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I wanted to provide a posting that will hopefully help some of you that are thinking about moving forward with a hair transplant. I felt it is the least that I could do since I have gotten a lot of very useful information myself from this forum. I am writing this for those NW4 & NW5’s out there. That is not a dig to anyone that is an NW3 and below (boy I wish I was), but the first thing you need to keep in mind when researching on these sites is that if you are reading posts or viewing the results of NW1’s & NW2’s, that is most likely not going to be your reality unless you are willing to have multiple procedures. First a bit about myself and my situation. I was an NW5 prior to my HT which was 7 months ago back in August of 2014. I had 3410 grafts FUT with a breakdown of 845 single hair grafts in the hairline and a combination 1885 double & 680 triple. I had looked into transplants using both FUT & FUE. In a perfect world where money and time were no object, I would have gone with FUE and that is what I would recommend if you come from a perfect world. This is not to say that FUT is bad in any way, but if you could avoid having a scar even though it is covered, I think it is a better way to go. With that being said I think my Doc did an excellent job as far as scars go, my barber has a hard time finding it during my haircuts. I would like to talk about the price of procedures for a moment because you will see this discussed over and over again and it is a very important factor. If I had listened to some of the posts and responses, I probably would not have moved forward with the transplant because of the potential costs. It is very important that you do your research and speak to as many doctors as you can, but you will read a lot of posts that say do not to let price be a factor in your decision and I think unless you are wealthy, price is going to be a factor and could be a major factor. I am certainly not saying that you should just find the cheapest place to do a transplant (that would most likely be big mistake), but what I am saying is I believe that there can be a huge difference in the cost of transplants and you may be able to find a very competent doctor that may be more reasonable than some other doctors. If I had gone with a top FUE Doc, which I have seen people say could cost between $8 - $12 per graft, I may have only been able to get a 1000 grafts, which for me would have been a waste of time and money since I don’t think that would have made any real difference at all. I started by speaking to some local Doc’s, some of which had a great reputation. Unfortunately, for the amount of grafts I was going to be getting, they were just out of my price range. I expanded my search to others states that I could easily fly to. I spoke to some other Doc’s and found one that I liked and had good pricing based on the amount of grafts that we agreed I could and should get. I spent quite a bit of time looking for any feedback on him and even contacted a few former patients via this forum, which made me more comfortable with my decision. I know I could have looked into flying to other countries and possibly brought the cost down even more or had FUE instead, but I was not comfortable going to another country. That is not saying that there is anything wrong with it and many people on this forum seem to do it and be very happy, but for me I was not willing to go that route. My point with this is that you cannot let price be the only factor when choosing a doc (you can read some horror stories for some people that have), but I do think if you take the time and do the research you may be able to find a Doc you find more affordable. If money is not a major obstacle then you may have even more choices. I had been thinking of getting a HT for a long time before I decided to move ahead and I did so because I was at the point over the prior few years where my baldness was becoming more prevalent and to quote my brother “If I was going to do it then it was time because more people were going to notice if I waited much longer”. I want to talk a little bit about expectations. This is where being an NW2 or an NW5 really matter because your expectations and realities are going to be very different. I see some great HT’s of 2000 grafts on an NW2’s, which I envy. They go back to looking 20 years old again. If you are an NW5 and think that 2000 grafts or even 3500 grafts is going to give you that Elvis hair again, then if I were you I would take a big step back and rethink what you are doing. I am not trying to discourage you, but you need to be realistic with the expectations of what one transplant with 3500 grafts is going to do for you. That does not mean you cannot have more transplants to get you closer to that Elvis hair, but be realistic with what you are going to achieve and then you will know if a transplant is right for you. When I sat down with my Doc and we laid out my hairline and graft placement, I really needed to stop and think for a few minutes. The hairline he drew out for me seemed higher than I wanted. We spoke about this for a bit and he explained with the amount of grafts that we were going for (about 3500), that we had a lot of area to try and cover. The more aggressive we were in lowering the hairline was going to take away from the amount of grafts to spread around. He said he was going to place the grafts from the hairline about 3/4's of the way back and with this I should be able to get good coverage. He said he was not going to place any in the crown. He explained that if he filled in the crown now it would again take away from the thickness of the top and it might look like a bull’s-eye back there if I continued to lose hair in the crown. He said I could always in the future come back and both lower the hairline if I chose to and fill in the crown. This did make sense to me. Not that I planned on an additional transplants, but I was much more concerned with the front than the back. This again is where reasonable expectations need to come in. I was realistic about what I was going to be able to accomplish with the amount of grafts I was going with. I cannot stress this part enough because I hope that any of you that move forward are happy with your choice and result. I think one of the big concerns for me was would I be able to hide the transplant from friends and colleges? This is a big concern I think for a lot of people. We may be embarrassed and do not want anyone to know. For many people, I do think you can hide your transplant. I went back to work after 10 days and did not have anyone notice I had the HT. I did look like I had a bit of a sunburn on my head, but not enough for anyone to question it. If you have the ability to wear a hat as a backup I think you can easily hide it, but I also think you need to go in with the understanding that you may not be able to hide and you may need to come clean if asked. Once I made the decision to move ahead I was hoping to hide the transplant, but I told myself that if I couldn't it would be worth it in the end. The actual transplant for me was not bad. For the healing process, at a minimum you are going to have to deal with redness, scabbing and pimples as the hair grows in. The worst part is the waiting for hair to start growing. You tell yourself that you know that nothing is going to happen for at least 3 months, but it does not stop you from staring into a mirror every time you see one. This is the toughest part, I think that a lot has to do with worrying that it will not grow and maybe you threw away your money or maybe you are not going to be happy with the end result. This is one of those times I kept going back to the forums and trying to look at other people’s photos and posts to make sure I was ok. The scary part is you come across some fast growers and start to think it is not going to happen for you. For me it really did not start to grow until month 4 and even then I had to wait until 5 months before I felt like I finally had some kind of hairline. I just got to 7 months. I have read a lot of posts that say that you will have growth up to 12 months, but I think that most if not all of my growth has happened. If I get some more that would be great, but I do think there will be much if any. Am I happy that I had the transplant and with the result??? That is the million dollar question. For me the answer is that I am definitely glad I had the transplant. Would I like it to be thicker and have the crown filled in? There is no doubt about that yes, but this again is where reasonable expectations come in. If I thought I was going to look 20 years old I would be sorely disappointed. If I wanted to look younger, feel better and build my confidence then I got what I wanted. To be blunt, I went from being bald to looking like a guy that is thinning out, but I think that looks much better. I hope that this has provided some of you that are considering a transplant with at least some good information to digest. My intention was to answer some of the questions I wish someone would have answered for me. Sorry if it was long winded, but at least I was able get my typing practice in. These opinions are my own and they are just that my opinion based on my own research and experience. I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice, but information based on my own experiences.
61 year old woman Frontal recession --------------------- 1 session 925 micro-grafts 1,900 hairs