So I am just "another dude" with a hair loss problem like all of you here haha. I am 28, diffuse NW5 pattern. Been losing my hair since 21 years old. Once I lost my hairline completely (except forelock) i became self conscious about it and started growing out hair to cover that spot and for the last 3 years I've been doing it quite well (thanks to hair spray!).
This year in January I started using Minoxidil 5% with dermaroller with some good results. I felt like I'm not loosing any more hair, but actually regaining it back. You can check out my separate thread for that.
After long debates I also decided to get on board with Finasteride, but started with super low dosage of 0.25 mg twice a week to check how my body will react to that. Looked like it was all good, so I increased dosage to 0.5 mg 3 times a week and eventually 1 mg/day. Been on a full dose for the last 3-4 months now and looks like it works great for me. Don't see any hairs falling out for quite some time already, so I feel my MPB is stable. At this point I believe medical therapy will keep improving my crown and mid scalp, so I just need to get the front done via HT. Today, in day to day life I'm not thinking too much about my hair, unless it's windy and it blows away my comb over and gives a great view for people of my bald front lol! That's the worst thing that's happening in my day haha. Well, anyway.. Moving on..
Hunt for a surgeon
After a year of intense research, long debates and countless before & after's I finally decided to book in a surgery! Super excited to finally get it done.
Originally I started looking at Turkey for it's affordability. Checked pretty much every clinic out there where Doctor is involved in surgery at some point (bypassing all these hair mills!). Learned a lot of things a long the way so it made my list much smaller. Got tons of proposals from different clinics starting from "one and done" types of clinic, to more expensive ones like Asmed. Most of doc's are doing incisions only and leaving the rest for techs and since we all have limited donor supply and truly just 1 shot to make it or brake it, I have decided for myself that I want Dr. himself to do most crucial parts of surgery.
Following that mindset I found couple of surgeons:
Does 1 patient a day
Does extractions & incisions himself
Lots of great reviews on forums
Fits my budget
One thing bothering me he wanted to do 4000-4500 grafts over 1 day. After some debates I decided not to go for it. I am a proponent of smaller amounts over few days to preserve grafts, donor and doc could focus more on procedure itself, especially extractions and not waste any precious grafts.
Lots of positive feedback
Does extractions & incisions himself
Does 1 patient a day
Charging almost twice more
At this point I decided not to focus on money (thanks for my research!) and be open for more expensive options. Now, here is a things that was bothering me. He suggested 3000 grafts for the frontal part, from which 2500 would be extracted from scalp and 500 from beard. I really don't feel like using beard grafts for my first procedure! Just doesn't sounds right. Also patient adviser said that Dr. Pekiner will not change his mind and that's the only thing he would do. No negotiations. Obviously I didn't feel nice about it, so I decided to keep looking.
I decided to get out of Turkish market and start looking from across the world. I had 2 live consultations with Dr. Bisanga and Dr. Lupanzula where both confirmed my great donor. Both suggested to be conservative and everything looks great, but the amount of money they are charging was sadly out of my reach.
At some point I been watching so many videos on YouTube from Dr. Jose Lorenzo and always been amazed of his work. Obviously he was charging a big buck for his stellar job, but one thing that got my attention was he started working with Dr. Bruno Ferreira at some point over the last few years. I was "mhm.. If this guy is good enough for Dr. Lorenzo, he must be good". So I looked him up.
Turns out Dr. Ferreira has a lot of experience in HT. He was mainly working for other clinics and now for Dr. Lorenzo in Madrid. He has also his own clinic in Portugal where he is based. The problem I found is he has very, very limited exposure online of his own work, only because most of his time he was working for someone else, meaning, someone else owns the rights for before/after. Despite this fact, every case he presented for me was a "wow" case. Recently I spoke with Joe Tillman & Spencer Kobren on their show and asked what's their opinion on this young doctor and was pleasantly surprised that they know this guy very well and in their opinion his job is stellar.
So here we are. I send him my standard email and I've got the best online assessment I've ever seen! It was a great surprise of his attention to detail from his initial impression, to medical treatment, to prognosis, to HT plan consisting of two separate surgeries to achieve full recovery. Not a typical "copy - paste" type of response. He even convinced me to jump on Finasteride full dose 1mg/day, which I'm glad I did!
Dr. Ferreira proposed 3000-3500 grafts (will decide on live consultation after he "gets his hands on my scalp") Surgery will be done in 2 consecutive days. At this point we decided to go for frontal restoration first, which is my main concern.
After almost 40 emails back and forth and ~45 min video chat (Yes, with Dr. himself!) I finally decided - this is it, this is my Dr! Booked my surgery with him on January 28-29, 2020. Fingers crossed!
P.S. Dr. Ferreira is quite OCD/perfectionist. I guess that's the best thing a patient could hear about his doctor!
What I'm looking for right now is I need advise from you guys. I booked my hotel in Porto (30 seconds away from clinic hahaha ) from 27th of Jan to 2nd of Feb, so transplanted grafts will have 4 days to "settle down" and will less likely to be dislodged and whatnot.
What shall I buy before surgery so I stay as comfortable as possible? Any special travel pillow? Aloe Vera gel for donor post-op? Any special hat for post-op? Tie my hands to bed for the first 7 nights, so I don't scratch recipient area while sleeping?
Any help is appreciated!
Super excited to get this finally done!