Hey Fellow HTers,
I recently had my second HT at the Limmer clinic in San Antonio, Tx. I will first start out by stating that I have nothing but good things to say about Dr. Lehr who performed my first HT. Lehr no longer performs HTs and now dedicates his profession to his dermatology practice. I would have gone back to Lehr in a heartbeat if he had not retired from the business. He always told me I was on a two HT plan (he would have also been less expensive ??“ he gave second timers a BIG discount).
That being said, I am thrilled at having gone to see Dr. Brad Limmer and have him and his staff place roughly 1300 FUs in the front 1/4 to 1/3 of my scalp. I had previously had roughly 1800 FUs placed in the front 1/3 to 1/2 of my scalp, and I'm expecting great results from this new addition. From my previous HT, I was already pleased in many lights with my hairline (roughly now a NW2 -- i.e. mature hairline) and the seeming thickness of my hair, but some other lights were brutal and certain angles allowed a direct sight to my scalp. I also had two areas near my temples that I was not thrilled with. This procedure was more concentrated on thickening the front and those 'trouble' areas. Note: I was a NW3 and now have totaled more than 3000 FUs between both procedures. I think that is standard. I also personally believe that I benefit from my hairs individually being above average in thickness.
I chose Dr. Limmer for a number of reasons. A few would be: he was the first that Dr. Lehr said he would have used if he had needed a HT (the first question I asked Lehr a few years ago before ever having my first HT), he uses similar techniques to Dr. Lehr (stick and place -- I had great results last time, so I trust the method), I know someone who had one from him and looks fantastic, and the Limmer clinic has a stellar reputation. Price was a consideration, but not much of one.
Dr. Limmer has an infectious attitude and is very upbeat about life and he exudes confidence (not cocky though) in his work. His entire staff was great and they share that confidence. Despite my affections for Lehr, my experience with Limmer was so much better and I can't really explain why.
The night before I was nervous and I barely slept. Even though I had already had a HT before, it is just a little nerve wracking to wait for the day to come. I arrived around 7:00 a.m., filled out the remaining paper work (I live out of town and had previously only corresponded via phone and email). Limmer then took me into a room, discussed my continued use of propecia (and possibly adding rogaine in the future if needed), took some pictures, discussed exactly what I wanted, and then I was given valium because I had expressed feeling nervous about the extraction from the donor area. (as a side note there was a guy there who was having a second day portion of his HT, he told me he had already had the front part done, and I was amazed that I couldn't tell anything had been done the day before --- I didn't get a real good look, nor did I peer a long time, but it does go to show how much more I pay attention to my own scalp than to other's scalps and it put me at ease that I wouldn't look terrible the next week).
I was then taken into 'room four' and one of the techs started to prep me for the donor extraction. I never went to sleep (I have a strong resistance to chemicals) but the valium did take the edge off enough that I wasn't totally freaking out. Dr. Limmer shaved the area around my old scar and a little around toward my left ear (so my overall scar is a little longer now, but this extraction is pretty squarely between both ears ??“ slightly left ??“ my old scar goes a bit more over my right ear ??“ this extraction incorporated the lion share of the pre-existing scar between my ears). I was told what was happening at every stage. Someone, I can't remember if Limmer or a tech, vacuumed the area to clear it from clipped hairs and then I was slowly anesthetized (anesthetize was a tech). Many people describe HTs as though they are like dental visits, but I find dental needles in my mouth far more painful. The needles used on the back of my scalp are truly 'just a little pin prick' more akin to a flu shot. You really only feel a few pricks throughout the entire process, possibly one 'whoa, that's a shot' experience. But really, if given the choice between a big shot in the mouth versus in the back of the head, I'll take back of the head any day. I was left for a few minutes to let the medicines take effect, and then Dr. Limmer returned to start the extraction.
I think I said this after my last HT, but I'll say it again, there is something creepy and unnerving about the knowledge that someone is cutting a large strip of flesh from the back of your head (roughly 13cm by 1.2 cm if I remember correctly what Dr. Limmer said). Although all I could feel was pressure, hear some noises, and then ultimately recognize the workings of stitches being applied to my head, I'm empathetic and sympathetic, and I just don't like that part. That being said, that portion of the procedure was done very quickly, without any pain whatsoever, and with Limmer's positive attitude just filling the room. Coming from someone who hates that part of the procedure, Limmer did a fantastic job.
The techs began immediately to dissect and cut away the individual units. NOTE: I don't think this is weird, but some of you will: Limmer did not count my FUs, I paid a flat rate for a 1250 procedure and he cut for 1300+. I asked him how he counted and he said he measured multiple areas in my donor area, then multiplied the average FU/cm2 by the extraction area and gave additional room for error of 2% loss from the extraction and shot for the 1300+ number to ensure a 1250 procedure. Like many HTers, I feel quite sure I got more than what I paid for. If I have the typical 90-100 cm2 in my donor area, then I probably might have even received more than 1400 FUs. (1.2cm x 13cm x 90 = 1404).
Dr. Limmer outlined the hairline (not much work there because I stayed within the previous area). But he wanted to make sure that is what I wanted. After I looked in the mirror, I gave the thumbs up and away the planting went.
Anna, a tech who has more than 10+ years experience, came in and started 'sticking and placing.' I won't go into the merits of this technique (I know it's debated around here), but I will say that the Limmers seem to have perfected it. I can't explain why, but I could just tell (and afterwards I was affirmed in my belief by the cleanliness and lack of trauma to my scalp) that the Limmer clinic is far superior at this than even Lehr (who I have great respect for ??“ Lehr was handpicked by Norwood to run his clinic when Norwood retired). There is something to be said for taking a technique that works, and mastering it. The Limmer clinic has done just that IMHO.
This was an all day process. I watched movies, took a break for lunch, and then stayed until roughly 4:00 p.m. having the FUs placed. Dr. Limmer was constantly checking on me, joking with me, and making sure whether I had any questions and that I was comfortable. On a few occasions I would explain that I was 'starting to feel' the process. Anna would anesthetize immediately and continue her work. Once after lunch, I started to ache in my donor area. One of the techs re-anesthetized that area. Dr. Limmer also re-anesthetized the area again right before I left. I did feel one of those needles pretty good, but the sting lasted only a few seconds. Toward the end I was getting a bit restless. I didn't ask for anymore valium because it really doesn't have much of an effect on me.
One of the things I was most impressed with (see photos) is how clean I was when I left the clinic. I was given saline solution, post-op directions, pain pills, swelling pills, surgical caps, and Dr. Limmer arranged for a cab to take me back to my hotel room. Limmer knew I would be in town the next day and invited me back to get checked on. When I got back to my hotel, I marveled at the cleanliness of the work and what a pleasant experience I had had --- we're talking surgery as a pleasant experience? I used a saline-mist bottle on the hour, every hour (I don't sleep well), to keep the area clean. Limmer recommended sleeping on my back. I did. I had an old towel that I placed on my pillow that had some blood-like ooze on it after the first night. Limmer also prescribes twice-daily Neosporin applications to the donor area for the first week (probably contributed to the ooze). Even though on pain pills, the donor area did hurt more than I remember from my previous HT and I didn't sleep well that night. (my girlfriend says I complained about the donor area last time though).
I took Limmer up on his offer to return the next day. He cleaned me again, but I was pretty clean, not much work there. He also re-upped my pain medication (I'm a big baby, O.K., I admit it!) I went back to my hotel and rested. I finally got good sleep the second night. NOTE: I have severe insomnia, so not sleeping I mostly attribute to my own nature and not the procedure.
Day three to four I did have some swelling in the face; probably more noticeable to me than to others. The donor area is still tight and sleeping at night irritates it but each day it gets better. Tylenol is my friend. I have only a handful of scabs. I count seven. That is how clean my head is.
I had a great experience and will try to keep up on my blog and posts. I'm five days after now and am amazed that I could probably pull off no one knowing without the hat. But I will keep it on when I go out for the first ten days. Limmer told me after ten days it would be hard to tell I had work done. I think he was dead on. I really can't tell if I'm still a bit pink or only have the shadow from the stubble created by the implants. I'll bet the only issue I have at day ten will be the stubble, but I have enough hair from my previous HT to cover the majority of that. If someone is that interested in my hair, I'm about to get laid, paid, or something. ' This forum was the most helpful thing to me when I first started considering a HT and I just want to give back. Kudos to Pat for creating this place and kudos to Dr. Brad Limmer for an outstanding experience.
I don't think my first HT was fully appreciable until 18 months.
Recently, I had a friend tell me he was envious of my hair (he doesn't know about my previous HT -- how jealous will he be in the future?).
By having this second HT, I have just guaranteed myself extra time this year. The year will creep by now that I'm waiting for the hair to grow. I'd better get a lot done!
p.s. I'm having a bit of a problem creating my weblog, so its unvailing may take a bit. (I'm not all that computer savvy).