I had told Matt to let me know of any cancellations so that I could go in earlier. Their normal schedule would have put me into February next year. We kept going back and forth between a few cancellations and on a Sunday night I got asked if I want to come on the following Thursday. I said I can come. I was told to take a Covid Antigen test and an Antibody test on Monday or at the max on Tuesday since they needed those results before the surgery. Luckily for me, Walgreens had a rapid testing center (antigen test)very close to my house and I could get an appointment with a lab( antibody test) close by on Monday morning itself.
I then travelled on Wednesday to Minneapolis. It was more than 9+ hour drive and luckily for me, it snowed the day before I drove, but not on the day I drove. I stayed in Hilton which was very close to the office. Hilton had a Clean Stay Seal on the door which apparently meant that they had disinfected the main touch areas and no one has gone in since then. I was not nervous this time since I had already done a FUT before and so I was calm, saw a movie and slept late.
7am - 7:30 am Next day morning, I was told to arrive at 7am. I reached there at 7:05 am. Not bad. Their office was on the 5th floor I think. Once I walked into their office, their receptionist welcomed me by name. That was a surprise. They knew whom to expect and they invited by name. My temperature was then taken. I was offered a bottled of water and I signed a few papers. I was offered a choice of what I wanted for lunch and then waited for Dr Ron to come. The receptionist after a while told me to join her to take a few pics. I think she did not want to waste any time and we went to their small photo session room and clicked a few pics. Back to the main waiting area. A few minutes later, Dr Ron showed up and greeted me. He went on to change his cloths and joined me back to the photo room. I said I had already taken the pics and then we started going through our plan. I think he might have read through my emails before coming since he knew what I wanted.
7:30am - 8 am He asked what my areas of concerns were if I had unlimited hair and to rank them. I said my crown, filling in the hairline and the a few grafts on my sides as it had grown lower. He said the crown is a black hole and can taken a lot of grafts specially if I am not on meds. I then switched back the priority to get the shapiro hairline, crown and the sides. He said he will focus on the upward part of the crown and leave the lower part for later to be conservative. As he kept drawing on my head, the areas he wanted to cover, he kept talking about propecia and the various options I had with meds and how much of an impact it can make. Once done with the talk and plan, we headed to the surgery room. I was given the option to use the rest room if I wanted to.
8am - 10am I was given valium , a blanket , and was told to wait for a few minutes for the meds to take effect. Meanwhile I was given a nice massage on my back with a machine by one of their techs. I was given the injections to numb the donor for the strip extraction. It was just a pinch of pain. I was told to lay with my head facing down for them to start extracting the strip. Dr Ron kept doing his job and once in a while I would just mummm if I felt the hint of any pain and they would immediately inject more to keep the area numb. After it was all done, I got up to strech myself and asked how long it took. 2 hours. It was a long and a carefully time taken phase 1 of the surgery. I think with Dr Konior, it was an hour or so. Dr Ron said my laxity was average and my skin was THICK.
Dr Ron's strip covered the existing one I had. So I would still be left with only 1 strip. This 2nd strip was 2 parts. It was not one long ear to ear strip cut. He did one half of it, stitched it up and then did the next half of it and stitched it up. 1st strip was about 9 cm long and then 2nd was about 17 cm long. So 26 cm long. And 1.5 cm wide. Which means 39cm2 area obtained from the strip. But since I had an existing scar in the strip from my 1st surgery, the actual hair bearing tissue might be of the range 33-35cm2. He used staples instead of sutures.
10am-12:30 I was then given another bathroom break and Dr Ron started the incisions. He started off with the hairline. He kept doing the hairline after which he switched to the backside. He said he likes to do that way and then revisit back and forth. He kept asking his techs how the grafts were coming, how many ones, 2s and 3s for him to plan. Around 12:15 he was done and asked if the lunch had come. They said it would reach by 12:30. He then went back to doing more incisions.
12:30am - 1pm Lunch time. They got the food I ordered. I sat in the same chair and had my lunch. Got some apple juice and mint too.
1pm- 4:30pm I had seen how they were cutting my strip into 1s and 2s. By lunch they had done cutting it all out. The number was out. 2527 grafts. I thought with that large of a strip, I might have got more grafts, but this was the range they were expecting before the surgery 2000-2500. Dr then told his techs where he had made the incisions and how he wanted the grafts placed. Only 1s in the hairline, 2s on the sides, A mix of 3s and 2s on the back since I did not have that many 3s. The techs then went on their job placing the grafts and Dr Ron showed up now and then to check on the progress. About 4pm, he came back to see the last part of it. They said they were done placing the grafts and there were a few more grafts left. Dr Ron then made some more incisions on the hairline and elsewhere and they finished off the grafts. During the last 10 mins, they put a video where Janna - their tech I guess was talking about the post- op things that needs to be done and how to take care of my head later.
4:30pm - 5pm Dr Ron gave me a mirror and showed me how the grafts were placed and where it was placed. We then went to the photo room and took some post-op pics. He then told me to think about giving the meds a shot since he saw a lot of Telogen hair. He offered me a sample of finasteride and I said I'll start on a low frequency and slowly switch to the higher one if everything seemed fine. Dr Ron is really a nice guy, very gentle and I had a feeling that he wants the best for his patients. We then went to finish off the payment. I got a kit of things I would need for the next few days. Everything went just as expected and he told me to get back to him anytime if needed.
Strip: Strip 1- 9cm long Strip 2 - 17cm long = 26cm. Width 1.5cm. Area 39cm2. Actual area due to existing scar (subtract 4-6 cm2) = 33=35cm2.
Grafts: 2527 | # of hairs: 4967 ( 1st:599, 2's:1416, 3's: 512). Dr said my hair caliber was very large and had high quality and so could give more density than someone else.
Blade: 1's 0.7 | 2's 0.85 | 3's 0.95 slightly larger incision needed i think because or larger caliber grafts
Follicular Density: 2527/33 to 2527/35 = 72-76cm3. Dr said the average is 75cm2. I was slightly less than average but expected for the 2nd procedure.
Graft Placement: 599 to the hairline | ~200 2's to the sides/ left temporal recession down to the crown | 100 2's to the side/right recession area behind hairline | 1340 to midscalp and the crown .
Recipient Area Size: About 80- 100 cm2.
Density: Few areas 20-25 and other 10-15 where there were pre-existing hair as we go further back to the crown. He said he kept more density in the aesthetically more important places.
Attaching a few pics taken on the day of the surgery.