1. What is the cost?
This depends where you go. Prices in the UK are high, prices abroad are much lower. I chose to go to Budapest and paid £2000 for 1000 grafts (3000 hairs). This procedure in the UK would cost between £7000 and £10,000.
2. What is the difference between grafts and hairs?
A graft is a small circular piece of skin taken from the back of your head approximately 1mm in diameter. This graft will contain between 3 and 5 individual hair follicles. I paid for a package of 1000 grafts. They took just under 950 in the end, but from that got over 3300 individual hairs.
3. How many grafts or hairs will I need?
This depends on what the extent of your hair loss is, and the result you want to achieve. I wanted my hairline back at the front. The hairline requires more hairs than the top or back of your head as it’s the most visible area. I needed 1000 grafts or 3000 hairs. If you are bald on top or at the back you’ll need a similar amount, but spread thinner over a larger area. If you are bald on top and at the front you may need 2000 grafts (6000 hairs) for a complete reconstruction.
4. Where is the cheapest place to go?
Currently it’s Turkey. I paid £2000 in Budapest. The same procedure would on average cost between £1500 and £1750 in Turkey. And they have one of the largest concentrations of clinics. After Turkey its Budapest, and then Poland. The same procedure costs around £3000 in Poland.
5. Is it safe to go abroad?
Absolutely, but do your research. Make sure you read reviews and be mindful of how the staff speak to you, and the quality of their communication and paperwork. This was by far the scariest part for me. So I read lots of reviews and asked for sample pictures. I chose to go to the Hair Palace in Budapest because their communication, knowledge, sales process and clinic all looked amazing – and they were!
6. Where does the hair come from?
The back of your own head. The back of your head is also referred to as the ‘permanent zone’- you don’t lose this hair.
7. Will I reject the hair or have complications?
The odds of this happening are incredibly slim because it’s your own hair, your own tissue. It’s just moved from the back to the top or front of your head. And the procedure is not invasive, it’s cosmetic, just on the outside of your scalp. Your clinic will be able to go into this thoroughly with you.
8. Is it painful?
Not really. You arrive on the day of the procedure and take a few pain killers and other medications. You then have a couple of injections to numb the pain in your scalp – this part hurts a little but the painkillers kick in almost immediately. You don’t actually feel the procedure at all because by this point you are numbed. Afterwards you are little bit sore and red, but for me it was hardly noticeable.
9. How long does the procedure take?
The procedure in total took about 6 hours. The first half was extraction, the second half was spent inserting the hair into the front of my scalp. I arrived at the clinic at 9am, and was in a taxi on my way back to the hotel by 3.30pm. Honestly I fell asleep during the extraction in the morning. I woke, had some lunch and went back in for the hair insertion. This is the fun part, the part when you actually see your hair coming back. You get the option to select a film to watch in the background. I got almost to the end of Iron Man and I was done. A bigger procedure may be split over 2 days, an extraction day and a insertion day.
10. How long does the healing take / How long before it looks good?
In total it takes around 12 months to fully heal and to see the final completed result. By 6 months you look fairly normal. It’s the early months that are the most difficult. For me there was redness and swelling for the first few weeks. The new hair falls out and slowly starts growing back between 4 and 12 weeks – so you look sunburnt for the first couple of months. By 6 months my hair was back and although there was some redness you could no longer see it because the hair covered it. And from that point progress speeds up.
11. Will there be scarring?
Because I chose to have a FUE hair transplant I do not have any scarring. You cannot tell that I have had a procedure, in fact most people are shocked when I tell them I have. I can shave my head all the way down to a grade 1 or a skin fade and there are no noticeable scars.
12. Will I lose more hair or need further procedures?
The back and sides of your head do not bald (typically that is, other conditions or forms of Alopecia will affect you differently). When it comes to male pattern baldness (MPB) it’s the hairline, crown and top that thins and goes bald. If you go bald completely on top then you’ll probably just need the one procedure to reconstruct your hair. If you have a procedure to reconstruct just a part of your hair, then as you grow older you may recede further and require a top up (unless you take hair loss medication). So it depends at what stage in life you decide to have a procedure. I had a procedure to reconstruct my hairline at the front. My crown is thinning slightly at the back. So I will mostly likely go back for a second procedure as I go in to my 40’s.
A second option is to manage your hair loss with medication. In which case you may not suffer further hair loss and may not need further procedures.
13. How many procedures can I have?
This depends on how many grafts are taken per procedure. The numbers vary widely on this topic. You could have 4 or 5 smaller procedures, or 1 or 2 larger procedures. You have to asses this on an individual basis.