense is higher than you would be comfortable with, consider that value and cost are two different issues. The fact that hair transplantation is a consideration to begin with should speak for the value of the procedure.

The equipment used in the procedure can go unnoticed as the focus of the patient is very often on the skill and competency of the doctor. In hair transplant technology, there are microscopes, coagulators (which is a technical medical term for a device that uses heat to seal areas of bleeding), cauterizers (similar to coagulators), and the most important piece of equipment – a sterile operating environment for the surgeon.

It is likely there will be more than one person present during the surgery. While the anesthesiologist may be present during the initial stages of the surgery, nurses and surgical assistants will be present to observe and monitor the procedure. In the case of cosmetic surgery, two sets of eyes are better than one, since there will be many sets of eyes looking to see the result of the hair transplant procedure!

Specific costs of medical equipment are best stated in ranges rather than specific brands or manufacturers since each doctor will have their own preference and reasons to choose a specific type of machine. Considering this limitation, a cauterizer can cost between $80,000 and $100,000 per unit, and a quality microscope is between $500 and $2,000. Be aware that it is not only the cost of the machine itself, but the required maintenance, annual certification and inspection, and the commonly but repetitively used instruments that are necessary for its basic operation.

For example, in considering the cost of the operating environment, included in the expense are surgical gowns, gloves, scalpels, sterile sheets, masks, and many other items – mostly disposable – that make the expense to the doctor higher for each patient and each procedure. The rental of the operating room (OR) can vary depending on the location because the way an OR is billed may differ. In one example, there is an initial cost for using the room, and then the facility charges by the minute (yes, you read that correctly) in a range between $25 and $54 depending on the complexity of the surgery being performed. That adds up to a range of $1,500 to $3,240 per hour solely for the use of the room. When you hear that time is money, it is especially true with surgery.

The short list of fees and expenses encountered by a doctor does not include their own time for performing the procedure, or their staff and assistants. A competent and successful doctor will have a competent and successful staff to assist. Be certain that you apply the adage of "you get what you pay for", especially when you consider that the hair transplant procedure is a cosmetic surgery.