I had a smaller HT carried by Dr Knudsen in Sydney about six years ago. At that time I had a little over 1600 grafts to increase my hairline. I was quite happy with the results, but as expected the hair behind this area continued to disappear and I knew that I would have to either shave the lot off, or get a second HT to ‘fill’ in behind. The original procedure cost almost AU$10,000, and as I am now married with a young son I couldn’t justify spending this kind of money for such a small number of grafts. This is when I decided to check out getting the procedure done overseas and in particular Thailand.
I first contacted Dr Pong via email in late January having decided that it was time to continue where I had left off six years earlier. After reading all the information on his website and some of the posts on this forum I thought I would contact both Dr Pong and Dr Path to get some advice and approximate prices. Unfortunately after filling in the online form on Dr Path’s website, including adding the required photos I never heard anything back. I am not sure if this was because the form simply didn’t get submitted or that the data got lost in cyber-space. Either way, my email to Dr Pong was answered the same day.
As some have mentioned, the first replay sounded a little ‘canned’ which can be expected as I am sure they receive a lot of enquiries. I did at least show that he had looked at the photos I had attached and gave me enough information to know that I would need a couple of sessions each costing in the order of US$5000-$6000.
I emailed Dr Pong a couple of other times with questions about available dates and re-read some of the posts from his previous patients before deciding to book in. Although he had a number of vacancies in February and March, the earliest I could get to Chiang Mai was April. So I paid my deposit, booked some flights and booked 6 nights at the Lotus Hotel Pang Suan Kaew, which is located a few minutes walk to Dr Pong’s clinic.
On the day of the procedure I met with Dr Pong who discussed what I hoped to achieve with the HT. He was very thorough, testing the elasticity of the donor site, looking at the scar left from my previous HT and explaining how he would proceed. Although he didn’t explicitly say so, I got the impression he thought my original scar was quite large (3-4mm wide in places). He explained that although he would like to remove the scar it would be difficult to get a high number of grafts and remove the scar at the same time.
By comparison with my first procedure, the whole experience with Dr Pong and his team was vastly better. In Sydney, I had sat in ‘dentist’ chair for the whole procedure, including the extraction of the donor hair. I also very clearly remember have the sutures from the donor site left open until the technicians confirmed they had enough grafts. When they realised they need more, Dr Knudsen came back in and cut away another section from the donor site.
Dr Pong spent considerable time measuring and marking the donor area, testing elasticity and counting the number of units at various places. To me this seemed far more ‘scientific’ and meant that once the extraction was completed he was able to fully close the wound. Hey, I even got to lie down on a bed (you know the type with a hole for your face).
If you’ve never had a HT, don’t be under any illusion, the first night is a bastard. I was pretty tired having just flown in from Australia the night before, but I still had a very restless night’s sleep. The painkillers and valium Dr Pong provided meant that I got a little sleep, but trying to find a comfortable way to lie when you have a big slice running around the back and side of your head is pretty much impossible.
I’m two days post-op and each day I go back to the clinic to have my head washed and have a quick check-up with Dr Pong. So far I am very happy with the results and expect that in 6-12 months the void behind my original HT will be nicely filled. The next question big question I will need to ponder is whether or not I am prepared to have the last treatment (the crown) in 12-months time. This question relates more to the financial considerations, not the HT itself. If I do get it done, I will be more than happy to come back to Dr Pong’s.
One thing that I wasn’t aware of is that the retention stitches need to be removed in about 10-days. This means that I will need to have this done when I am back in Australia, but I don’t think that will be too much of a problem.
As for those considering a HT in Australia, don’t bother, my experience has shown just how far behind our ‘famous’ doctors are and the high level of care you can expect in other countries.
Just for the record here’s the stats for my second HT: 2415 grafts, total cost US$4830.