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Hassler

1400 FUE with Dr Edward Ball (UK)

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Hi All,

 

First ever post after many years of lurking and managing hairloss non surgically. I'm a forty six year old male with mild to moderate recession and thinning of the frontal forelock. For years I'd taken Propecia and Minoxidil on and off, I'd say it helped, but as most people who take medication will testify, it doesn't tend to be a silver bullet they hope for - it probably slows things down somewhat and thats about it. This is my hair transplant story.

 

BACKGROUND

For a mid forties guy, my hair loss wasn't severe, and I spent a long time debating in my head whether a transplant was something I needed. "Need" is a strange word in this context, after all Hair Transplantation is not coronary heart surgery, I wasn't going to die or become incapacitated if I didn't have surgery. That said, the slightly lopsided hairline and mild thinning in the front really did irritate me (see pre-op pics). So "need" for me just meant that if my objectives could be met, then why not - it would hopefully remove an irritation from my life and give me something I wanted (I'd always been rather fond of my hair).

 

One of the things that attracted me to the idea of hair transplantation is that transplanted hair appears very "strong", unlike hair which is miniaturising, it can be grown out nicely (the quiff seems very much in fashion with the guys who have had it done). Despite not feeling the need for an Elvis look, that stronger thicker hair that can be grown out longer was what I wanted, and I was prepared to take the risk of surgery to get it......if I could find the right surgeon.

 

That last bit wasn't an easy process. Several previous consultations had been useful, but I hadn't walked away with feelings of complete confidence. Clinics tended to have photos/videos of what I considered very "mixed" results, some appeared very good (if not always clear), while others looked questionable, especially when looking at the exit points of the hair/hairline where most of my work would be done. With reference to me individually, questions such as whether FUE or FUT were more suitable in my case, number of grafts I would need, and the risk of shock loss given I had quite a lot of pre-existing hair hadn't really been answered in a way that tied up with my own research. The idea was very much on hold. Then I stumbled across the Maitland clinic, via an online article. I was impressed, further research on forums showed a growing list of very satisfied clients so I booked a consultation with David Anderson and Dr Ball in Hampshire.

 

I walked into the consultation thinking and hoping I'd found the right place based on my research of them, and I away from the consultation absolutely convinced I had. The following factors really stood out from other clinics:

 

1). Results - from researching a broad spectrum across the internet, their results came out top for me. My advice here is don't just look at "amazing" results on different clinics own website as quite simply all clinics have some very good results on show (what clinic is going to stick bad results on there). My approach was to look at results across a much wider spectrum (especially the likes of these forums) and look for evidence of good and bad results. It's a very subjective thing what a good or bad result is, but for me anything with a whiff of "it's a hair transplant" about it is simply a bad hair transplant regardless of all other factors. The Maitland Clinic were the only ones where I honestly couldn't identify any bad results or dissatisfied clients out there. It's my view that hair transplantation isn't a simple skill that anybody who has been trained can exhibit to a high degree, it actually requires a "talent", and if a doctor/team doesn't have the talent, no amount of training or experience will make them world class, no more so than a bit of training by Pep Guardiola would make me a premier league footballer, or years of practise in the shower would make me a world class singer.

2). The Maitland Clinic routinely do both FUE and FUT on a case by case basis. My advice here is not to make this choice yourself based on whether you prefer the thought of multiple small dots or a single linear scar, as that grossly trivialises the whole issue. FUE has clear advantages regarding the scarring but I certainly didn't want FUE just because it's the method a doctor prefers, I want the option that's most suitable for me, and although from my research I was 80% sure FUE made more sense in my case, I wanted that independently validated by a doctor that does BOTH. I would advise all prospective HT patients to seek the advice of at least one surgeon who does both, even if you end up going somewhere else for the procedure.

3). Dr Balls name is on the clinic door (metaphorically speaking) - actually, it's his middle name, but given the alternative would sound like a clinic specialising in gonad enhancement, I think he made the right choice there. Some people may say "so what?" but I've always felt that in any walk of life, when somebody is putting their name to the end result, then that person will take the utmost pride in every aspect of what they do. I spoke to one clinic who couldn't/wouldn't tell me who would be the surgeon doing my procedure, it's whoever they can get for a particular day (oh, but they are all brilliant they said), how they can get people to sign up to that, I just don't know.

4). Dr Ball operates strictly on 1 patient per day. Having undergone the process I think this is a hugely under valued aspect of any clinic that works on this basis (there aren't many). One of the things that struck me on the day is that hair transplantation (esp FUE) is extremely time consuming, and one that requires very high degrees of concentration to achieve optimal results. While perfectly feasible for one team to do multiple patients in a long day, it can't be conducive to achieving the best results - the surgeon would be rushing under time pressure and undoubtedly become mentally and physically fatigued leading to poor results.

 

THE DAY

The day itself as an amazing experience. After sitting for 10 minutes in the waiting room at 8:15 wondering "what am I doing here...I don't need to do this" my nerves vanished once Dr Ball entered the room. We'd designed my hairline the previous evening, and the lines were still on my head next morning. Dr Ball advised me to look over the hairline that evening and if I wasn't entirely comfortable then we would have the chance for one final refinement the next morning - which I took.

 

The day was so much easier then I expected. Pain wise, I felt very little. Dr Ball did all the incisions and extractions himself, and the grafts were implanted by Janna and Mo. Jessica ensured I was entirely comfortable throughout the day and there was TV and munchies on offer.

 

One of the things I was impressed with was the friendliness and dedication of the team. This is clearly a group of talented individuals that work together, and that know and have great respect for each other, but by no means do you feel like your an intruder amongst them, we had some good chats and laughs at appropriate points during the day, but when it was time to get down to business, everybody was so focussed on the job at hand (you could hear a pin drop).

 

The process was very "un-rushed", the extractions and incisions are done with the utmost care and attention to detail, and I very much got the impression that they work on the basis that "we take as long as it takes to get it spot on". I entered surgery around 9am and was finished just before 6pm, which is by no means quick for 1400 FUE, however when I looked at my head post-op, it was clear why - my head was very clean, no blood anywhere, just redness in the implanted area. I know that my scalp was bleeding quite a bit at the start, but clearly Dr Ball had taken the time to control this and keep my head cleaned as he went. Having looked on YouTube of pictures of patients with their heads caked in blood pot-op, I have no idea how their surgeon managed to see what he was doing, surely the results can't be great in these cases.

 

THE RESULTS

I'm now two months post op after surgery. The pictures attached show two photos of me pre-op , one with longer hair during my initial consultation and another with cropped hair the day before surgery. Other pictures are during surgery, and at 4, 7 and 14 days. Finally there is a pic at 2 months.

 

I hope you will agree that the pictures of me in surgery show the care and attention given to the operation, with a lot of pre-existing hair, this was always going to be an important factor in achieving a good overall result.

 

At two months it's still too early to give any final verdict, but I couldn't be happier with where I am at this point. By rights, I should be in the "doldrums" at this point, but nothing could be further from the truth, all my native hair has grown back through (no apparent collateral damage) and there are some grafts which did not seem to shed (I would say 20-30%), giving me an overall improvement at this stage over my pre-op position (which I had not expected).

 

I will post further updates at 6 months.

 

Hope you found this useful.

 

BM.

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Thanks you for your story.

 

Ist the last Picture really only 2 month out? If yes, it would be already nice growth.

 

Good luck

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Hi - yes it really is. I'm also surprised, it exceeds my expectations for this stage, I thought I would be worse than pre-op at this point. I put it down to not all grafts shedding. I can see new dark/strong pigmented hairs in amongst finer, less pigmented native hairs, giving the overall result a denser look, even feel, than before the op.

 

I've never had a haircut since the op, and all these hairs are the same length, so must have just grown straight through (but no question a lot did shed).

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Hey Hassler!

 

Great write up and review of your experience, it was a pleasure to deal with you and thanks again for showing off your head after surgery to my prospective consultation candidate. You look incredible at two months. No shock of your existing hair and you appear to be well ahead of the game at this stage. What are you using on your hair to get it to grow that quickly?

 

Please keep us all posted.

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Ah David, I do have a regimen that I've been on since our consultation back in June and it may be contributing to the rapid growth. I hope the sight of my blotchy red head didn't put your prospective patient off.

 

My regimen:

1mg Propecia (every day)

0.5mg Avodart (every other day, just to give the DHT suppression an added kick)

Minoxidil (morning and night)

 

I'll probably go down to minoxidil just at nights, and cut the Avodart to once or twice a week, but at this stage it's all working so well with the HT that I wouldn't dare change anything!

 

Best wishes.

H.

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Hi All,

 

Here are the 6.5 month pics from my hair transplant by Dr Edward Ball at the Maitland Clinic in Portsmouth. I couldn't be happier with the results, the naturalness of the hairline is the biggest thing for me, I think I always believed that increased density was going to be a "given" but I was really worried it would come with a price (of quirkyness), but I'm pretty much sweeping my hair back and exposing it for all the world to see with zero thought than it looks anything other than the hairline I was born with. Although my procedure wasn't huge (1400 FUE), it was carried out with painstaking attention to detail, the sort of thing you get with a one patient per day offering, it really does make all the difference in my opinion.

 

Big thanks to David Anderson, Dr Ball, Janna and the rest of the staff at the Maitland clinic, they are truly world class.

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