Recent FUT at Farjo Medical
Recent Hair Transplant Part 1 with Dr Bessam Farjo Jan 9 2013
Firstly, many thanks to all of you in the hair loss community who have shared your stories. When I started seriously considering a transplant early last year I, like many others before me, was confronted with a mountain of online information which included different transplant (and alternative) procedures, wildly varying estimates of costs, international and UK options and differing experiences of those who had undergone (or were considering) one or more transplants. I have leant heavily on the online community for information and am now very happy that I can put something back by making a contribution that I hope will assist at least some people to find their way through the maze and achieve their individual goals. I had my first transplant (certainly one or more procedures needed) at Farjo Medical (Manchester) on January 9th 2013. Here is my story (so far):
I was just 20 when I was involved in a serious car accident resulting in a fractured skull and, shortly afterwards, removal of a blood clot from my brain. I have no memory of the accident itself. My first memory afterwards was coming round in hospital and asking where I was and what they (the medical team) were doing to me. They were stitching wounds in my head and had shaved part of my hair away to enable them to see the damaged areas properly. It was several days later that the blood clot was discovered and the whole of my head was shaved in preparation for the operation. I won’t go into the details (it doesn’t bother me in the slightest but I’m thinking of anyone who may be a bit squeamish!). Suffice to say that in addition to the initial damage (lumps/bumps/wounds/stitches) I also had 3 burr holes (drill holes) in my skull which healed very well but left a crater-like appearance afterwards. I was extremely lucky to make a complete recovery and also fortunate that the thick head of hair I had prior to the procedure grew back so there was no visible damage whatsoever (there were, of course, areas where hair would no longer grow but I had such a lot of hair it didn’t make any difference at that point).
And so, aged 21 and fully recovered with a zest for life that was heightened (an understatement) by my near death experience I quit my well-paid job of several years, emptied my savings accounts and spent the next 5 years partying/travelling/studying/ (in that order, surviving on part-time work in the UK, Europe and the U.S) until my euphoria very slowly melted away (although never completely) and I realised I did, after all, need, and want, to re-join mainstream society and needed to work hard so that I could have a nice property, car etc and enjoy a slightly different, slower pace of life.
I remember that I was 28 when I first realised that my hair had started to recede and also remember estimating how long it would be before the first burr hole (lowest on my scalp) would make an appearance. I thought at the time I would be in my mid- thirties but I was way off. It didn’t actually start to show till I had turned 50 but from then on my hair loss accelerated at an alarming rate. At first I tried to rationalise it by telling myself that I was lucky to be alive and healthy and that it was part of the natural ageing process (which of course it is) but gradually I started reducing (and ultimately avoiding) social and professional engagements until last year when, aged 57 (I still feel young(ish) and am fortunate to be in good general health) I made the decision that I would definitely pursue the transplant option during 2012.
Because I had extensive hair loss I realised I would certainly require more than one procedure. I know that some people who live in the UK have had procedures in the U.S. or elsewhere but for me this wasn’t an option as I wanted to visit a clinic, perhaps on several occasions, and the additional travel costs/work commitments would have made this extremely difficult, if not impossible. I initially thought that London would be my only option. After looking at various websites which offered fixed price hair transplant costs or sale prices (I wrote them off as being dubious/unprofessional) and sifting through all the other online advice/personal experiences I decided to ring Farjo Medical in London but ultimately arranged an appointment in Manchester as it is near my home.
I am so glad that I did! At my initial appointment with Dr Bessam Farjo and Mick McHugh (Patient Liaison Manager) I had no doubt that I had made the right choice. I didn’t (and still don’t) expect miracles in terms of what could/can be achieved because, as well as all the damage to my scalp, my hair loss was so extensive but I was happy that Dr Farjo could provide what I was looking for, that is, to have an improvement in my appearance (perhaps gradually by means of further procedures) that would ultimately result in covering most of the damage to my scalp and therefore making me happier about my general appearance.
On procedure day itself I had arranged an early morning call at the nearby Roomz Aparthotel (excellent) and met Mick (by accident) outside the clinic a little before 7.30 am. Shortly afterwards I was undergoing the medical formalities etc. My blood pressure was checked (I am on medication for Hypertension but it is well controlled) and I was given a mild sedative. During the day I had the opportunity to watch a choice of DVD’s or TV, listen to music and was given snacks, drinks and my favourite BLT sandwich for lunch.
What surprised me most of all on procedure day was the sheer number of the Farjo team who were actually involved in the process (I honestly couldn’t count them). This, for me, put the cost of a procedure into perspective and made me realise that it actually represented good value for money when compared to other cosmetic procedures with far less people involved.
So, regarding the procedure itself, I was aware of Dr Farjo administering the local anaesthetic, removing the donor strip and stapling the skin afterwards but at no time could I say that I actually experienced any pain, at most a slight discomfort at times. Exactly the same can be said for the incisions/graft insertions. All in all it was far more relaxing and less troublesome than any dental procedure I have experienced (although somewhat lengthier) and I found it to be an interesting day out (with obvious benefits). I should also say that at my initial meeting with Dr Farjo he estimated a yield of approximately 1800 grafts but I believe the actual figure was nearer 1900 so that was a welcome bonus! The costs are clearly marked on the Farjo Medical website. This is probably an appropriate point to acknowledge the Farjo team members individual help so here goes: Sincere thanks to Dr’s Farjo (for their expertise and friendly professionalism), Dr Williams (for his help and advice), Mick (for his ongoing help and advice), Michelle (for being so helpful and informative), Julie (for the same and also being gentle removing my staples), Sarah (for her help) and all of the Medical Assistants. If I could remember all their names I would mention them but it wouldn’t be fair to single one or two out as they were all, without exception, adept, friendly and more than willing to answer any questions I had regarding the procedure itself. Also, thanks to Lesley and Katie in Admin for their friendly efficiency. All in all, it was a first class service from start to finish.
I had been given pre and post procedure instructions and followed them carefully. I was told to expect some pain for the first 48 hours but I personally had no pain to speak of after the first 24 hours and no complications whatsoever. I did, however, have an incident 4 days after the procedure when I went to a local supermarket. I had been supplied with a hat to wear after my procedure to hide the initial scabs, redness etc but I heal quite quickly so even after 4 days there wasn’t too much evidence and you could hardly notice the staples in the donor site (I used 2 mirrors to check first). So, I went out without the hat and was crouched down in the supermarket looking at some items on a lower shelf. An elderly gent appeared next to me, told me he couldn’t see an assistant and asked if I knew where the jars of olives were. I looked up and told him they were just behind him. He looked round and said “Ah, yes” and I turned my attention back to the lower shelf. As I did so, he said “Thanks, son” and reinforced his thanks by rubbing/scratching the top of my head!!! I inwardly grimaced and ducked down but I knew he had broken at least 2 of the scabs as I could soon feel blood trickling down both sides of my face. I went straight to the toilet to examine the damage. The bleeding stopped almost immediately but I didn’t want to take any chances so I went straight home, cleaned the affected areas, had a very gentle shampoo and rinse and applied some antiseptic cream. I only mention this as a warning to others. I know it was a freak occurrence but it just shows what can happen. Next time I will be fully stocked up with provisions and keep away from the general public for much longer!
After that I had no further problems but some (not all) of the transplanted hair has fallen out as the scabs fell off. I was told that this may happen so it is a matter of waiting for perhaps 4 months until it starts to grow again and then some while longer before the hair grows out and full effect of the procedure is seen. I have shown before/after photos and will take some more in maybe 4 or 5 month’s time and also update my pictures/story through my next procedure(s) and beyond as others have kindly done before me.
I stopped going to the hairdressers years ago when I started to lose a lot of hair. Most of the time since then my girlfriend has cut it at home with a trimmer but I am now looking forward to my first professional haircut for years although I probably won’t be having it done for a while yet.
I will happily answer any questions to the best of my ability.
Good luck to you all!
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