I was interested in getting a strip surgery in a couple of years. I was wondering if it better for a person to get a large session done at one time such as 4500 grafts? Or is it better for a person to get a smaller session such as 2500 grafts, and then wait for a few months and get additional 2000 grafts? Also, I have noticed that doctors provide a discount after 2500 grafts. Are they encouraging people get larger sessions done?
On the hair loss forums I have seen a person picture where he got 4000 grafts implanted through the FUE method. This man paid for 4000 grafts, but his surgery resulted in a failure. In the end he lost money, and had to live in embarrassment for the rest of this life. I was wondering if the strip surgery has similar risks for large sessions?
It is not all about numbers. You need a doctor who understands the progression of your hair loss — how to address future hair loss along with present hair loss. You need a plan rather than just thinking of short term goals. Each and every patient is different, with different needs and different hair loss degrees. To some it may be reasonable to have a 4000 graft surgery and be done with the entire ordeal. But with 4000 grafts at one time may come a large donor scar. My point is that your surgeon should discuss all of these factors and give you a Master Plan tailored to your genetic hair loss pattern and your social needs.
We are all born with a finite amount of hair. Some people have more donor hair and some people have less. The availability of hair is a demand (how much you need) / supply (how much you have) issue that must be understood by everyone who is going to have a hair transplant.
The cost of the surgery, while it is a factor, should not be the main factor in your decision making process. Hair transplant surgery is permanent and I am always flabbergasted at the patients who seek out the lowest bidder. This is not like buying a car. The surgeon and the medical group, no matter what they advertise, are ALL different in their techniques and results. Not all strip surgery is the same and not all FUE surgery is the same. As you clearly point out with the failure of the 4000 graft FUE surgery you saw on a forum, the results will be forever and any hair loss from failed or poorly done hair transplants can not be priced just by doing another transplant. The hair supply reduces with every transplant, so losing money can be replaced by more money, but if the hair is gone, then there is no solution. Valuable donor hair reflects more value than losing money.
Of note, at NHI we discount after 2500 grafts (on the 2501st graft and beyond). The first 2500 grafts are still charged at standard cost. We were the first to advocate the Megasession way back in 1992, when hardly any medical groups were doing them, but we have rarely performed strip surgery in the 4000 to 5000 graft range because not all patients have the donor density and scalp elasticity for such surgery in one session.
I do know that you, the consumer, may be disillusioned by the belief that more grafts may be better, but understand that some doctors treat hairs as grafts. You can cheat by cutting 2 or 3 or 4 hair grafts in to single hair graft and artificially come up with more grafts while paying for the same number of hairs. In other words, a 2000 graft session of 2-hair grafts is equal to 4000 graft made up of 1-hair grafts. I am not stipulating that this is a common practice, but it is a practice I am sure that occurs when money is an issue and the perception of more is a marketing strategy. It illustrates again that not all hair transplants, not all doctors, and not all medical clinics are the same. Do your homework.