The Price War in the Hair Transplant Industry
The Price War in the Hair Transplant Industry : The Trials and Tribulations. If you are a patient reading this article the prospect of low prices might thrill you. However if you a service provider or a hair transplant clinic in London this means that you may be having to consider the market abroad. The truth is that there is a price war in the hair transplant industry especially for those seeking cheap treatment with no guarantees . Many hair loss patients are being enticed and lured to hair transplant surgery abroad. The promises are endless with lucrative packages designed to promise the earth at rock bottom prices.
If you are considering hair transplant surgery you will have come across many clinics abroad advertising here in the UK. They promise unlimited thousands of grafts, free airport transfers and 5 star hotel stays. The service offered and the comparative prices are too good to refuse. So should you have surgery here or abroad? There are a number of really important factors to consider before jumping in and booking your flight abroad. This is important because it is your body. Hair cannot be created and a hair transplant that has gone wrong cannot be rectified if you have no donor area left. Lets consider the factors you need to think carefully about, starting with the price.
The price war is comparable to the food industry. Aldi and Lidl (metaphorically) are neck and neck with Tesco Sainsbury’s and Waitrose. The puzzle and dilemma for Waitrose and Tesco is as follows. Can the quality of their products be maintained so they compete with cheap supermarket shelves where products are of lower quality and shelf life? This is neither the choice of the food markets, nor suppliers.
Rather it is consumer demand that is steering lower prices.
Price versus quality
Historically any business or service cannot hold on and survive maintaining high quality and customer service at a lower price. This translates to a loss of business in the long term. High quality of products and services always come at a fair price. This can be seen as too high by the consumer especially when they compare UK prices with those abroad. This is accentuated by lower quality providers who are aggressive in marketing and advertising.
Who is doing my surgery?
This is a question you should ask. Your friend may have had a great result from their surgery abroad but will you be getting your surgery from the same person? Will they deliver the same guaranteed results? What happens if you have a novice or a unproven inexperienced hair technician who carries out your surgery and leaves you with scars and transacted hair that does not all grow? Here in the UK if you choose a reputable surgeon you will know the outstanding track record of their great results and the assurance of quality in your results.
A price drop in hair transplants ?
We have seen in the last few years that hair loss patients are often reluctant to pay for the average UK prices as they compare to prices abroad. This is because there is a heavy investment by foreign companies, clinics and brokers into the digital marketing here in the UK.
We can see them selling hair transplant treatments at a fraction of the normal UK price. This begs a few questions. Do they compromise on quality of provision of service in hair transplant surgery if not how are they able to do it? Are consumers of these services not worried about their results? We can certainly share our knowledge and experience with you – the hair loss patient.
In the UK the hair transplant industry and all healthcare services are heavily and strictly regulated by bodies such as the CQC, The General Medical Council, ICO to name a few. Abroad there is no regulation about cross infection, sterilisation and the quality of surgery and who carries this out. You need to therefore be careful of the hygiene and cross infection of any clinic abroad. How can you be assured of this if you cannot visit the clinic abroad? Is the price war in the hair transplant industry worth it?
Responsibility of surgery in the UK
In other words there is a big responsibility and culture of accountability here in the UK. This is true for the services provided to and for the patients. Here in the UK, patients are protected by rules regulations, guidelines and laws. There is a culture of responsibility and working within the scope of competence of the service provider. These normally are the doctors, surgeons and clinic owners. In other words patients are far more protected should something go wrong than they would be protected outside the UK. A patient who is seeking hair restoration by surgical means and is treated in the UK has a recourse. He or she has the right to go back to go back to the service provider and seek rectification or compensation. They wont have this recourse if they go abroad for surgery.
Post-operative care from a clinic will be an issue as a surgeon who is thousands of miles away and does not speak the language that are UK patient would normally communicate in.
Post operative care and accountability
In our experience in our clinic we have had patients from time to time who have been operated on in Istanbul or Budapest or somewhere in Poland and had minor to moderate post-operative problems and had no means of approaching or communicating with the service provider in the country of their treatment.
Hence they are landing in our clinic and are seeking help resolve those problems.We are seeing a range of problems from aggressive over extraction of donor area. This is to the point that it is visible to the naked eye. I refer to visible scars at the back of head when using a large size punch in the extraction stage. This causes visible circular scarring . We are seeing this when patients had their hair short to grade 2 at the back of the head. This is described very well by one patient. In his words said that “what they have done to me in a clinic abroad is that they have shifted my problem of hair loss at the at the front to the back. I was bald bald at the front and now I am bald at the back.”
Risk of infections
Occasionally we see infections and depletion of the donor area. This makes patients unfit for future hair transplant surgeries should they lose more hair. If they need it a hair transplant is not a viable option anymore. But for us the most important problem from the patient’s point of view is lack of accountability. There is also a lack of accessibility to the clinic where they were operated. Additionally a lack of post-operative care and support leaves patients feeling very insecure and confused. This is the consequence of a treatment carried out at a cheap price.
A lot of patients who are operated abroad are telling us that some of the clinics have operating warehouses. They describe 10 or more stations with patients are operated at a time by technicians rather than surgeons. Patients don’t know the experience or qualifications of the of the operators . In most cases the patients can’t even recall the name of the clinic or the surgeon or the operator. The feeling is as one patient described, in his own words “abandoned.”
Flying straight after a hair transplant
Many patients are unaware that flying straight after a hair transplant with a tight bandage is not an ideal environment to help newly transplanted hair to survive. The first 48 hours after a hair transplant are crucial in delivering the best results. Heat from hot climates and excessive air pressure cause stress in the transplanted recipient area. This risks the quality of growth and does not deliver the best results.
The danger of unlimited grafts with no regard to the donor area.
Unlimited huge numbers of grafts are often carried out irresponsibly abroad with no regard for the patient. This is because hair loss is progressive . Therefore preserving the donor area is preserving the bank balance for future hair loss restoration. Unlimited grafts that strip the donor area in it’s entirety do not leave any room for future hair loss restoration after five or ten years. We have also seen patients requesting rectification of “track lines or patches” in the donor area caused by over harvesting of grafts abroad. As the donor hair has been left very thin in density there is no hair left to rectify these hair loss areas that are visible.
Hairlines abroad vs here in the UK
We often notice that consumers are more concerned about covering their head with hair rather than the quality of the work, natural looking results and the overall finesse in the appearance. Patients who show us their hairlines abroad are often an area where lack of experience and poor quality shows. We often see patients with hairlines from surgery abroad showing “dolls hair ” or in a zig zag fashion or overly straight. This does not look natural and is on the most visible part of the patient. This is something you definitely need to consider and research carefully. Is your hairline worth compromising is a question you need to ask yourself.
How do they do it and beat UK prices?
We think these clinics abroad are able to offer extremely cheap prices for hair transplant surgery is as follows. The operators are not doctors and and there is no investment in post-operative care.
For our clinic, and our UK colleagues the scariest thing is we do not know what the standards are like. This means unqualified standards of hygiene and sterilisation in clinics abroad. Unlike the UK they are not obliged to use single use disposable instruments. This is to avoid and to prevent viral infections such as HIV and hepatitis
Therefore it is advisable for our patients and public to exercise due diligence. It is important to use extensive research and weigh up the pros and cons. You should do this before deciding upon undertaking and signing up for a surgical treatment. It is really important to know the skills experience and qualifications of your expert hair transplant surgeon.
Thank you for reading this article. You can contact us at Malkani Hair Restoration Institute Hair Transplant Clinic London Harley Street.
To research more about how to find the best hair transplant clinic which is value for money read our guide here.
Find out more about our hair transplant prices here.