Male pattern baldness is incredibly common, with research revealing that it’s a problem that affects 80% of white men in their lifetime. However, although it’s a problem faced by most men, this doesn’t mean those affected are any less self-conscious about losing their hair.
As men can lose more than 100 hairs a day without anyone noticing, some people control their thinning hair by using steroid injections or drugs like finasteride and minoxidil. However, if you have significant bald patches or your hair is noticeably thinning, you may need a solution that’s a little more substantial.
As a result of technological advancements, we’ve seen hair transplants in the UK become increasingly common. But with research showing that a hair transplant from a clinic in the UK can cost up to £30,000, many people often wonder if it’s cheaper to get a hair transplant abroad.
The answer to this appears to be a resounding ‘yes’ and Turkey is considered the go-to destination. Currently, more than 5,000 people per month travel to Turkey for their procedure, with the country receiving 70% of total overseas enquiries. It’s easy to see why. After all, the cost of a hair transplant in Turkey is generally between £1,500 and £3,500, depending on the exact procedure – that’s around 10% of the cost of receiving the same treatment at a high-end clinic in the UK.
While this is certainly impressive, Turkey isn’t the only location Brits are visiting, and some thrifty Brits have even ventured as far as the UAE, India and Thailand in search of cheaper treatments.
How do hair transplants work?
Whether you’re receiving your treatment in the UK or somewhere abroad, the type of hair transplant you choose will largely determine the cost of the treatment.
Generally speaking, hair transplants work by taking the follicular units that grow at the back of your head and moving them to the area where you’re experiencing the baldness. There are two ways this is done:
Follicular unit extraction (FUE)
With an FUE procedure, small incisions are punched around individual hair follicles at the back of the head. Then, a surgeon will individually extract each follicle and harvest the grafts. Once they have removed the required number of hair follicles, your surgeon will implant the grafts at the front of your head (or in an area where you’re suffering from hair loss).
As the follicular units are moved one by one, FUE treatments are much more labour-intensive than other forms of treatment. However, there’s much more scope for your clinician to work precisely and ensure that the hair falls naturally.
Similarly to this, the process of undergoing an FUE transplant is also incredibly slow. In fact, it’s not uncommon for people with significant issues to undergo several days of treatment, with each session lasting up to eight hours. These sessions are often overseen by teams of clinicians who work in shifts to complete the transplant.
Due to the number of staff members involved, the time it takes to complete the work and the painstaking nature of removing and replacing follicles one by one, FUE is the most expensive form of treatment available. As an example, since 2011, England football star Wayne Rooney has undergone several FUE procedures and top-up treatments in Manchester and London. The procedures have reportedly cost him more than £30,000.
Follicular unit transplant (FUT)
If you believe that an FUE transplant is too expensive, an FUT procedure could be a better approach.
With an FUT procedure, rather than individually removing each follicle, your clinician will remove a small strip or section from the back of your head. For this reason, FUT transplants are sometimes referred to as ‘strip surgeries’.
Once the strip has been removed from the scalp, your clinician will then either relocate this as an entire strip if you have a large bald patch, or they’ll break it down into smaller strips and reattach it where it’s needed at the front of the head. Usually, the strip is placed under a microscope and is divided into individual follicular units that each contain between one and four hairs. These are then placed in a chilled tissue storage solution until they are transplanted.
Following the transplant, the donor area where the skin has been removed is stitched up and covered with the surrounding hair. When the stitches are removed, a linear scar remains (although this is covered by hair).
As FUT transplants are not as labour-intensive as FUE ones, they’re often cheaper and quicker to complete. In fact, FUT transplants only usually require one day in surgery and can be completed in as little as four hours.
Sadly, when men start losing their hair they often feel self-conscious, less sexually appealing, and older. However, thanks to modern technology, it’s now easier and safer than ever to cure male-pattern baldness. Plus, thanks to foreign providers, it’s cheaper than ever, too. As a result, you may feel like the cost of a hair transplant is a small price to pay for restoring your physical appearance.