Introduction to my hair transplant story - had 1750 grafts feb 2011
I’m in my 40s and I have always considered the physical appearance as essential in our modern lives. In general I play few sports to keep fit (Hockey and Basketball) and try to eat healthy but this did not stop my hair loss. I started losing my hair when I was about 28 or so. My local pharmacist advised me to take herbal tablets and some other vitamins that could slow down hair loss. I must have taken these for two years at least. Now, the question I asked myself repeatedly was, are the tablets helping my hair loss? Well, my partner told me I was wasting my time and money and she couldn’t see any difference.
Over time I lost more hair and it was becoming more & more obvious to people around me. When I looked back at some old photos of myself I could plainly see my receding hairline. From seeing myself in the mirror and photos I started to hate myself and felt vary self-conscious. All of the younger guys reading this, trust me, I know how you feel and believe me when I tell you that there is hope out there for you and me. Anyways, I realized that I had to do something to stop my hair loss and change my appearance.
So one day back in November 2010 I sat down in front of my PC, went on the google search engine and typed in the magic words “hair transplant” and boy was I surprised with what came up. There are so many clinics within the UK and around the world offering hair transplant saying that “we are the best in hair transplant”. From research over the next few days I discovered that there were two methods of hair transplant (HT) and they were FUE and FUT. Some clinics were offering both procedures or just one or the other.
Over the next few weeks I went on HT forums and read people stories. Now trust me, when going onto these forums, you can get so much information about clinics around the world and read patients stories about HT. There are people recommending clinics as they had their HT there, some even saying bad things about other clinics etc. How credulous these accounts were is a debatable issue. How do we know if they are working on behalf of a clinic and whether what's being said is true or false? All this influx of information was highly confusing and I was at my wits end.
I finally decided to see two clinics in London (both offering free consultation) as I did not wanted to travel aboard for my HT. So in December 2010 I made two appointments, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon. We (my partner & I) made notes on the questions that we wanted to ask ie, What are the pros & cons of FUT and FUE, risks of transplant, how many grafts I would need, how many can be obtained & how, also issues regarding scarring and any medications needed before and after HT etc.
At my first appointment, the clinic told me that they only do FUT and why it was the best method. From looking at my head the consultant said that I needed about 1400 grafts and will cost X amount. He then took me to meet his surgeon (lets call him Mr T), which was about 5mins walk from his office. Mr T, the surgeon confirmed that I needed 1400 grafts and he even drew me a hairline showing me where these grafts would go.
A few hours later we were at the second appointment. We were met by a patient coordinator on behalf of the clinic. My first question to him was which method of HT they do and why. Mr Patient Coordinator explained that they only do FUT and FUE was waste of a time and the results are not as good as FUT. He also explained that FUE was a lot more expensive. We spent about 2 hours at this appointment, he answered all my questions and made me feel very comfortable about having HT at their clinic. In the end he told me that I would need about 2000 grafts and the cost would be X amount.
When I got home my head was spinning around with all this information. Next day I took some photos of my hairline and emailed them to few clinics in the UK asking them the same questions that I had put across to the two clinics that I visited. What I also did was that I emailed the photos to the first surgeon I had met in London (Mr T), not telling him that I met him few days ago. Now what was interesting was that, Mr T replied back saying that I needed 1900 grafts and the price would be X amount. The price quoted was the same price as I had been quoted where I had my first appointment. Point of interest here is that I was getting 500 grafts extra!?? I was getting mix replies from other clinics saying I would need between 1900 – 3000 grafts and it would cost X amount.
Going back to the forums I read a lot of stories about HT and THEN I came across a guy name GRAHAM who had his HT a few years ago in the UK. Now this guy knew what he was talking about and had comprehensive knowledge about HT, you could ask him anything and he would have an answer for it. He had his HT at the same place where I had my second appointment so with his advice, I decided to meet the second clinic's surgeon for a second appointment.
When we arrived there (partner and I) we met the surgeon along side another patient coordinator from the clinic. We talked about how the surgery will take place, the donor scar, and my donor density and so on. A hairline was drawn to show where the 2000 grafts would go. It was great meeting the surgeon and the patient coordinator who both gave their honest advice. They didn't try to rush me or coerce me into anything and allowed me to take my time asking questions. They made me feel at ease.
Over next few days from talking to my partner and Graham I decided to go with the second clinic. On the day of the surgery (February 2011), I got there a few hours early. I wasn’t that nervous but had a few qualms as this was the moment and there was no going back. Before the surgery I was taken into a room where I had to change into some loose clothes that the clinic provided, then I met the surgeon in his office to sign some forms and redraw my hairline. Once we were happy with my hairline it was time to precede with the HT.
So I was laid down in a chair and the surgeon gave me some anesthesia and started to cut my donor area out. Now I can honestly say that going to the dentist is more painful, I personally did not feel any pain whatsoever when the surgeon was cutting my donor area. After the donor area was taken, I was told to relax on the chair watch some dvd’s while my hair follicles were being cut into 1,2,3 and 4s. In the room there was 4 nurses, not including the surgeon. The surgeon started to make the little holes where the grafts would go in, there was absolutely no pain. After the surgery was complete I was given some painkillers and other medications to counter swelling due to the anaesthetic. I thanked everyone for their precision and professionalism and was able to leave the hospital in the evening. The procedure started about 12pm and finished about 6pm. That night I did not sleep much as my donor area was sore and I was finding it hard to relax.
The next couple of days my face swelled up a bit due to anesthesia medication that was inserted in my head to numb the transplant area. It would have been worse if I hadn't worn a sweatband around my forehead…again good advice given by Graham. The swelling lasted about 3 day after which the section where the grafts were inserted started to scab.
It’s been a week now since I had my HT, my donor area still feels a bit tight and a little bit sore. Where the grafts were inserted its looks as if I had grade 2 hair cut.
I must say, speaking to previous patients from a clinic makes a lot of difference in choosing a clinic over another clinic. This is why Mr Graham and I have set up a web site called (promotional link removed by moderator) we are happy to pass on our experience.
Its now been 6 weeks since I had my HT, I guess it’s a waiting game for the grafts to grow. I will be posting updates pics on my site every few weeks.
This is my account of my HT, lm not a doctor or medical person, this is all about my experience.