My hair restoration with Dr Suradej Pong- Thailand
I am one day post op from my hair transplant surgery with Dr Suradej Pong from Chiang Mai in Thailand. If you read my profile you will see that I have spent some considerable time researching hair restoration surgeons and weighing up the pro's and cons of each. I decided to go with Dr Pong after reading very positive reviews about him on this website and also some others. I was very impressed by his website http://www.thaihairclinic.com/index.php which demonstrated some excellent results in his before and after gallery. The only thing that concerned was the fact that there were not many posts or reviews about him. I later learned that he doesn't do a lot of self promotion as he is mostly solidly booked anyway. The most popular hair transplant surgeon in Thailand is Dr. Path, although the only drawback is that he charges similiar prices to those in Australia, where I am from. So I ruled him out rather early.
Anyway, I arrived in Chiang Mai on the 8/11/12 and had my initial consultation with Dr. Pong on the 9/11/12. I had previously emailed Dr. Pong various photo's of my hairline and what I hoped to achieve, by marking in balding areas in my hairline in the photographs (I am a Norwood type 2). Dr. Pong advised over email that I would probably need approximately 2000 - 2500 grafts to fill in the area and restore my hairline. I had hoped that I would be able to get maybe 3000 - 3500 grafts, but I had been previously told that my scalp elasticity was not so great by another hair transplant surgeon in Australia.
When I arrived at Dr. Pongs clinic I was struck by how professional the set up was and how clean it was. Dr. Pong greeted me himself and spent an hour with me discussing my options and carried out a thorough assessment of my hairline and scalp and we drew a preliminary hairline. The whole experience was no pressure and he advised me to go back to the hotel and think about everything we had discussed and then come back the next day. Having already done exhaustive research and already flown over to thailand from Australia I told him that wouldn't be neccessary and told him I'm ready. He booked me in the next day 10/11/12 as planned and I went back to the hotel.
The next day came around really quick and I'm not going to say I wasn't scared, in fact i was stressed as all hell. But I knew this was what I wanted and was ready to go through with it. I arrived at Dr. Pongs clinic at 8:30am and we got down to business. First he drew the hairline that we agreed upon the previous day. He stated that with my scalp elasticity and donor area he might be able to get 2500 grafts or maybe more. Next I had the HIV test which is just a pin prick and is common practice over here. He took some photo's of my hairline for some before shots for later to compare with after the surgery. He keeps records of all his patients and will show you which ones match your particular hair loss pattern and the surgery he performed on them. I thought this was a nice touch as it shows he is proud of his work and is not afraid to have his work scrutinised. Next he took me through the consent forms and explained that if I needed anything explained that he is more than happy to do so. Having worked for the government for the past 7 years I have seen many of these disclaimers and it is very standard.
From there it was all systems go... Dr. Pong gave me a sedative and took me up stairs to his operating room. He shaved a 1.3cm strip of hair and marked out the area for extraction. He then administered local anaesthetic to the area and began to extract the donor strip. He explained everything as he went and there was no pain at all. The anaesthetic did sting when it was been injected i'm not gong to lie, but then the whole area becomes numb. Next I was given some further sedatives and injections into the site where the grafts were to be placed. From there I just fell asleep. This was the part I was worried about as a lot of people say during the procedure they were so out of it they don't remember anything (that kind of scares me). I did fall asleep, but this was probably more to do with the fact that I didn't sleep much the night before. I woke up about 2 hours later and Dr. Pong advised that it was going to be another hour or so. For this part i was wide awake but didn't feel anything. He asked me how I was feeling and if I wanted to see the progress, I'm pretty good with blood and wounds ect.. so I said yes and he handed me a mirror. I was thinking wow, he and his assistants had gotten through quite a bit in 4 hours. He explained that he only extracted 2369 grafts as the scalp flexibility was quite tight (i knew this previously) and if he went further it would leave an unacceptably large scar. He did say though that I could come back later next year to fill in any areas that were not possible this time around (we talked about this previously where he marked 'maybe' areas, more like my wish list if he could get more than 2500 grafts). I was more than happy with this as I knew it was just a big maybe. The main areas I wanted are filled in nicely. It is too early to tell i know, but it looks good.
I returned to the clinic today 11/11/12 to have my hair washed. Dr. Pong came in on a Sunday to check my progress. He is happy so far and says that the healing is on track.
A few things.. the first night after surgery is really uncomfortable, even with pain killers. It feels like the back or your head is been stretched constantly. This subsides by the second day. You also need to wear a tight head band to stop swelling around your eyes and cheeks. This needs to stay on for 7 days. You also need to take anti biotics and an anti inflammotory to help with swelling. With all these i haven't noticed any swelling so far.
So I know I've rambled a little, but i wanted to share my story as I have appreciated others sharing theirs and it helped me with my decision making process. Feel free to contact me with any questions or further info. Cheers!
I will post pre and post op pictures for those interested. I just have to work out how to do it.
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