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2500 grafts FUT with Dr. Cooley

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I'm preparing to go in tomorrow for my FUT 2500 grafts with Dr. Cooley... (despite my profile name NueFUEGuy, which is what I was initially planning on doing before getting a consultation).


I really have thick, wavy, healthy hair all around. Just not on top and extending back (same old story!). So I feel confident there's plenty to take and fill it in.


I'm nervous and excited to have it done, as the past few years when this has become fully apparent, I have not had confidence at all in myself like I used to. My only concern is that maybe I'm not getting enough grafts at this point.


Take a look. Any thoughts on the number I'm getting?

This will also serve as my thread for my progress.






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Good luck with your procedure. 2500 grafts should give you a really nice improvement.


You're in good hands with Dr Cooley.

I am an online representative for Farjo Hair Institute


Dr. Bessam Farjo is an esteemed member of the Coalition of Independent Hair Restoration Physicians


I am not a medical professional and my words should not be taken as medical advice. All opinions shared are my own.

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Ask the doctor for more grafts if this is what you prefer. I would've said 3.5-4k as it seems like a relatively large area to deal with. The doctor will have his reasons. Depends on your age, whether you're on meds & your laxity as well as your good density.


Good luck!

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Well, I'm done! And it went just great in terms of uneventful, no pain, relaxing.


I talked to Dr. Cooley ahead of time about the number and he still felt 2500 was recommended. As he explained, it should be denser up front, and gradually go to medium density towards the back. Additionally, I had already planned the PRP which said would thicken up the hair that's there already.


Further, the 2500 on my head was what he felt was the most minimally invasive, as in it would not require a large incision, lest chance of any noticeable scar, easier to close and heal. Regardless, as was my hope with my very dense back/side of hair, he ended up yielding 3000 grafts from the strip!


In terms of the procedure, everyone was nice (and seemed very focused and quiet). I went in and out of sleep, including being out completely for the donor strip, where I was woken up feeling like nothing happened. He has a great staff of like 5-6 that are doing the donor graft separation. And 2-3 (one of which Dr. Cooley) working on the top of my head.


In terms of what it looks like right now... well, that I don't really know. I have a plastic cap over top and I pretty much plan on not messing with anything aside from spraying it every hour. I'll be in the office again tomorrow to get it checked out and cleaned. I'll post picts when I feel ready to.


So far, very happy with the procedure... but obviously to early to tell anything more than that!

More to come over the next few days, weeks, months.


P.S. @watch4norwood, thanks for your advice, but that ain't the look I have. For one that was wearing a hat all day, and pushed around to get picts. Besides, how would you recommend going with a shaved look when I have a donor scar on the back of my head?

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24 Hour Update:

No real pain. Certainly not on the recipient site. That has not bothered me.

Donor site is a bit sore at times, but I've only taken 1 tylenol. No need for any of the other meds (demerol or valium) for pain. The only thing I now notice with all operation meds worn off, is that the back is a bit tight feeling. It kinda feels like I have something strapped around the back of my head. I guess that's to be expected.


I have been spraying the grafts every hour as directed, and waking up every 2 to spray with the special vitamin spray. Supposed to keep that up for 3 days, then go down to every once in a while till it's gone in like a week.


I went in to get a tutorial on washing and get all the blood out. Gently pour the special shampoo over my head, and I can scrub a bit on the sutures in the back to get dried blood out. The toughest thing for me to deal with now is applying the ointment on the sutures. I have a lot of hair back there and it's hard to find it, pull the hair out of the way, and apply directly. I'll be trying the cleaning tomorrow for the first time on my own.


They said that everything looked great on my visit. I had a lot of 3 and 4 packed hairs which is rare and good. Which is how I got close to 3000 grafts on a planned 2500.


With my hair wet at all times, it's hard to really see it now as it normally will be for a little bit. WOW, when my hair is wet, my head looks SUPER bald. So, here are the picts where you can at least see the grafts intermixed. It'll be fairly hidden when it's no longer wet constantly on top. I'll be wearing a hat though for the most part in public and work.


I haven't got a good look at the sutures with my hair pulled up. It still is tough for me to feel around for it. You can see it a little thru my hair in one of the views. But again, Ill be under hat mostly, and expect when it's removed it'll be well hidden.


Let me know what you think of the coverage. It's hard for me to imagine that it'll turn out to be much fuller like I want. But what do I know? I hope for good results in the end though. I expect it will be!







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This looks like solid, clean work by Dr. Cooley. I went through everything that you are describing in regards to regarding tightness, feeling more bald when my hair was wet, etc. However, like you said, the pain was minimal (I kept expecting it to get worse, which it never did) and I felt back to normal after 4-5 days. Just remember to keep spraying those graphs.


I made a promise to myself that I would not make any sort of judgment on my progress or even think much about it until at least 3-4 months. I did my best to hold myself to that promise, which I am very glad that I did. You could literally spend hours in the mirror looking at your hair and making yourself crazy. Now at month four I can honestly say this was a life changing event. I feel great about myself. I can't say enough good things about Dr. Cooley.


You chose an awesome doctor and you'll have amazing results. Glad you ended up with 3,000. I think that is a proper number. Heal well and let me know if I can answer any questions along the way.

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Sorry for the delay in updating my status.


So, nothing much to report good or bad at this point.


All redness is gone from the grafts. Actually it didn't even seem red at all, maybe due to my skin tone. For the most part, if I styled my hair a bit, it probably wouldn't have been noticed at all.


I THINK/HOPE I sprayed my grafts plenty over the first 3-4 days. I mostly kept my iphone timer at 1 hr (2 hrs during the night). I may have gotten distracted a bit and went longer than an hour. It's my neurotic nature to think I could have done better, but for the most part, I got to the end of the bottle by day 4. I've sprayed it a few more times a day since then and I am officially done with the bottle. I also kept plastic wrap on top of my head as instructed to help keep it "greenhousey" with the spray. So that seemed to keep things moist all the time with the spray.


Washing my hair with a pitcher + the special shampoo, to pour gently over the graphs, and gently scrub the back of my donor scar has been pretty easy and felt good to rinse off.


So, not sure if I have had to be this ultra-careful about touching my grafts, but I've not touched them nearly AT ALL since the surgery. If I touch touch a little on them, they feel like nice, strong stubbly hairs. I don't think I've seen any hairs/follicles/grafts/whatever come off my head. I expect that's really positive.


As a result, I have not done ANY styling to my hair. I've gone with a hat in public at all times (I have a job that I can wear a hat, and have normally done so for the past year anyways), so no concern about revealing it.


So, much like my previous picts above, my hair is totally flat, sort of a mold on my head, looks obvious (seeing the grafts thru my hair). Especially since out of the shower, it is wet and has to completely air dry on it's own. And then the spray seems to make it more hardened.


I expect I could be a little less cautious at day 4-5 to have my hair look more normally styled? If I didn't wear a hat, it would look very weird in public, so maybe someone can comment to what extent you can fix your hair at this point without worrying about the grafts too much? This would probably help some others.


Okay, so the biggest pain thus far has been applying the ointment cream to the donor sutures (twice a day). Due to my very healthy/dense hair in the back (not complaining!) finding the scar/sutures and applying the cream directly on it, has been a challenge. It takes a good amount of time, I lose place of where the scar is (not complaining!) when I have to move along it, and I end up with more cream on my actual hair at times. It obviously would be beneficial to have someone else apply it for me, but at this point I'm keeping it on the D.L. with my gf so I am doing it myself.


I was also instructed to keep this up for like a month I think (even after sutures come out). I will do so.. but anyone care to comment on all that?


My donor scar still feels a bit tight, sore, and kinda numb to the touch. I'm wondering now at technically day 6 if this is normal? This is the only thing bugging me a little, even though not much.


So, tomorrow will be a week since I went into surgery. And as directed, I can start taking normal showers, correct? Not scrubbing my head hard or anything, but using the pads of my finger, gently rubbing them to get any scabbing off. Any suggestions on this? Do I technically wait one more day so it's post-7 days? (I understand this is very neurotic :)


I'll post updated picts for the 1 week mark once I do the above and feel I can show things a bit better.



@KeithJagger: I'm pretty much in agreement with you. I feel like my expectations were exceeded for now, although still too early to tell for my particular situation. I will tell you that your experience weighed heavily on my decision going with Dr. Cooley.. and even just doing it PERIOD.

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I was pretty cautious for the first 10 days. I started combing after the first 6-7. And didn't start fully shampooing until 10. By day 14, I was back at work without a hat.


As far as getting the ointment on the scar, I was pretty bad at that. I only applied it about a dozen times. I was in the same position that you are, in that I have a lot of donor hair and it was hard to get it. My scar still turned out fine, but you probably shouldn't go the route I did and find a way to get it on there.


Donor scar was still a little sore for the first two weeks. By the end of the month it was totally fine. There would be this phantom pain every so often once I got the stitches out. But after two months, I couldn't even tell I had a scar. I would say your are right were you should be at day 6.

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So, some interesting changes at the 1 week mark.

I was mostly keeping things quiet from my gf, only telling her I'm doing some new things to help grow hair. Yeah, who knows if that lasts? So, she notices something behind my ear. I go to the bathroom to take a look.. and it's a bruise.

I look at the other side for comparison, and also a bruise behind that ear.


Needless to say, I figured it was normal. She did not, especially after looking up what that could mean in general and seeing that it has to do with skull fractures and other serious issues.


So, I called Dr Cooley to ask, and also noticed others online mention this, and assumed it was normal-ish. Although not ideal, especially since I feel like it's noticeable to others in public if they're right behind me. But hopefully it'll go down in a few more days. He said not to worry, that it has to do with the stretching of the skin to close it up.


As for my donor area, it's also a little more sore than it's been even the first few days. I still feel like it's pretty tight and sort of numb, but less on that since the first few days. As I've also read, this can last weeks or months usually (or indefinitely, which I hope not!). But when I get the sutures out, it'll likely improve greatly after that. It hasn't been bad, but I would like for it to get back to normal. It does feel not quite right when I sleep on it or lean back against my couch pillow.


On the top of my head, all the grafts seem to be doing well. Like I mentioned in my last post, it's like a little stubbly beard feeling to the touch. I don't think I've seen any fall out yet. And they haven't really been too scabby. But, as prescribed, at Day 7 (actually 8), I took a normal shower, using up the prescribed follicle shampoo figuring that wouldn't hurt to finish that up. I used the pads of my fingers to gently rub the top of my head and grafts. I can pretty much feel a bit of the scabs towards the back of the top of my head. As I've been told, these will completely come off in just a few more showers.


Meanwhile, I don't feel like my hair/head looks normal enough to not wear a hat. So I'm still doing that when in public. Since my hair is so thin all on top, there's no obscuring it much. @KeithJagger has/had a better hair for doing that! I presume, I'll go no hat occasionally once lose the current new hairs during the shedding phase. I'll obviously report when that is and show picts of being back to "normal" with balding head.


I think the donor scar is looking better. It's definitely obscured with my hair. But I was actually looking for it in the mirror today and had a hard time locating it without feeling for it. It's not totally hidden.... at least not yet. But I believe if I continue with the ointment (been doing it like clockwork twice a day) and when the sutures come out, it'll be pretty much undetectable even to put my hands (or my gf's) thru it normally.


Take a look at the current picts taken today. Lemme know what your thoughts are on the looks of the grafts and the amount for my head. And please be honest!









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You look almost exactly like I did when I was one week out. The only thing I did not experience (at least not that I was aware of) was the bruising. But it sounds like that will pass.


Fortunately I had a lot of mid-scalp hair to cover up the recipient area, but even at a week it was noticeable if I pulled my hair back. I took two weeks off from work and remember that by the time I got back I was good to go.


You are looking great for a week out. The donor area will continue to improve and once the scabs fall off, it will be a big difference in appearance.


Have you seen this thread yet? It is another Dr. Cooley patient. He documents the highs and lows for about 7 months. I assume he disappeared because his hair looks amazing and he has moved on.



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Yup.. I read his thread ahead of taking the plunge. I really liked the results, and I believe I'll likely go thru the same stressing period as him. It's in my nature. But I do have faith that there's nothing to worry about.


So you're at the 4 month mark and feeling great of where you're at. And aside from some shock loss at 2 months or so, did you have a period of time where it was nearly unbearable to see what your hair looked like?

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I feel amazing where I am at. I was at the pool today swimming laps and when I got out, I saw a group of people that I used to work with hanging out and I went over to talk with him. A girl was teasing this one guy about his hair and he said, "well not everyone can have hair like [insert real name] when they are in their thirties." I know it sounds shallow, but it really felt good. Especially because I used to get comments like that. I almost wanted to pull him aside and tell him, but I did not.


I would say that I was a little stressed the first month or two. There was some shockloss and my hair overall just looked shitty. But I just did my best to not worry about it too much and kept thinking positive thoughts. By month 3' things started to get exciting. By month 4, I knew I made a great decision. Now at nearly month 5 I am freaking pumped.


You'll be good. Your pictures show really clean work. You'll go through some ups and downs, but with your donor hair, I think you are going to look awesome.

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Thanks man.. So remind me, when did you start seeing the hairs fall out initially. Everything is nice and solid on top, and although they are small and stubbly little hairs, I don't think I've seen any come out yet. I'm at Day 11 and feeling like I've done a good job keeping them intact. I can feel some of the scabs when running the pads of my fingers across it in the shower. And just now definitely felt some coming off (scabs).


I'm just wondering when to expect to see the donor hairs starting to fall out? It'd be good to see them stay a bit longer, and would be slightly concerned seeing them come out sooner. But also think that once that happens, I'm at least looking my "old" normal as in no one would suspect anything when not wearing a hat.


I can relate on your pool story. I go out on my boat with friends, and although they are friends, I've definitely gotten the balding jokes over the last couple years. It's much more apparent when wet. At the same time, since I've been planning/scheduled to do the procedure, and while I'm in the process, I sort of think in my mind "yeah, well it's all gonna be fixed soon." And I think eventually, when I see it's worked great for me, I'll let others know that could use it too (in person).

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  • 2 weeks later...
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In the past week or so, things have gotten mainly back to normal in terms of not having to be super careful in the shower. I don't scrub, but have gently rubbed and gotten all the scabs off.


I'm still wearing a hat in public since my hair is so thin on top, I feel like you can easily see the little stubbly hairs. Although they have gotten much less noticeable (as in scabs have been rubbed off) and feel like I started losing a few of them now (normal from what I know at week 2-3).


I'm a couple days away from getting my sutures removed, which I'm happy about since I've been very conscious of whether people can ever see it, and including my gf trying to put her hands thru my hair (and not knowing about what's back there).


During the past week or more, the back of my head has still be fairly sore and NUMB. The upper left part of my head, NOT on the actual scar, it just feels like nothing when you touch it. No sensitivity... like it's "asleep." Sleeping on the back of my head is still a little sore as well, but it doesn't affect my sleep. Just sometimes has me moving around or laying on my side to get comfortable.


BUT in recent days the numbness seems to be going away. It has come and gone. From what I had read, this can happen for a long time while nerves grow back (which I never knew nerves grow back?) or may lose it's feeling indefinitely to some degree.


I expect a different feeling once I get the sutures out in a couple days. Looking at my scar, it does seem fairly detectable when lifting up my hair. That may sound obvious but I mean, it does look pretty large. I suppose it remains to be seen once removed, how tight/clean it looks. Fingers crossed. It does feel pretty flat aside from the "ribbed" feel running over the sutures, sand I can feel hair growing in around it. Any thoughts in comparison to others?









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Well, I was going to go with FUE with someone more local to me that does JUST FUE. After shaving my head days before the operation, the doctor cancelled on me for "personal reasons" with his family. I was told I would have to wait another 3 months. I won't name the doctor as I'm sure it was something personal and I don't blame him for it. But I had wished he had handled it differently by finding a way to do my surgery sooner than bumping me to the end of the line. Again, no big deal since my hair is not as important as a Doctor's personal issues.


ANYWAYS, it made me open my eyes and I came on here to do more research. I found Dr. Cooley, among other great Doctors. I found all sorts of stories and results. I decided to go for a consultation. I wish I had done that long ago.


From what I was told (and Dr Cooley DOES do both FUE and FUT), that a much higher percentage of grafts will transplant and "live" with a FUT strip vs. the FUE. I also, didn't realize it until I did much more research, that I wouldn't have even had to shave my head for FUT. Which became an issue of itself for me. I've never had my head shaved and I felt pretty unusual around friends and family. I then also had to wait long enough for it to grow out to THEN do the FUT.


Needless to say, I chose FUT since most people say you get more yield from it. But yeah, it may have worked just fine and without a scar/strip taken out.


What are your thoughts on FUT vs. FUE? And what exactly constitutes a "good" donor for FUE?



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3 Week-ish Update (23 days):


Well.. I'm pretty much over the moon!!

I got back from Dr. Cooley's a couple days ago from getting my sutures removed. What a relief that is. It does feel a lot better, although still a tinge of soreness on the back of my head. But now I feel it's pretty much unnoticeable if any suture could be seen thru some disheveled hair.


They said everything looked great. The scar looks good and will only get better over the year. The grafts are well secured and in place, and I shouldn't worry at all about dislodging them. I can proceed to take normal showers, scrub away (although I always err on the safe side).


I'm good to start playing soccer again, and regular exercise. Although I'm trying to limit my contact and head movement to prevent stretching. The thing I am really looking out for too is shying away from any ball in the air. I fielded a ball from going out of bounds last night sort of by the back of my head. I DID NOT want to do that, and really should have stayed away. I need to come up with a way to feign tripping or something to simply NOT touch a ball in the air to my head. :)


I asked Dr Cooley a good bit about this, and he feels that a month from now, I'm good with headers and normal heavy contact soccer. But also good to play, if I want to play conservatively.


NOW.. here's the amazing news.. I got my numbers.

Here it is:


1's: 573

2's: 1480

3's: 1063

4's: 94


Total: 3210 Grafts


So that was going for only 2500! I kinda need to change this post title to "3200 with Dr Cooley" since it's such a significant amount more.


What's better is that he said that generally the average yield is 1.8 hairs per graft for the average male. Mine comes in about 2.2.

So not only more grafts than expected (and by a lot), but also more hairs per graft.


Needless to say, I am VERY happy with hearing that and hoping beyond all hope that they are well in-tact and that it will really show when things start growing in.


Here's some shots of my scar without sutures. The left side is a little more red than the right. Let me know what you think. I am very interested in knowing opinions on concern of it stretching or opening up (I think he said there's no chance of opening back up tho).







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  • 1 month later...
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2 Month Update:

Last Wednesday marked my 2 month anniversary since my procedure. I would say I'm in that doldrums area that everyone talks about. Where you're back to the old look, nothing is noticeably different, and feeling a little paranoid that something isn't going to happen as it should.


So, at the 3 week mark, when I was getting the sutures out, I did talk to Dr. Cooley about playing soccer again. He felt the grafts had fully taken root and looked good. That I shouldn't have any issue with playing competitively and exercising. But the obvious two main concerns I had (and asked him about):

1) Heading the soccer ball

2) Being out in the sun playing (not able to wear a hat playing :)


He agreed that I should shy away from heading the ball for another month (i.e 7 weeks), which I have done for the most part. And that sunscreen is fine to protect the top of the head. So I've loaded up on sunscreen when I have been out there.


However, I guess I still feel like I've done some things a bit too roughly, and thus has led to being concerned in this low-time.


I did head the ball once or twice, nothing major, maybe around the one month mark. I've been playing pretty competitively again where I have headed it several more times (3-4 total) in the last couple weeks (6-8 week mark). After doing it, I've sort of felt I shouldn't have. No other reason than maybe I should be more protective?


I also have actually felt concerned about using TOO much sunscreen, and wondering about the safety of spray lotion. Sounds paranoid, I know. It seems to have protected well, but....

Also, last weekend (2 months) I forgot to apply any and I may have gotten a little cooked. I grew very concerned again about that. Nothing really hurt, nor any peeling or flaking. And seemed normal after a couple days.


So now, I'm in that period where nothing looks very good, and worried that it's not going to work out because I've not been overly-protective of my head.


Last things to mention is that even now, at 2 months, I do feel a little soreness on top of the head. Wondering if that's the sun at times (even when using a lot of lotion) or if it's normal to still feel something. On a side note, when I sneeze, I can kinda feel my head tingle on top where the grafts are. Anyone have had that sensation?


Does anyone have thoughts on all of this? And obviously I should be careful, but am I still in the safe-zone of what I can/should be doing? I just got a sense that once things take root and are said to look in good shape, 1 month to 2 months is mostly fine to be back to normal activity (within reason and protecting from TOO much of anything).

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man all that work and you are out there heading balls.. JK


i am sure all is fine. i am curious to see how it all looks in another 2 months when the hair starts to grown in.


i am in the process of talking with cooley for my procedure i may have with him..


just scary, not the money but not getting the results i desire.

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Not sure what happened to this post from yesterday, but trying again.

Here's some picts from my 2 month + 1 week mark.


As you can see, it's pretty sparse up there. All the little stubbly hairs I had from the first month after the surgery are gone. It's pretty much back to normal... maybe even looking a bit worse. Maybe my imagination.


Anyways, I'm hopeful things make a miraculous change in the coming months, and that the concern and worry is all worth it. Right now, it feels it's such a long-shot that this is going to look any better. I look pretty bad right now (hat is almost always on).


I included several extreme close ups with flash and without. I wonder if it's even possible to make out anything that would suggest things are looking good. Or if an HT Doc would know what to look for. I know I can't tell what anything looks like on there except SPARSELY POPULATED still.







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I cant see any growth yet based on those photos.

With me at 2 month I had 80% shed but what was encouraging was that I could still see the follicular units. They looked like tiny pin-holes where the hairs once were. 2-3 weeks after the shedding stopped I notice steady growth.

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