Hair loss, for those who go through it, is a pressing psychological stress. It can be caused by a variety of reasons from genetics to anxiety and there are various methods of treating it with varying success. But all the methods are for hair loss in its early stages, for those past the initial stages and want to have hair back, hair transplant (in Korea and everywhere else) is actually the only proven solution.
Hair transplant involves collecting hair follicles from other parts of the head and transplanting them to areas of the head where hair loss has progressed. Usually, hair is collected from the back of the head as this is where hair loss is least likely to occur. Hair transplant is the only fundamental solution to gaining hair back with few health-related side effects (compared to other medicinal treatments) but it does come with a financial burden for the surgery itself. But hair transplant surgery is a common procedure in Korea with lower costs than many other countries.
Why is Hair Transplant Surgery Costs in Korea so Low?
Korea's bald population is estimated at more than 10 million. Among them, 220,000 to 250,000 patients of hair loss undergo some treatment each year. Hair transplant is becoming a very common procedure, with the most popular hair transplant clinic in Korea, Mozerim, recording a growth of 44% in the annual number of operations done. Due to growing competition, the cost of hair transplants are becoming much more affordable.
Here is the price difference between Korea and the United States
Cost for 1000 graft
Korea USD 1300 ~2200
USA USD 4000 ~ 8000
What you should know before Hair Transplant Surgery in KoreaImage Source
The most important factor to a successful hair transplant is the survival rate of the graft . The doctor's skill highly factors into how high the rate of graft survival is and a team is usually dedicated to hair follicle isolation. This is why finding a well-experienced surgeon with a capable medical team is of paramount importance.
Also in recent years, the "design" of the hairline and hair style in accordance with the head shape is becoming more and more important. For example, even with the same number of hair graft transplanted, the outcome can look different in terms of how abundantly endowed with hair it looks.
Hair Transplant Surgery Types and Costs
Hair transplant is a procedure where the hair follicles are transplanted into the scalp. This involves transplanting by the root of the hair which are the the tissues that make our hair. Hair is made of a protein called Keratin. The transplanted hair retains the characteristics of the hair it was taken from, so when hair from the back of the head is used, the transplanted hair has the lifetime hair production capacity of the hair from the back of your head. The number of grafts needed is different for each individual, depending on the progress of hair loss he or she has. In general though, a number ranging between 500 to 5000 grafts is needed.
FUT (Follicular Unit Transplant)
Also known as the incisional method, strip procedure of FUSS (Follicular Unit Strip Surgery), FUT is a method of incisioning the back part of the head, isolating the hair follicles and transplanting into the hair loss area. This method is known to have a higher graft survival rate (90%+) than the other method. The commonly agreed reason is that there is less damage to the follicle in the process of follicle isolation and collecting. This method also has the advantage of being able to transplant hair more precisely. The catch is, that you may have a blunt scar on your scalp.
Cost (per 2000 grafts) in Korea :
USD 2000 ~
FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction)
Also known as FT (Follicular Transfer), involves cutting the hair in the back of the head and using a punch to extract the hair follicles. The hair follicles are then transplanted into the intended area of hair loss using a slit or hair implanter. Compared to FUT, FUE leaves no scar and is a less painful procedure. However, the procedure takes longer and is more expensive since the hair follicles must be extracted one by one. The doctors skill can raise the survival rate of the graft even to as high as that of FUT, but generally it is much lower. This is a difficult procedure, and an option that may not be available to you if you have experienced severe hair loss already.
Cost (per 2000 grafts) in Korea :
USD 3000 ~
Hair Transplant Pain and Recovery
Most hair transplants are performed with local anesthesia appliced to the scalp. However, if the patient's level of fear is too great, he or she can be put to sleep during the hair collection procedure. But generally, it is a low risk operation in terms of anesthesia because there is no need for general anesthesia.
Duringthe first three weeks of the transplant, you will experience hair falling out from the transplanted area. However after about three months, new hair will grow in the rea. The hairs that survive and grow during this period will have the same lifespan of the original hair it was transplanted from.
For FUT, if you had sutures, you may feel a slight tingling pain in the area of the sutures, but this will generally last no more than 2 to 3 days. You may return to your daily life and work in around two days. But for FUE, there is no recovery period of note and you may return to daily life the following day of operation.(FUT Scar Image) Image Source
Before and After Photos of Hair Transplant in Korea