When someone loses their hair, they are faced with many unanswered questions. In years past, those questions usually led to an appointment with a dermatologist. This doctor, who is not a hair loss specialist, would spend a few minutes with the patient and in most cases diagnose the hair loss as androgenic alopecia. This is better known as male or female pattern hair loss. Due to the fact it is genetic it will just be a matter of time before the patient goes bald. How far, or what balding pattern will eventually emerge? Only time will tell. In today’s times, people with hair loss can collect a lot of great information right on the internet. There is website after website that will spell out any conditions you may have. If you do enough research, you will get very close to what is wrong. In this case, it will not be difficult to determine on your own, you have genetic pattern hair loss.
This information that is available on the internet has changed just about everyone’s lives. As in the above example people with hair loss are included. However, sometimes very important information can be excluded. Take for example the auto industry. There are very few, if any, auto dealership website that will give you absolutely all the information you are looking for. They will leave out specific pricing or exact lease payments. The information on those sites is created to give you just enough information to get you to visit the dealership, and no more! The hair restoration industry is no different. However, not only do they show you amazing before and after photos to get you excited, but they leave out specific details about the options you may want to choose from. The option THEY offer is the only way. Their option is better than any other! And, of course, business is business. Everyone wants you to visit for the free consultation.
The hair restoration industry is comprised of three different categories. The first are all oral and topical medications and cold laser therapy. The second is the very mysterious world of the non surgical industry. This includes wigs, toupees, extensions, weaves, or whatever else you would like to call fake hair that is somehow attached to your head. The final category is the surgical hair restoration industry. This includes hair transplants, scalp reductions, flaps, and the new modern day plug method which is referred to as FUE. The hair transplant industry has been hiding a little secret information it does not want you to know for just about twenty years now. That little secret centers around the standard pricing structure and density, or should I say, the lack of it!
In today’s modern day hair transplant clinic, the most common and proven method of surgically removing hair follicles from the back of the head, (the donor area), to the balding areas known as the recipient site is called the follicular unit transplant. As long as the doctor is considered a specialist, meaning they only do hair surgery fulltime, you can rest assure this procedure will be undetectable. Your hairline will be soft and natural. Your scar area in the back of your head should heal well and not be noticeable with just a little hair coverage. Your hair transplant will be considered a success after about two weeks of healing. No one can tell you had the procedure and all that is needed now is a year long wait for the new hair to grow in. This is where the secret lies. In most cases, the patient will come back asking the doctor why there is not more density. Density is the key word. And density is a very ambiguous term. Since you healed properly and everything looks great, you could be presented with two more options. The first is to wait another six months for more growth which will be limited. The second is to have another procedure. Either option you choose, the issue will always be about density.
The science is quite simple. This Follicular Unit Transplant, (FUT), was created because the original technology which is sometimes referred to as “plugs”. Many people said the old style result looked like the hair in a dolls head. In theory, the FUT procedure moves the hair from the back to the front exactly the way the hair is growing. Hair grows normally in little groups one 1 to 4 hairs. As this procedure was used more and more, less people were walking around looking like a doll. This created an opportunity for the doctors to price each graft. Again, a graft could range from 1 – 4 hairs. It even created an appearance that the cost went down. As an example, the plug style procedure would charge $10 for each plug. If 500 plugs were transplanted, the cost was $5000. Now, since the FUT procedure was more efficient let’s assume the price dropped to $5 for each follicular unit graft. If 2000 grafts were moved the cost would be $10,000. But wait a minute; wasn’t the price supposed to drop? Think about it this. The plugs averaged about 10 hairs per plug. Now, let’s do the math and figure out the hairs that were transplanted. The plug surgery moved 500 plugs @ 10 hairs per each plug for a total of 5000 hairs. Remember the total cost was $5000 for that surgery. Now at $5 per FU, the modern day procedure moved 2000 grafts @ $5 each for a grand total of $10,000! Now let’s figure out how many hairs were moved in the modern day FUT procedure. Let’s see, if each follicular unit averages about 2 hairs each that gives us a hair count of 4000! Now you have discovered the secret the hair transplant industry does not want you to know. Now do the math all over again. Except this time price the surgery by the hair. Use $1.25 per hair which is a fair industry standard price. 4,000 hairs @ $1.25 per hair is $5,000. And you were just charged $10,000! So now you see the difference and why 99% of all hair transplant clinics charge by the graft.
There is another part of the secret the hair transplant industry does not want you to know. This one is simple. If the hairs are left bundles with more hair per follicular unit, let’s say an average of 5 or 6 hairs each, the patient will get more density. You may ask why the industry wouldn’t want patients to get more density. The answer is revenue. If the grafts contained more hairs, there would be fewer grafts per surgery. Since the price is set by the graft, less grafts means less revenue. The industry is simply not set up to go backwards and charge more per graft. That would be frowned upon by the consumer. So, the idea has been to create more grafts, with as little tissue as possible, create more revenue, and with less density this creates more opportunity for more surgeries. And more surgeries mean more revenue! What a wild cycle!
There are exceptions to this model, but very few. An example is Dr Brett Bolton who not only set the pricing structure by the hair but also uses his special technology called “Bolton Bundles”. Bolton Bundles may also be referred to as multiple follicular units. He still uses single hair follicular units in the front hairline and temporal peaks for an extremely natural and soft hair line. The key to his success however lies behind the hairline. These Bolton Bundles are grouping of more than one follicular unit. They are kept intact, meaning they are not dissected and separated. An example would be placing a series of Bolton Bundles behind the hairline averaging 4 to 8 hairs per bundle. If you just compare industry standard follicular units which average 2 hairs each to Bolton Bundles which average 6, you immediately get an idea of why the density is taken to a whole different level. This combination of a soft natural hairline and extreme density behind it is what is best for the result. Great density results make for very happy patients! Now you know why Bolton Bundles are the industry’s secret, and if the industry has any say, they will stay that way!