Tip 6 OF 10 To Insure You’ll Get The Best Hair Transplant Procedure:
How to Get the Best Value for Your Surgical Hair Restoration Cost
A hair transplant is not only a high ticket item, it’ll be permanently attached to you, going everywhere you go, so you’re not looking for a cheap or inexpensive hair transplant – instead you’re looking to get the best value for your money. Right off the top we’ll tell you that to get the best value for your money, you want to go with the state-of-the-art in surgical hair restoration: FUT (follicular unit transplantation) or FUE (follicular unit extraction).
Beware The Low-Ball Quote
One tactic you’ll want to be aware of is “low balling.” Low balling is a selling technique where you’re offered an item or service at a price lower than its perceived value (i.e., a too-good-to-be-true price). Later, the seller uses techniques to try to raise the price. For example, after you agree to an initial price, the doctor may slowly suggest other services you might want to consider thus increasing the bill.
You might think you’d be immune to this technique but — think again. It is surprisingly persuasive and effective. Social psychology researchers in 1978 effectively demonstrated that getting people to first agree to an initial set of acceptable conditions made it easier for them to accept changes to the conditions that made them more costly than if they were presented with the most costly conditions up front*.
If you go with the extra costs, you may be happy with the eventual outcome, but this is less than a fully honest way of doing business. A worse outcome would be to not budge on the low ball quote, get a sub-standard or incomplete restoration and then be completely miserable with the outcome.
In the end, if you think you’re being low-balled, see another doctor.
You Want to Pay a Single Fee for Everything
Probably the most common system is for the patient/client to pay a set value for each graft transplanted. Usually, the price ranges from $3 to $7 per graft. The typical number of grafts transplanted is around 2000, for a typical case value of $8000. Pricing a hair transplant this way has an obvious drawback: The surgeon and the staff must count every single graft. This is a very arduous task with a lot of room for error. While any normal errors will have little to no noticeable effect on the final outcome, you could be paying less or more than then you need to.
A far better way to pay is just agree to pay a set price for the final outcome. Your doctor should be able to clearly explain how they count grafts, the estimated coverage and look, and what percentage of grafts they expect to lose during the transplant — a very small percentage of grafts may not take or could be damaged during the procedure. This is normal and common, and your doctor will allow for a certain amount of expected lost so it does not negatively impact your outcome.
Overall, the single set fee should be for the procedure, suture removal and all follow ups. There shouldn’t be any hidden fees but some offices will attempt to sell custom products after the procedure for hair care. Realistically, all that is needed product wise after the procedure is to keep the grafts moist with salt water spray and a gentle shampoo. (For more post-op money savings tip, see post: Tip #2 How to Save Money On Hair Transplant Post Operative Care).
If you’re quoted a single price, be on guard against high pressure sales tactics. Again, surgical hair restoration is a high-ticket item and you want to take your time to reach a decision. (For more tips on how to decide, see post: Tip #5 Have Realistic Hair Transplant Outcome Expectations).
You also want to be aware of a pricing technique called graft splitting**. This is another pricing technique designed to make a hair transplant appear less expensive than it really is. Hair transplants involve transplanting grafts which contain anywhere from 3 to 12 hairs (sometimes called a mini or micro-graft). Rather than charge you by the graft, some doctors may charge you by the number of hairs which makes it seem like you’re getting more for your money.
When talking to different doctors be sure your comparing price based on grafts versus hairs or whole grafts verses split grafts. Be an educated buyer. When a doctor talks grafts, ask him or her about how many hairs are in each graft. At the high end, standard grafts (called plugs) contain 12 – 30 hairs***. Mini- and micro-grafts contain 4-12 vs. 1-3 hairs respectively. A micrograft is on par with follicular units, the smallest biological natural grouping of hair follicles.
If the cost of the procedure truly is the single most important factor, you can probably find a qualified doctor to negotiate the price. They may be able to give you a reduced rate if they’re trying to fill a last minute spot on their schedule or if they are having a slower than normal month.
In the end, to get the best value for your money, be an educated buyer by understanding how hair transplants are priced, watch out for potentially shady pricing techniques, and — perhaps most importantly — get to know your doctor; thoroughly research your doctor, his or her credentials, reviews, past patients, and trust your instincts.
Previous Tip: Have Realistic Hair Transplant Outcome Expectations
© 2013, Anapelli Hair Clinic
*See Low-ball procedure for producing compliance: Commitment then cost. Cialdini, Cacioppo, Bassett, and Miller (1978).
*** Note that state-of-the-art FUT and FUE hair transplants never use grafts of this size.