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Hello fellow Norwoods.

 

You’ve been very informative and helpful to me throughout my hair loss experience so I thought that the least I could do would be to document my transplant experience to “pay it forward” to other sufferers. My goal is that at least one person is helped by my write-up, regardless of how they ultimately decide to treat (or not treat) their hair loss. Although I don’t necessarily think that my hair loss has held me back in life in any significant manner, it did cause a tremendous amount of anxiety and reduced the joy that I experienced on a day-to day basis. I have a wonderful life, which I am extremely grateful for, though I was having trouble being happy due to my hair loss.

 

I am a 28 year old male. I am currently using the big three of Finasteride, Minoxidil, and Ketoconazole and have done so for the last 3-4 years. When I compared my current loss to three years ago it looks to be comparable (i.e., the treatment is helping me maintain). There is a history of hair loss in my family; my granddad is a Norwood 5/6 at 80 years old, my father is a Norwood 5/6 at 60 years old, and my younger brother has similar loss to me (though not as extensive as he jumped on Finasteride earlier). I initially noticed my hair loss when I was 23, though looking back at pictures I can see thinning and recession as early as 21.

 

Below: Me at 25 years old

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When I initially hopped on Finasteride I was 24 and was not considering a hair transplant. My thought process was that I was still young and that by the time I was old (i.e., 30 lol) I would probably not care at all about my hair and just stop taking Finasteride. Well, as you all probably know, life doesn’t end at 30 (or 40 for that matter) and it’s only natural to want to be happy with the way that you look. The turning point for me was when my work was offering free, professional portrait photography and I elected to skip it as I didn’t want an updated photo showing my excessive balding (was living in the past with a three year old photo lol). Consequently, I began researching hair transplant options.

 

Although I had consultations with many of the elite doctors recommended on this site, I ultimately decided on an FUE procedure with Dr. Jim Harris in Denver, Colorado. I know that there is not one “best” doctor, but based on my situation, as well as Dr. Harris’ extensive experience with FUE, I decided that he was the best choice for my procedure. After communicating through email for several weeks I booked my procedure and was quoted 1500-1800 grafts.

 

Leading up to the procedure I was a ball of anxiety (as my wonderful girlfriend can attest to). Two days before the procedure I gave her a “free pass” to make all the baldy jokes she wanted to, which helped to lighten the mood a little bit. However, I still remained anxious and thought about cancelling up through the night before my procedure. As Spencer Kobren repeatedly says “Once you’re cut, you’re cut”. I was well aware that after my procedure there was no going back and that I would be committed to treating my hair loss over the long-term. It’s possible that ten years from now I may look back at this time of my life and think “what was I thinking?” however, it’s better than living a sub-par life and always wondering “what if?”

 

Leading up to the procedure I followed all of the pre-op instructions and then some. I researched pre-op instructions from other reputable clinics and decided that, in addition to my normal pre-op instructions, I would avoid alcohol and caffeine for roughly three weeks before my procedure. Although I’m aware that this likely had no measurable effect on my procedure or my future results, it gave me a peace of mind knowing that I was doing everything possible on my end to ensure solid results.

 

On the day of surgery I arrived at 8AM and had my pre-op consultation with Dr. Harris. I was undecided on whether temple points were a good use of grafts so we briefly discussed the placement of temple points and decided that as they are only 30-50 grafts per temple, that this was a good use of grafts. After this brief consultation Dr. Harris began extracting the grafts using the Harris SAFE system. During the extractions Dr. Harris mentioned that I have really good donor characteristics which was a surprise to me as I pessimistically thought my donor was somewhat thin. Further, one of the techs mentioned that I probably had the record for most three-hair grafts, which made me feel like I was on cloud nine.

 

Ultimately I received 1,779 grafts into my frontal third and temple points with a transection rate of 3.7%. My graft breakdown was:

1-hair grafts: 200 (11%)

2-hair grafts: 568 (32%)

3-hair grafts: 924 (52%)

4-hair grafts: 87 (5%)

 

On the day after the procedure I began washing my head by pouring a cup of water over my entire head (as per the post-op instructions). I looked into the sink and couldn’t believe what I saw…ALL MY HAIRS WERE FALLING INTO THE SINK!!!! I frantically called Dr. Harris’ office and explained the situation. Laura kindly suggested I come in for an examination. As I had figured out on the car ride over there, the hairs that I was seeing in the sink were simply stragglers from my pre-op haircut. Dr. Harris explained that if grafts were falling out they would be much longer, have a bulb, and likely cause bleeding. Despite having received a 3.9 GPA in my master’s program, I wasn’t smart enough to remember that they gave me a haircut before surgery lol! As soon as my blood pressure returned to normal I happily went on my way.

 

I’ll do my best to update on a monthly basis though I’m not expecting much growth in the next 3 months. I will be sure to post my picture at 10 months to show the final result. As of now I am very happy and optimistic regarding my future growth.

 

I’d like to specifically thank Spencer Kobren, FredtheBelgian, Rawtashk, Peapoddy and Spex for sharing their experiences as these experiences provided support throughout my journey.

 

Here are some of the photos:

Pre-op pictures

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Post-op pictures

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Edited by David - Moderator
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There is still a (low) possibility of substantial growth to come, Dr. Feller mentions a result in one of his vids where the vast majority started at around month 9.   To be honest you used a very s

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Congrats on your recent procedure, and I like the user handle name as well! lol

 

Although I had consultations with many of the elite doctors recommended on this site, I ultimately decided on an FUE procedure with Dr. Jim Harris in Denver, Colorado.

 

Which elite doctors did you have consultations with?

Curious as to why not choose Dr. Diep or Shapiro or even Dr. Konior, as they are the prominent FUE surgeons in N. America.

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Congrats on your recent procedure, and I like the user handle name as well! lol

 

Although I had consultations with many of the elite doctors recommended on this site, I ultimately decided on an FUE procedure with Dr. Jim Harris in Denver, Colorado.

 

Which elite doctors did you have consultations with?

Curious as to why not choose Dr. Diep or Shapiro or even Dr. Konior, as they are the prominent FUE surgeons in N. America.

 

Thanks hsrp10! Good question, I actually contacted all three of the doctors you mentioned.

 

Dr. Diep -- Great doctor. I actually requested an in-person consult with Dr. Diep but he was unavailable when I had my PTO so the logistics didn't work. Further, a lot of the posts I saw on here appeared to be on ethnic hair (e.g., black, asian, indian). My hair is about as Caucasian as it gets (i.e., straight and medium brown) so that wasn't a big selling point to me.

 

Shapiro -- SMG was the clinic I was initially leaning toward. Had a consult with Matt who was super friendly and very informative. Given my age and family history of excessive balding he was strongly in favor of FUT over FUE. He may be right, and most FUT scars are not noticeable, but I didn't want a linear scar in case I decided to just buzz my hair when the rest inevitably falls out.

 

Dr. Konior -- Also a great doctor. Quoted me 2500-3000 grafts which was quite a bit more than all my other quotes. This was for a dense-pack so it may be comparing apples to oranges, but I was a little anxious to use up half my donor supply on just my hairline since I'll likely continue to lose hair.

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Hey man! Congrats on your surgery and just wanted to let you know that your handle is an absolute winner!

 

Stay clever :-)

 

Thanks Richter101, glad you like the handle.

 

How was your experience with the ARTAS? I almost went that route but decided in favor of the SAFE system due to slightly smaller extraction sites (though I'm not sure there's any cosmetic difference). Your front looks good, how does your donor site look? Would you recommend the ARTAS?

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Attached are my 4-day post op pictures.

 

Everything appears to be healing nicely. I'll be on vacation next week so I'm hoping things look better so I don't have to wear a hat (or surgeons cap) everywhere.

 

One thing to note is that on my 3-day post op I experienced very bad itching on my scalp. I read online that this is usually a good sign and indicates healing. Does anyone know if this is true? Anyway, a few benadryls and I was able to sleep it off.

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Attached are my 9-day post op pics.

 

I'm excited as, per the below chart from Dr. Bernstein's website, my grafts are fully anchored and I didn't lose any during the post-op period :)

graft-anchoring-fig10.gif

 

My recipient area was a little dry a few days ago but a combination of gently washing (to remove the dead, flaky skin) and applying argon oil helped to alleviate this dryness. The recipient area is a little red (as seen in the attached pics) though this is less noticeable in person and I have been able to go out without anyone staring or making comments about redness or scabbing. I'm hoping I keep my grafts through at least next week as I have a few job interviews. Then onto the ugly duckling phase where they all shed....

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Donor.JPG.a9979507d0f89f27c33004857d09f745.JPG

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Hi all,

 

Day 15 and I think I've started shedding already. Noticed probably 30-40 hairs come out in the shower while shampooing. The odd part is that they seemed to have mostly shed from the right side of my hairline, which was a little concerning. The right side is now noticeably less dense than the left side. Does anyone know if this is normal, or should I contact my doc?

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Hi all,

 

Day 15 and I think I've started shedding already. Noticed probably 30-40 hairs come out in the shower while shampooing. The odd part is that they seemed to have mostly shed from the right side of my hairline, which was a little concerning. The right side is now noticeably less dense than the left side. Does anyone know if this is normal, or should I contact my doc?

 

I wouldn't be worried at this stage. Things are going to look uneven for a while moving forward as hairs won't necessarily shed and regrow at the same pace.

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I wouldn't be worried at this stage. Things are going to look uneven for a while moving forward as hairs won't necessarily shed and regrow at the same pace.

 

Thanks for the encouraging words David. The left side actually started shedding the next day so I think you're right and it was just a coincidence.

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No need to contact doctor as this is the stage where things look uneven.

BTW how was the job interview? Did they notice your HT or not?

Heal well and keep the updates coming

 

Hey Rawkerboi,

 

The interviews went well, thanks for asking. I was a little nervous as several of the interviews were either second round interviews or interviews with people I've met before at various networking events, but I'm 99% sure no one even noticed my reappearing hairline. I'm assuming this was because of two factors. First, the transplant was fairly subtle. Second, and likely the more significant factor, I'm not sure that most people outside of these blogs/websites really notice hair loss as much as we do!

 

Once I realized that no one noticed the transplant, the extra hair gave me a little more confidence in the interviews. Hopefully, like Samson from the bible, the hair gave me a little extra strength to secure an offer lol.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I was giving myself my bi-weekly buzz cut today when the guard on my clipper slipped from 5mm to 1mm! Although not initially pleased with my Mr. Clean style trim, I decided to make lemonade out of the lemon that life handed me and document how my scarring is doing at about 4 weeks post-op. As you can see from the pictures the scarring is virtually invisible.

 

One of my professors at business school said that it was important to always ask yourself "what if I'm wrong?". In my decision to have a transplant the answer to my "what if I'm wrong?" question was that if I'm wrong, and my grafts don't grow or provide a good result, then I will accept defeat and shave my head. I guess those student loans were worth it after all ;)

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Looks great! You were in very good hands. Dr. Harris is the best there is!

 

My results have been spectacular with a very conservative use of donor hair, which is an amazing benefit of using a surgeon like Dr. Harris. Can't wait to see your final results!

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  • 1 month later...

Hello fellow baldies,

 

Good news -- I've began sprouting hairs. I counted 10 the other day, which obviously have no cosmetic value, but are encouraging nonetheless. You can (maybe) see them in the below picture as a little wall (no trump) on my hairline.

 

Bad news -- I was one of the unlucky ones to experience donor shock loss. My girlfriend pointed this out to me about two weeks ago as we were talking and she kept staring at the side of my head with a "WTF?" kind of look. The shock loss is above my ears on both sides, though the right side is worse. I buzzed my hair down to 3mm which made it much less noticeable.

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  • 1 month later...

A few days away from 4 months so wanted to post a quick update. Definitely seeing some sporadic growth, hoping it fills in a bit more. Interestingly enough the grafts seem to be growing much more rapidly on the hairline and not so much behind the hairline. As a result they look pretty "pluggy" at the moment. I'm not particularly concerned as this is still technically the dormant phase (0-4 months). Hoping for some solid growth in the next few months.

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Thanks hsrp10! Good question, I actually contacted all three of the doctors you mentioned.

 

Dr. Diep -- Great doctor. I actually requested an in-person consult with Dr. Diep but he was unavailable when I had my PTO so the logistics didn't work. Further, a lot of the posts I saw on here appeared to be on ethnic hair (e.g., black, asian, indian). My hair is about as Caucasian as it gets (i.e., straight and medium brown) so that wasn't a big selling point to me.

 

Shapiro -- SMG was the clinic I was initially leaning toward. Had a consult with Matt who was super friendly and very informative. Given my age and family history of excessive balding he was strongly in favor of FUT over FUE. He may be right, and most FUT scars are not noticeable, but I didn't want a linear scar in case I decided to just buzz my hair when the rest inevitably falls out.

 

Dr. Konior -- Also a great doctor. Quoted me 2500-3000 grafts which was quite a bit more than all my other quotes. This was for a dense-pack so it may be comparing apples to oranges, but I was a little anxious to use up half my donor supply on just my hairline since I'll likely continue to lose hair.

I bet you have more than 6000 grafts at your disposal. I have 7k in my frontal third alone, but i did strip and not FUE, which does change the amount that can be yielded from the donor typically.
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A few days away from 4 months so wanted to post a quick update. Definitely seeing some sporadic growth, hoping it fills in a bit more. Interestingly enough the grafts seem to be growing much more rapidly on the hairline and not so much behind the hairline. As a result they look pretty "pluggy" at the moment. I'm not particularly concerned as this is still technically the dormant phase (0-4 months). Hoping for some solid growth in the next few months.
You have a very similar hair loss pattern to what mine was pre-HT, though my forelock was much more diffused.

 

I needed touch up rounds to get the density where i wanted it, but the first round did achieve a reframing of the face nicely.

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