Could a hair transplant abroad save you money? More Brits than ever are traveling abroad for the treatment – all at a fraction of domestic prices.
In a report by the American Hair Loss Association, they found that two thirds of men will have some sort of hair loss before they reach their mid-thirties. And by the time they reach 50, the majority (85%) will have considerably less hair.
Spending a lot of my time writing and shooting YouTube videos about men’s hairstyles and hair care, the issue of hair loss has definitely been something that I’ve thought about. That said, I worry about it less than I used to.
If I begin to lose my hair, I know that there are procedures out there to help me.
What’s the difference between hair loss and baldness?
Hair loss and baldness are actually two distinct issues.
True ‘baldness’ is a genetic issue that usually worsens with age. It can start at any age, but it can be as young as twenty.
Interestingly, pattern baldness (which isn’t just a male issue, women get it too) usually begins at the front of the head and at the crown; while the hair at the back of the head is the least likely to stop growing.
How hair transplants work
Hair transplant surgery works by taking the stronger hairs from the back of the head (which grow in ‘follicular units’) and relocating them to the front of the head. This means that you may not be a perfect candidate for treatment if you have very little hair.
There are two main techniques for spreading your healthy hair around;
- FUE (follicular unit extraction); and
- FUT (follicular unit transplant).
FUE is more expensive as it moves the follicle units one by one, while FUT relocates a small strip from the scalp and either relocates it as a whole or breaks it up.
FUE allows the clinician to ensure that the hair falls naturally and that the hair line looks as good as it can.
Hair transplants costs
The one-by-one approach in FUE is – as you can well imagine – painfully slow.
A single treatment might continue for as long as 8 hours with a group of clinic staff involved; and the patient might need multiple days of treatment. This explains why in the UK you can easily pay up to (and over!) £40,000 for treatment at a top clinic.
The FUT method is less expensive, and surgically removes a thin strip of hair from the back of the head, which is then concealed by joining the remaining scalp. The hair units are harvested to be used where needed at the front.
In 2011, Wayne Rooney was reported to pay 15K for his first treatment at a clinic in Manchester and has been reported to have had more work done to ‘fill in’ the new areas appearing.
Keeping costs down
The treatment is fast becoming the most popular reason for medical tourism. According to clinic comparison site WhatClinic.com, Turkey, Poland and Hungary are all seeing a surge in patients from the UK.
Prices in the UK have, however, become a lot more competitive as the number of clinics offering the procedure increases. There are no less than 84 dedicated hair transplant clinics in London, with the same number again scattered round the UK. On top of the dedicated clinics, the site shows that there are over 100 hair loss clinics, which offer everything from massage, medication and acupuncture as means to alleviate the issue.
Data provided by the site highlights that more people are now seeking treatment in Eastern Europe and Asia, where prices can be up to 90% cheaper than clinics at home!
In fact, enquiries to overseas clinics have more than doubled (105% growth) year-on-year, from 2016 to February 2017.
Hair transplant abroad: Where are Brits heading?
Turkey holds the largest market share for medical tourism treatment. It is the most popular overseas destination for Brits and receives 70% of total overseas enquiries.
While this is an impressive stat, the demand for better value has seen patients reach even further afield booking trips to the UAE, India and Thailand in search of cheaper treatments.
Closer to home, Spain and the Czech Republic have also started to compete for patients, by offering concierge medical tourism packages, that include accommodation, transfers and even UK based follow ups, for convenience.
|Ranking based on total volume of enquiries||County of clinic||Change in enquiries from UK users over the past year||Average price of hair transplant||% of total overseas enquiries|
|10||United Arab Emirates||465%||£1,980||1%|
*Where large numbers of prices weren’t available for averages, sample prices from local clinics were used. Based on 24 months of data up to end of January, 2017.
Hair transplant surgery is a really interesting topic which is attracting the attention of more and more guys. With a boost in demand for the treatment, the industry looks set to continue to grow.
I’m really very keen to monitor the development in hair transplant surgery and see how it can change the lives of men across the world.