What to Expect
Male and female pattern hair loss is a condition that can be very demoralising for both males and females as they may experience diminished confidence. While there are many causes for hair loss, from fungal infections, to stress and malnutrition, the most common cause of hair loss in men is still androgenetic in nature (due to DHT). The effect of DHT (Dihydrotestosterone) on hair loss may be reduced by taking DHT blockers, such as finasteride and dutasteride.
These medications may only be used by men. For topical application, minoxidil remains the most effective treatment. Although the actual cause is not fully known, it has been shown to stimulate vasodilation and this increase the blood flow which in turn helps to supply more oxygen, blood, and nutrients to the follicle. Low level laser treatments (LLLT) have also been shown to improve the hair condition by stimulating the small hairs (vellus hair) to thicker hair (terminal hair) for some individuals. These treatments are found to be more effective for younger men and over the vertex area. However, continuous treatment is required.
What is FUE Hair Transplant?
A hair transplant works by transplanting stronger hair follicles from the occiput area (back of the head) to the front or vertex (top of the head) because these hairs are generally more resistant to DHT and will continue to grow, as if they are still at the back of the scalp. The standard method of cutting off a strip of scalp from the back to obtain the hair follicle has been effective. However, there is a risk associated with the excision of the scalp, as it may result in a visible scar, numbness and in some instances cause damage to the blood vessels, resulting in bleeding and possible tissue injury to the area supplied by this blood vessel.
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) circumvents most of the risks of strip technique. It works by extracting the hair follicle one unit at a time by using a small puncture between the size of 0.8mm to 1.3mm. As a result, there is no obvious scarring, minimum risk of nerve or blood vessel injury and the area heals rapidly without any stitching. The down-side is more time is required to complete the procedure as each follicle is extracted individually. The result is natural and the transplanted hair will grow by itself.
Besides hair loss, hair transplants may also be used to cover-up scars caused by burns or surgical procedures like a facelift or thread-lift. There are also individuals who are born with sparse eyebrows, sideburns, and eyelashes, who may benefit from a hair transplant to these areas. For those who may not have enough donor’s hair, follicles can even be harvested from the body. Although a better result could be achieved from hair harvested from the beard, as follicles harvested from the arms and legs can prove to be unpredictable. Because it takes several months before the transplanted hairs start to grow, advanced planning is required if you have a targeted date to achieve your desired result.
Just like any other medical procedures in Singapore, FUE hair transplant has its pros and cons.
What Are the Benefits?
Known for being less invasive as compared to the traditional Strip Removal hair transplant method, the FUE method is a great alternative for those that are afraid of scarring.
The traditional hair transplant method involves the extraction of a strip of skin from the back of your head before being divided into smaller grafts. Thus, the Strip Removal process will leave behind unsightly linear scars that will be more obvious on those that prefer to have a shorter hairstyle.
However, as only individual follicles are removed for the FUE method, the resulting scars from this method of hair transplant are small and unnoticeable. This technique also enables us extract hair follicles from other body area including the beard and chest in suitable cases, to improve the outcome of those with severe hair loss and insufficient hair on the scalp for transplant.
The recovery time needed for an FUE hair transplant is lesser as compared to the traditional method. That will allow the patient to resume their daily activities more quickly with minimal discomfort. Nevertheless, patients are still advised to avoid exercising or any other strenuous activity for at least a week after the procedure for optimum recovery.
What Are the Disadvantages?
A disadvantage of the FUE method will be the longer surgical time needed, as the process is time-consuming. The experience of the surgeon is of particular importance, as less experienced surgeons may lack the necessary skills to perform the FUE method.
Hence, choosing a doctor with outstanding skills should be your utmost priority if you wish to undergo the FUE hair transplant process.
Also, the FUE hair transplant method is usually more expensive than other hair treatments due to the higher skill level and longer time required. However, the results will be better when done by a skillful surgeon, as less donor hair follicles will be wasted during the process.