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In 2017, I travelled to Madrid and underwent an FUE hair transplant with Dr Lorenzo. A year has passed and I wanted to document my progress and help guide anyone else considering the Injertocapilar Clinic, or an FUE transplant in general.

 

 

I never knew I was losing my hair until it was too late. My rate of hair loss was gradual. There were no hairs on my pillow or in the plughole. Since I had a high hairline, I failed to properly recognize the degree of recession that was occurring. However, by my mid-thirties, my hair loss was becoming noticeable and I was not entirely happy with my appearance.

 

Sometime around 2015, a friend took some photographs of my scalp and I was shocked to find that I was sporting the kind of thinning hair that I imagined I might have as an old man. 



 

My hairline was high up on my head and my crown had started to open up. As a spunky guy in my mid-thirties, I was not ready to have an aged man's head on my body.

 

After some months of quiet anguish, I decided to do something radical and shave my head. This was surprisingly liberating. For the first time, I had control over my hair, rather than the other way round. As soon as I let the clippers do their work, I was no longer at the mercy to the whims of my scalp.

 

I wish I had done this sooner.

 

Hence, I’d recommend that anyone considering a hair transplant shaves their head first. Shaving is a big step to take in its own right. However, I immediately discovered that when there’s no hair on your head there’s no problem to deal with! 

A shaved head can also look (very) cool but you won’t know until you do it.

 

Give it a try.

 

I rocked the shaved head-look for over a year. However, I eventually decided to opt for a hair transplant: whilst I was confident with my new appearance, I wanted to recognise my face looking back in the mirror, rather than the physiognomy of a baby-faced Jason Stratham.

 


I had my reasons. Several years ago, I had made it a personal mission to restore my youthfulness and vitality. My body was starting to pick up the aches and pains associated with ageing and living a sedentary lifestyle. However, I was able to turn the clock back, with a regime of calisthenics and an improved diet.

 

I figured it would also be fun for my hair to also follow suit.

 

Besides, I reasoned that if the transplant didn’t match my expectations, I could simply revert back to shaving my head and wearing the hell out of a suit.

 

In this way, shaving my head actually helped me take the decision to get a transplant in the most positive of ways. Who knew?

 

I began researching the various online forums (including this one) for suggestions on where to find a great doctor. I kept my time on the forums brief but eventually, I narrowed my search down to what I objectively considered, the top three hair surgeons. They were:

 


1. Dr Feriduni (Belgium) 


2. Dr Rahal (Canada)

3. Dr Lorenzo (Spain)

 

I contacted each of their clinics and made online enquiries. I sent in photos of my hair and corresponded with their respective staff. Spex, who represents Dr Ferudini, was particularly helpful.



 

However, Dr Lorenzo contacted me personally (on Christmas Day, no less). I appreciated this personal touch, his frank feedback and the breadth of his portfolio of work. 



 

Many before me considered him the greatest hair surgeon on the planet. I figured that if I was going to get this procedure done, I’d opt for the best of the best. With a mixture of gut instinct and mental deduction, I chose Dr Lorenzo.

 

(NB. There was not much difference in quotes given by all three. I paid in several instalments and I believe the total was around 12-13K Euros)

 

It is a big decision to fly to another country and undergo a hair procedure. Personally, numerous objections in my mind came up, such as:

 

‘You’re already happy, surely this hair procedure only serves your ego?’

‘The procedure is expensive, wouldn’t you rather spend that on a holiday?’

‘Do you want to be taking Finasteride for the rest of your life?’

 

I decided I have a whole lifetime to make more money and that getting a hair procedure was more to do something good and nice for myself. However, the thought of taking meds every day, admittedly, held me back.


 

I view my body as my greatest asset in life and I didn’t want to be dependent on ‘popping pills’ for my cosmetic appearance. However, after researching Finasteride, I deduced that any negative side effects were pretty much short-term and fully reversible.

 

(I read the horror stories out there too but I calculated, statistically, the risk-to-reward ratio very favourable toward a positive outcome. I'm geeky like that.)

 

I sourced the Finasteride online (www.hairlossexperiencesshop.co.uk), which came as 5mg tablets that I divided into five smaller bits and took every day. After several months, I had happily encountered no ill effects. At this point, I decided to contact the clinic and book the procedure with Dr Lorenzo.

 

There was a 10-month waiting list, which was frustrating in the face of my impatience but the time quickly flew by. Before I knew it, I was on an economy plane seat to Madrid. I enjoyed the city, which has a great cultural vibe and is easy to explore, via the metro system. I stayed at a nearby hotel arranged by the clinic.

 

I met Dr Lorenzo, who speaks perfect English, for a consultation several days before my procedure.


 

We had conversed online and his personal assessment was that my temporal peaks and hair line would need completely rebuilding. I also had a small gap appearing on my crown that could be filled.

 

On close inspection of my scalp, Dr Lorenzo also noted that my donor area was excellent (hair, I think, was 53 microns) and suggested a transplant consisting of 3,500 grafts.

 

(NB. I didn't appreciate at the time that one graft can have several hairs, so the amount of hair that was to be transplanted was much more than 3,500...)

 

During my consultation, I asked lots of questions that I had written down and he candidly answered every one. His focus throughout my consultation was the pinnacle of professionalism and this put me instantly at ease. I left his office feeling that I was in very safe hands.


 

On the day of the procedure, I arrived at the clinic very early. 


 

I met Grace, a nurse from the UK who now works with Lorenzo. Grace would be on hand over the next two days to talk me through what was happening. I changed into scrubs and was given a valium. My heart rate was also taken.

 

My head was shaved and I was asked where I would like my new hairline to be! I decided to let Dr Lorenzo draw the line on. After all, I figured he’s done this a lot more times with a pen than I have.

 

Just as the valium started kicking in, I was lead to the room where the procedure would take place.



 

Let's fast forward. What does having a hair extraction feel like?



 

Well, the short answer is that it feels like having your head pricked with a cocktail stick around 1,500 times!


 

The procedure began with me laying comfortably on my side whilst I let the anaesthesia take effect. Dr Lorenzo oversaw the extraction team as they began removing my hairs. He performed several extractions himself and guided the team, as required.

 

I listened to music and even fell asleep several times. Occasionally, I’d feel an extraction, which felt like being jabbed with a sharp stick. More pain relief was promptly given. This procedure went on for about four hours.

 

With everything considered, the whole process was actually not too bad: about as uncomfortable as flying on a budget airline plane seat for a long haul. Bearable, not terrible...with much a better lunch.

 

After all the extractions had taken place for the day (1,500 in total) I stretched out and ate some lunch in the kitchen area of the clinic. I chatted with the extraction team and Grace, who was on hand to assist. Everyone at the clinic was very friendly. 

After a short break, it was time for my extracted hair to be implanted.

 

What does having a hair transplant feel like?



 

Again, it feels like having your head pricked with a cocktail stick...a further 1,500 times!


 

Dr Lorenzo, with a Jedi-like focus, began the procedure of implanting my extracted hairs. I am usually a very chatty guy but, in this case, I had the sense not to interrupt him as he entered a flow state of concentration.

 

It was at this moment I was supremely glad I had chosen a true expert to perform this intimate type of work –and not got it done on the cheap in a less developed country. With hindsight, I would definitely recommend a 'saving n' shaving' approach when selecting a doctor: it is worth it.

 

Dr Lorenzo is clearly an artist as well as a surgeon and I sensed that he really took care to make sure every hair was inserted at just the right angle in just the right place.

 

One by one he added hairs to my scalp. I listened to music and dozed off a few times. After several hours, we were done for the first day. I looked in the mirror and, for the first time in almost two decades, saw that I had hair again!

 

It was an emotional moment to see how my entire image was being transformed. However, at this stage, my image was more akin to a whimsical Harvey Dent than a handsome Bruce Wayne: there were two distinct sides to my face: one side with hair, one without.



 

Before departing the clinic for the day, I was given careful, simple instructions on how to look after my freshly transplanted hairs and driven back to my hotel. This mostly involved spraying my head with a saline solution to keep it wet.

 



Despite having a head like a hairy Swiss cheese, I had a pleasant night’s sleep. I awoke the next day with light trepidation: the sleepy thought of being pricked another 3,500 times was a little disconcerting.

 


Then I remembered how awesome the prospect of having hair was, which dispelled the negative feelings. At that moment, the hotel shuttle whisked me to the clinic.

 

I arrived, met the staff and the work continued. I was prepped in the same way as the previous day, and the procedure was repeated.

 

Poke, poke, poke! The time passed slowly. However, by the end of the day, I had hair. Bruce Wayne achievement: unlocked!

 

My head was a smattering of red dots but the hardest part was done. That night, I slept carefully in my bed, using a pillow provided by the clinic and, again, spraying my head every few hours with the saline solution. I also took some vitamin D3 to help assist in the healing process.

 

Before heading home the next day, I attended the clinic for an assessment and a debrief. For those interested, here are some stats from the surgery:

 


Extractable Grafts: 6,924


Actual Grafts Used: 3,501

 

Overall Hairs Extracted: 8,477

Total Hairs Used: 42.8%

Hair/graft ratio: 2.42

 

Temporal: 300 grafts (2.25 hair/ graft)

Parietal: 1,451 (2.41 hair/ graft)

Occipital: 1,750 (2.46 hair/ graft)

 

Single: 353

Double: 1,488

Triple: 1,497


Quadruple: 159

Quintuple: 4


Sextuple: 0



 

The procedure had been a success and now the task was up to me to keep my head protected to ensure the optimal conditions for all the transplanted hair to grow and the donor site to heal. 


 

Apparently, it takes nine days for the transplanted hairs to completely take root in their new locations. Dr Lorenzo suggested this happens even more quickly but I fixed my sights on keeping free of any potential stress for the next nine days.

 

The initial days following the operation were quite challenging in ways I had not anticipated. My head swelled up for a few days due to the lingering aesthetic in my system. I looked like Thanos’ nephew.

 

Happily, the comical swelling subsided and was then replaced with a bigger challenge.



 

The donor area was covered in thousands of little scabs that became incredibly itchy. Of course, I was under strict instructions not to scratch. I can imagine the greatest feeling in the world would have been to have scratched those itchy bits…but…I resisted!



 

However, the itchiness was so severe it descended into a mixture of pain and mental despair. It kept me awake for several days and was far more challenging than the transplant itself.

 

Eventually, I found relief by applying cold aloe vera gel (kept in the refrigerator) to the affected area of my head, which significantly eased the sensation. After a few days, the itchy condition passed and my sanity returned.

 

After a few weeks, with the redness of scalp starting to fade, I could enjoy my newly transplanted hair. It even started to grow! Although short, it felt great to have my hairline restored to my younger self.

 


During this journey, I made a point to tell almost everyone about what I was doing. I decided that trying to hide the obvious is the same thinking that leads to comb-overs. 



 

Lots of my friends were really interested in the procedure and everyone was supportive. Curiously, I think the question I got asked the most was “…how much did it cost?”

 

After a few weeks, my transplanted hair began to fall out as I entered the so-called ‘ugly duckling’ phase.

 

I guess no patient likes to see their new hair vanish, even temporarily, so, at this point, I decided to skip the drama and keep my hair super short, returning to my former Jason Stratham look for the next few months. However, this time around, I wasn’t able to use clippers (you have to wait five months) but I got by cutting my hair with scissors.

 

Short hair made the process of dealing with the changes happening on my head much more manageable. However, as soon as I cut my hair short for the first time, post-op, I made a positive discovery.

 

–There was no scarring in my donor area!

 

I had assumed that all the hairs taken from the donor site would leave little-pitted scars. I had seen such pictures, online, of other FUE patients and accepted this as par for the course.

 

However, I had no scarring at all.

 

My skin was smooth. I suspect this is because of the extraction technique used and the skill of the extraction team. I was a very happy client indeed and extremely happy I opted for Dr Lorenzo and Injectocappilar.

 

Life then continued as normal.

 

After five months I returned to the clinic for a checkup with Dr Lorenzo. I must say he really is a perfectionist and took the time to look closely at my hair and its progress. By five months my hair was beginning to thicken.

 

There was some concern about the density around my temporal peaks. The hair in this area was a little thinner. Dr Lorenzo concluded that we must wait another five months to see how the hair will progress.

 

Six months after the procedure I began to let my new hair grow properly. As the hair grew thicker and it was an amazing feeling to look in the mirror and see the same style of hair on my head that I had, fifteen years prior.

 

After ten months, I returned to see Dr Lorenzo for a second, and final, check-up. The hair had thickened considerably during this interlude. He was very happy with the overall outcome.

 

He suggested that we could put in 50-250 more hairs in the peaks down the line to thicken them up a little more. This is something I may consider, but it's not really an issue for me at present.

 

What does transplanted hair look and feel like?

 


Well, ten months after the procedure, the hair feels exactly like normal hair.

 

It has all the same sensations when you brush or comb it. Running your fingers through your new hairline feels like it has always been there. The sensitivity of the scalp is identical to before the procedure.

 

My new hair covers my head perfectly. I now have a hairline and temporal peaks that frame my face very nicely. The patch in the crown of my head has been completely filled, too. 
Dr. Lorenzo really stretched those 3,500 grafts well.

 

The density of the transplanted hair at the front is not as thick as my original hair. However, it is pretty thick and from months six to ten (present) the thickness of my hair continues to increase. I’m not sure how it will change looking ahead.


 

The transplanted hair is slightly darker than the rest of the hair on my head. It blends in perfectly well but I was curious about it. Dr Lorenzo explained that this is because the hair is strong.

 


The transplanted hair has a slight curl to it. I was informed that this is because the hair is new. As it matures it will resemble the hair on the rest of my scalp. Even if the hair remained curly it would not be an issue.



 

The donor area appears as thick as before I had the procedure. Upon inspection, it looks as if no hair was actually taken. I wondered if the hair around this area would be thinner but I can’t detect any change. It seems almost like magic.

 

Dr Lorenzo takes the approach of using transplanted hair sparingly. He’s keen to not exhaust the donor area, whilst maximising coverage. I appreciated his approach in this respect. I learned I have about 21,000 hairs (not grafts!) remaining in the donor area for any future work.

 

Although I made an effort to tell as many people about my procedure as possible it has been quite fun to meet old acquaintances who didn’t know that I was getting an FUE procedure.

 



In every case they look at me, with slight befuddlement, and say things like: “...you look younger” or “...there’s something different about you!”

 

These comments are always positive and some even have expressed an interested in having a transplant themselves.

 

When I look in the mirror now, I now see myself looking back.

 

It's fantastic not to have to worry about my hair anymore. It’s almost easy to forget I ever had issues with it falling out. The days of hair-woe now seem long ago, and I have no fear of them returning.

 

Do you ever wish you could turn back time knowing what you know now? Well, I feel like I am twenty years old again, with all the smarts of a thirty-five-year-old!

 

It’s a great feeling!

 

This is, by far, the best money I have ever spent. I see it as an investment in myself.

 

Looking forward, I am keen to see how my hair matures.

 

I am delighted that I now have hair that I can style (although I probably won’t be using hair straighteners as much this time!) 

Recently, I even got a bad haircut from a dodgy barber, which I now consider a high-quality problem!

 

Overall, I am a supremely happy client and highly recommend Dr Lorenzo and his team. I have gone from having a receding hairline to having hair. The difference feels like night and day!

 

The level of care and attention he showed throughout my procedure was exemplary. Both He and Grace have been on hand and available to help with questions after the procedure.

 

Like many others, I believe he is the best hair surgeon in the world. I’m writing this review on my own accord and as a sheer expression of my contentedness.

 

I hope this gives you an overview of working with Dr Lorenzo or any other FUE professional. These opinions are all my own, so please do your research!

 

If you have any questions, please ask below! I’ll do my best to answer them. I will check back into this thread every few months over the course of the next year.

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Edited by Smash
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Great write up, very impressive stretching of that number of grafts also. No one gets more out of individual grafts placed in the crown in my opinion.

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17 hours ago, HT0416 said:

Outstanding result with the amount of grafts used. Life changing

Thank you! It really has been...the biggest and best change has been normality: not thinking about my hair all the time!

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Great read, thank you for being so detailed. And the result... wow. Just wow. This gives hope to a lot of balding men out there.

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4 hours ago, BjornBorg said:

Great read, thank you for being so detailed. And the result... wow. Just wow. This gives hope to a lot of balding men out there.

Thank you (and to everybody else who commented!). I just wanted my account of the experience to be of help who was in my situation.  I think the toughest part of the journey is all the hemming and hawing that occurs beforehand before making any sort of decision. My flatmate decided to shave his head a week ago and he looks great (and feels great) after having finally taken control of his hair.

 

1 hour ago, wheretogo said:

Any update?

UPDATE:

It's now been 18 months since I had the procedure. 

Eight months ago I went back to the clinic for a standard ‘post procedure’ check up. I asked about getting some more grafts to lower my hairline a little. Dr. Lorenzo smiled and said “get used to having hair first!” Looking back, I can see why. 

In the last few months the hair really has settled. Initially, it was quite wavy at the front (and a little darker). I didn’t mind this of course, but at eighteen months in, the hair seems to have matured, perhaps even thickened slightly. The colour seems more blended, too.

I really do love my hair and feel incredibly grateful to have been able to have this experience. 

Now I’ve gotten used to my hair I still may get the hairline lowered just a fraction –but I’m in no rush. Just under 60% of my donor area remains and I think it’s wise to be prudent with it. 

A friend said to me “would it make you any more happy?” –and that’s a good point. It probably wouldn’t! I just like the idea of getting “23 year old” me back. 

That being said I keep getting ID’d when buying alcohol which has been fairly amusing. I even had to sweet talk a bar tender (who turned out to be 14 years my junior!) into serving me because I left my driver’s license at home.

I’m taking finasteride every day (a fifth of a 5mg tablet). Some days I forget (d’oh) but on the whole I’m quite on top of it. Happily, there have been zero side effects that I can report.

I haven’t styled my hair too much and I prefer to keep it reasonably short. A couple of times I’ve put the straightening irons on it, which has been fun but not something I want to overdo. I have to say that it really is no different to having hair when I was in my late teens.

The only people who have noticed that the hair is different in any way have been hair dressers. Interestingly, this has happened less in recent months. It’s always an interesting conversation and the last stylist I saw remarked that the transplant was the best he had ever seen.

It’s moments like those that made me supremely glad I chose to work with Dr. Lorenzo and his team. I think I said this before but it feels great to have this handled. I can now get on and enjoy the rest of my life!

For reference, I’ve included a photo taken today, with wet hair.


 

IMAGE 2018-11-02 12:26:06.jpg

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 hi there  I see that you still have the original hair prior the transplant. how do you manage to keep those till today ? do you take propecia or rogaine?  

 

 

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I have to say that I've been keeping an eye on DR Lorenzo's work for a number of years now and it is excellent. 

I saw a recent video his clinic posted on their vimeo page and he goes into all the meticulous details for planning the transplant and maximising donor.  He also mentioned that 75% of their patients now get early growth by 5 months.  He attributes this to a number of changesb they have made.

Congratulations on your transplant!!

 


_________________________________________________

Propecia since July 2008

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5 hours ago, MIKELIU said:

 hi there  I see that you still have the original hair prior the transplant. how do you manage to keep those till today ? do you take propecia or rogaine?  

 

 

I take 1mg finasteride, daily, via propecia tablets. Haven't used rogaine but I understand some people like it

 

4 hours ago, splitting hairs said:

I have to say that I've been keeping an eye on DR Lorenzo's work for a number of years now and it is excellent. 

I saw a recent video his clinic posted on their vimeo page and he goes into all the meticulous details for planning the transplant and maximising donor.  He also mentioned that 75% of their patients now get early growth by 5 months.  He attributes this to a number of changesb they have made.

Congratulations on your transplant!!

 

Thank you! Yes, Dr Lorenzo certainly knows his stuff. I also got some growth around that timeframe. However, I kept my hair trimmed very short during the period after the transplant so wasn't able to document it until later (if you scroll down the original post, pictures #12, #13 and #14 were taken dead on the five month mark. I had cut it about two weeks prior).

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It looks just perfect, thanks for the update.

and it's a good idea to save your donor area for now, just in case you need it in the future.

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thanks for your reply.  I live  in new york  and  I am thinking about get a transplant with DR Lorenzo . could you give me some tip on how to book the airline ticket and hotel ?

I WAS ON PROPECIA FOR 7 YEARS  AND I STOP TAKING IT DUE TO THE SIDE EFFECT ABOUT  TWO YEARS AGO. I NEVER HAD SIDE EFFECT UNTILL TWO YEAR AGO .  

NOW i am on rogaine  . had real good growth in the first 6 month and then don't know what happned , thinning restarted . plus my heart beats kind of heavy . so i am thinking about stop the rogaine and just let the hair shed till no more hair or to the point where i can use less amount of rogaine , and then i will go get the hair transplant  with hope of getting the same result that you have . but i know no everybody will get the same result EVEN with the same dr.   I JUST HOPE MAN  !  BECAUSE HAIR LOSS AFFECT GREAT GREAT GREAT DEAL OF MY LIFE

 

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1 hour ago, MIKELIU said:

thanks for your reply.  I live  in new york  and  I am thinking about get a transplant with DR Lorenzo . could you give me some tip on how to book the airline ticket and hotel ?

I WAS ON PROPECIA FOR 7 YEARS  AND I STOP TAKING IT DUE TO THE SIDE EFFECT ABOUT  TWO YEARS AGO. I NEVER HAD SIDE EFFECT UNTILL TWO YEAR AGO .  

NOW i am on rogaine  . had real good growth in the first 6 month and then don't know what happned , thinning restarted . plus my heart beats kind of heavy . so i am thinking about stop the rogaine and just let the hair shed till no more hair or to the point where i can use less amount of rogaine , and then i will go get the hair transplant  with hope of getting the same result that you have . but i know no everybody will get the same result EVEN with the same dr.   I JUST HOPE MAN  !  BECAUSE HAIR LOSS AFFECT GREAT GREAT GREAT DEAL OF MY LIFE

 

Hi, I'm sorry to hear about the Propecia. Not medical advice, but I understand that it might be possible to change the brand if one type does not work, another might. Worth looking into.

Regarding your trip, I flew in from Bulgaria but i'm sure most US carriers will get you to Madrid. The clinic arranged the hotel. They have a shuttle bus that takes you from the hotel to the clinic, and vice versa. The hotel works closely with the clinic so these logistics are handled and the staff are happy to assist. I actually visited Madrid a few days earlier and stayed in an Airbnb flat. Hence, 'i'd recommend finding a place on there that is to your budget. 

I hope you have lots of success with your hair transplant!

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20 hours ago, Southernstorm said:

In terms of flying back, did you wear a hat or something so that other people didn't know that you had a transplant?

 

They do give you a cap to wear, so that is an option.

For myself, I wasn't bothered and just let my scalp air. I think to most people it probably looked like I banged my head. The only unexpected response I got what from a very enthusiastic passport security officer who was interested in the procedure himself! 

Edited by Smash

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Smash,

wonderful result. Thank you for sharing with the community. You are truly a stand up guy! Enjoy your full head of hair bud

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amazing result! Do you know how many grafts was placed into temple points?

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4 hours ago, mosd said:

amazing result! Do you know how many grafts was placed into temple points?

Off the top of my head (pun intended) I believe it was around 350 per temple.

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hello smash   how long did they wait to implant the grafts into your scalp after the extraction?

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On 11/16/2018 at 8:47 PM, MIKELIU said:

hello smash   how long did they wait to implant the grafts into your scalp after the extraction?

After the extraction there was a short break to grab lunch then I was back in Dr. Lorenzo's hands. I can't give you the exact time as I was high on valium but I reckon it was about forty minutes. I can also tell you that I seem to recall the grafts were being looked after during this time by his team. 

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Quick Update:

For those who are interested, here's two positive developments since my procedure, which –at the time of writing– was almost 2.5 years ago.

1.) My hair seems to thickened up even more since the last update. I had anticipated that I'd see the final result of my hair transplant 10 months after the procedure. It appears that after 28 months, my hair was still 'settling' and slowly changing. It feels a lot thicker and I can see the difference when I look at earlier photographs. 

2.) The transplanted hair was initially a little darker and wave than the surrounding hair; these differences were minimal (and hard to see in the earlier shots) and I was happy with the result as it was –and as time passed, the hair blended more. Nevertheless, in the last few months the colour and behaviour of of the transplanted hair now matches the rest of my scalp. 

–It took a long time for these changes to occur and I thought I'd mention it in case anyone would find this information useful. 

I've also included two recent photographs (I decided to grow my hair and it's its admittedly a little scruffy).

 

Screenshot 2019-09-29 at 17.44.30.png

Screenshot 2019-09-29 at 17.49.15.png

Edited by Smash
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