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Old 08-23-2012, 09:03 PM
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Default My First Week - Dr Path in Bangkok

In the few weeks leading up to my current HT I've been asking a few questions on this forum. Many of the replies have very helpful, thanks! This little story is to answer a few more questions for others who might want to know more about the HT experience. I have no commercial connection with anyone mentioned here.

About Me
I'm a 60+ male, a NW6 with predominantly white hair. Over the years I have normally kept my hair longish but neat, in a conventional executive style cut to follow the strong side parting I was born with. There has been enough hair to give me some bulk on top, and while it has been thinning, it has definitely been turning into a combover in the last few years. But I ignored that because there hadn't been much loss in the last decade. Like most things... weight gain and hairloss... It is gradual so you get used to it. However the time was rapidly approaching when I would have to decide whether to wear a close shave or make other arrangements.

The Decision
Hair pieces were definitely out. Too much bother, and too artificial no matter how good they were. I'm a straight up guy and while I look after myself cosmetically with the occasional laser treatment, I wasn't going to go that far. A transplant seemed the only option. My selection was easy. Using this forum I quickly found that Dr Pathomvanich of DHT in Bangkok was not only the closest skilled surgeon, but also one of the best, with 20 years experience. I was also to find a few more interesting advantages with him as I went through the process. More about that later.

Lead Up
I sent the clinic photos, and based on these they suggested I would need 4000 grafts. It was to be FUT, as they only specialize in that one procedure which was fine by me. FUT seemed a better bet anyway after my research showed it produced the most follicles. I did the laxity exercises for the required 3 weeks prior, but because my arms and hands hurt after only a few minutes, I only completed 10% of the intensity needed. One of the problems too was that I let my hair grow longer to cover the stitches, and that bulk stopped me getting movement for laxity over the back. As I later discovered that reduced my graft quantity to about 3,200.

The Trip
I decided to spend the minimum time away, based on the fact that while I'm partly retired with an internet business, I just don't like wasted time. The thought of sitting around in a hotel room waiting for appointments and taking painkillers was not for me when I could be home working productively. So my planned stay was just 3 days. The first day for the pre-op consultation, the next for the op and the third day for the post-op. This proved to be an excellent choice because it was the minimum needed yet the most efficient for everyone else too.

Pre Op
The 11 hour business class flight was pleasant enough, and Bangkok was much the same as the several times I had passed through over the years. The pre-op was scheduled for an hour in the late morning, and it turned out to be an interesting time of explanation and measurement. It covered most of the areas I had researched, so there were very few surprises. I signed some forms and met some of the people who were going to work on me.

The clinic is compact, using maybe half a dozen rooms on the 32nd floor of a modern high rise building, and that gave a great view of Bangkok as I was waiting for different procedures. The people I met with were warm and friendly, and I felt real good about the whole decision. In the afternoon I hired a car and driver to see the Elephant and Crocodile park at Samphran, about an hour away. It was a 3 hour trip back in Bangkok peak hour traffic, but the day was enjoyable anyway.

Because I had grown my hair longer there was some flaking on the scalp, and they told me this needed to be removed for the transplant. I was advised to buy some olive oil and soak my scalp in it for 2 hours. With finding the oil in a supermarket and showering etc, that was the evening gone.

Op Day
After arriving at the clinic well before 8.30am, I was asked to remove my shirt and put on a gown. I signed another paper and took some medication for pain relief, antibiotic and calming - Valium I believe. The final hairline decision and marking was relatively quick, taking only half an hour or so because the options for my NW6 and parting were limited anyway. This part was done very precisely and they used several measuring systems including a laser operated cradle.

The operating room was a medium sized room with a bench along one side and several 3D microscopes, and an operating table in the center. I lay face down with my face in a padded hole. It was very comfortable, and had to be because the strip removal was a 2 hour process. They explained that Dr Path used a special cutting procedure that went round the follicles rather than just cut the strip out like some other surgeons. I was to find this lengthy procedure was one of several unique procedures which made results from this clinic better than many others. They taped my hair up and shaved the strip area and the top of my head, and I had several injections in the scalp. I am needle-averse and this part was a worry - but I needn't have been concerned ... it was relatively painless.

After that procedure I was asked to turn over to lie on my back, and I remained in that position for the rest of the 6-7 hours. The rest of the day passed uneventfully and quite quickly. I listened to the technicians talking, occasionally asked questions, and at several points they told me what they were doing. They asked me if I wanted lunch, a drink or go to the toilet, but I didn't want to do any of that. At one stage Dr Path mentioned there were up 15 people working for me that day. I was surprised at the number.

The whole procedure was professional yet there was laughter and I felt entirely relaxed throughout. I was even enjoying it... there is some comfort in being in the hands of people who have seen it all over many years. There were no surprises and I like it that way. For the last couple of hours a therapist massaged my lower legs and feet, and that was very pleasant. Then it was all over. They put a black elastic band round my head, and I covered most of it with the baseball cap I had brought with me. They had lined the inside with surgical glaze so it didn't touch the grafts - nice touch.

I caught a taxi back to the hotel and made my way back to my room. No-one at the hotel said anything to me, and I didn't feel I was standing out for any reason, that was very encouraging. I took several pills from the 6 well marked plastic pill bags at various intervals, but that didn't stop me reacting to the morphine and vomiting twice through the night. Some people do have adverse effects, and as I had rarely taken any medication in my life - aspirin being the strongest - I guess I was ultra sensitive.

Post Op
The following day I ordered breakfast served in my room, and then went back to the clinic at 10am for a wash and check. I was surprised at the strength of the hand shower water, but the nurse was very gentle around my head and there were no problems. Dr Path inspected me, and reminded me to be careful not to bang my head. On average he has 15 patients each year who knock their head on taxi doors and other places and lose a few grafts. He also said by the third day the grafts are usually settled in, and as an example told me about a patient who wanted a higher hairline change after the op, but had left it over the weekend to tell him. By Monday - the third day - he found it impossible to remove the transplanted follicles. This was very reassuring to me, since there has been all sorts of different opinions given on forums about this.

Returning Home
As expected I was asked at each Customs inspection point to remove my hat... about 7 times in all. While I wasn't worried about doing this, I was concerned the constant removal of the hat would disturb my careful placement, and I explained this to the officials. So only at one point, exiting the Bangkok airport, did I have to remove it, and I only lifted it slightly at the front. I flew business class both ways. It's a 10-11 hour trip - and of course the flight was comfortable and the pampering by Thai Airlines very much appreciated for the trip home.

The Post Op Week
Before the operation my worry about the first few days was the pain. But I took Panadol whenever I felt uncomfortable and there was no problem. The scalp felt a little tight - and still does a week later, but I expected that and it's not too bad at all, at most a 2/10 discomfort level. A couple of times I have looked down quickly to do up my shoes and felt a sharp twinge at the back. Ouch. Only did that twice! I had a normal sleep the first night. I usually sleep on my righthand side, and I was able to do that reasonably well without taking sleeping pills or pain killers. Over the week I showered and washed my head twice a day, dabbing on shampoo mixed with water in a plastic beaker, then patting it with a towel and drying it with a hair dryer on cold setting. I didn't touch the transplant area. They were able to keep my 'combover', and this help make the area look partly normal, though I always wore a hat when I went out in public.

Stitches Out
Two days ago I visited my local doctor to have the stitches removed. There are two sets... the normal stitching which dissolves over a few weeks, and 15 larger spaced sutures which need to be removed. They are spaced every centimeter or so, similarly placed to the staples that other clinics use. The letter that Dr Path supplied for removing these was very exact, and the nurse removing the stitches was so impressed at his handiwork she called in a doctor to look at them. He too was impressed with the high standard of trichophytic closure, and I was very reassured that everything was normal back there.

Today
I look back over the last couple of weeks with some amazement. First I'm surprised how smoothly the whole process went. And then I'm happy that all my concerns and worries were quite unnecessary. There were no problems with infection, bumping grafts out, or public humiliation. I'm wearing a cap on the few occasions I get out. A couple of the people I mentioned it to have been very interested in the procedure.

In all, I would say to anyone thinking about getting a HT - not to worry. Choose a doctor from the Alliance here and jump in. Nothing about the op is as bad as you think, and in my case it has been a very, very good experience indeed.

Photo shows the hair covering the graft area.
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Old 08-25-2012, 06:28 PM
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sunhead, congrats on the op..

thanks for sharing i enjoyed the read, i had HT with Dr Path 13 months ago and reading your words took me right back to those days and to that clinic i spent so much time, especially in that room with the view.

in regards to bumping heads Dr Path told me to be careful as i was leaving post op and what do i do getting into the cab?? Luckily it was the part of my head that didnt get any work done near the crown but it was sore for a few while..

Best of luck with growing mate!!
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Old 08-26-2012, 12:35 AM
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sunhead,

Your detailed chronicle is much appreciated. Thank you for taking the time to share your experience. Dr. Pathomvanich is highly skilled and I'm certain you will enjoy excellent results.

Happy growing!
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Old 08-26-2012, 08:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jollyfolly View Post
sunhead, congrats on the op..

thanks for sharing i enjoyed the read, i had HT with Dr Path 13 months ago and reading your words took me right back to those days and to that clinic i spent so much time, especially in that room with the view...

Best of luck with growing mate!!
Hey thanks. I found your thread just now and you certainly have a great example I can look forward to! I notice your new hairline contour is similar to mine, and so I wonder whether there's not much difference in the design at the front. As someone pointed out in this forum somewhere, Asian hairlines tend to be more flat across, while Caucasians have more of a peak - as a generalisation.

Dr Path noted my strong side parting and put in a 60:40 graft concentration on the parting side so it would have more bulk there. And many of the grafts are pointed in one direction in some places, which - as he said before we began - if I wanted to sweep my hair straight back, I probably wouldn't be able to. Never thought of that, but it's the little things that make a good transplant.

The crown will be the next interesting step in 18 month's time. It's apparently quite a complex area to transplant because the hair goes in a spiral direction, and bulk is hard to obtain. I'm not sure how much laxity I've got for that step.

How are you coping with the new hairstyle? Has it grown out as you expected?
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Old 08-26-2012, 08:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TakingThePlunge View Post
sunhead,

Your detailed chronicle is much appreciated. Thank you for taking the time to share your experience. Dr. Pathomvanich is highly skilled and I'm certain you will enjoy excellent results.

Happy growing!
Thanks, and thanks to this forum. Without it I'd be wearing a dead cat on my head for the rest of my life
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Old 08-27-2012, 07:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunhead View Post
Hey thanks. I found your thread just now and you certainly have a great example I can look forward to! I notice your new hairline contour is similar to mine, and so I wonder whether there's not much difference in the design at the front. As someone pointed out in this forum somewhere, Asian hairlines tend to be more flat across, while Caucasians have more of a peak - as a generalisation.

Dr Path noted my strong side parting and put in a 60:40 graft concentration on the parting side so it would have more bulk there. And many of the grafts are pointed in one direction in some places, which - as he said before we began - if I wanted to sweep my hair straight back, I probably wouldn't be able to. Never thought of that, but it's the little things that make a good transplant.

The crown will be the next interesting step in 18 month's time. It's apparently quite a complex area to transplant because the hair goes in a spiral direction, and bulk is hard to obtain. I'm not sure how much laxity I've got for that step.

How are you coping with the new hairstyle? Has it grown out as you expected?
thanks for the kind words mate, i hope your results are just as good if not better.

i have been playing around with different styles but finally found the look i was after, cant be any happier. I added some new pics just before if you want to have a look in my thread, the link is below in my signature.

the result has exceeded my expectations to be honest, i was preparing myself for a lesser result but i am over the moon. I wish you all the best in growing.
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Old 11-18-2012, 03:02 AM
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Default 3 months

Well, it's a couple of days over 3 months and I thought I'd do a quick follow up, though there's nothing much to report. A few days after I finished my first post above, I contacted a virus, and I've never been as sick in my life. I think I might have got it at the elephant park, or maybe the airline food - who knows? It lasted a month and more, and I was worried that it might affect my growth, but I won't know for a few months yet.

The scar healed nicely, and about 3 weeks after the op I kept on wondering why the dissolvable stitches weren't getting washed out. So one night I started picking a small section above my ear and was surprised to see that it came off easily, and my scalp was smooth underneath.

So I went round the whole strip to remove it, and washed my hair. It felt very smooth underneath. The next few weeks the strip was tender, but that sensitivity soon went. Today it's the same as the rest of my head.

I had my first haircut after two months, and my hairdresser of 30 years was amazed at the condition of my hair. The redness had reduced by 50%, and he could see the scar but had to do quite a bit of lifting the hair to see it. He has seen quite a few HTs and said mine was the best of any result at any stage. This was very encouraging.

There was numbness all over the recipient area which slowly reduced, and today over two thirds of the scalp is still numb. There is still a little redness - maybe 20% now, but it is covered with my combover and is not noticeable but the whole area is very shiny. I hope that goes away because I can see the scalp right through my hair whereas I couldn't before the op.

Right after the op I expected the sparse cover of implanted hairs to fall out, but they have stayed in and have been growing quite quickly over the last week or two. I'm quite excited - they are thick and curly, and I'm hoping these are the beginnings of my transformation for the next 9 months!

I've posted a photo but it looks just like my pre-op. Hopefully another month or two will make more of a difference. I had read somewhere that it takes longer for growth for over-60 year-olds, so let's see!

Last edited by sunhead; 11-18-2012 at 03:57 AM.
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Old 11-18-2012, 03:10 AM
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Old 01-21-2013, 03:30 AM
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Does Dr. Pathomvanich perform FUE procedures? anyone has had experience with him? thank you
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Old 01-21-2013, 07:16 AM
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sunhead, any updates? Enjoyed your write up.....interested to see how it's going for you!

lobacn, sunhead says in his original post that Dr. Path only does FUT. There's plenty of people on here who've had experience with him, type his name into the 'search' feature
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