Just before we went on our summer vacation, the husband and I decided to treat him to some self-care. We visited SL Clinic for FUE Hair Transplant to address the husband’s hair loss concerns, which is a very common issue for men his age. Or perhaps he’s losing hair because he has to put up with me for the last 10 years. :p
Male pattern hair loss is a common problem that affects almost all men to some extent as they get older. The hairline gradually recedes at the temple, hair loss at the crown or the hair at the back of the head gets thinner. Over time it may leave a horseshoe pattern of hair around the sides and back of the head.
FUE (follicular unit extraction, or sometimes referred to as follicular unit transplantation) is a type of hair transplant surgery that involves extracting individual hair follicles from a donor part of the body, usually the sides and back of the head. 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.
Here is his FUE Hair Transplant experience with SL Clinic.
What are some concerns you had before the procedure?
Naturally, you have a few questions about the procedure. My most important questions really were about the time involved in the procedure and the recovery process. I had done enough initial research or watched some Youtube videos to be comfortable with the expected final results but the practical elements of the procedure concerned me most.
How did the doctors at SL Clinic help clarify your questions?
I found the consultations with the doctors to be very helpful because the doctors came across as experienced, caring, and factual. They were actually very honest that it would be a long day for the actual procedure and informed me to bring a few things to keep me entertained.
Nevertheless, their honesty about the length of the procedure mentally prepared me for having to sit still for long periods at a time which is something that I am not accustomed to doing. What I liked best about the doctors was that they were informative to the point that I didn’t need to ask too much about the ins and outs of the procedure.
In this regard, they were very proactive to my needs rather than reactive to any questions I may have still had. There were times when I had a question in my head to ask as they were explaining aspects before the procedure and during but before I could even ask it they naturally answered it through their explanation. I think this is one good sign that they are truly experienced, professionals.
What was it like on the day of the procedure?
Despite all the early consultation and the wealth of information they provided me I must admit that I did have some initial anxiety as I waited to get things started in the morning. However, when the doctor came in much of that anxiety drained away and after a couple of minutes of conversation, I was ready to get things started.
Overall, it was a bit of a long day but the doctor was really good about checking on my mood and comfort. I think one thing that made the day much better for me was the fact that the doctor and her assistants were really on the ball. I probably would have gotten a little agitated if I thought the team did not work well together or they were wasting time but everyone was so efficient and the procedure was well choreographed.
How painful was the procedure?
Another thing that went better than expected was the numbing of the areas to be impacted by the procedure. My gosh, the doctor was so gentle with the needles as she carefully prepared the donor area of my scalp. Don’t get me wrong you do feel a little pain or pricks of the needles but other than one particularly sensitive area of my scalp nothing had me jumping out of my seat or crying in pain. The local anaesthetic really worked its magic.
What was the follow up like and how was the recovery period for you?
The follow-ups and recovery really start the next day when you meet with the doctor to have her review the work and check on the hair grafts. Obviously, there is tenderness in the donor and transplant area but the pain medication worked well. One of the biggest things that someone needs to know is doing your best to get a good night sleep the first few nights as you keep your head in an upright position. Unfortunately, I like to sleep on my belly and push my head into a pillow so I didn’t always get the best nights sleep for a few days. However, in my mind, if that was the biggest concern during my recovery then everything really went well by those standards.
Since I was flying in about a week I was a bit concerned about how long I would need to keep the head bandage on but within a few days, I didn’t need any serious coverage of the donor and treated areas. The biggest concern those first 7-10 days was to be good about taking your prescription medication to help with pain and avoid infection as well as using diluted baby shampoo to give your scalp a gentle wash.
Within the first two weeks like the doctor predicted my hair graft formed crusts and then gently the crusts fell off. I did experience some hair shedding or what is known as shock loss but the fact that I didn’t go for shaving my entire in the pre-operational phase allowed me to rely on some of my natural hair to cover up for this loss. On the other hand, I could see the advantage of just going with a completely shaved look as well but I think that is up to each individual person.
Any tips for advice for people considering FUE?
One good decision that I made after talking to the doctor was to shave only the donor areas that were needed for the operation rather than shaving the whole head. I think that helped with some of the visual recoveries in the days and weeks to come. The one drawback of my strategy was having to deal with uneven hair growth even after getting a haircut within the first month.
The biggest tip I can give someone interested in FUE is to do your homework and meet with the doctors. If the doctor or doctors have a poor “bedside manner” I would seek a different clinic rather than not going through with the treatment. Also, you need to be realistic that your results will take a while to shine through. It can be a bit nerve-wracking when you have experienced shock loss and you feel as though the transplant did not work but that is not the case. You really need patience and faith. If you get the right doctor at the right clinic you have handled the faith element. If you are someone who believes good things come to those that wait then your patience will be rewarded with a great new look.
We went to SL Clinic at Wheelock Place and was taken care by Dr Kelvin Chua and his medical team. Here are the contact details. I’ll continue to post updates of the husband’s hair growth in the later months.