Jump to content

3144 grafts with Dr. Rahal


Recommended Posts

  • Regular Member

Backstory:

Before I started experiencing hair loss, my hair was coarse when dry and curly when wet. This made it hard to manage and I was never able to truly have a hairstyle. In my late teens, I noticed that my hair became less coarse and more straight, allowing me to better style it. Little did I know that this was the beginning of the end - my hair was beginning to thin out! I am fairly certain that this early onset of hair loss can be attributed to several medications that I started on around the same time, which had side effects of hair thinning and hair loss. Within my early 20s my hairline started creeping back. After speaking with my family physician, I started on Propecia and attempted to hide my receding hairline by combing it Caesar-style.

Being a full-time university student and unable to pay for the Propecia, I stopped taking it after a year and a half. I was about 23 at this time and felt that I would wait until my financial situation got better before I started again. I had also started looking into hair transplants as I felt that this would be the only option if I wanted my hair line back. Fortunately for me, my doctor changed up my prescription, and I was no longer taking the ones with hair loss side-effects. The hair loss started to slow down, as I noticed less hair in the shower and on my comb.

 

By 25, I had started to notice that my crown was starting to thin out. It wasn't bad, but it was becoming more noticeable. I read about Minoxidil during my research years ago, and since I was not losing hair on my crown, and there is no official claim by Rogaine that it helps the hairline, I had no reason to take it. But now that my crown was in the line of fire, i decided to give it a try. I also went to my family physician and started on Propecia once again, this time determined to stick to it, no matter what the cost, as I wanted to keep my existing hair.

 

In January of 2013, I started on the Kirkland Signature brand of Minoxidil 5% solution. Along with the Propecia, I noticed that my hair had stopped falling for the most part, and that the existing hair had become more thick. I made a promise to myself that I would get a hair transplant this year and started saving up for it. I had a consultation in June and the procedure done on December 11th.

 

Consultation:

After much research on the various HT procedures and the best doctors available in North America, I finally decided to go with Dr. Rahal. People only had great things to say about him and his work, with some even calling him a "miracle-worker". With my mind set, I booked a consultation with his rep, Chad, here in Toronto back in June of 2013.

My meeting with Chad was fairly straightforward. Since I was already dead set on Dr. Rahal performing my HT, Chad didn't have to waste any time trying to convince me. Rather, he spent the time explaining the procedure, both pre and post op, as well as providing me with realistic expectations on what would work best for me. At the end of the consultation, Chad let me know Dr. Rahal was booked right up until November of that year and told me to give him a shout when I was ready to book a date. There was no pressure or hard sell tactics, just the facts, which I really appreciated.

 

Leading up to the surgery:

Once I had paid the deposit, Dr. Rahal's patient care coordinator sent me a few documents outlining the pre and post op care, as well as blood test and doctor's letter.

About a month before the procedure, I was emailed a friendly reminder to send in the required bloodwork and doctor's form.

I have to give kudos to Jessica and Kaitlin, the patient care coordinators that I was in contact with, for going above and beyond to help me when the lab failed to send in one part of the blood test results. They communicated with the lab on my behalf to obtain the results, rather than putting the onus on me to fix the problem. This was about 2 weeks before the procedure, which is when Dr. Rahal requires that these documents be sent in. Thanks ladies!

 

Day before surgery:

I arrived at the Brookline guesthouse around 4PM the day before my surgery.

I had an appointment later in the evening at Dr. Rahal's office to fill out some paperwork. Once I finished that up, I retreated back to the guesthouse where I relaxed and chatted with the other guys staying there.

 

Day of surgery - Prep:

I can't remember too well, but I think that I was asked to arrive at the clinic at 7AM. I sat in the waiting room for about 20 minutes before being ushered to the back for pre-op pictures. I then went back to the waiting room, where I waited for some time to meet Dr. Rahal. Once in his office, he asked me some medical and family history questions, and then moved on to the moment I was waiting for. He drew an outline of where my hairline would be. This is where my heart sank and a feeling of disappointment came over me. My whole intent on getting the HT was to lower my hairline, but Dr. Rahal's drawing was a lot higher than I expected. He explained to me that with my age and degree of hair loss, we needed to have realistic expectation. The crown was thinning and eventually would disappear, meaning that I should focus on the overall picture, rather than just my hairline. I understood that he knew what was best for me, but the feeling of disappointment lingered.

 

[Now I can't remember when exactly, but there was a point during the pre-op period where I sat in the waiting room, with no shoes on, just socks, for about 30-40 minutes, maybe longer. The waiting room is right beside the front door, and this was in December, so you can imagine how cold my feet were! They were totally numb by the time I got in. If anyone from Dr. Rahal's camp reads this, please provide a heater in the waiting room during the winter, it'll help a lot. Anyways, this is just a small issue, nothing to do with the HT itself.]

 

After my sitdown with Dr. Rahal, I went back to the waiting room, this time only for a few minutes. I changed into a hospital gown, and then was given the option to keep my hair long or have it trimmed down short. I opted to have it cut short, as I wanted the hair to grow back at the same time, and I would be wearing a hat to work anyways.

 

Day of surgery - Procedure:

I'm not going to get into a play-by-play of the surgery itself. I'll just give a list of the main things that went on.

I first took some medications orally and then had Dr. Rahal inject the numbing agent to the back of my head, probably a dozen or more times. This was, without a doubt, the most painful part of the surgery. More than once, I winced at the pain and said to myself, "it'll be worth it".

Once that was done, Dr. Rahal proceeded to extract the strip from my head. I could hear the crunching of what I think is the shears as it cut through my hair and flesh. I felt no pain.

I was also given a list of movies that I could watch, although I was asleep for most of the surgery.

So once the strip was removed from my head, the technicians proceeded to extract the grafts from it.

At this point, Dr. Rahal began to methodically place incision on my scalp as to where the grafts would be inserted. I'm not sure but I think that this was only for the hair line area, as that's where the art of this craft lies.

After the incisions, it was lunch time. I had a turkey sandwich and some juice.

I was also allowed to go to the washroom.

Once I was back in the chair, it was time to get back to work. This is when they started to place the grafts. I kept falling in and out of sleep. In the last hour or so, I think the numbing agent started to wear off as I felt the incisions being made or the grafts being inserted, so they had to pumped me with the numbing agent a few times. Dr. Rahal came in frequently to see if everything was going smoothly. At this point, I was in total discomfort. My feet were cold, I was groggy from sleeping, and my neck was hurting. I just wanted it to be over.

 

Eventually it did end, and Dr. Rahal drove me back to the guesthouse, which I thought was great of him to do.

 

The following morning, I went back to have my post-op pictures taken and have my first cleaning. I was given printed instructions on how to take care of the donor and recipient areas, as well as all of the necessary medications, saline sprays and shampoo. I was also given some gauze and head covers. I also had a chance to speak with Dr. Rahal and Chad before I left.

 

Post-op

After reading other people's HT stories on this forum, I know that some people experienced pain and swelling after the surgery. Fortunately, I did not experience any pain, and swelling was minimal, which subsided after a few days. I didn't have to take any pain meds, and just stuck to the antibiotics. I didn't experience any bleeding or oozing after the surgery, which I saw in come cases.

 

So far everything has gone as expected.

Day 1-7 i applied vitamin E to the recipient area, while applying Polysporin to the donor area.

I sprayed my hair with a shampoo/water mix and washed it with water mix twice a day. I kept my recipient area moist by spraying a saline solution every two hours.

 

Week 2 I got the sutures removed. No pain involved. I stopped spraying the saline solution at this point. I was able to start taking normal showers. I didn't allow the water to hit directly on the recipient area. I used the baby shampoo during this time. I also gently scrubbed the recipient area to get rid of the scabs.

 

Week 4 I started using my regular shampoo. Due to the extremely cold temperature outside, and the dry heated air inside, I'm experiencing a bit of a dry scalp, as well as little dandruff (luckily not in the recipient area). I'm going to try a exfoliating shampoo, along with a moisturizer.

 

A sharp pain has developed on the left side of my forehead, near the hairline, when I touch it. Not sure what's going on there, maybe some nerve issues.

 

Now, I mentioned that during the day of the surgery, I was disappointed in the hairline Dr. Rahal drew for me. But looking at my hairline now, I'm happy with it, and I know that it'll look great. I knew that Dr. Rahal wouldn't let me down.

 

Footnotes:

Dr. Rahals' staff

Wow, honestly, I felt that I got first class service from everyone there. They were very nice, gentle mannered, and always had a smile. Fantastic service all-around. From the moment I stepped in the door, to when I left after my follow-up, I felt at ease knowing that I was in the hands of true professionals.

 

Brookline Guesthouse

The guesthouse is a normal two-storey house, which has been designed with extra bedrooms and washrooms. Walking into this house, I was impressed by what I saw. It looked like something out of a interior design magazine. It was clean, spacious, and quite frankly, I felt at home. I had a bedroom on the main floor, close to the kitchen. My washroom was not inside my room, unfortunately, but was close enough. The kitchen was stocked with a lot of food, which was available to everyone free of charge.

 

The best part of staying at the guesthouse was meeting other individuals who were also there for HTs. I met the young and the old; those who were getting their first HT to some who were on their third. It was nice to see speak with those who were going through the same ordeal.

 

The guesthouse is only minutes from Dr. Rahal's clinic. I walked to it on the day of my surgery.

 

For those of you who are contemplating on staying at the guesthouse, I recommend you do.

 

Conclusion:

I'm recalling most of what I wrote from memory. I'm not exactly sure if the everything happened in the order that I wrote them in.

 

I'm looking forward to the months ahead, particularly the months where I will see the hairs starting to grow. I'm certain that I will be going for round two in the next year or two to fix up my hairline, as well as fill in the crown.

I'll continue to update this thread with pictures as the months slowly crawl along.

 

Pictures:

1 and 2 are pre-op

3 and 4 are post-op

5 and 6 are week 2

7 and 8 are week 4

preop_01.jpg.82ee85e80e0873482ad293f8a9e29ebd.jpg

preop_02.jpg.ef6193083f3707eefe16d321420cafbd.jpg

postop_01.jpg.7fae9a67a3ab54fb2fa3eaeb5ed5eb30.jpg

postop_02.jpg.48a7db4ad05e1b514c570739f78ee82c.jpg

week2_01.jpg.851ffc93c18b9b1bda9f0b7458289573.jpg

week2_02.jpg.451e7e1d335ada473a27ef955438ae6b.jpg

week4_01.jpg.156d19c3c0b20c82b470e719247df03f.jpg

week4_02.jpg.42588a111a8b0f677fe5ebfea7feb9e3.jpg

Edited by Riddick
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Senior Member

Very nice write up.Sounds like you had a good experience.Your pictures look good,I also think ur hairline looks just fine.I to just had 3000 FUT just yesterday with Dr. Arocha in the frontal midsection,so I'm very interested in those who have the same timeline as myself.Take care and happy growing

 

Thank you for sharing,

Scott

1st HT 1973 FUT's with Dr.Robert Mcclellan 6/28/2007

*unfortunately I have no info on hair count on my 1st surgery ..

 

2nd HT 3026 FUT's with Dr. Bernadino Arocha 1/9/2014

 

1's - 797

2's - 3700

3's - 246

5634 hairs

 

http://www.hairrestorationnetwork.com/eve/attachment.php?attachmentid=54945&d=1389315686

3026 FUTs 1 day HT#2 post op frontal picture

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Senior Member

Looks great…right on schedule..you are going to have an excellent result..

Funny…when Dr Rahal was starting to draw my hairline in he started to draw it a little lower and I said why don't we go a little higher to be on the safe side…

Great to see a surgeon err on the side of caution..he knows what he's doing! Top Notch!

Newhairplease!!

Dr Rahal in January 19, 2012:)

4808 FUT grafts- 941 singles, 2809 doubles, 1031 triples, 27 quads

 

My Hairloss Website

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Senior Member

Congratulations on your procedure Riddick. 3144 grafts is going to give you a really nice result, and the scar and everything is looking great so far. What an excellent write-up as well…..really helps put your experience in perspective. I also stayed at the guest house when I was in Ottawa, and couldn't agree with you more about it being a great decision. It's awesome to have the support of the other guys there….especially immediately post-op. I'm looking forward to following you on your journey, and tracking your progress along the way.

 

Best,

 

Mike

4737 FUT with Dr. Rahal on 11/16/2012

 

Daily regimen: 1/4 Proscar (1.25 mg Finasteride), Rogaine Foam (twice daily), 1000 mcg Biotin, 1 combo Vitamin D/Calcium/Magnesium, 1500 mg Glocosamine, 750 mg MSM, 1200 mg Fish Oil, 2000 mg Vitamin C, Super B-Complex, 400 I.U Vitamin E.

 

I am not a medical professional. All views and opinions expressed in this forum are of my own.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...
  • Regular Member

Thanks everyone for the comments and words of encouragement.

 

The last four weeks have been painfully long. Wearing a hat to work since the HT has not been fun. The hair along the scar is noticeably darker than the rest of the head, even though the scar had healed and is only slightly reddish in appearance. It's hard to tell from the attached picture because the lighting is bright. So at week 5, I attempted to trim the back and sides of my head in order to even out the hair. Using a #3, I started trimming, and in my desperate attempt to get the darker outline along the scar to disappear, I managed to get down to a #1. Unfortunately, the line was still visible and the last 5 weeks of growth literally went down the drain.

It looks like I'll be wearing the hat for a few more weeks.

 

The recipient area has become increasingly itchy, due to the hairs starting to push through. I've had a few pimples, but they've disappeared fairly quickly.

I'm experiencing significant shock loss, mainly in the crown and the area surrounding right side of the donor scar.

 

Just to show how far Dr. Rahal's post-op care goes, I've received three calls from his office since the HT to see how things are progressing, and I think it's great that they take the effort to reach out to their patients. This allows me to ask any questions that I have, which I would not otherwise take the time to do because of a busy schedule and other priorities.

 

This coming month will be rather uneventful, based on the experiences that others had, but I'll be sure to post an update at the end of month 3.

 

I've put together a 8 week collage, which you can see here. I find it easier to compare it this way.

 

I'm contemplating using Nanogen to cover up the area surrounding the scar, and perhaps the crown and recipient area, just so I can stop wearing the hat to work. I work in an office, and although it's a flat cap and not a baseball cap, I think that people are starting to notice and I'm sure questions will be asked soon.

Have any of you used any type of concealer on the donor/recepient area and what were the results?

month2_01.jpg.152dcabd5e1e6cd1ee05d144e02789b6.jpg

month2_02.jpg.76cf5ce416e89d0f419ca8cb4af34033.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Senior Member

Riddick, I know its easier said than done, but looking at your photos, I think you look fine and could go to work without a hat. You have some decent coverage on top, your scar is healing nicely, someone would have to literally stare at the back of your head to notice it. Within the next 2 months you will only start looking better - slowly and progressively - where no one will even notice all at once. I wish you the best, you chose a great doctor (I have my procedure scheduled with Rahal in Sept) so your end result should be impressive.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

Hi Home,

 

Congrats on taking the plunge. It'll be a decision you won't regret.

 

I hear what you're saying, and the likelihood of anyone noticing is slim, but the picture I added previously doesn't really show it properly.

I've attached one more picture that shows the scar line a little better.

 

I think I can do without the hat in another 2 weeks though.

 

Edit: this picture isn't that great either. I'll see if I can get a better one up tomorrow.

20140206_183207.jpg.67bc1496509139264862a51d1c3471bf.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member
What size clippers are you using on the sides?

 

I initially started with a #3, but worked my way down to a #1.

It's growing back a bit more evenly now.

I'm also using Nanogen on the donor area now and it's doing a pretty good job of hiding it.

I've specifically asked my barber to use scissors in the past, and I'll continue to do so when it grows out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
  • Senior Member
I initially started with a #3, but worked my way down to a #1.

It's growing back a bit more evenly now.

I'm also using Nanogen on the donor area now and it's doing a pretty good job of hiding it.

I've specifically asked my barber to use scissors in the past, and I'll continue to do so when it grows out.

 

 

Are you able to go to work without hat now?

Please post latest update (if possible with pic) when you get a chance.

Good Luck!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member
Are you able to go to work without hat now?

Please post latest update (if possible with pic) when you get a chance.

Good Luck!!

 

Yes, I'm able to go to work without a hat; having been doing so since a little after my 2 months were up, thanks to Nanogen.

I use Nanogen on the the donor area and it does a really good job of hiding the scar. I just regret not using it sooner - it would have likely worked 1 month post-op.

I also use it on my crown as it's noticeably thin due to shock loss. Even in the recipient area, my existing hairs are not growing back normally.

After wearing a hat to work for two months, everyone was saying that they couldn't recognize me without it :P. When I got back to work after the surgery, I was telling them my regular barber wasn't in and the other one there messed up my haircut and I had to cut it almost bald :rolleyes:.

 

It will be the end of 3 months next week. I'll be sure to put up some pics.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Senior Member

Hang in there friend. I think difficult time is almost gone, give it another 4 to 5 weeks & you should see significant improvement.

That's my biggest concern in fact: How to go to work after surgery? Every clinic claims that all you neeed is 2 weeks of vacation time & after 2 weeks post surgery you will look mormal. I find it hard to believe.

 

We'll look forward to see pictures on your progress; especially once you complete 4 months or so to see if there're signs of early growth.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...