Why are some hair transplants cheaper than others?
28th February 2019
If you have researched hair transplant surgery online you will probably have seen adverts for apparently low-cost operations, perhaps overseas.
In some countries, the growth of a ‘medical tourism industry’ has seen a proliferation of new hair clinics opening up, many focusing on volume of patients rather than quality. The pressure to undercut competitors drives prices down but inevitably increases risk.
Although there are of course reputable hair surgeons across the world, the reality is that the risks of a substandard or even medically dangerous transplant are significantly higher if you prioritise cost over the experience of a properly qualified hair surgeon in a country with a high degree of regulation, such as the UK.
False economy: The true cost of a botched hair transplant
Unfortunately, at The Maitland Clinic, we receive a significant number of patients who have had substandard hair transplants – often abroad – and now require corrective surgery. Many of these were drawn to clinics by the apparently low costs, but have found that the results in terms of hair growth and pattern have been very disappointing, leaving an unnatural appearance.
Some people in these situations are emotionally devastated when they come to us. As well as the financial cost of the original surgery and the corrective procedures, a botched hair transplant can have severe costs in terms of the stress, damaged confidence, emotional trauma and scarring.
Dr Edward Ball, founder and medical director of The Maitland Clinic, has great experience in conducting successful corrective procedures and hair transplant improvements.
However, it is undoubtedly true that a great deal of money, time and trauma can be saved if patients take care to research their hair surgeon properly and invest in a high-quality procedure at a reputable clinic in the first place.
What should you look out for in a high-quality hair transplant clinic?
Here are some of the factors are essential to look for in a hair transplant clinic, beyond simply the cost.
1) Hospital-level surgery conditions
A hair transplant is a serious medical operation. It should be conducted under proper surgical conditions with the standards of hygiene, anaesthetics and surgical equipment equivalent to a hospital minor surgery suite.
Unfortunately, there have been reports that this is not always the case in clinics where patient turnover and cost-cutting are priorities.
Due to the nature of hair transplant surgery, it is widely accepted as not being a fully sterile procedure. However, at The Maitland Clinic, we take extra care to ensure that our hair transplants are conducted in as sterile conditions as possible. This undoubtedly adds time and expense to the process but we firmly believe that attention to these extra details helps us to achieve the excellent results for which we are renowned.
2) The transplant procedure should be carried out by a qualified doctor
At The Maitland Clinic, you will have a personal consultation and thorough pre-surgery examination by Dr Edward Ball. Dr Ball is a qualified and experienced surgeon, a member of the Royal College of Surgeons of England and a diplomate and examiner for the American Board of Hair Restoration Surgeons.
Dr Ball will also be the person who directly carries out all surgical aspects of the procedure, whether that is FUT or FUE. Although assisted by a small and incredibly talented team of hair transplant technicians, it is only ever Dr Ball who performs the design, anaesthetic, incisions and excisions within all hair transplants at The Maitland Clinic.
We are proud to support the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) campaign “Beware of the Hair Transplant Black Market” which aims to educate the public about the risks of undergoing surgery by non-medical staff in a low-cost clinic.
When choosing a clinic, make sure that the actual procedure will be carried out by your surgeon, not a technician or nurse without the proper qualifications.
3) Artistry and understanding of hair growth
As with all cosmetic surgery, creating a natural-looking hair restoration is as much an art as a science. It requires an intuitive understanding of the underlying mechanics of human hair and its natural angles and directions of growth, and an appreciation of the individual’s face and general appearance. It is not merely a case of applying a surgical technique to an anonymous scalp.
High volume surgeries focused primarily on processing as many scalps per week as possible will inevitably sacrifice artistry, and the results will suffer accordingly.
At The Maitland Clinic, our main priority is to create results that look unquestionaby natural, allowing our patients to forget that they ever had a hair transplant and to make it their choice whether anyone else ever knows about it. Our reputation for naturalness is now well established and is described here by The Hair Transplant Mentor, Joe Tillman.
4) A personal service
Every patient who comes to see us at The Maitland Clinic is unique. It is central to our ethos that we will take the time to talk to you, to observe you, and to get to know you as a person. This informs both the procedure we recommend and the way we approach it to create a natural-looking head of hair that suits you.
None of this is possible in a ‘medical tourism’ situation, where a focus on low cost and high volume means that personal care can be sacrificed.
5) Aftercare and ongoing support
When you leave The Maitland Clinic after your surgery we will provide you with everything you need to look after your hair and scalp, including any essential medication required. But far beyond that, we see our patients as lifelong beneficiaries of our care. We provide ongoing support and advice and offer regular checkups to monitor your hair growth progress. A hair transplant is something that should last your whole life and needs to be maintained as such.
This form of aftercare and ongoing support is simply not possible with a cheap transplant where repair patients often tell us that they were never contacted by the clinic after the day of their surgery.
Choosing a hair transplant surgeon
Cost should only be one factor you consider when deciding where to have a hair transplant. Our advice is to research the clinic and your surgeon properly. Make sure you meet the surgeon face to face well in advance of the procedure to ensure you are fully confident.
You could also ask to speak to previous patients who have had the same procedure. Finally, you should insist on a comprehensive aftercare plan, whether you are having your transplant in the UK or overseas.
At The Maitland Clinic, we provide hair transplants in a professional surgical environment and a high level of personal service and aftercare. To arrange a consultation please contact us, or call on 0800 612 6076.