Many of us are familiar with, or are members of, discount schemes like Groupon or LivingSocial. I get the weekly newsletter from LivingSocial, and for the most part, they're actually really interesting. Flying lesson for £60.00? Fish pedicure for a fiver? Superb.

Imagine my surprise however, when my weekly email popped into my inbox, touting cheap hair transplants. I'm all for a bargain. Aside from my weekly emails I am officially a MoneySavingExpert.com junkie and a comparison site geek, so its not the discount itself I have an issue with. Its the mentality.

Are cheap hair transplants really a good idea?

Think about it. For most people suffering from hair loss, the decision to undergo surgery is one of the biggest you will ever make. For many, a hair transplant is a hugely positive and rewarding experience. For others, it can lead to heartache and misery. See this forum thread for example. I worry therefore, that cheap transplants may prove to be exactly that - a cheap substitute for a professional procedure carried out by a suitably experienced individual. Do you believe that well-respected surgeons are forced to offer cheap hair transplants to keep busy? Of course not. I know that not everyone can afford £5000-10,000 for a hair transplant procedure, and I therefore appreciate why deals like the one above may seem like an attractive proposition.

Are you paying for outdated techniques?

Thankfully the days of 'plug' type hair restoration techniques are over, however the 'strip' method is still widely employed by the majority of transplant clinics. This is not the optimal technique in most cases and always leaves at least one large linear scar across the back of the head. Most people will continue to lose their hair as time progresses, and this scar can become extremely difficult to hide as a result. The answer is often more transplant surgery, more scars and ultimately more misery. Modern FUE (follicular unit extraction) techniques are more preferable as they are less invasive and leave smaller, less visible scars. Unfortunately FUE transplants are also significantly more expensive, leading to many men taking the cheaper option of a strip procedure.

So what is the advice? Are all transplants doomed to failure?

Absolutely not. Many people round the world undergo highly successful procedures, and it is important to recognise that amongst the myriad of companies who have deservedly earned a poor reputation, there are a large number of surgeons who have made great advances in hair restoration techniques in recent years. Surgeons such as Dr Yates and Dr Ziering have proven beyond any doubt that procedures can be much more successful than in previous years, if modern techniques and a skilled surgeon are employed in combination. We all know how emotive a subject hair loss can be, as demonstrated on a daily basis by members in our hair loss forum. It is for exactly this reason that people should be discouraged from pursuing these 'deals'. Fair enough, if you research the clinics and surgeons available, find the one you feel most comfortable with, then discover that they have a discount scheme, that is a different matter entirely. Just please don't make a life-changing decision based on a single clinic who just so happen to offer cheap hair transplants. If you are sure the hair transplant option is the right one for you, do your homework and find the best surgeon you can afford. If possible, always opt for a FUE procedure because although the technique still leaves significant scarring, the visibility of the resulting scars is less significant making them easier to conceal for longer.

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By Damien

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