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The Cold Hard Facts: The Risks and Rewards of Hair Transplants

Those infomercials that seem to always be playing on some channel make it all look so enticing. A simple hair transplant could give me my hair back! We see all of these smiling guys (and a few women) with a good amount of hair on their heads saying it was the best decision they have ever made. However, they don’t really go into the specifics during those infomercials. If they did, it wouldn’t sound like such a great deal. There is quite a bit of risk when deciding to get a hair transplant. The reward of a nice head of hair is awfully alluring, but you should carefully consider your next move before you jump on board.


Do You Have Enough Hair Left to Transplant Effectively?

You need an adequate supply of thick hair to choose from if you want a hair transplant to look good. This hair will be taken from the sides and back of your head as most of the time, this hair will not fall out later on due to the dreaded DHT (dihydrotestosterone). This is why you see most older men walking around with that horseshoe of hair left on their head. 

However, keep in mind that this hair will eventually thin out over time as you age. And, depending upon your genetics, you may lose some of it as well. Do you have enough hair on the sides and back of your head to almost fully replace the hair missing on the top of your head? Get a second or third opinion if you are in doubt. 

How Many Transplants Will You Actually Need?

Hair transplants can take slightly thinning hair on the top of your head and make it look much thicker. But if you are getting this done while you are still in your twenties, just how many more procedures will you need to keep this appearance? Most people that decide to get hair transplants will usually need a few, otherwise they won’t get the desired look they are going for. They will continue to lose more hair on the top of their heads and have to replace it with hair from the sides and the back. It will be a continuous process. Think about what will happen if you decide to just stop.

It’s Not as Easy as You May Think (There Is a Bit of Scarring)

In the infomercials they make it look so simple. You sit down and watch a movie or two while assistants (and possibly a doctor) remove strips of your hair from the back of your head, cut it up into individual hairs and small groups, and then basically replant it into incisions on the top of your head. You actually could end up with a couple thousand small incisions on the top of your head and stitches on the back of your head.

In a few months, possibly up to ten, you will have new hair growing where it was a bit thin before. However, be prepared for some scarring here and there on your head. There will be a noticeable line of scarring on the back of your head from where they cut out the donor hair and a bit of scarring on the top of your head from some of those small incisions. Of course, these scars will be almost impossible to see if you have a good head of hair covering them up. But if your hair is still quite thin, you could be getting noticed for all the wrong reasons. 


Just How Much Is the Cost?

The cost of getting a quality hair transplant is what probably keeps so many people from getting one. First off, you should be aware that your insurance plan will not be covering any of the price of the procedure. It is difficult to get health insurance in the first place to cover needed surgeries. If you call up your provider and ask them how much they will kick in for a hair transplant procedure, there is a very good chance they will laugh you right off the phone. 

Getting a hair transplant procedure is not cheap. WebMD and HealthLine recently stated that you can expect to pay between $4,000 and $15,000 for one procedure. When you consider that you may need three or more hair transplant procedures for a good look with enough hair to cover your scalp, it gets pretty expensive. Of course, they do offer payment plans and loans since most people do not have this much disposable cash on hand. Still, making that large of a financial commitment, all so that you still have a good amount of hair when you take your hat off, can make most of us have second thoughts. 

Be Ready for a Lifetime Commitment of Propecia

In an effort to keep the hair you currently have, the doctor who is supervising your hair transplant will probably want you to start on Propecia immediately. This will help you keep hair loss at bay and maybe even regrow some hair in the process after you get the transplant procedure done. 

You could be better off just giving Propecia a try for a year and seeing how you respond to it alone. Perhaps the results could be good enough where you don’t even need a transplant anymore. However, be ready to make a lifetime commitment to the drug. If you ever stop taking it for a couple of months, you will just go back to losing more of your hair. 

Consider Another Option with Low-Level Laser Therapy

Instead of relying on medications and surgeries, you could just choose a much simpler option that won’t break the bank or leave you with scars (both mentally and physically). Low-level laser therapy has shown that it can help regrow hair and maintain the hair you currently have. Plus, it’s much less expensive than having to undergo hair transplant surgery. For best results, consider using a laser cap that has a high amount of laser diodes for a considerable time frame ranging from six to twelve months.

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