Hair loss is a medical condition that can affect your scalp or other parts of the body, and it can be temporary or permanent.
Alopecia, or hair loss is a complex phenomenon that is not fully understood by doctors. However, we know that certain factors such as hereditary, medical conditions, hormonal changes, certain medications, and intrinsic ageing may cause your hair to fall.
For people seeking treatment to reverse hair loss, hair transplant remains one of the most effective treatments to restore your crowning glory. So, what exactly is a hair transplant and what is the process?
Types of hair transplant treatment
There are two main methods of hair transplant: Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT) and Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE). Both are effective hair restoration techniques with high success rates.
So, what are they and how are they different?
Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT)
FUT involves removing a strip of your hair-bearing skin from your scalp. This strip of skin is usually located at the back of the head.
The success of FUT depends largely on how healthy the scalp skin is and how many hairs there are per square centimeter of the donor scalp. In general, FUT procedure potentially has more hair yield during a lifetime compared to FUE.
When the strip is removed from the donor site, it is placed under a microscope so that the surgical team will meticulously divide into tiny grafts of individual follicular units that should contain between 1 and 4 hairs.
The donor area is then stitched up and usually covered by surrounding hair so that the scar is not obvious. After 1-2 weeks, the stitches are removed and the donor area heals to form a small scar.
The downside to this treatment is that an unsightly scar at the back of the patient’s head that will take some time to heal, longer downtime, and higher risk of complications.
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)
FUE involves harvesting the hairs from the areas (usually the back and side of the head) and inserting these hair follicles one by one into balding areas.
There will be a series of tiny dots on the scalp. After 1-2 weeks when the scars recover, the will be barely noticeable. Over a few sessions of FUE procedures, the donor area may gradually thin out.
Hence, there is a limited amount of donor hair that doctors can harvest. This means that the doctor needs to ensure that there is sufficient supply for repeat procedures, if necessary.
While FUE may take significantly longer time to complete as compared to FUT, it is less invasive and does not leave scars on harvested areas.
How does hair transplant work?
- STEP 1 Shave the donor site and cleanse the area thoroughly.
- STEP 2 Inject local anesthesia to numb the area and ensure that extraction of hair follicles is comfortable.
- STEP 3 The hair grafts are carefully extracted.
- STEP 4 Prepare the recipient area by cleansing the area. The doctor determines the angle, direction and distribution of grafts as they play a critical role in ensuring that the hair grafts have the highest chance of survival.
- STEP 5 Implant the hair grafts.
Number of grafts needed for hair transplant treatment
It depends on several factors such as the severity of your hair loss, the density of the donor area and your current scalp condition.
In general, up to 4,000 hair grafts may be transplanted during one procedure. The more advanced the hair loss, the more grafts you may require to fill the balding areas.
Benefits of FUT and FUE hair transplant treatment
The FUT and FUE methods have their pros and cons. Although both treatments provide good outcome, it depends largely on the doctor and your scalp condition in order for the doctor to recommend which treatment suits you better.
Benefits of FUT
FUT is best suited for patients who require a large number of grafts since there is a higher yield of hair than FUE.
Although FUT technique may cause a linear scar at the back of the head, the scar will likely heal well and it can be hidden with the surrounding hair.
Depending on the complexity of the treatment, the entire FUT procedure can take between 4 and 12 hours to complete.
With less time and effort required, FUT is generally less expensive than FUE procedure.
Benefits of FUE
One of the biggest differences between FUE and FUT is that FUE does not leave any linear scar on the scalp. Only individual follicular units are harvested, leaving only tiny dot scars which won’t be noticeable once the scar heals.
FUE is particularly suitable for men or women who keep short hair because there is minimal scarring.
This treatment is suitable for people who suffer from less severe form of hair loss and only require relatively fewer hair grafts.
Side effects of hair transplant treatment
Just like any other surgical procedures, there are potential side effects which may occur during a hair transplant treatment. These side effects include:
- Permanent scarring
- Infection of the wounds
- Swelling and inflammation
- Shedding of hair
Cost of hair transplant in Singapore
The cost of hair transplant procedures in Singapore can vary as it depends on the doctor’s experience, type of treatment, and number of grafts required. In general, you can expect to fork out S$6,000 to $13,000 or more for a procedure.
The main factors that determine the cost of hair transplant are:
- The severity of hair loss
- The number of grafts required as determined by the doctor
- The surgical technique that will be used
Doctors often quote the price of the treatment based on the number of grafts required. The price range per graft is about S$3.50 to $7. On the average, you can expect to pay about $5 per graft.
In addition, there are also other charges that relate to the procedure. Post-treatment medication can range from S$50 to S$300.
Non-surgical hair loss treatment in Singapore
A surgical hair transplant can be expensive with long downtime. In addition, for hair transplant to be successful, you need to have enough hair in the first place to harvest from the donor site to the recipient area.
For people who may not be too keen to shell out large amount of money and to tolerate the long downtime of surgical treatments, they can turn to non-surgical options.
Regenera Activa aims to provide an intensive, targeted scalp treatment to promote stronger, thicker hair growth.
It is specially designed to regenerate and kickstart hair growth process using autologous micrograft. Simply speaking, this treatment uses your own body’s ability to use functioning hair follicles to stimulate the growth of hair follicles in inactive areas of the scalp.
It is an FDA-approved, CE-marked and HSA-approved device for the purpose of stimulating healthy hair growth.
You can expect some bruising and bleeding after the treatment but these should resolve within a day.
PDRN Scalp Therapy
PDRN Scalp Therapy aims to provide a targeted treatment to repair and rejuvenate the scalp from the inside. Unlike other scalp treatments that provide symptomatic relief, PDRN Scalp Therapy strengthens the scalp and provides a healthier, stronger foundation for thicker hair growth.
This treatment has almost no downtime and you can return to work or go about your daily activities after the treatment.
LASEMD hair regrowth laser
A laser technology that hails from South Korea, LASEMD uses a cosmeceutical delivery system (CDS) to administer hair growth compounds deep into the scalp to increase the absorption rate of the serum.
In addition, the Thulium laser energy stimulates the hair follicles and encourages blood flow to produce stronger, thicker hair.
There is minimal downtime associated with this procedure and you may resume your daily activities after the treatment.
Frequently asked questions about hair transplant in Singapore
Is hair transplant permanent?
FUT and FUE hair transplant procedures can be permanent for some people. However, hair fall can still occur if the scalp condition is not optimal or other factors that cause hair loss still persist.
Am I a suitable candidate for hair transplant treatment?
A good candidate for hair transplant should fulfil all 3 factors:
- HAIR DENSITY: Dense, thick hair growth at the back and side of the head means that there will be more hairs for the doctor to harvest to transplant to the balding areas.
- SCALP HEALTH: The health of the scalp is important to ensure the success of the treatment. If your scalp is tight, the doctor may find it challenging to carry our FUT procedure.
- HAIR TEXTURE: Doctors observe that patients with thick, coarse hair than to enjoy better results of FUT or FUE procedure.
Is hair transplant treatment painful?
Hair transplant treatment is not entirely pain-free. However, the doctor and nurses will provide you with sufficient pain relief medication and/or anesthesia before carrying out the procedure.
What should I do after hair transplant treatment?
In order to achieve better outcome of your hair transplant treatment, doctors usually advise their patients to:
- Sleep with head elevated for the next 3 days to reduce swelling
- Be gentle and avoid touching or scratching your scalp when washing your hair
- Avoid touching the treated areas for the next 3 days
- Avoid sun exposure. Always wear a loose-fitting hat if you need to go out
- Avoid engaging in strenuous activities that might cause you to perspire
How long is the downtime of hair transplant treatment?
In general, you can expect the downtime to last about 3 to 10 days. Hence, it might be good to either work from home and avoid social activities during the recovery period.
When can I exercise after hair transplant?
Most patients can exercise 1 week after treatment, swim after 2 weeks and participate in strenuous activities after 1 month.