Friday, July 28th 2023

Hair Plugs in Mexico

Written by

Rafael Bracho

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Hair Plugs in Mexico

I’m bald. Not even balding, I’m bald. So trust me, I get it. Hair plugs weren’t for me, but they may be for you. If so, we’re going to cover a brief overview of hair plugs in Mexico, such as where the top destinations are, what options you have when you’re choosing a procedure, and what are the benefits of doing it in Mexico.

History of Hair Plugs

Hair Plugs in Mexico

– HIstory of Hair Plugs –

“Hair plugs” refers to the way the hair transplants were performed in the 1950s until the early 2000s. A dermatologist in New York named Dr. Norman Orentreich was the first doctor in the 1950s to perform the procedure. He called these early transplants “plug grafts” because, back in the day, a surgeon would literally punch out a large area of hair and skin from the back of your scalp about 4 millimeters (0.16 inches) across. Then the surgeon would transplant the “graft plug” onto areas of the scalp with no hair.

The actual hair plug procedure took a long time. A review from 1971 tells us that the process for a deep hairline recession took 16 weeks to complete. Nowadays, modern techniques usually take about 4 to 8 hours. And the results were not very good compared to the technology that exists today. The resulting hairline had a strange looking scalp—like a doll. As the decades passed and technology improved, hair grafts became smaller, and the hairline looked more natural.

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Hair plugs also came with more complications and side effects, such as:

  • Scarring
  • Unnatural results
  • Infection
  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Numbness
  • Bleeding
  • Ingrown hairs
  • Temporary hair loss

For 50 years, hair plugs reigned supreme, but by the 2000s they’d fallen out of fashion—replaced by a newer technique called FUT. (Don’t worry, we’ll cover that in the next section.)

– The Rise of Modern Transplanting –

An FUT transplant is when a surgeon removes a strip of hair from the back of your scalp. Then the surgeon extracts individual follicles from the strip. Afterward, the follicles are transplanted to the parts of your scalp where hair is thinning. There’s also FUE—which is a similar procedure, but just involves removing the hair follicles from one location to another without cutting out a strip of skin. (Don’t worry, we’ll cover that in the next section.) Both FUE and FUT are the most common types of hair transplants.

As the techniques have improved, traditional hair plugs have been replaced by the newer methods, like the FUE and FUT procedures. These newer techniques are far better, especially because they have lower risks of scarring, the results are more natural, and the process takes a fraction of the time in surgery and healing.

At the time, this was considered a revolutionary procedure, but today, more modern techniques exist which are far quicker and you’re going to be happier with the results. The first account of the FUT technique in scientific literature was in 1995. In less than a decade, it had already replaced hair plugs.

FUT and FUE Hair Transplant Techniques

Hair Plugs in Mexico

FUT stands for “follicular unit transplantation”. (It’s also sometimes called FUSS (follicular unit strip surgery). If you do get an FUT procedure, a surgeon disinfects your scalp, injects you with a numbing agent, then cuts away a 6” – 10” (15 - 30 cm) strip of skin from your scalp and sews the scalp together so the strip is invisible. Then, the surgeon removes the follicles from the strip and puts them on your head.

Next, they'll transplant the individual follicles where you’re balding. Individually transplanting follicles allows a surgeon to achieve a more natural look than they would be able to with traditional hair plugs. Some people prefer FUT over FUE when you have severe hair loss. FUT surgery is also usually cheaper and takes less time than FUE.

No one does traditional hair plugs anymore though the term has persisted.The two main techniques today are follicular unit transplantation (FUT) and follicular unit extraction (FUE). And though a lot of people still use the terms “hair implants” or “hair plugs” to refer to modern techniques, the term “hair transplants” and “hair transplantation” have become the official terms.

FUT is older than FUE, and it’s more invasive. FUE is newer than FUT and involves removing individual follicles instead of cutting a strip of skin from your scalp. FUE is currently the most common form hair transplant technique and has a number of benefits over the FUT hair transplant procedure, such as:

  • Faster recovery
  • Lower hair densities work with FUE
  • Less pain and scarring

Generally, for hair transplant surgeries, you need to shave at least part of your hair on a .5 to a 1 guard or setting on your clippers. (If you don’t have clippers, your doctor will do it for you.) If you prefer, the doctor can shave just the portion that she or he needs. However, the latest, groundbreaking FUE techniques can be performed on longer hair.

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Types of Hair Transplant Procedures in Mexico

Hair Plugs in Mexico

There are many different types of hair transplant techniques available. Here’s a quick overview of the different types that you can choose from.

  • Hair Plugs - This procedure is no longer used. Hair plugs have been an outdated form of hair transplantation since the 90s.
  • FUT - Follicular Unit Transplant; (sometimes called follicular unit strip surgery or FUSS) - A strip is removed from your scalp, and the hair is taken off the strip. More common for severe baldness
  • Follicular unit extraction (FUE) - The hair follicle is removed from one side of the scalp, where the hair grows, to the other where the hair is thinning. Standard techniques require you to cut your hair short in places, though the newest techniques can do this procedure with longer hair.
  • Stem cell hair transplants is a process where they take a small sample of skin from your scalp and replicate the follicles in a lab. It’s a very new procedure. Starting in 2021, researchers are still studying the results and dangers in a laboratory setting. If the process is successful, it will likely become a more viable option in the future.
  • Micropigmentation - This is a procedure where your scalp is tattooed to look like it has hair stubs.
  • Eyebrow and Other Locations - There are other locations for hair transplantation available

Recovering from Hair Transplant Procedures

Hair Plugs in Mexico

Recovering from hair transplantation procedures is fairly straightforward. You’ll likely be told that you can only wash hair with a special atomizer water spritzer that is provided by your doctor. Then, you have to let your hair air dry. You’ll also have to take antiinflammatory pills after the procedure, and you should avoid the sun and avoid wearing hats for the first couple weeks. However, your doctor will have more precise directions for you depending on your personal circumstances and the procedure you decide to choose.

Keep Your Expectations Realistic

Hair Plugs in Mexico

You might not want to hear this, but you should keep your expectations realistic. Not all patients are suitable candidates for hair transplantation procedures. You should be realistic about the chances of becoming a candidate.

If you have alopecia areata—where your immune system attacks all your hair— or fibrosing alopecia (which is when you go bald around the sides as well as on the top of the head) then you can’t be a candidate. Also if you have insufficient capillary density in the donor area then you won’t qualify to be a patient. Lastly, if your balding is in a very early stage, then you likely won’t qualify, and you’ll have to wait until your balding progresses.

Also, be realistic about your expectations for the results. Websites will show you photos of their most successful cases, but your results may not match well. Be sure to communicate with your doctor so you can have realistic expectations. Remember, this is a surgery, and like any surgery, the skill of the surgeon is paramount. Do your research and make sure to go with a reputable and experienced doctor.

*For more information on horror stories of botched hair transplant surgeries abroad, click here, but beware of graphic content.

Getting Your Hair Transplants in Mexico

Hair Plugs in Mexico

There are many reasons why you’d want to get your hair transplantation procedure in Mexico.

– Price of Hair Transplants in Mexico –

The first reason, obviously, is the cost of the procedure. Here are some brief price estimates:

  • For 1,000 grafts, it can cost roughly $4,400 in the United States – $3,660 in Canada – $2,200 in Mexico
  • For 2,500 grafts, it can cost roughly $11,400 in the United States – $9,000 in Canada – $5,500 in Mexico
  • For 3,500 grafts, it can cost roughly $15,400 in the United States – $11,000 in Canada – $7,500 in Mexico

Most hair transplantation clinics offer monthly payment plans to break down the cost into affordable payments. The average cost ends up being between $2,900 – $6,900 USD for a procedure, though this price is really dependent on the clinic you go to, the procedure you pick, and the severity of your hair loss. It’s best to shop around.

– The Proximity and Comfort of Clinics in Mexico –

The four top destinations for hair transplant procedures in Mexico are no surprise:

  • Tijuana (right across the border)
  • Monterrey (right across the border)
  • Puerto Vallarta (idyllic beach setting)
  • Cancun (idyllic beach setting)

Many Americans choose to hop across the border for a quick weekend, while others prefer the tropical beach settings while they recover. Many clinics partner with all-inclusive hotels that provide comfort and relaxation while you recover from your surgery—though you’ll have to avoid the sun and keep your hair dry for the first couple weeks, so you might have to swim with a shower cap.

You can find all-inclusive packages around $3,800 USD, depending on the procedure you need and the severity of your hair loss.

– Mexico Is the Second Best Destination for Hair Transplantation –

The number one destination for hair transplantation worldwide is Turkey. Just walk around the airport in Istanbul and 1-in-10 men will have visible scars from fresh hair transplant surgery. But it might surprise you to learn that Mexico is the second-most popular hair transplantation procedure, and certainly the most convenient for anyone on the American continent—and Mexico certainly has better food.

*NOTE: If you want the best of both worlds, there is a Turkish hair transplant clinic in Cancun.


Hair Plugs in Mexico

Every once in a while I dream that I have my hair. I’ll look in the mirror and I have my long, brown flowing locks again. I think to myself, This isn’t right. Gosh, it’s amazing, but something isn’t right. Then I wake up and the pain of losing my hair hits me all over again.

So I understand what you’re going through. Remember, there’s nothing unhealthy about being bald. People will offer a “cure” though there isn’t a sickness to cure. There’s nothing wrong with you. It’s pure vanity.

However, society puts pressure on balding individuals just like it puts pressure on men to have abs and women to stay thin and sexy into their fifties. And it’s even worse for women with thinning hair.

They put this pressure on us to sell products—and hair transplant procedure is one of those products. There’s a grace to losing one’s hair with dignity, but you can’t beat that confidence boost when you know you look good and you feel great about it. The decision is up to you.

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