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Posted (edited)

Hi everyone,

I’ve been a long time reader of this site while I’ve been on my own hairloss journey, and similar to many other people, I’ve decided to share my story and details of my procedure here to help anyone else who may be planning a similar path and would like to see my experience.

The background

I’m now 33, and I initially realised I was thinning around 10 years ago. My older brother thinned around a similar time, my Grandad was bald though my Dad (in his 60's) still has thin hair coverage. Initially it was just on the crown of my head before it thinned on my temples and I tried a number of solutions before realising I needed to take Finasteride and to look into Regaine / Rogaine products. I joined the hair restoration programme at Boots here in the UK, and paid the equivalent of £1 a day for Propecia. I’m very fortunate in that I don’t think I have had any side effects at all! I tried Regaine, but after a year I really didn’t notice any difference so I stopped it.

About two years ago, when I moved to Barcelona, I started taking a generic form of Finasteride which is available over the counter in Spain. It’s in 5mg pills which I cut into four segments and I take one a day, at a cost of about 10 Euros for about 4 months’ worth (far more cost effective…). I also began shaving my head short (not skinhead, but shortly cropped) – and I had a micropigmentation procedure (basically a tattoo on my head) that certainly helps my head look a darker shade, but didn’t really solve the hairloss issue.

While I feel happy that the finasteride has slowed down the hair loss and the pigmentation procedure helped disguise my situation, I’ve never been happy with the crown / corners of my hair and so I’ve worn either Toppik or Mane Hair Thickening Spray (dark brown) for a while which I feel covers up my hair loss really well. However, as soon as I lean against a white wall or sleep in a bed that doesn’t have dark bedsheets, I leave behind a black mess and I always knew I’d go down the hair transplant route one day. Plus I was recently with a dude who ran his hand through my hair then saw the black mess on his hand and was like ‘what’s this?’. Let’s just say I’d prefer not to deal with that kind of embarrassing situation again.

Deciding on the hair transplant

An ex of mine told me he’d gone to Este Grande in Istanbul for his transplant but it seemed a little too cheap to be true. He’s only just had his procedure and I think it looks great, but it’s too soon to tell and I didn’t want to choose price over quality reviews. Another ex had gone with DHI Global in Greece (I seem to have dated a lot of people with hair loss issues huh?), though I’d read some reviews of DHI that didn’t make me feel confident. I used these forums and found out about Dr. Erkan Demirsoy / Armamed and took some time looking through his work and reading through forum posts from people who’d chosen him, and I was sold. As I don’t need to create a new hairline (just lots of focus on the crown and temples) then I feel confident that for his price, it would be the best for me. He’s quoted me the standard 3500 – 4000 hairs, for 1.25 Euro a graft. I booked, and fortunately he had space in about 6 weeks’ time from when I booked.

Today I'm flying from London (where I currently live) into Istanbul and my procedure is tomorrow on April 17th. I fly back to the UK on the 19th where I’ll spend a week with my family recovering and stuffing my swollen face with Easter Eggs.

I’ve included some pictures here which show my hair before the MSP procedure and after the MSP procedure, and my current situation where I’ve grown my hair a bit which will help Dr D see the whole hair picture, which isn’t so easy to see due to the MSP procedure I had. You may notice my hairline isn’t all that straight (ironically) but that doesn’t really bother me – I’m happy with where my hairline is and would only want the temples filled in. I usually use Mane HT spray as I think it provides a really good cover up solution and some of you reading this may find it’s a better, temporary solution while you consider the transplant path. 

Final words

I’m really looking forward to the procedure and will do everything I can to get the best yield. I’m a non-drinker or smoker, and I'll do my best to follow all the professional advice I can to get a good result. I play sport a lot – mainly cycling, lots of rowing, weightlifting and I walk everywhere so I’ll be keen to get back into that afterwards. My biggest fear in all this is being 6’5” (195cm) and the fact I hit my head everywhere I go….the metro…doorframes…lampshades…low hanging branches.

Finally, something I’ve learnt from what I’ve read is to manage my expectations. I’m not expecting that I’ll come out of this (after a year) with a full head of hair. I just want MORE hair in the places that are thinning, and to not feel like I’m 53 when I’m 33 and to not leave a dark brown trail mark in white areas.

All future posts will be shorter but I wanted to give you the background to my journey. The following post will show the pictures on surgery day and please feel free to ask me anything or comment as I’d love to share my experience with you all.

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Edited by AndersLondon
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Thanks for posting and good luck on your HT journey!

You mentioned the greatest fear we have post-op: hitting your head. Be extremely careful! Use your hands to gauge distance when boarding the airplane/standing up. Don't power squat up and blast your head! Take everything like standing up or getting in cars at like 0.25x speed. Get laser focused for 2 weeks, and you should be clear of the most dangerous time to dislodge hairs.

I would load up on finasteride while you're in Turkey. I'm not 100% sure on the price there, but almost certainly it will be cheaper at a corner pharmacy than it will be at doc's office or in UK. I personally bought the 5mg and cut it into 1/5ths, cheaper this way.

Anyways, you've got the right mindset already. Keep up the positivity! You've done your research already, so enjoy the journey. 

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23 hours ago, Lennney said:

You mentioned the greatest fear we have post-op: hitting your head. Be extremely careful! Use your hands to gauge distance when boarding the airplane/standing up. Don't power squat up and blast your head! Take everything like standing up or getting in cars at like 0.25x speed. Get laser focused for 2 weeks, and you should be clear of the most dangerous time to dislodge hairs.

Thanks for the advice mate, really appreciate it! I'm planning on doing everything at a super-slow speed anyway, especially for those two weeks. And i hear Finasteride is about 6 euros for three months' worth so I'll definitely see if i can pick that up tomorrow

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Posted (edited)

Today I had the transplant, and all went really well. 

Last night, I didn't have the best sleep. I think it was more to do with excitement than nerves, but I think I only slept a couple of hours before my alarm went off at 6.30am (which is 4.30am to me!). The hotel Armamed put me in is called City Loft 81 and it's really nice, I'm really pleased with the hotel. I have a corner suite and there's a separate lounge area with a sofa. However on the way to my room last night I accidentally kicked someone's room service food tray they'd left outside their room and spent about 20 mins trying to get Turkish rice and bits of meat out of the hallway carpet.

Muzaffer met me at 8am, and we drove about 20 mins to the clinic. Muzaffer is a really, really nice guy who speaks English really well and doesn't mind answering any questions at all. The clinic is high up in a tall building (I'll attach a pic) and after signing some consent forms, I went through to meet Dr. D himself and talk about my hair. Well, not talk so much... I didn't realise this before but Dr. D doesn't speak a great deal of English. Muzaffer was there as a translator so there were no problems, but they seemed to be asking me whether my priority was my crown or the temples - and I panicked a bit about only being able to choose one. That's not the case, they just want to know what your desired outcome is. Dr. D drew some lines on my head which began to feel a bit like a work of art until Muzaffer told me he was drawing the direction in which the hair should be planted.

We took some pictures (I'll upload the proper ones when I get them) but I snapped one myself which I'll add to this post. Then my hair was shaved (finally!) and I took a 'relaxer' pill and donned a surgical-style gown and laid down in the chair. First step was to inject local anaesthesia to the back of the head (my donor site) which, to be honest, didn't feel great. There were about 12 injections but with each one, the pain got a bit better. They then start extracting the hairs and I'd like to tell you more about that but I fell asleep pretty much instantly. It was a mix of being tired, and the relaxer pill but the next thing I knew, Muzaffer (I try not to refer to him by name to his face for fear of calling him Mufasa) had me sat down to eat a really nice lunch at 1pm. 

Then in the afternoon, Dr D made loads of incisions over the scalp which lasted about an hour (after more local anaesthetic which was a bit uncomfy again) and then he left and the nurses began implanting the hairs. To be honest, I was surprised by how much this hurt - some felt like a needle being stabbed into your head and in the end I had to ask for more anaesthetic 'cos it was just a bit too painful. In the end I had 2000 grafts in the crown area and 1667 in the front / temple area - so 3667 in total at a cost of about 4,083 Euros (which doesn't include the 500 Euro deposit I'd made).

This process went on for hours, until about 6pm, and I was really ready to not have more hairs poked in my head (I know, I know, that's kind of the point) and desperate to stretch my legs. I felt very lightheaded and dizzy, so I took a painkiller and antibiotic and then Muzaffer drove me back to the hotel (after being careful about how I was getting in / out of the car). 

This evening I'll just Netflix, order room service and try to sleep (though I'm a little apprehensive about finding a comfortable but graft-acceptable position),

Here are some lessons I learnt today to pass on to you:

  • Wear shorts to the clinic - you wanna be as comfy as possible on that chair 'cos you'll be there a while, and I was so glad I wasn't in tight jeans. 
  • Have a clear vision of what you're after when you go in. I know this sounds stupid but there was talk of lowering my hairline which wasn't what I wanted.
  • I bought a neck pillow to sleep in, but also a neck brace which is currently helping me keep my neck in an upright position
  • I also brought a really soft 'flannel' to wash my face with. I don't wanna splash water on my face and risk messing anything up so the flannel will mean I can have a good clean without risk of damage.
  • I took a couple of books, my laptop and iPhone with me to the clinic, but I didn't end up using any of them - partly 'cos that awesome pill knocked me out (I'm sure he said it was called Zanex or something) and in the afternoon I was watching the TV in the room which played Turkish music videos which were a pretty fun distraction from the implanting part of the day.

Anyway, some initial pics here but more to come (I've blanked out my face using impressive photoshop skills in one pic as I looked exhausted and for some reason decided this would be a great time to shave off my beard so I look terrible). Also, you'll notice there are some 'blank spots' on my head but that's just where we didn't implant anything as there was actually some hair already there. Pretty awesome genetics, huh? I'll thank my parents for those two tiny but awesome areas of decent hair!

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IMG_3550.thumb.jpeg.7d890b06ad13874ee165e850d41ea68c.jpegD4F0DEE5-F50E-4CDC-8FA2-A9374A8C8F06.thumb.jpg.f794e2b9e8e0b0945d8d30255903d0f4.jpgSy20lcqYSlWZRubxKbOSYw.thumb.jpg.9fde1d712d50ac91d2c7fd57bc959960.jpg

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Sy20lcqYSlWZRubxKbOSYw.jpg

Edited by AndersLondon
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21 minutes ago, BjornBorg said:

Looking forward to following this case. How did it go today?

Thanks for asking mate! All went well, I've just posted some info :)

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Really good write-up that will help many. Thumbs up.

Demirsoy has been a good bet for a while but I feel he is stepping it up in terms of results even more lately. Do you know how many patients he does a day?

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1 minute ago, BjornBorg said:

Really good write-up that will help many. Thumbs up.

Demirsoy has been a good bet for a while but I feel he is stepping it up in terms of results even more lately. Do you know how many patients he does a day?

I agree - everything has worked very smoothly and I've been really impressed so far. Just the one patient per day! Well, tomorrow morning I'll go back to have the bandages removed and Dr D will take a look at it, but then he'll just be focussed on his next (and only) procedure that day. That's one of the things that drew me to him - I didn't want only part of the surgeon's attention!

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Work looks good and clean. Happy growing!

Were all 3,667 grafts extracted and implanted in a 1-day surgery or over 2 days?

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everything looks very good and clean!

What was the Dr. involvement in the surgery? What are the tasks left to technicians?

thanks

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6 hours ago, VicTNYC said:

Work looks good and clean. Happy growing!

Were all 3,667 grafts extracted and implanted in a 1-day surgery or over 2 days?

Hey VicTNYC, it was all in one day. The extraction took about 2.5 hours in the morning, then a 30 min break for lunch, then making the incisions took about 1.5 hours and then about 3 hours for the actual implanting. 

I've read a few bad stories of people who have a massive amount of grafts transferred (5,000+) and the survival rate can be lower. I don't know if that's true or not but I'm glad that there weren't more than 4,000 transplanted in a single day for this reason. If they'd recommend I have more than 4,000, I would have asked if I could do it over two days.

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3 hours ago, Jhonny said:

everything looks very good and clean!

What was the Dr. involvement in the surgery? What are the tasks left to technicians?

thanks

Thanks Jhonny, I'm really surprised how clean and clear it looks - a mate who had one done recently had blood all over his head (and ears) and mine just seems so different. Thanks for saying though. Swelling and scabbing still to come so it's not plain sailing from here though ;) 

Dr. D was there for the consultation part, and he drew the areas onto my head. He took pictures of my head too. He then did all the extracting (the nurses helped him). He did most of the incisions but I did notice at one point that the nurse was doing some. I didn't totally mind as Dr. D was nearby (and she only did about 20% of it) and I felt like she (a) definitely knew what she was doing and (b) was under the instruction of Dr. D. 

It was the nurses who actually put the extracted hairs in the head (there were two implanting and one was spraying the head with something regularly to keep it moist - I'm not sure why). I knew that Dr. D wouldn't do that part anyway as it's more manual and less skilled I think.

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Posted (edited)

Update on the day after surgery

I wouldn't say last night was the best night's sleep I've ever had. I was really paranoid about my head falling back and hitting the cushions / wall, or me rubbing my head in my sleep that I found it hard to switch off. 

In the end, I put two pillows and two big sofa cushions behind me so I was sat in an upright position but was far enough away from the wall that my head wouldn't touch it. I put a travel pillow around my neck and even ended up looping my dressing gown cord between my legs and tying each end to each wrist so my hands can't reach my head without tugging on my groin and waking me up - sleeping scratching problem solved!! (Sorry for the image I've created in your head).

I probably slept one hour on, one hour off for a few hours, and soon enough it was 7am and time for breakfast. There are plenty of people having hair transplants here, especially in the hotel, so you really don't feel self-conscious at all. I don't generally care what other think anyway but it's nice to know you're not the only one in this situation. 

Muzaffer picked me up at 8am and we went to the clinic where we took off the bandages, did a quick wash and he talked me through the after-care routine. I'll list it here in case it's helpful to you:

  • Daily shampoo (using shampoo they provided - 'Sebamed everyday shampoo') but applied extremely carefully (pre-lathered in a bowl and carefully poured over recipient area) then dried with kitchen paper carefully - not rubbed. Worth noting that I can't get this on the plane home as it's 200ml and I only booked hand luggage... but I managed to order from Amazon for £8 and next day delivery to my parents' place (what did we do before Amazon?!)
  • From day 7 to day 10, begin to use a moisturising lotion (he recommended one for me) and apply it every hour for about 5 hours. After 5 hrs, try to carefully remove the scabs with a soft toothbrush, but not to over-do it. I should make sure all scabs are gone by day 10
  • No gym (cardio) for 2 weeks, and no heavy lifting (weights etc) for 3 weeks. 
  • After the scabs are removed (anytime between day 7 and 10) then I can begin wearing a cap and sleeping normally
  • Hair can be cut anytime after the scabs will have gone (not that there's much hair to cut yet), but I need to wait 3 months before shaving the recipient area as the shaver can be a bit blunt and aggravate the hairs. I was surprised at that but I get why
  • He didn't advise that I wear a headband. This also surprised me, but he said it's far better without, as blood will circulate to the top of the head easier. I can already see a lot of swelling at the top of my forehead which will begin to drop over the next few days. He said it's best to gently massage around the eyes when I feel it dropping down
  • I need to finish the course of antibiotics (about 7 days' worth)
  • If a pimple / spot develops on the head (which is likely as I have quite oily skin) then I need to apply iodine solution 3-4 times per day and NOT to moisturise as that could spread it. Iodine stops infection which you don't want to have in your new grafts!

Finally, Muzaffer advised me that you can easily buy finasteride over the counter here, so I went to a nearby pharmacy with my empty pack of finasteride and pointed and gestured to my head like a stereotypical foreigner. Turns out they sell Proscar in packs of 28 tablets - each 5mg. I will cut them into 4's and I ordered four packs for a total of £15 will be enough for 16 months. Amazing. Especially considering this same amount would cost around £450 if I bought it in the UK...

Some pics below - of the front of the head (swelling incoming...!) and now the bandage has been removed - the donor site (which looks worse than I thought it would)...

1049584604_WhatsAppImage2019-04-18at12_07_44.thumb.jpeg.45aee6547eda8edf12aa2a9e9cdd65e6.jpeg685090083_WhatsAppImage2019-04-18at12_07_43.thumb.jpeg.095eae21871e80edec9a2d094b0e8457.jpeg

 

Edited by AndersLondon

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Progress update - day 3

Yesterday I travelled back from Istanbul to Bristol in the UK. Unfortunately, my flight was indirect so I had a couple of hours to change planes in Copenhagen. I woke up at 5am for my airport transfer which was organised by Armamed - and the driver turned up at 6am sharp as agreed and I had a whole 7-seater van to myself. I paid around £20 at the hotel for my room-service charge which is incredible considering that was for four meals (and five desserts - don’t ask).
 
I’d read a lot about people’s journeys back to their home countries and I wondered how I’d feel about going out in public with my head looking like it currently does. I’d read that there are lots of people in Istanbul airport who have clearly had HT surgeries and I wouldn’t feel out of place, but that wasn’t the case at all! There was only one other guy who had a HT - but his skin was quite a bit darker than mine so the redness wasn’t so noticeable, and one other guy who seemed to have had a rhinoplasty. Aside from one person who may as well have taken a picture, no-one really seemed to care at all, and before long I stopped feeling self conscious and stared back at anyone who looked at me and they looked away.
 
The journey was long and tiring, and I slept on both flights a little. I’d specifically pre-paid for speedy boarding and extra leg-room seats so I could be more comfortable and chose the seat next to the window so I could get off each flight last (and slowly) and I wouldn’t need to get up should anyone in my row need the loo. However, the curved wall of the plane meant that actually my head was very close to the wall and on the first flight I bumped it (very lightly) and reprimanded myself for a good 15 mins while I assessed the damage - no blood so I don’t think I disturbed any grafts….I’ll keep my fingers crossed. 
 
I have to say that any staff I interacted with seemed to be really accommodating towards me. For example, when I was transferring in Copenhagen, the nice lady at the security stage found my full bottle of water that I’d just topped up at the tap (silly me) and kindly offered to go off and empty it for me so I could re-fill it again. I then bought a sandwich at a little shop while I waited for my gate and the really nice guy there saw my empty bottle and went and filled it up for me. Maybe people from Copenhagen are just super nice but I was so so so grateful for their kindness during the long journey when I was feeling a bit self-conscious and worried about the head. Once I’m healed I’ve vowed to take a trip back there as I’ve never been.
 
I got to my parents’ place about 5pm and they were really impressed with the result to date, and I have to say, so am I. I don’t want to jinx it, but it all seems to be healing really nicely. Pictures at the end of this update, but it’s nicely dark red as the scabs are forming. In terms of how it’s feeling:
  • I’ve noticed it already itching quite a bit, which I didn’t expect so soon, but I think it’s a good sign. I read online that just spraying filtered water with a spray bottle (from a distance) can help this. I did that a bit, but I don’t know if I should be doing it so I may not keep it up.
  • There seemed to be a lot of swelling in the forehead yesterday, but that hasn't developed into a full face swelling which I’m surprised at. I dunno if I’ve now passed the swelling stage or if it’s still to come but it certainly wasn’t as bad as I thought it’d be. 
  • I’ve now begun washing the area myself and washed it both before and after the journey as I didn’t want pimples developing on a greasy head. I’m super-nervous when doing this, but I fill a bowl with lukewarm water, squirt in some of the shampoo, froth it up, then carefully dab the foam onto the recipient area and with a little less care onto the donor area. Dr. D said I could dry the recipient area by just using a piece of kitchen paper to carefully dab, but I’ve been letting it air dry as it only takes a min or two to dry. I’m using a patting motion with a clean towel to dry the donor area now though. 
  • I’m still on the course of antibiotics, but I stopped the painkillers as I don’t need them. I’ve begun taking finasteride again though.
  • You may notice in the pics there seem to be some white bits on my head - that's either dry skin flaking off or bits of tissue (I'm sure it's the former) but doesn't seem to be an issue. I googled it and it seemed to say it was common after just washing the hair (which is when I noticed it) so I won't worry about that yet!
Having only slept for about 4 hours in total over the last two nights, I was exhausted. I decided to sleep on the sofa, stretched out, and my Mum and I made a nice bed where I wouldn’t turn over. Lying on the donor area is a little uncomfortable so my mum taped a sanitary towel around the back of my head (world’s most awesome parenting) and this worked a treat! I also tied my wrists again to my dressing-gown cord and looped it through the waistband of my underwear so I wouldn’t itch (see pics, enjoy laughing!). Aaaaand I slept SO well. I barely moved in the night, and slept right from 11pm until 7am with only waking once to check my position and use the loo. I’ve been moving reeeeaaallly slowly around the house (my parents’ place has plenty of things to bump your head on and me and my two brothers are all really tall) so I’m confident that being overly careful won’t lead to any more bumps. 
 
So for now, I’m in really good spirits about the whole thing and optimistic for the next few days of taking it easy, resting, and eating all my Mum’s food. I’ll update again tomorrow but I don’t think much will happen between now and then!
 
IMG_3642.thumb.jpeg.6c5d0190f9aabacbb816f80dba3c092f.jpeg825dfee5-5e53-4164-b9b8-23fdc562af7e.thumb.jpg.e0f52fbdb6b2773d5333406a8d074c50.jpgIMG_3661.thumb.jpeg.31396f1811b3ec7455085843ca297f06.jpegIMG_3662.thumb.jpeg.c3548c865d6cc3b1187e6b6dfc94e874.jpeg
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6 hours ago, AndersLondon said:

Progress update - day 3

Yesterday I travelled back from Istanbul to Bristol in the UK. Unfortunately, my flight was indirect so I had a couple of hours to change planes in Copenhagen. I woke up at 5am for my airport transfer which was organised by Armamed - and the driver turned up at 6am sharp as agreed and I had a whole 7-seater van to myself. I paid around £20 at the hotel for my room-service charge which is incredible considering that was for four meals (and five desserts - don’t ask).
 
I’d read a lot about people’s journeys back to their home countries and I wondered how I’d feel about going out in public with my head looking like it currently does. I’d read that there are lots of people in Istanbul airport who have clearly had HT surgeries and I wouldn’t feel out of place, but that wasn’t the case at all! There was only one other guy who had a HT - but his skin was quite a bit darker than mine so the redness wasn’t so noticeable, and one other guy who seemed to have had a rhinoplasty. Aside from one person who may as well have taken a picture, no-one really seemed to care at all, and before long I stopped feeling self conscious and stared back at anyone who looked at me and they looked away.
 
The journey was long and tiring, and I slept on both flights a little. I’d specifically pre-paid for speedy boarding and extra leg-room seats so I could be more comfortable and chose the seat next to the window so I could get off each flight last (and slowly) and I wouldn’t need to get up should anyone in my row need the loo. However, the curved wall of the plane meant that actually my head was very close to the wall and on the first flight I bumped it (very lightly) and reprimanded myself for a good 15 mins while I assessed the damage - no blood so I don’t think I disturbed any grafts….I’ll keep my fingers crossed. 
 
I have to say that any staff I interacted with seemed to be really accommodating towards me. For example, when I was transferring in Copenhagen, the nice lady at the security stage found my full bottle of water that I’d just topped up at the tap (silly me) and kindly offered to go off and empty it for me so I could re-fill it again. I then bought a sandwich at a little shop while I waited for my gate and the really nice guy there saw my empty bottle and went and filled it up for me. Maybe people from Copenhagen are just super nice but I was so so so grateful for their kindness during the long journey when I was feeling a bit self-conscious and worried about the head. Once I’m healed I’ve vowed to take a trip back there as I’ve never been.
 
I got to my parents’ place about 5pm and they were really impressed with the result to date, and I have to say, so am I. I don’t want to jinx it, but it all seems to be healing really nicely. Pictures at the end of this update, but it’s nicely dark red as the scabs are forming. In terms of how it’s feeling:
  • I’ve noticed it already itching quite a bit, which I didn’t expect so soon, but I think it’s a good sign. I read online that just spraying filtered water with a spray bottle (from a distance) can help this. I did that a bit, but I don’t know if I should be doing it so I may not keep it up.
  • There seemed to be a lot of swelling in the forehead yesterday, but that hasn't developed into a full face swelling which I’m surprised at. I dunno if I’ve now passed the swelling stage or if it’s still to come but it certainly wasn’t as bad as I thought it’d be. 
  • I’ve now begun washing the area myself and washed it both before and after the journey as I didn’t want pimples developing on a greasy head. I’m super-nervous when doing this, but I fill a bowl with lukewarm water, squirt in some of the shampoo, froth it up, then carefully dab the foam onto the recipient area and with a little less care onto the donor area. Dr. D said I could dry the recipient area by just using a piece of kitchen paper to carefully dab, but I’ve been letting it air dry as it only takes a min or two to dry. I’m using a patting motion with a clean towel to dry the donor area now though. 
  • I’m still on the course of antibiotics, but I stopped the painkillers as I don’t need them. I’ve begun taking finasteride again though.
  • You may notice in the pics there seem to be some white bits on my head - that's either dry skin flaking off or bits of tissue (I'm sure it's the former) but doesn't seem to be an issue. I googled it and it seemed to say it was common after just washing the hair (which is when I noticed it) so I won't worry about that yet!
Having only slept for about 4 hours in total over the last two nights, I was exhausted. I decided to sleep on the sofa, stretched out, and my Mum and I made a nice bed where I wouldn’t turn over. Lying on the donor area is a little uncomfortable so my mum taped a sanitary towel around the back of my head (world’s most awesome parenting) and this worked a treat! I also tied my wrists again to my dressing-gown cord and looped it through the waistband of my underwear so I wouldn’t itch (see pics, enjoy laughing!). Aaaaand I slept SO well. I barely moved in the night, and slept right from 11pm until 7am with only waking once to check my position and use the loo. I’ve been moving reeeeaaallly slowly around the house (my parents’ place has plenty of things to bump your head on and me and my two brothers are all really tall) so I’m confident that being overly careful won’t lead to any more bumps. 
 
So for now, I’m in really good spirits about the whole thing and optimistic for the next few days of taking it easy, resting, and eating all my Mum’s food. I’ll update again tomorrow but I don’t think much will happen between now and then!
 
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Tying up your hands is ingenious... 😂😂😂 

Your procedure looks nicely done. And you also send to have a lot of pre existing hair. I'm sure you would have awesome results.

Do make sure that you the meds to prevent any further progression so baldness too. There are so many on this forum who can give you the correct advice.

Also do consult your doctor regarding the same. 


Counsellor at Eugenix Hair Sciences

Dr. Arika Bansal & Dr. Pradeep Sethi

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5crlGyTac2hlU1gHneADzQ

 

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17 hours ago, Gabreille Nelson Mukhia said:

Do make sure that you the meds to prevent any further progression so baldness too. There are so many on this forum who can give you the correct advice.

Thanks - appreciate the advice. I'm hoping for a great outcome but I guess you won't know until far further down the line. I'm taking finasteride every day, and will begin Regaine again after the suggested 3 weeks to give the new hairs the best chance at growth :)

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Progress update, day 4

I actually haven't much to update you with today - there hasn't been much which has changed between yesterday and today to be honest. 

I slept well last night, I seem to have found a position where I'm half upright on the sofa with a neck pillow around me, with the sanitary pad taped to the back of my head and my wrists tied down. Sounds extreme but it feels like the only way I can switch off enough to sleep is if I'm certain enough that banging / scratching my head in the night is near impossible. Now I've caught up on sleep a little, I feel a lot more human!

I look forward to the hair washes each morning as the head feels a bit greasy by the time I go to bed, and cleaning it feels really refreshing. I'm barely touching the grafts when I wash, just very gently patting the head with shampoo foam, kinda the same as you would greet a dog you haven't met before. I'm a bit less careful on the donor site and that looks like it's healing nicely! It gets quite itchy (especially in the evening for some reason) and the swelling seems to have disappeared which I'm really surprised at as I thought I was about to turn into marshmallow face.

Unfortunately today I bumped the crown of my head on a door frame. It was pretty gentle but strong enough that I was worried about how it could affect the hair. There's no fresh blood at all, just the same old scabs so I think it'll be OK but I'm kicking myself a bit for being careless and I'm going to dial back a bit on moving around the house and just sit still. I'm sure all will be fine but I have a tendency to over-worry about this sort of thing but it'll make me more careful for the next few days. 

Anyway, I'll update with fresh pics tomorrow but currently it doesn't look any different than yesterday. Happy Easter Sunday :)

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52 minutes ago, AndersLondon said:

Thanks - appreciate the advice. I'm hoping for a great outcome but I guess you won't know until far further down the line. I'm taking finasteride every day, and will begin Regaine again after the suggested 3 weeks to give the new hairs the best chance at growth :)

Perfect. I am taking finax too. You are basically doing everything you need for you hair then.

😇😇😇

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Counsellor at Eugenix Hair Sciences

Dr. Arika Bansal & Dr. Pradeep Sethi

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5crlGyTac2hlU1gHneADzQ

 

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Update on Day 5: nothing to report!

Things are continuing to go well. I feel like I'm just in a waiting period now - looking forward to going back to normal. Without being able to go to the gym and having eaten far too much food this weekend I'm feeling like a slightly hairy whale. Here's a list of some of the things I'm doing each day re. haircare:

  • Each morning I have a body shower and carefully wash my face with a flannel, avoiding the hairline
  • Afterwards, I'll kneel over the sink, make a bowl of warm-ish water frothed up with the Sebamed shampoo. I'll cup the froth onto the hair, slowly patting the recipient area and being a little tougher on the donor area. Washing is my favourite time of the day as my head definitely feels greasy beforehand
  • I pat dry (with a towel) the donor area, and leave the recipient area to dry naturally (the hair is so short it takes about 2 min!)
  • Then I'll put on loose clothes and go about my day. I take an antibiotic in the morning with breakfast and one in the evening with dinner. I don't use the painkillers at all
  • Usually in the evening the head gets a bit itchy so I've put some filtered, slightly salty water into a spray bottle and I'll spray the head if I really need to, to alleviate the itching. It works well and I think it helps to clean the area too
  • At night, as you know, I'm still sleeping with the pad on the back of my head, wrists tied and stretched out on the sofa with a travel pillow around my neck. I'm actually sleeping well so I'm just going to keep doing this until I feel confident the hairs are securely in there

Overall, I'm still really pleased. I actually feel confident going in public as my natural hair and the scabs are more or less the same colour (pics attached). I feel like I've healed far quicker than I thought I would with less swelling, but I'm not going to get cocky about it and start trying to remove scabs just yet. I know the shedding stage will be rough so I'm just enjoying feeling good about things before it all starts to look a bit tragic haha. 

I won't update again for a few days as nothing much is really changing. In 3 more days I'll begin moisturising and scab removal which is worrying me as I can't imagine dragging a toothbrush across my scalp but I guess a few days ago I wouldn't have imagined getting a good night's sleep and look at me now! :)

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Progress update on Day 8: the itch is a b*tch

The last few days have passed by pretty uneventfully to be honest. I'm taking extreme care everywhere I walk and I fortunately haven't had any more bumps at all. I can tell I've been getting closer to scab removal time; the whole head has been really itchy and it's been driving me crazy. On close inspection, the head is full of little dry crusts and what looks like little earthquake lines parting the scalp so I know it just needs moisture and for me to move onto the scab removal phase. To help with the itching:

  • Sounds stupid but drumming my fingers on my forehead helps distract from the itch
  • I've been doing an extra wash or rinse before bed to help cool the head and to take the itching away - it helps
  • I stopped with the saltwater spray - I wasn't sure it was a good idea and I'm wondering if this has made my scalp drier...
  • With a clean finger, I've been gently pressing any really itchy areas and that helps (obviously no scratching which could pull out the graft or cause infection)
  • I've been patting my head a little harder during the washes and this is making me more confident in touching the scalp without fear of losing grafts / earth imploding

Yesterday (day 7) was the day that Armamed said I could begin moisturising and scab removal. I applied some moisturiser (which instantly solved the itching and felt absolutely incredible). My BIG tip here would be to apply the moisturising lotion using a paintbrush. This allowed me to really work it into the crusts but to do so really carefully rather than go in there with my massive fingers. It took a bit longer than just slapping it on but in 10 mins it's complete. However, the scabs felt pretty firm and I didn't want to pull on them, so I decided to leave it an extra day and spend the whole day today (day 8) with moisturiser on my head, then using a soft toothbrush (or the paintbrush) later on to see if I can work anything off. At the end of day 7 I went to IKEA with my mum for some things and felt pretty confident to walk around - no-one looked at me at all aside from one guy who did a double take, but I don't think people immediately know it's a transplant - with the dryness it looks a bit like a scalp condition. 

At the back of my head, I can see how my hair is growing in normally, though there's a thinner patch of hair before the transplanted area starts. I guess I'm a bit worried that they 'missed a bit' but this loops back to managing expectations - I'm sure they knew what they were doing and I'm not expecting a perfect, thick, teenage head of hair. I just hope it doesn't end up looking awkward but it annoys me when I read hair transplant blogs and people are worried about their end result within the first few weeks as it can only really be judged at the end. 

The donor area is doing pretty well, a lot of the scabs have come off and my hair is growing in nicely around it - I don't think it's very obvious unless you're close to my head. Area still feels a bit numb but I'm trying to leave it alone rather than pick at the scabs.

Anyway, some pics here taken this morning - one shot of the top of head, one of the donor area and one of me right now, sitting with a load of moisturiser on the head. I'll keep topping up this moisturiser and try some gentle scab removal tonight and I'll update the blog with the progress...

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Looks like you’ve healed very well 👍🏻

Great detailed updates too, very helpful, keep it up! 👍🏻

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Posted (edited)

Progress update: Day 9: Scrub the pain away

So yesterday didn't go very well. I covered my hair in moisturiser all day, then sat down to see what I could carefully scrub off...and I lost my nerve. I was caught between wanting to remove the scabs (because that's what you're supposed to do) and trying to protect these new grafts as much as I could. I scrubbed a bit with a soft toothbrush and very little crust came off. After a bit of time (and removing about 5% of the overall scabs) I gave up. I was a bit dejected as I thought it would come off so much easier. Mentally, this part has been the hardest for me in this whole procedure. Up until now, my success has been in Dr. D's hands, or in my own hands through the act of 'simply doing nothing' - e.g. not sleeping on the head, not touching it, just leaving it alone. However, now I feel really responsible for how this turns out and it's worrying me to scrub too hard. 

Today, day 9, I decided to just get on with it. I can tell the scabs are ready to come off. I'm ready, the head is ready. The sanitary towel strapped to my head is ready. I moisturised again (with the paintbrush) and this time washed my hair, scrubbing the donor area a bit rougher and working on the top part a bit tougher. I dipped the toothbrush in water and shampoo and used this to scrub - it glided over the scalp a lot easier than just with the moisturiser alone and after an hour or so of being careful - I'm done! There are still a few tiny areas which could be smoothed out but in general, it's all gone and it feels so much better. I'd bought a baby hairbrush and this helped to gently buff the areas, and with the help of my mum we managed to get it all off. A good number of hairs came with it too (I really don't think they were the full graft as there was no bleeding and there didn't seem to be a bulb on the bottom of it), so I feel confident that I've been quite successful here. 

Some scab removal tips from me:

  • Moisturising definitely was needed to soften the scabs but actually scrubbing was easier with water and shampoo
  • Having a variety of brushes helped - the paintbrush to put it on (and to work off some of the tougher scabs) and the baby hairbrush, particularly to buff the donor area to help remove those scabs
  • I'm glad I was cautious and didn't go full-steam ahead until I was really ready, so don't feel you need to remove everything in ONE day
  • I read SO MANY blogs, articles and website about the scab removal. Some said to do it on day 7, some said day 10, some said to wait two weeks. It's really hard to decipher what the right answer is but I came to the realisation that it's very individual. I feel that my healing has been quite quick compared to others, and something told me my grafts were quite secure today. Once I'd started, I just kept going and I'm glad I did
  • The little toothbrush was the best tool for removal so definitely invest in one of those (I think mine was £4 from Boots). I chose one where all the bristles were the same length as having an uneven shaped toothbrush head may be good for your teeth but would mean different pressures are applied to the head and you'd end up aggravating different areas

I think that's all the advice I have, some pictures attached here. So glad that bit is over now as now it's back to a more normal life. It isn't so obvious I've had a HT now (especially from a distance) and I'm still so pleased with the outcome. I've included one close up picture in which you can really see the individual grafts and I think it'll look really thick in a few months. I'm so pleased to see lots of hairs still in there but I'm aware these will all shed during the ugly ducking phase. Anyway, for now I'll enjoy the look!

Partway through scrubbing with lots of scabs remaining:

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The donor area, after scrubbing:

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What was coming off my head, on a tissue - a mix of lotion, scabs and some hairs (but I think without the root):

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Close up of the front of the head, part-way through the scrubbing process (you can clearly see each hair):

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After all scabs removed:

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Edited by AndersLondon
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Looks great, keep the updates coming please - I've booked with Demirsoy!

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Good luck man looks good. 

Had mine done exactly a week after yours 3991 grafts with Dr Demirsoy

Very detailed post , couldn’t have worded it anywhere close to this.👌 

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