I have been following this website for a little over a month and read through all possible threads, surgeons, experiences etc. I got 3368 grafts with Dr. Cooley and will try to be succinct in my post.
I am a 32 year old male who has been losing hair from the vertex going outward. I still have hair in the front, and this according to Dr. Cooley was a preferred hair loss pattern. I tried rogaine (foam and solution) 3 years ago and developed rashes and acne, and am skeptical about propecia so already have that off the table. Thus, my objectives were stated and expectations calibrated keeping these in mind.
I live in NC so Dr. Vories and Dr. Cooley were obvious options. Additionally, I am originally from India so Dr. Bhatti was in the mix as well. I did not consider docs in Europe due to logistics and possible complications. My first meeting was with Bosley - it was good because they gave me information about hair transplant and better because they seemed like an assembly line which meant I should stay away from them. Dr. Bhatti has very good reviews but having lived in India all my life, I must confess that given an option and less binding monetary constraints, I have a slight preference for the US when it comes to cosmetic procedures for which, the medical guidelines are not as well defined in India. Again, this is purely my personal opinion and in no way reflects the quality of work performed by Dr. Bhatti.
I met with Lollie at Dr. Cooley's and felt comfortable enough to go with him without even meeting Dr. Vories. I understand he is extremely good but I had a good feeling about Dr. Cooley, was able to get a date within 2 weeks due to a cancellation, and was willing to take a few weeks of pain and sutures. Finally, I am a bit of a sucker for active researchers - not to say that newly researched methods always work but at least it says something about the doc. We agreed to 3000 grafts and I additionally decided to have the PRP (given my reluctance to get on propecia).
As has been mentioned time and again, Dr. Cooley is very professional. I was scheduled for 3000 grafts, he told me we could harvest 3500 and cover the crown better but the marginal effect of that may not justify the cost. Given that a surgeon's job is to do surgery, it's always nice to hear one say we don't have to do it, or don't have to do all of it. Thus, we decided to stick to 3000, which resulted in 3368 grafts. Dr. Cooley thought it was best to spread the grafts uniformly throughout the top to provide density, reinforce the hairline, and put some in the crown. Below are some pics from before and right after the procedure.
The procedure was painless; we started around 7.45am and finished at 6.15pm. Barring a small window (of 15-30 minutes I think) Dr. Cooley was there the whole day, and worked on the implants along with Brandi. Brandi left late afternoon and Dr. Cooley finished the job himself. Much has been said about docs performing the procedure themselves or having it done by techs. Agreed that Dr. Cooley did not implant all the grafts himself but in response to my question, he mentioned that his HT was done entirely by his techs. This bestows plenty of credibility in the capability of his staff.
Here is a break-down of the nos.:
1's - 833
2's - 1640
3's - 239
4's - 20
D's (Doubles) - 327
Dr. Cooley mentioned that the Ds are 1+2 so count as double follicular units, resulting in an equivalent of 3368 grafts.
On a separate note, I would like to mention that Dr. Cooley treats the patients well. Apart from putting up in a hotel, the shampoo, condition, spray etc. are provided at no charge. Ailene and Dr. Cooley have been extremely responsive over emails and have promptly addressed my concerns. This may be a standard practice but after shelling out this kind of money, it's good to see that you're not being "nickel and dimed" over petty expenses.
I am now day 4 (counting procedure as day 1) post-op. I have been spraying the solution every 45 min to an hour and 1.5 hours in the night. I reduced the frequency today to once every 2-3 hours. In the follow-up, I asked for more spray and Dr. Cooley was happy to oblige. I have to confess, so far, I am really happy with Dr. Cooley's work. I do not notice any swelling and haven't had to take any pain medication at all. I was able to sleep in the bed with my head on the pillow (with a airline pillow around my neck), and did not experience any pain or discomfort.
I'd like to thank everyone for posts and questions. I learned immensely from this site and am happy to address any questions anyone has. Of course, I may not have researched as extensively or met as many docs as some of the other members, but am happy to share my experiences and help in any way I can. More updates will follow as things change.