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Physician Answered Q & As

Traveling Outside of the Country For a Hair Transplant

I am considering a hair transplant. I have consulted with two surgeons in San Francisco (near where I live) and am considering having the work done at one of their clinics. The transplant procedure recommended by both surgeons is for about 1800 grafts and the cost would be approximately $8500.-$9000. I have been considering the possibility of having the procedure done by a well qualified surgeon in another part of the country or even outside of the US (i.e Latin America). I believe that even after considering travel costs I can save money and receive the same quality work that I would receive in the Bay Area. What do you think about traveling outside of the country for hair restoration work?

There are internationally renown physicians around the world. If you are looking at Latin America you will find Dr Carl Bazan and Dr. Hector D. Sandoval both in Mexico, Drs Carlos O. Uebel and Marcelo Gandelman of Brazil are greatly regarded by their peers , as is Dr Guillermo S. Blugerman of Argentina. Also south but not on the same continent are Drs Russell Knudsen and Mario Marzola both in Australia.

If you saw any of the doctors I have listed you would be seeing world class doctors who have a reputation for doing excellent work. That is the difficult part of your question- the reputation of the doctor among his peers for doing excellent, work not the cheapest.

Some of the doctors in South America can do the same procedures for a lower price because their overhead expenses of salaried trained technicians and rent may be lower than the US especially in the large cities. Picking a clinic which guarantees you the lowest price is not the best way to chose a surgeon for something this important. If you chose McDonalds’ for a hamburger knowing they have “served billions” you should not expect it to be as good as the one prepared by a chef just for you at a steak house. In my office in San Francisco 1800 grafts would cost $12,300.

I understand your concern for quality and affordability. It sounds appealing to be able to travel to another country, have surgery and vacation for a week or two before coming back. I have patients who come to me from foreign countries for that vary reason. They can afford the trip but want to be well healed before returning to their everyday life without friends knowing what was done. Many patients are flying to India to have surgeries done they can not afford here in the US. Outsourcing surgery to other countries is becoming common but there are a few horror stories which go with the good news of low cost. If you do go please check to be sure the doctor’s reputation is good among his peers of other hair transplant doctors. I can not advise you on whether you should travel outside the US for hair transplants if I do not know the doctor or if he is not one of the ones I have listed.


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The International Alliance of Hair Restoration Surgeons is a consumer organization that selectively screens skilled and ethical hair transplant surgeons. The IAHRS does not offer an open membership policy to doctors practicing hair transplatation, and is the only group that recognizes that all surgeons are not equal in their skill and technique. Its elite membership seeks to represent the best in the discipline, the true leaders in the field of surgical hair restoration.