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Surgery with Dr Rahal - 15 Dec 2010



Travel and arrival

After a long flight from Australia to Canada with delays and missed connections I finally made it to Ottawa on the evening of 13 December. Although getting to Ottawa was a nightmare, with my flighted being rerouted to go via Chicago, to via Montreal, then delays in Montreal due to the weather, getting out at Ottawa was a dream, my luggage was the first out then straight to the taxi rank, no waiting and straight on to Foxbar Guesthouse - which is accomodation dedicated to Rahal patients. All in all I think it took about 38 hours to leave my home, before arriving at Foxbar. I remember on the final leg of the journey there were two other passengers complaing as they'd been travelling for 13 hours - amateurs I say!

After about four hours sleep I got up and was kindly chauffered to the supermarket by the propieter of Foxbar Guesthouse - just another added service by the owners. There was one other patron staying here, but I never got to meet him, he left the day after I arrived and sleeping patterns weren't matching. I now have the guesthouse to myself I believe.

I had a pre-surgery consultation with Adrian and Dr Rahal which went well. They took pictures and had a chat about my expectations, what my donor density was like, and what sort of hairline to work towards.

From there I went back to the guesthouse and tried to relax, but I must confess I didn't sleep well at all, probably due to jetlag as much nerves.


Having had surgery before, including an earlier transplant at home in Australia, I was quite nervous about the procedure. I went in at 9am and Dr Rahal had a look at how many grafts we could get from my donor, the original plan was for 3,500, but Dr Rahal thought we should be able to get around 4,000. That surprised me actually as I had been told I don't have good scalp laxity and I have already had a 2,000 strip procedure. But I did the scalp laxity exercises for the last couple of months, so they obviously really work. In terms of hairline approach, Dr Rahal preferred to be conservative and go for a mature male hairline. He noted tha the previous hair transplant had left with a very sever widow's peak with no work done in the temple areas at all. He rounded out and we agreed to ithe design All through this process I found the Dr Rahal to be professional and accomodating, discussing through issues with different approaches.. Once the design was complete it was off to have more pictures taken.

Then into the chair, Mike one of the technicians (head technician maybe?) looked after me, taking my blood pressure giving me some relaxing shots (best part of the day!) and bandaging me up and getting ready for the strip to be taken out. Now - this is what really impressed me, I barely felt a thing for the strip and it seemed to happen really quickly and they did it while I was sitting up. Last time I was lying face down with no bandages that I can remember watching a pool of my own blood collect on the floor - a quite stressful experience, so I was very pleased and relieved with the ease in which this strip seemed to come out. From then on the strip was handed over to the technicians to cut up and everyone just knew what they were doing, they really had the system down pat - a world away from my previous experience where I swear the technicians were being trained on the day to cut up the grafts. I think there were around five or six people working away at any time.

The morning just seemed to fly by, I dozed and tried to watch a movie but couldn't focus, I hope I didn't snore, I am not snorer but drugs and alcohol certainly affect that. The clinic provided lunch, and then the afternoon was dedicated to planting the grafts. And I was more lucid for the afternoon which made the afternoon drag a bit, but i tried to doze. What amazed me was how fast and consistent the planters of the grafts were. Such precise work, but they didn't seem to let up at all.

The procedure finished around 7pm - and when I stood up I felt very lucid and normal, not dozey or woozy at all. They cleaned me up and Dr Rahal gave me a lift back to the guesthouse. I had some dinner and then the pain started, it was quite intense, but a quck call to Mike who advised on medications and what to do (he also consulted Dr Rahal) and we got the pain under control. I must admit I didn't sleep much that night either - probably a combination of the procedure and jet lag. Fortunately I could just jump oniine and chat to my partner and friends in Australia, watched a couple of movies, and all was good. The sleeping at a 45 degree angle isn't much fun, but it's bearable.

At the end of the day Dr Rahal also told me we ended up with 4,400 grafts - which is more than I thought I had in me, I was ecstatic about that result. I must remember to ask him how many he thinks I have left if I ever decide (or need) further work. I believe we got 65 to 70 percent density in the front, which is more than Dr Rahal originally anticipated. It always great to hear that things went better than expected!

First Post surgery check up

I went back in at 4pm for the first follow up. Mike cleaned me up and I couldn't believe how clean the graft work looks, there is hardly any blood or scabbing on the recipient area at all. My recipient area was a bloody mess after my first transplant, so this is what I was expecting. It was also the first time I got to see the hairline, which is the most rewarding aspect of this whole process. To me, it looks like what a HT is supposed to look like day one, last time it didn't and I was concerned. Even looking like the Elephant Man with all the swelling seems normal to me. This time things look, to my mind, exactly as I would hope.

I am looking forward to the next twelve months!

Updated - I have added pics from the procedure to my album.

Day 5 post surgery

Today is the last day and night I spend in Ottawa. I had my final appointment with Dr Rahal and Mike and they said everything was healing very well, which was great to hear. I have a lot of rivering going on the moment so it looks like there are streaks or stripes of hairlessness, but apparently this is an illusion and nothing to worry about. I still can't believe how quickly the bloodiness is disappearing on the recipient area and how quickly the skin is retrurning to it's normal colour. I didn't expect to see any major improvement in this area for weeks and it's only been days! Last time the bloodiness remained a good deal longer.

I also got the final break down of hairs from Dr. Rahal.

457 x 1

2586 x 2

1244 x 3

119 x 4

For a total of 4,406 grafts.

With a density of 60 to 65 in the front, 50 to 55 in the middle and 45 in region three. When I've seen other similar figures on other patients I've been very impressed with the results, so I really do think this will make a dramatic difference.

Flying back home tomorrow - with an estimated travel time of about 30 hours. I am not looking forward to the flight, but I am looking forward to going home, and being with family for Christmas. I do wish I had done more sight seeing while I was here, but it wasn't a priorty, and given that Dr. Rahal said I have plenty more hair left for any future transplants perhaps I'll be back at some point in the future.



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  • Senior Member



Thanks for posting such a detailed account of your awesome experience with Dr. Rahal! Sounds like things went as smooth as possible for you.


I look forward to viewing your photos and following your progress over the coming months.


Happy growing!


David (TakingThePlunge)

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  • Regular Member

Thanks David.


I've now added pics - though they've been imported as smaller than their original size. Hopefully they're detailed enough for people to get an idea.

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Congratulations on your recent hair transplant with the highly esteemed Dr. Rahal. Thanks for your detailed writeup and for adding photos. I do encourage you however, to add higher resolution photos as those "thumbnails" are very small and hard to see.


Keep us posted on your progress!


Best wishes for a hairy 2011 :-)


Bill (Falceros)

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  • Regular Member

Hi Bill,


Thanks for the feedback. I have updated the pics, the new size looks better to me. I didn't account for further size reduction in the upload process.


Hopefully all is good now!

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