My FUT Experience - 5545 (Dr Hasson)
I am 37 years male, started losing hair in my mid 20's and moved on to using clip on hair system when I became 29, without giving too much of a chance for others to quickly notice a change in me. I had bit of hair at the front but the rest to the crown really thinned out and lost. It was just me (and ofcourse the wife) knowing that I am wearing a system.. until some one asked me about it one day, and that was a real shocking moment in my life. About 3 years i was on the clip-on system.
From that moment, I started looking for various options and then the supertape based systems made with very fine hairs caught my attention and I changed to havhing that. I had to shave my scalp to have it glued properly to have a natural look hence I was not noticing/bothering about further hairloss. I realised more and more people became aware of these kind of systems, and started losing my confidence when some one look in to my fore head. I avoided friends, and functions as much as I could. One other problem I found with the super tape systems was that, if you do sports and don't remove and clean up the system very often it can stink. Last year I went for a get together function, and some one asked me about my hair in public and that shook me and literally and ran away from the crowd. I then decided this is it.. and I can not live like this any more and need to change. There were some massive advertisements on DHI every where so I spent some time do the research but didn't appeal to me because of the negative remarks on forums (may be true, may be not - I don't know).
My research continued on web.. by then came the news of Wayne Rooney's transplant :-) As every other male hairloss suffering guy in England, that inspired me little bit. But the questions came to my mind always were 'Why does Bruce Wills keep his full head shaved or Ben Affleck on hair systems. So there must be something negative about it which is not very open , other than the big price bill'?
I read the daily mirror article about spexHair (Spencer) and visited his website, lots of genuine and first hand information. Good Guy. Came to know that he works for Dr Alan Feller so my research goes in to that direction as well. Hardly any negative comments about Dr Feller on forum. There were one or two here and there, but that's expected on anything.
Created a new email (new identity ha ha) and contacted him at around 9 pm on a sunday with some of my photographs, and got a long reply from spex within 30 minutes explaining I was a candidate of 3000+ follicular units, and I would need at least two sessions to get the full coverage which can be done with an year gap.
I fixed a time with spex to speak over the phone and it took over 20 minutes and he patiently answered all the questions that I asked and even more. He suggested me to secure a date by paying the initial deposit of $2500 but I then wanted to meet him first to see his hair before could I decide on doing the HT 100%.
Drove to his place on a weekend and met him. Good guy. Atleast an hour he spent with me. He showed me his hair and explained the whole procedure, the pre-op post post-op thingy etc. His hairline and the scar area looked pretty impressive too. That's the moment I DECIDED, yes I WANT TO DO IT so I need to raise some money.(I thank Spex here, had I not met him, I would not have done a hair transplant. No marketing tactics or selling tricks here, he was a genuine mentor and a helping guy). These were the questions I asked
1) How about the scar ? How I am going to go back to work with the scar.?
Spex suggested me to grow my hair around the donor area as long as a I could , so that the scar can be covered.
2) How painful would the surgery be?
Spex said - You would find bit of bleeding when you get to the hotel that evening, and expect some minor pain on that night, for that pain killers will be given
3) When can I fly back to london - without having fellow passengers stairing at me?
Spex - surgery on friday , you take rest on saturday and fly back on sunday. you will be given a extra large baseball cap you will be fine
4) Can I wear my system until the hair regrows ?
Spex - Yes, but change to a clip on , and avoid wearing it unless it is absoltely necessary (such as weekends, at night etc). Do not wear it for 2 weeks past surgery. Do not use any stick on ones.
5) Who can remove the staples ?
Spex - any nurse or your wife could do it, 10 days after the surgery
6) Any thing else I should expect post surgery ?
Spex - Some swelling starts from scalp and that move towards your eye. But all depends on your body.
7) What post operative care I should be aware of ?
Spex - avoid doing any bigger exercises or heavy lifting thingy for a reasonable period and for the next 6 months wear a cap when you are out to avoid direct sunlight on your scalp.
8) What if I change my mind after securing a date ?
Spex - You will surely get your deposit back as long as you give enough notice for them to give that date to some one else.. Dr Feller is a reasonable man.
9) How much time it would take ?
Spex - Be there by 7.45. Should never be late as it can cost you more money. Dr Feller will see you at 7.45 and give you some pre-op advice etc and the surgery starts at 8 and it is expected to finish by 2-pm ish (6-7 hours). and you can be back to your hotel by 4 pm.
My thoughts then were about the money I had to raise. 12500 + travel expenses + is good money. Does it actually work? Why Bruce Wills.... STOP IT. I said to myself and started beliving in it 'This is something I am going to invest to get my self confidence back, my pride and self esteem, and my being with friends and crowd ' But it's a surgery and it comes with some possible risks and I am ready to take it.
The total price I had to pay for the first session of 3000+ (ie between 3000-3200 depends on donor density) was $12500, with $2500 deposit to secure the date. I was given dates but they were going off very quickly , but some other dates were getting available too. I fixed a date by paying deposit. I was asked to speak with Cathy of fellermedical to confirm the receipt of the payment but I was told by Cathy that it would take couple of weeks of credit the amount. And finally she confirmed after couple of weeks.
I got a date for the beginning of May and when I paid the deposit in mid Feb. By mid march I did manage to raise the remaining 10000 and paid in full. Forgot to mention, FellerMedical wanted me to do some tests here for HIV, Hepatitis etc which I did and send the results across. All okay.
I kept asking questions to Spex and always got response . I was fully prepared to go.. booked my holiday at work, booked the flight and hotel. informed Cathy that I would be arriving there on this date and staying in this hotel etc, also I asked her to see if I could get an appointment to meet Dr Feller the day before the surgery. But sadly it was not possible, because by the time I could get there on that thursday (3 pm) it would be little late for Dr Feller to be at the clinic.
Started counting down the days. My wife was always there to support/encourage me.. When I was worried about the money side of things, she was more worried about the surgery aspect of things.
She has been doing her research and she continued doing the same even after I paid the full amount to Dr Feller.
Towards the end of March she once showed me some of the pictures from hassonandwong and the forum posts and I was bit curious about the no of grafts that dr Hasson/Wong are able to transplant in one session. There must be some gimmicks in there ? or do they count the grafts in different way than Dr Feller does. I stopped my resarch to not get me overconfused on something I already took a decision on.
There came the Easter break. I casually looked in to the website of hassonandwong and it showed Dr Hasson in London for that Friday and Saturday and contact David Anderson for a free consulting. I sent an email to both the email address of Hasson and Wong/ david with photographs for a free consultation and send a text message to David's phone. I didn't get a response.
Saturday morning I called David and he quickly recoganised me saying he was just about to call me as he got some slots came available at 3.00 pm. I booked one and decided to go. That's just to have a proper HT surgeon to look in to my scalp to get a second opinion on the condition of my scalp , donor area so that I can set some realistic expectation before I go to Dr Feller for the procedure (as no other Doctors saw my scalp before).
I emailed Spex about this , and he encouraged me to go and meet Dr Hasson and we can pass any extra info we get from Dr Hasson over to Dr Feller who is going to do the procedure in a months time.
I went to see Dr Hasson. I met David and Joe. I was so amazed to see Joe's hair (as I read his story before) and to me he was like a hair model with such great hair and style. David was very nice too. I met few other guys at the waiting area, and they were literally praising on Dr Hasson's skill and mastery. I told David and Joe about the payment I made to Dr Feller and I wasn't sure if I could get the whole money back should I decide to go ahead with Dr Hasson.
Dr Hasson closely inspected my scalp and didn't say a thing to me for few minutes but to his colleagues. He asked me if I was on any medication 'I said no' then I was told that 'you should start taking finestride from now on or you may lose more hair towards the side as you have already lost/thinned all of it from the front to crown. This will also help regrow or thicken your existing thin hair around the crown'. David said to me that he would help me get he prescription of finestride from the doctor he has been getting the medicine and it would only cost 10 quid a month.
Dr hasson said to me, you have reasonably good donor area and we could try and get up to 5000 in a single session and work from the hairline towards the back as much as we could.
I asked 'do i need to come for another one to cover my crown, then?' Dr said 'You won't get another 5000 after the first one, but another thousand or so- but I strongly recommend you to have as much as done in one go'. I mentioned to him about Dr Feller 3000 grafts session I booked and the full amount I paid. He said calmly 'Feller is good friend of mine, if you want to do 5000 session please speak with them and see if you can get your money back and let David know he will book a date'. To be honest, I saw David and Joe were bit doubtful about me getting the full refund from Dr Feller, but for some reason I wanted to do a 5000 one session rather than multiple sessions with Dr Feller. I told them that I would get back after speaking with Spex.
I emailed spex and explained the situation and got the reply from spex
Spex - 'If Dr Hasson can do 5000 then that's a great thing, but I don't personally think you have such a great donor area. Also, Dr Feller won't do sessions over 3500 grafts in one go'. He was confident that I could get the balance I paid - ie 10000 back, but deposit may be an issue because it was just a month away, but he promised to try his best as Dr Feller would be the one to make final decision on it, but Dr was on Easter break and not expected to return in two weeks '. Just to emphasise, Spex was really helping me out here by replying to all my emails on that easter sunday giving me advices and helping me to take the right decision.
I had to find ways to raise more money for the surgery. Spoken to David and I was told that It would be $19000+ for 5000 and I get full deposit back as long as I cancel it 3 weeks before and I needed to pay the full amount only a week or two before. They also offer free accomodation (or discount that from the total bill if I book ourselves).
David helped me to get finerstride from Dr Ashford in the meantime.
I raised money from various means, credit cards etc.. and paid $14000 and the rest I was asked to pay using credit card after the surgery.
Christina was my point of contact at Hasson and Wong. I must tell you, She was so professional in communications. Even before I had to ask for anything, the most uptodate info were given to me on what to do and made my preparation towards the surgery so effortless. I was asked to do regular scalp exercise in preparation for the op and sent some video clips
Finally the day arrived. Air Canada flight to Vancouver was not the best flight I had in terms of the service etc, but I was least bothered about it. A the emigration they asked me about my purpose of visit , and I just had to present the letter already sent over to me by Christina (I emphasise the point again here, HassonAndWong were so professional and you don't really have to worry about anything other than preparing yourself for the surgery. that is doing the scalp exercise as they instructed + ofcourse arranging the fund)
While I was collecting my luggage, a customs lady came to me and friendly asked about myself and about the purpose of my visit. Showed the letter and then she started saying lots of good things about the clinic and the international clients arrival there etc.. That gave me more confidence.
I was told by christina that she has booked an appointment to meet Dr Hasson on Wednesday (Thursday was the date of surgery). I took the train from airport to the downtown where the hotles are . I booked Georgian court hotel myself instead of staying at the sheraton that hassonandwong offered. (I found the reviews on georgian court better than sheraton on internet), however I later realised sheraton had some nice views which I was badly missing at the Georgian court. the rest was okay.
I arrived at the hotel around 1.30 pm and then dropped the luggage and took a cab for the clinic. It's about 10 minutes drive, although I was bit hesitant in mentioning the clinic name instead gave the the address and door number to the cab driver, he spotted out quickly'oh the hair doctor'. :-)
Christina was there ..warm welcome. and I was asked to wait at the reception overlooking nice scenaric downtown. I found more than a dozen girls walking across the surgery rooms and few procedures are already underway with both the doctors.
Joe came in to have a chat with me and took me to a room and there Dr Hasson joined. He again inspected my scalp and said 'my scalp has become much better now as I was doing the scalp exercise like a maniac'. I was then wearing a clip on hair system and I asked him 'I really and desparately wanted to come out of this at some point from now ' He replied 'We are going to make it a history'. Those words were so inspiring to me to be honest. I then asked about 'How about the scar'. His replay was '100% I am assuring you that, you will never be bothered about your scar and you can throw your hair system now as I reocmmend to do a full shave to extract the healthy grafts'. I was confused 'How can i go to work after 2 weeks with the scar?'. His cofident reply was again 'Leave it with me, it will not be an issue ..after the staples come out in 14 days give it another few days and you will only have a line around which you should be able to pretty much manage'. I had several more questions and Joe and Dr Hasson helped me clear and I was asked to be at the clinic the next morning by 7.15 after having a good break fast. 'I asked about the number of grafts I could get, he said he would try to get 5000 but he will only know about it during the extraction time as nothing can be guranteed'. I was little bit worried about that aspect 'Am i going to get only 3000+ then?' but Dr Hassons words and his confidence did really impress me. Joe took some photographs of mine and I returned to the hotel and slept well and woke up around mid night (jetlag:-) and then watching tele and speaking with my wife as she was one the behind me taking all the right decisions in my life.
I got some more sleep and woke up at 6. Got ready and went to the McD opposite and had a big breakfast. My worry then was 'How the hotel receptionist guys would recoganise me when I come back in a different shape , bleeding - hm. perhaps the base ball cap should help'
Arrived at the clinic just after 7. they gave me the black leather gown and put me in to the surgery room with both sides full of glass and nice view. It was a lovely day and I didn't really need a tele or anything to kill my time , rather I could just look out and that was so relaxing.
Dr hasson without even asking me anything shaved my full head. I got little bit shocked, I thought he would ask me once again before doing it.. but after shaving he commented 'you look better now' and I felt the same way with a cool head. He said I had a healthier left hand session than the right hand so he has to find out if I can get 5000 or not when I asked about it, he also said he was planning to work from my hairline towards the back so it will be less dense when it goes backwards. the nurse gave me all the prep medications for the surgery and I saw half a dozen girls preparing them selves for the surgery (healthy graft extraction procedure under microscope). Dr Hasson asked me to lie with my face on pillow on that special surgical bed and gave me the sedation. Must tell you, the bed and the position was so comfortable and I felt I could be in that position for the whole day. The sedation injection was slighly painful (as you can imagine with any injection) and after that the extraction process started. And I felt so comfortable out there that I was not worried about anything at all. Felt the smell of blood and the sound of the skin peeling. :-) followed by the sound of staples. how many were they ? easily over 100 in numbers.
9.00 am. extraction process done and the girls were already started extracting the healthy grafts for the transplantation procedure. I asked for something to drink and I was given freshly squeezed orange juice and then I was asked to stand up and walk or go to the toilet if I wanted. I went to the toilet and watched my face.. found blood aound the cut but realized the staples closed them so well and tight.
Came back for the procedure and doctor gave me a counting device while he was doing the incision for the new grafts. He kept asking the girls about the counts and as far as I can remember he did around 3000 incisions and then fixed few new grafts on the hair line and gave lots of instructions to the girls and handed (my head :-) )over to them. half a dozen girls were doing the extraction in the same room, while couple of girls replanting them on my scalp (microsoft). Must admit it needed precision and technical expertise to do that job. Not an easy one, not at all. Every 10 minutes they asked and ensured I was doing okay and needed anything to drink or needed break. They had a huge collection of movies that I could watch and had the remote with me chosing whatever I wanted to watch. Although the dvd was playing I was so fascinated and relaxed by the breathtaking downtown views outside on that sunny day.
Every 30 minutes or so Doctor visited me to ensure the procedure was going as he wanted and ensured I was feeling comfortable. I got a 5 star service at the surgery and I was treated like the guest that they have been waiting and preparing for a long time to serve. No complaints at all. All of them were beyond perfect and professional. The doctor,the technicians , the girls at the receiption and pretty much every one.
lunch break at 12 and I got a nice menu to choose from and I opted for a mexican sandwich and fruit bowl and it was really delicious.
1 clk Dr came back to do further incisions and he did up to 4500 in total. Doctor showed me a sheet with the grafts count, from what I can remember (not accurate)
1 hair grafts - 1900
2 hair grafts - 3000
3 hairs unit - 300
4 hairs unit - 245
(to be honest I lost the count, but it was 5545 grafts and I was more than happy)
Doctor gave me the good news that, they were able to extract 5545 and that's enough to cover the full head. I was beyond happy. more than what i expected. He then gave instructions on using single hair grafts two each in some of the incisions.
Making it short. literally it took until 10.30 pm to complete the procedure.. 15+ hours procedure and over a dozen girls worked on my scalp in turns. I never felt any discomfort except when they injected the sedations at intervals to avoid me having any pain.
Doctor left at 5 pm , I think. But told me that the girls would give the numbers including his mobile to call him if at all I would feel any problems at night. I doubt any other doctor would give his mobile number to patients to call at midnight or after? Awesome. and I was so moved. What a kind and professional gesture that was. While Dr Hasson was doing the surgery, I observed his passion,energy and excitement as if he was doing his best surgery ever. Top class. The girls who were planting the grafts were so good at what they do, they used to closely cross check others work and ensured they are placed correct and ensured it looked perfect.
Dinner was served at 7 and that was a nice thai green curry rise i ever had.
At 10 or so they completed the procedure and washed my hair carefully and took photographs and booked me a cab to hotel. They also gave all medications , instructions and what I should expect etc in such way that I didn't have any more questions to ask.
Final bill was around $21000 as far as I could remember. Did I expect some kind of a discount ? Yes I did. Did they give a discount ? No. Did that disappoint me at the end? No, not at all. Why ? Because that surgery of 15 hours + with more than a dozen people working around me throughout deserved it or even more.
Got back to hotel around 11 pm watched tele for some time and got some sleep. woke up at 2 am and felt some pain, although i was instructed to take some painkillers I didn't as i was not feeling the pain then and that did cost me really. The pain became more severe , and then i took the pain killer and within 30 minutes back to normal and went to sleep
The next morning I was asked to go to the clinic again for the doctor to check and also for a hair wash. Doctor was so happy with the result , so I was, after seeing my full head with loads of planted hairs to cover in full. The staples was bit concering though, but never had any bleeding as I feared but one or two drops for that they even gave me special pillow covers, head supporters and various other accessories. Excellent Customer Service!
My return flight was booked on saturday evening. Read this, the clinic even opened for me on that saturday to have one more hair wash by their nurses and I went for that. Do you think any other clinics would offer this level of services to any of their clients? I doubt it. They opened the client just for me to have my hair washed. Probably more patients to come for the same after me, but I found just me there. I am more than impressed. I felt so happy and confident and believed that the decision I took was the right one.
Flew back and didn't have any problem at all as I feared at the airports or in flight , although having the staples around my head (like a superhero movie villain) .. wife was at the airport to recieve me .. had a nice dinner at home on sunday evening when I arrived and then had my next full week of rest without worrying about anything at all..just relaxed . But the very next afternoon I started feeling head ache, and it became so severe that even I vomitted.. that was dreadful one night with severe head ache and pain killers did help to certain extend, but was difficuilt. and then it became normal.
I sent several emails every day to christina explaining how i felt and to get confirmed by the doctor that was normal, and I always got responses on time. So PROFESSIONAL AND CARING. I use the term WORLD CLASS once again here.
My wife was washing my hair for the first few days and then as instructed by Doctor I applied the Vitamin oil and took long showers. I was worried about removing the crust in the first few days but I was told that I must have it all removed by day 10 which I did manage to obtain by following the instructions so closely.
On day 13 i went to the local surgery for the stples removal , Note - HassonAndWong even gave me the thingy to unplug the staples.. since it was over 100 staples it took over 30 minutes and was little painful (some of them).
I came back home and watched on the mirror and shocked to see how bad the scar was with the crust dead cells around it. Oh god, how can I go back to work in 4 days from now ?In this condition it may take another month at least. I sent a worrying email to chrisitina and I was asked to apply the vitamin e oil at the scar and remove the crust and dead cells around it and trust me, IT DID THE TRICK. the next day when I washed, all the scary things have gone and it just became a fine line. I was so happy and confident. It was surely noticeable but no one would think it was a surgery mark. perhaps a birth mark or something like that ???
The day has come (day 19 after the surgery) where i have to go back to work and face my colleagues. I was really worried, as I was able to see the scar around very clearly although very thin. People asked me about my shaven head and I said it was a summer change. Just one person (funny guy) asked, I looked as if I just came out of jail. That was an innocent joke and I laughed at it. I was very concious about not showing the back side of my head for the first few days and then it became so normal...and SURVIVED
David Anderson, the patient consultant in the UK has been in constant touch with me and his words were really calming and helping me down to prepare day by day. Invaluable advise.
I was told that I should expect most of the transplanted hairs to shed from week 3 and expect them to re-grow only after 3 months. So my next worry was about that period. So advertised to everyone that I was having some kind of a scalp problem , but my shedding wasn't that bad and I realised my hairs were thickening and growing even before month 3.. Now I am on 4+ months and I am more than happy with the results..I cut my hair short every two weeks so that the tranplanted sclap goes in synch with the sides. I was told that it will take an year (couple of hair regrow cycles) to see the full result and I am looking forward to it. So far, I got a lot more than what I expected out of an HT surgery at 4 months period and I am sure it will only improve from here.
Now, about the full money I paid to Dr Feller. Guess what ? Dr Feller himself kindly posted a personal cheque to me for the full amount minus $30 or so for the postage charge, and it took couple of weeks to arrive but the money credited the very next day I submitted the cheque. That's very professional of Dr Feller and Spex as he explained my situation to Dr Feller , and Dr Feller being a very professional gentleman returned my full money with no hesitation. He could have easily taken the deposit money of 2500 by saying some excuse, but he didn't. I really admire and respect the greatness of Dr Feller here and how Spex helped me to get the full money back. Great professionals.
To summarise - Guys, all I wrote here are genuine and I do not work for any of these doctors or getting paid for anything I write.Apologies for the grammatical and syntactical error here as I lost my original journal which I used to write every day when my hard diskcrashed.
I strongly recommend you to do all your research and go for it. It's surely going to cost you good money but what you get back is going to be priceless, from my experience. I have posted before and 4months post surgery pictures here , however if any one wants to meet me and get more of what I experience please feel free to let me know and I will try my best to help. because I know how valuable those information would be for some one who's planning to do this procedure. Before I thought, once you lose your hairs there is no way you can reverse it, but now yes, you can reverse it and some great doctors out there to help you. Do your research and get all your questions properly answered and make a decision. One kind advice that I can give here, your decision should not be based on the price tag but choose the best surgeon for the best result.
I really wish to thank Spex for all the motivation and inspiration that he gave me to decide on doing a HT and his responses to all my emails (24 x 7 and during holidays) were awesome. Had I not heard about him or met him, I probably would not have done this procedure .
Dr Feller - for his kindness and understanding to refund my full amount. What a great professional he is. Thank you very much.
David Anderson , the real genuine guy , who helped me throughout interms of getting me finestride, giving all the first hand info pre-op and post-op and literally on everything that I needed for the HT. He was so calming and helping.
All the staff at HW (and Christina) - What should I say. You guys are amazinig. You defined what the extreme high of customer service means. You made my time at the surgery such a pleasant experience. No complaints at all. The best staff any business would envy to have. once again, WORLD CLASS.
Dr Hasson, the true legend and my hero. You are THE BEST in the business. You gave me back something so priceless. You are changing the lives of thousands of people and I was so lucky to become one of them. I admire you, sir and wish you all health and the greatness.
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