“Hair transplant Singapore” is one of the most Googled terms locally, with over 1,000 searches each month. It’s no coincidence that hair transplant-related queries is also one of the most popular treatments that Singaporeans send in a request for.
This guide will address everything you need to know about getting a hair transplant in Singapore. It contains all the most important insights garnered over my 15 years of performing hair transplants in Singapore.
Bear with me as this is a long read (2,500 words!) that comprehensively covers:
- How to choose the best treatment for your hair loss
- The cost of hair transplants in Singapore, and what determines the costs
- How to get the best results after a hair transplant
First things first, why are you losing hair, and will your hair grow back by itself?
Diving right in, the most common cause of hair loss in Singapore by far is due to genetics. In fact, 95% of hair loss in Singaporean males is due to male pattern hair loss.
When seeing a patient for the first time, I always perform a full history and examination, as well as necessary blood tests. This enables me to rule out easily treatable causes of hair loss before embarking on other hair treatments and/or a hair transplant.
Many a time, I’ve seen patients with reversible hair loss issues waste their hard-earned money on ineffective hair spa treatments.
How can you choose the best treatment for your hair loss?
The best treatment for your hair loss is tailored towards:
- The severity of your hair loss
- The progression of your hair loss
- Your lifestyle
From my experience with hair loss patients, good outcomes after a hair transplant also often involve important lifestyle changes.
These measures help to reduce and slow down the rest of your non-transplanted hair from falling out.
How much does a FUE hair transplant in Singapore cost?
The average hair transplant cost in Singapore can range from $6,000 - $10,000.
The final cost is highly dependent on your hair loss condition. To get a more tailored estimate for a Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) transplant according to your particular hair loss condition, you can directly send an enquiry to a few doctors here.
The price varies according to:
- The number of grafts that you need
- The surgeon’s fee
- The price for each hair graft: $6 - $8/graft (manual FUE), $9 - $12/graft (ARTAS Robotic FUE).
The most important factor in determining the cost of your hair transplant is the number of hair grafts you need.
As you can see from the illustration, someone with moderate hair loss will require about 2,000 grafts.
Do note that the number of grafts does not correlate to the number of hairs. For example, 1 graft in your crown can have 4 hairs in it, as opposed to 1 hairline graft with only 1 hair in it.
What other factors affect the cost of a FUE hair transplant in Singapore?
Another important factor that affects the final cost of your hair transplant in Singapore is the survival rate of your hair grafts.
I cannot emphasize to patients enough that the survival rate of hair grafts affects total costs MORE than the number of grafts transplanted.
A poorly performed hair transplant procedure will:
- Cost more in the long run as you have to repeat the procedure
- Prevent you from ever getting a full head of hair again, as any grafts that don’t survive are gone forever. You have a finite number of hair grafts.
Is the ARTAS or manual hair transplant procedure the best?
ARTAS uses robotic extraction for hair transplantation, and has a success rate of 98%. Our hair transplant team’s success rate by manual transplantation is about 95 - 96%.
However, the cost of your hair transplant with ARTAS is doubled ($12 - 14/graft).
This means that an ARTAS hair transplant of 1,000 follicles will cost you $14,000 for an extra 20 - 30 hair follicles successfully transplanted.
In comparison, a manual hair transplant of 1,000 follicles will only cost you $4,000 - $5,000.
“Why do I need a hair transplant when XX Hair Salon promises a hair loss treatment solution for a lot cheaper?”
In Singapore, hair salon and hair trichologist treatments cost about $100 per session. However, these non-medical treatments are not supported by scientific studies, which means that they have no proven results.
Moreover, they tend to push treatments of up to 50 sessions, which means that a 1 year package may end up costing you $5,000 - $10,000!
Conversely, a successful hair transplant procedure costs you about $9,000 on average, and have results proven to last for up to 40 years.
What are your alternatives to getting a hair transplant in Singapore?
Some of my patients consider hair weaving to treat their balding areas. Hair weaving relies on gluing human or synthetic hair to your scalp.
However, hair weaving is not a permanent solution as new hairs do not grow, and also tend to fall off and get damaged after 2 – 6 months.
Another option that some patients consider is getting a good quality hairpiece (e.g. wig, toupee). These cost from $3,000 - $5,000, and last for up to 2 years. Of course, wigs tend to be very warm and not the best suited for Singapore’s humid weather!
You can find out more about other alternatives to a hair transplant in this post here.
What is the most popular hair transplant procedure in Singapore?
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) is by far the most common hair transplant procedure in Singapore and Asia.
The other method of hair transplantation, follicular unit transplantation (FUT), involves cutting out strips of skin behind your head to harvest hair.
FUT is much less popular than FUE in Singapore as Asians are more prone to scarring after FUT (compared to Caucasians). This is because Asian skin is thicker and tighter, which results in poorer wound healing.
Are you suitable for a FUE hair transplant?
You are suitable for a hair transplant if:
- You have no major medical conditions
- You have a healthy donor site with adequate hair for the procedure
- Your recipient site has healthy blood vessels
Here are some other common situations in which my patients opt for a hair transplant:
- Medical treatments for hair loss were unsatisfactory
- Frontal or temporal hair loss (hair loss from these areas do not respond to Propecia)
- More facial hair desired (e.g. beard, thicker eyebrows)
- Important event coming up (e.g. wedding)
What should you expect during a FUE hair transplant?
FUE takes quite a bit of time as the follicles must be extracted one at a time by hand. You may need to stay in clinic for up to a day, depending on the amount of hair transplanted.
Here are the 4 main steps involved in a hair transplant:
- Shaving and anaesthetic
Hair from your donor site is shaved to 1 mm. The donor site is then cleansed with an antiseptic solution, and numbed with local anaesthetic.
Donor sites include:
- Hair from the back and sides of your head
- Body hair
- Underarm hair
- Hair graft extraction
A pen with a diameter of 0.6 mm is used to extract hair grafts. They are then stored in a special solution.
- Hair graft inspection
Each hair graft is carefully inspected under a microscope to ensure only the best and most viable grafts are used. This ensures graft survival and quality.
- Planning and hair graft implantation
Planning helps determine the angle, direction, and distribution of grafts to ensure the most natural-looking results after hair transplantation.
The harvested hair grafts are then implanted manually by our hair technicians.
How painful is an FUE hair transplant, and how long is the downtime?
The most painful part is when the local anaesthetic is given through a small needle. Subsequently, the whole procedure will be relatively painless.
Post procedure, you may feel a burning and raw sensation for a few days. This is well-tolerated with painkillers.
You will also have blood scabs in the area where the hair is transplanted, which typically takes between 1 - 3 weeks to fall off.
When will your new hair start to grow?
A good cosmetic result will be witnessed after 6 months. The best aesthetic results happen after 9 – 12 months when the transplanted hair follicles develop fully.
Hence, I advise my patients to undergo a hair transplant at least 6 months to 1 year before an important event.
It’s important to note that implanted hair will shed temporarily over the first 2 - 3 months, which happens due to the stress of surgery.
Your hair grafts will start to gradually grow back after 3 months, following which you can expect 10% more hair growth with each passing month.
How safe is a FUE hair transplant in Singapore?
Follicular Unit Extraction hair transplantation in Singapore is very safe as it is a well-researched procedure.
However, there are some minor risks in the hands of poor hair technicians, which include:
- Bleeding, pain, and swelling
- Poor wound healing and scarring
Will anyone be able to tell that you have had a hair transplant?
I’ve not had a single patient complain about scarring or an unnatural-looking hairline over 10 years of performing hair transplants.
Scarring is minimal as hair graft extraction is carried out using a tiny 3mm blade. Any scars are also covered by the thick of hair at the back of your head.
My hair transplantation team also take great care when it comes to hair design, which is important to give your hair a natural look. For example, there must be a gradual change in hair density from the front to the back, and any transplanted hair also has to be placed in the correct direction.
“But I heard that my friend’s transplanted hair dropped out after less than a year!”
As mentioned earlier, experienced hair technicians and hair transplant doctors are absolutely essential for a successful outcome.
This is why we value our hair technician so highly - he has more than 10 years of experience, with over 2,000 successful hair transplant cases.
Poor technique and implantation of hair will result in your transplanted hair dropping out. The most common factors for this include:
- Hair that is implanted too close the skin surface
- Hair that is not properly anchored
- Poor recovery and infection
Hence, it’s super important that you take the time to choose the best hair transplant doctor and clinic for yourself!
How do doctors ensure the best results and survival rates for your hair grafts?
Good hair graft survival depends on proper execution over the 2 main phases of hair transplantation:
- The extraction phase
- The implantation phase
If both phases are well-performed, transplanted hair grafts have a survival rate of more than 99%.
1. Extraction phase
An expert hair technician is able to extract hair follicles in the same direction as your hair, with minimal trauma to the donor site. This vastly reduces hair transection (accidentally cutting through your hair) and improves hair graft survival.
The extraction success rate in our clinic is about 96%. However, this rate varies according to the expertise of the hair transplant team.
2. Implantation phase
Transplanted hair needs to be well hydrated to survive. Our team ensures this with constant hair hydration and proper care.
The new hair grafts must also be implanted at exactly the right depth:
- If they are too close to the surface, they will fall out in the first 2 weeks due to poor anchorage
- If they are too deep, they will not receive enough blood supply to stay healthy
How can you get the best results for your transplanted hair?
You must take the most care during the first 2 weeks of recovery. Good hair care will prevent infection and implanted hairs from dislodging.
If your implanted hairs survive these 2 weeks, they are unlikely to fall out thereafter. Here are some tips that I share with patients to take note of during the first month:
- Be very gentle when washing your hair
- Avoid sweaty and dirty environments, which may cause infection or irritation of the transplanted site
- Avoid swimming
- Avoid excessive sun exposure as it may damage the scalp where your new hair is implanted
- Avoid alcohol and smoking, which reduces blood supply to your scalp
How can you find the best hair transplant doctor in Singapore?
The success of your hair transplant depends entirely on the experience and training of the team. So if you are interested in getting a hair transplant, the most important thing to do is to talk to a few doctors to get a sense of how experienced they are.
Here are some questions you can ask your hair transplant doctor about when you send in an online enquiry:
- How long have you being performing FUE hair transplantation in Singapore?
- How many hair transplant surgeries have you performed in total?
- What is the success rate of your hair transplant procedures?
- What does the cost of the hair transplant procedure include?
During the actual consultation, you can also ask your hair transplant doctor to show you before and after photos of their previous patients who underwent a FUE hair transplantation.
In summary, I feel that the most important factor in having a successful hair transplantation in Singapore is to take as much time as you need to find the best-suited doctor for yourself.
If you feel that clinic is pushy or tries to “hard sell”, definitely seek out more alternatives!
Dr Kelvin Chua has established for himself a reputation for non-invasive facial contouring techniques as well as liposculpturing techniques in body contouring procedures. He also specialises in threadlifting, Thermage CPT, Fractional CO2 laser, Radiofrequency, hair loss management & treatment, as well as moles and lumps removal. With a strong passion in inspiring others through teaching, Kelvin is well regarded by peers in the industry.
- Gupta AK, Danika CA et al. “Progression of surgical hair restoration techniques.” J Cutan Med Surg. 2015 Jan-Feb;28(1):17-21.
- Rogers NE, “Hair transplant update.” Semin Cutan Med Surg. 2015 Jun;34:89-94.