By the age of 50, approximately 50% of males and 25% of females will experience some form of hair loss or thinning.
For some, having to deal with a receding hairline, balding crowns or weak hair follicles starts even before they turn 21 years old; causing significant distress and both physical and psychological problems.
One of the most valuable and effective hair restoration techniques to date is a hair transplant. First introduced by the Japanese in the 1930s, hair transplants have come a long way ever since to help hair loss sufferers regain their full crowning glory.
But hair transplants aren’t a minor procedure, and they aren’t for everyone. It is surgery after all, which is why it is advised that you never rush into the procedure without doing your due diligence in deciding whether it is the right hair loss treatment for you.
You have to make sure that you are getting a hair transplant for all the right reasons and at the right time, and remember: the better your preparation, the better your results!
Still can’t decide? Here are 6 questions to ask yourself before making the commitment.
#1: Which procedure is right for me?
There are two main types of hair transplants available in most clinics today, and that is the FUT (Follicular Unit Transplantation) and FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction) hair transplant.
Essentially, an aesthetic doctor extracts what they call micrografts (hairs that are resistant to hair loss and typically taken from the back of the scalp) and implants them to areas that are experiencing hair loss. Micrografts must be treated with the utmost care and respect throughout the entire procedure as poor handling can lead to ineffective and unsuccessful transplants.
The key difference between the two techniques is that FUT hair transplants are done by extracting an entire strip of tissue from the back of the scalp while FUE extracts hair grafts individually with the help of a pen-like tool.
FUE hair transplants are much more intensive and laborious for the doctor and his team; however, offered faster healing times, less discomfort and less scarring than FUT. This is the reason why our doctors prefer using the FUE technique.
A typical hair transplant follows these steps:
Step 1: Follicular extraction
Step 2: Follicle separation
Step 3: Manual implanting
Step 4: Recovery
A typical procedure can take up to 10 hours to complete and patients are kept awake during the entire procedure. There’s no need to worry about pain as local anaesthesia is applied before starting the surgery.
Some common side effects such as tightness, swelling and discomfort may be experienced after the surgery. Most patients will see 60-70% of the results at the 6-month mark, while the best results are achieved within 9–12 months.
While both FUE and FUT hair transplants aim to give you a fuller, thicker hairline, each procedure comes with its list of pros and cons, so do keep this in mind when making your decision.
#2: Do you have sufficient donor hair available?
Patients often mistake hair transplants as a miracle procedure.
While they do provide high success rates as much as 98%, not every person dealing with hair loss is an ideal candidate for a hair transplant. Since the transplanted hairs are taken from your own scalp, it is vital that you have sufficient donor hairs to begin with; otherwise, you are likely to end up with a not-so-appealing hairline and overall appearance.
The extent of your hair loss will determine how many hair grafts you will need, but the typical amount is roughly anywhere from 500-2,500 for someone experiencing mild-to-moderate hair loss.
A common question that patients have is whether or not they can undergo a hair transplant if they are bald. Once again, this goes back to your expectations—bald patients are less likely to see optimum results as compared to someone with a good amount of donor hair available.
Ultimately, it is best to consult with a professional doctor to get a better idea of your options.
#3: Do you have the finances required for a hair transplant?
Hair transplants are undoubtedly one of the most expensive hair loss treatments and it is important that you feel absolutely comfortable with the financial commitment before jumping straight in.
While there is no fixed price for a hair transplant, the average cost of a hair transplant in Singapore can go anywhere from $8,000 to $12,000 for 2,000 hair grafts ($5 per graft).
The price is also dependent on the experience of the doctor, the technique that is used and how many hair grafts are needed.
Remember: do not be tempted to go for a hair transplant that offers the lowest price. While the most expensive or “high-tech” treatments don’t necessarily equate to better results, it is best to base your decision on the doctor and team that is performing the surgery.
In addition, if you are experiencing mild hair loss or just starting to experience receding hairline, we highly recommended trying other, more affordable hair loss treatments such as topical medications (e.g. FDA-approved Minoxidil or Finasteride) or laser therapy to help stimulate any inactive hair follicles and help slow down hair loss as much as possible.
#4: Why do you want to get a hair transplant done?
How is your hair loss affecting you mentally, emotionally, physically and socially?
If you are unhappy and feeling distressed about the way you look in the mirror, or feel like your self-esteem and social interactions have taken a huge toll because of hair loss, it is a sign to do something about it.
#5: What is the reason for your hair loss?
There are a plethora of reasons why hair loss occurs, but the number one reason why people choose to undergo a hair transplant: androgenetic alopecia.
It is important to understand the reasons for your hair loss as hair transplants simply work to provide coverage and don’t treat the underlying root cause.
Hair loss caused by stress, taking certain medications or injury may not always benefit from a hair transplant—it is important that you explore your range of treatment options. Some hair loss types such as those caused by a stressful period at work or hormonal changes during pregnancy are temporary.
Without understanding and first treating the root cause of hair loss; chances are, you will continue to experience hair loss (at non-DHT-resistant areas) in the future.
#6: Are you able to find a doctor that you can completely trust?
Hair transplants can be a real game-changer; however, the results of a poorly executed hair transplant can cause you to lose your hair follicles forever.
After all, a good hair transplant is only as good as the team executing it, especially when it comes to a laborious procedure like the FUE hair transplant. While the doctor is the one doing the majority of the harvesting and implanting of the hair follicles, the hair technicians are the ones in charge of what happens in-between.
Being able to successfully pull off a hair transplant requires thousands of hours put into learning, training and doing to master the craft. Also, hair transplant surgeons in Singapore must be certified by the Ministry of Health (MOH).
Our current chief hair transplant technician is the star in our team—having been in the line for over 10 years, she has worked on over 2,000 satisfied patients and is familiar with the secret techniques that can truly make or break your hair transplant results!
If you aren’t 100% confident in the doctor, team and clinic that is doing the hair transplant, our advice is to gather more information or look elsewhere.
Made your decision? Take the next step @ The Clifford Clinic!
While most hair transplants are successful, you need to understand the potential outcomes and have reasonable expectations—hair transplants are not meant to give you the same hairline that you once had when you were younger but provide as much coverage as possible.
No two doctors will produce the same results, and you should never feel pressured to get any treatment done without first conducting a thorough evaluation of your hair goals and needs.
Multiple factors should be taken into consideration such as your overall hair and scalp health, the severity of hair loss, hair colour and hair type, as well as future projections of hair loss.
At the Clifford Clinic, we offer patients a range of hair loss treatments including topical medications, hair serums, laser therapy and hair transplants. Our doctors have over 20 years of combined experience in aesthetic procedures and are well-versed in not just hair loss treatments but also acne scar and acne treatment.
We are also proud to be the first in Singapore to introduce the ARTAS robot which can be useful for achieving precise, consistent results while minimizing doctor fatigue during large graft sessions. For patients who do not wish to shave their head, we also offer the Unshaven FUE procedure!
should you decide that a hair transplant is not the right treatment for you—we also offer Regenera Activa—an innovative treatment that relies on capillary regeneration technology to awaken dormant hair follicles to grow new and healthier hair. The best part is, results can be seen in just one session and within 30 days!
A good hair transplant can truly last you a lifetime—if you have decided to proceed with a hair transplant or have any other burning questions, feel free to drop us a message and book your appointment today!
- Who is the ideal candidate for a hair transplant?
The best patients are in their 30s who have just started experiencing gradual hair loss or thinning and are not yet completely bald.
Younger patients are also suitable for a hair transplant; however, it is important that hair loss has completely stabilized to prevent the need for additional surgeries after.
Certain hair loss types such as scarring alopecia or alopecia areata are also not suitable for a hair transplant. Speak to our doctor to find out more.
- What do I need to do to prepare for my hair transplant?
There is a lot of preparation that comes with a hair transplant, and you need to be both mentally and physically prepared before and after the surgery.
This includes avoiding any alcohol or smoking at least 2 weeks before the surgery. If you are taking any medications such as Aspirin, blood-thinners or beta-blockers, our doctor may also advise you to stop
After the surgery, you will also have to commit to post-surgery aftercare to maximize your results.
- Is it normal for transplanted hairs to fall off?
Yes. Otherwise known as “shock loss”, newly transplanted hairs tend to fall out around 6 weeks after surgery. Not to worry, this is completely normal and temporary!
Hairs should start growing back after the 3rd month where your results will continue to improve gradually over the next year.