My partner KL has been suffering from hair loss for the longest time. KL is not that old, really, turning 34 this year, but male pattern balding hit him in his late 20s and suddenly, BOOM.
I guess his one saving grace though is that he’s 1.8m tall HAHAHA. That does help to conceal his balding patch right on his crown from most (shorter) people, though I realised how self-conscious he was about his hair loss very early on.
It was frustrating to say the least. We tried all kinds of ways to salvage his crowning glory – From salon scalp therapies, to non-surgical medical treatments, hair serums, shampoos and every other thing you might have thought of.
KL’s mother even went as far as to procure guava leaves to make a hair growth paste for him. Bet you didn’t know that guava leaves are touted to be a hair-loss remedy!
Despite all the effort, time and money spent, nothing yielded significant results, and thousands of dollars went down the drain, trying to treat KL’s hair loss problem.
After exhausting all other options and being disappointed with the lack of results every single time, we finally decided that serious medical intervention was necessary, which is how KL ended up undergoing hair transplant surgery at Terra Medical Clinic in Singapore half a year ago.
First consultation at Terra Medical Clinic
Yeah, that was how bad the thinning at the crown of KL’s head was when we went to Terra Medical for his first consultation almost a year ago.
Unfortunately though, hair loss is a tricky issue. It sometimes isn’t just androgenetic alopecia, but could also be caused or exacerbated by a combination of various factors, such as lifestyle, stress, hormones and even skin issues on your scalp.
Because every person has very unique causes for hair loss, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to treat hair loss and stop balding. Thus, it’s very important to get a doctor who specialises in hair restoration so that he can give you the best advice!
After Dr Joshua Chong assessed KL’s scalp/hair, he determined that KL would be a good candidate for FUE Hair Transplant.
What is FUE Hair Transplant?
A hair transplant is a surgical technique that moves hair follicles from the back of the scalp – the ‘donor site’ – to a bald or balding part of the scalp known as the ‘recipient site’. Primarily used to treat male pattern balding, hair transplants are known as the only permanent solution to hair loss and promises above 90% success rate.
Terra Medical’s FUE Hair Transplant Procedure (Follicular Unit Extraction) is the first hair restoration technique known to be minimally invasive. It has gained popularity in recent years compared to the original “strip” technique or FUT (Follicular Unit Transplant) that leaves a linear scar on the back of the patient’s scalp.
Basically, FUE hair transplant procedure is a permanent solution to KL’s balding/hair loss.
Male pattern hair loss is mostly linked to overproduction of DHT, a break down product of testosterone – which causes hair follicle damage to patients who are sensitive to it.
FUE hair transplant procedure will extract healthy hair follicles from the back of the head, which are then prepped before being implanted into the thinning area to create denser hair coverage.
If implanted successfully, the hair follicles will grow as healthy hair and solve the issue of balding/thinning hair in that area as the implanted hairs are not affected by DHT.
Fighting male pattern baldness is a multi-pronged approach, so apart from doing a hair transplant to fill up the balding areas, KL was also prescribed Finasteride, medication to slow down/prevent further hair loss by blocking the formation of DHT. He was also prescribed a clinical-grade shampoo specially compounded by Terra to ensure optimum scalp health.
KL’s hair condition was monitored over a few months time to ensure that his hair follicles and scalp were healthy enough to make hair transplant a viable solution, after which Dr Joshua Chong then set a date for KL’s hair transplant surgery.
Terra Medical is very conveniently located right in town at Scotts Medical Center within Pacific Plaza – We headed down for a final pre-surgery consultation before the actual day of surgery as Dr Joshua and Faz (hair restoration specialist) did one last examination on KL’s hair condition and also shared with us what to expect during/after the day-surgery.
As you can see, KL went for a full head shave, this is because most of the work would be done on his crown and having a shaven scalp allows for better visibility during the surgery to yield the best possible results. (If shaving your head is one of your concerns, check with Dr Joshua – He can better advise you on whether you’d need to do a complete shave or not.)
On the Day of Surgery
We arrived early on 26th June for KL’s hair transplant surgery, slightly nervous but confident that his hair would be in good hands!
The FUE hair transplant surgery is a full day’s surgery that’s split into two sessions.
Part 1: Harvesting of healthy hair follicles from the donor area (usually the back of the head) The hair follicles also need to be cleaned and prepped to be implanted in Part 2 of the surgery.
Part 2: Insertion of the harvested hair follicles one by one into the transplant sites via small puncture holes (for KL, it would be mostly on the crown area but also along his frontal hair line).
During the surgery, local anaesthesia was injected into both the donor and transplant sites so it was pretty much a painless process (save for the injections themselves of course).
You might still feel mild discomfort and sensations, but the worst part for KL was not pain/discomfort from the surgery, but rather the discomfort from having to lie on the surgery bed (face down, then face up) for the entire day. However, he even fell asleep during the second phase of the surgery so I guess it wasn’t thaaaat bad?
The entire surgery (including lunch break) took close to 8 hours from start to end. A total of 1600 hair follicles were successfully transplanted from the back of KL’s head to the crown and hair line.
FUE hair transplant is a delicate surgery that requires incredible precision and skilful technique. Every single hair follicle has to be harvested carefully and then implanted without damaging its “root”, to increase the success rate of it surviving the transplant.
I was observing throughout the entire surgery, and was highly heartened to see how meticulous and experienced the team was. There was absolutely no fumbling around, and I watched in awe especially during the insertion process as the harvested hair follicles were inserted swiftly and confidently into tiny incision holes that were barely visible to the naked eye! Kudos to the team at Terra Medical!
With a successful surgery, we’d be looking at roughly 90% of the implanted hair follicles to survive the procedure for permanent, life-long results! Furthermore, a well-done hair transplant surgery with FUE method not only looks extremely natural, it also causes very minimal scarring to the donor site at the back of the head, so you don’t have to worry about obvious scars or tell-tale signs of any “work” done.
The transplant and graft sites have to be taken care of for 3-5 days post-surgery. Nothing very intensive – just regular spritzing of the wound areas with saline water and application of a serum to speed up healing, plus light painkillers to ease any post-op discomfort and pain.
We went back to Terra Medical for a follow-up three days after surgery, for Dr Joshua Chong to check on the healing. All good!
Strenuous physical activity should be avoided for at least two weeks, and baby shampoo (provided by the clinic) should be used as regular shampoos may contain strong chemicals that might adversely affect the successful implanting of the hair follicles.
Apart from the above points to take note of, there was otherwise literally no down-time at all to this minimally invasive surgery. In fact, we flew to Japan for a holiday just a few days after the surgery took place!
During the healing process, there will be some scabbing and itchiness as the grafts take root and heal. Just resist the urge to scratch or touch the transplant sites because you don’t want to cause any permanent damage to the freshly implanted hair grafts at this crucial stage!
Also, don’t be alarmed to see strands of hair falling out up to 5 weeks after surgery, as hair shedding after a hair transplant is a normal occurrence and is the body’s way of responding to the trauma it received during the hair transplant procedure.
When successfully implanted, the transplanted hair follicles will “take root” and grow over the next several months. Full results might only be visible after 12-18 months but remember that these results will last you for life. Be patient!
FUE Hair Transplant Before & After Results (Six months post-surgery)
Before: 8th January 2018 // Surgery: 27th June 2018 // After: 30th November 2018
I’d always known that hair transplant would be an effective solution because I’d seen good results on other people, but of course we were still worried that the individual results would vary and KL’s hair improvement might not be as drastic as we had hoped for.
Our worry was unfounded: The results from the hair transplant surgery have been incredible after just five months post-surgery! From the first consultation done on 8th January to five months after the surgery (done on 27th June), there is now a huge huge difference in the appearance of KL’s hair, especially at the crown area.
Needless to say, we are both very pleased with the hair transplant results so far!! The noticeably thinning patch on KL’s crown is so much less obvious now, with a huge improvement in his hair quality and density (his hair is generally thicker and looks much healthier, probably due to the help of the oral medication as well).
The transplanted hair look completely natural as well – Which sounds like no biggie but is actually a huge testament to the skills of the team at Terra Medical as there are so many factors to take care of during the hair transplant surgery!
For instance, every single hair graft has to be “planted” in the correct direction of the patient’s natural hair growth, while the different number of hair follicles per graft also have to be taken into consideration, with single-follicle hair grafts populating the frontal hair line and multi-follicle hair grafts at the crown for the most natural results.
It’s not as straightforward as it looks, and it’s super important that the doctor and his team are well-versed and experienced at this craft.
Before FUE hair transplant surgery / After five months
Even KL’s hairline from the front is very much improved and this has resulted in a healthier and more youthful look. It’s amazing how much impact the hair transplant has made to KL’s overall image.
If they say that clothes maketh the woman, then it must be equally true that hair maketh the man! Hahaha. It has made a world of difference to KL, at least. He used to be so self-conscious about his hair that he would go down to a hair salon just to get his hair styled to conceal the balding patch before important meetings/special occasions, which I’m happy to report is now a thing of the past!
We’ll be monitoring the hair progress closely and see if Dr Joshua advises on any additional treatments like Terra Scalp Boosters or Regenera Activa Scalp Therapy to further enhance hair growth for the best results.
By the way, I also highly recommend Terra Medical’s specially prescribed The Golden Ratio shampoo – I started using it after it was prescribed to KL and it works so well to reduce my scalp sensitivity too!
This shampoo treats scalp issues and promotes hair growth! (I’ve been seeing lots of baby hair on the top of my head haha it’s actually a bit annoying that the baby hair is all sticking out but I’m not complaining!)
Terra Medical’s The Golden Ratio Shampoo, highly recommended!
Cost of FUE Hair Transplant Surgery
Of course, the burning question on everyone’s minds. How much exactly does hair transplant surgery cost? I can’t give you an exact figure because it is very dependent on the severity of your hair loss condition and the number of grafts needed: It can cost anything from 7,000SGD to 13,000SGD.
For KL’s FUE Hair Transplant surgery of 1600 grafts done by Dr Joshua Chong at Terra Medical Clinic, the cost was close to 12,000SGD.
Pricey, yes. But for permanent results and that crowning glory? More than worth it.
Terra Medical Hair & Aesthetic Clinic
The reason why we chose to go with Terra Medical is because we were referred by a friend, but of course, we also did our due research and felt comfortable with the professional A team at Terra Medical, who have had countless years of experience solving hair loss issues! We also preferred to have the hair transplant surgery in Singapore, as opposed to cheaper options abroad which might lead to unwanted complications.
A big shout-out to Faz, Shalet and Siri, the experienced nurses and hair specialists who assisted Dr Joshua Chong throughout the surgery, and of course, Dr Joshua Chong himself for his dedication and conscientiousness! I would highly recommend Terra Medical for anyone who’s looking to solve their hair loss issues.
Terra Medical Clinic is at:
9 Scotts Road #11-03
Scotts Medical Centre Pacific Plaza