No one wants to be in the position of needing a hair transplant, but for many, it is the only way to fill in balding areas with real growing hair.
Unfortunately, it can be hard to budget for. The average cost of hair transplant surgery in the US runs between $4,000 and $15,000, depending on how many grafts you need to get the job done. But because it is considered an elective or cosmetic surgery, insurance usually doesn’t cover the cost. Luckily, there’re some smart ways to save money on that procedure.
Opt for the simpler surgery
There are two main methods of hair transplant commonly done today. One, called a follicular unit extraction (FUE), extracts individual follicles and transplants them to the balding area. The other, called a follicular unit transplantation (FUT), takes a strip of skin with multiple follicles and then pulls the follicles to be transplanted from there.
A FUT surgery is easier for the doctor and therefore less expensive for you. The downside is that you will be left with a scar. However, your surgeon should be well-versed in minimizing the appearance of the scar and will do his or her best to make sure it’s not obvious after healing.
Plan payment carefully
To save money on any major purchase, you need to have the cash in hand to pay. Having that procedure done on credit will cost you way more than the sticker price in interest and fees over the years it takes to pay it off.
But, if you do have the money saved, there is a way to snag a discount by using a new credit card. Major credit card providers usually offer incentives to get you to sign up. A good deal is one that will give you a high number of points when you make a large purchase.
Using the points earned with your new credit card can net you a $500 discount or more, provided you are able to pay that bill in full when it comes.
On the other hand, some surgeons offer a discount to patients who are willing to pay in cash. They might also have a no-interest financing plan. Make sure you understand the incentives available from your doctor before deciding how to pay.
Wait for a sale
Many hair transplant clinics have seasonal sales, so it’s worth it to call around and see when those occur at various locations. In a lot of cases, you’ll get a nice discount during the months of November and December. That’s because people get really busy around the holidays and often try to schedule their hair transplant for a quieter time.
That tendency leaves the clinics with a slow period, and they are often interested in boosting demand by offering a discount. If you’re willing to head to Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner with bandages on your head, it could mean a significant financial savings.
There is a huge range in pricing for medical care depending on where in the world you receive it. Many Americans travel abroad for medical procedures and still save money despite the cost of the travel itself.
According to recent reports, the five most affordable countries in which to receive a hair transplant are Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Lithuania, Poland, and India. Of course, if you know someone in a different country than these, you save a lot of money on lodging costs if you stay with them.
Be sure to factor in all the different costs of traveling internationally for surgery in order to determine if you’ll save money. Lodging, food, and entertainment can add up over the weeks you’ll need to stay in order to have a surgical follow-up.
Work your social media connections
This doesn’t work for everyone, but if you happen to have a strong following on social media, you might be able to exploit that audience in exchange for a discount on your hair transplant.
Not many people want to expose their journey with hair transplant surgery, so doctors really appreciate when someone is willing to document the experience and recommend their practice in the process.
If you’re brazen enough to negotiate for this, it might just pay off, for you and your doctor. Just don’t make the mistake of demanding that surgery for free or overpromising results from your marketing efforts.
Do it early
There is a certain threshold for hair loss that your doc will want you to meet before he or she considers you for surgery. But when you do it at the front end of this window, you’ll need fewer grafts and therefore save money.
Know that the early intervention strategy comes with a host of other efforts to help maintain the hair you have and support the regrowth that happens as a result of the surgery.
And, even with all of that work, there is a chance that you’ll ultimately want another transplant. Genetics can be cruel, and sometimes there is just no stopping mother nature.
Don’t do it
Okay, hear us out. There is honestly no better way to save money on a hair transplant surgery than to skip it all together. This could mean a greater focus on other hair loss prevention strategies, like medication, topical treatments, and gentle hair care.
Before committing to any surgery, do some soul searching. There are worse things in life to be than bald, and you certainly aren’t alone. Is your hair loss truly affecting your quality of life? Could that money be better spent on meaningful experiences enjoyed with your family?
If you are sure that you will never feel comfortable in your own skin until you have the surgery, we get it. No judgement here. It’s just important that you have thought through all of your options and come to this decision with clear eyes.
It’s a good idea to have a consultation with a local doctor to get a sense of what your particular surgery will entail and how much it will cost. That’s a great jumping off point for research regarding payment options, potential discounts, and international comparisons. Then, if you do ultimately schedule a surgery, you can feel confident that you have gotten the best possible price.