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NHI - Dr. McClellan - DAY ONE


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Well today was the day. 8/23/01. (please excuse any typos as I am on vicodin and valium - and I kinda feel like dancin icon_smile.gif.

 

9am Dr McClellan of NHI. I was to have 1200 FU's into the front area (norwood 3a). First of all, NHI runs the most professional office I have seen, after many visits to others for consultations. I am still impressed after my procedure, of course the results will take some time to really determinde success. After going thru all the paperwork, Dr M came into work with me on harline placement. He spent a lot of time to make sure it was right, and I was happy - no pressure to hurry, he genuinly wanted me happy, no matter how many times I made him "do it again" (I am anal and picky).

 

I was given the following pills : 2 anti swellers, 2 valium, and 2 yellow kick my ass something that starts with an X. I was offered and accepted laughing gas as well. 15 minutes after this, Dr. M started to num the donor area. I was soo worried about this as I've read of major pain during this. It was sooo easy, no pain WHATSOEVER. A couple of pricks and my whole head was numb, not pain no discomfort. Made the dentist seem like Dr. Mengela.

 

By 10am we had it right and I ws in the chair. ALL the office staff was incredible. I struck up conversation with a few of them (when alone) and they all said how they had worked at NHI for 5+ years and were very happy in their jobs - seemed legitimately caring and very professional. A VERY good sign for me. Lots of experience and happy employees speak volumes as to NHI's practices.

 

The good doctor proceeded to remove the donor strip and offered me a look. WOW, less than 1/2 inch by 4-5. All ONE strip (no hack like the multiblade knife produces). 5 people immediately started dissecting it into FU's. I watched VH1 and all seemed to enjoy the ambiance icon_smile.gif. I may have dozed off for a few min. Seemed to have wasted no time and had all 1475 FU's done in perhaps 1 hr - what tremendous team work. Turns out my donor area is very good and thick (2.6 cm)

 

Doc came in to create recipient areas, changing instrument after every 100. He said to keep it sharp and limit scarring. 2 of the techs immediately started inserting grafts, ALL 1475 - woohoo. Dr. M came in to check on progress every few min., and create more receptor areas.

 

By 2:30pm (4 1/2 hrs total) I was done and eating lunch (which was awesome btw), before my limo showed to take me home. All meds provided, including a neck pillow. Post op instruction were included and verbalized. These guys are first class!!!

 

Took a nap when I got home, woke up in some pain as the anesthesia has been wearing off, but the meds work to keep in check.

So far, I kick myself for not having done this 2 years ago. I can see the stubble and it's going to be awesome in the next 4-6 months. No real scabbing att all so far. Also zero scarring in recipient sites (donor area still bandaged). But.... I am amazed that the recipient area looks like it is normal stubble growing out of my noggin NO slit/scar marks and very little blood crusts.

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Well today was the day. 8/23/01. (please excuse any typos as I am on vicodin and valium - and I kinda feel like dancin icon_smile.gif.

 

9am Dr McClellan of NHI. I was to have 1200 FU's into the front area (norwood 3a). First of all, NHI runs the most professional office I have seen, after many visits to others for consultations. I am still impressed after my procedure, of course the results will take some time to really determinde success. After going thru all the paperwork, Dr M came into work with me on harline placement. He spent a lot of time to make sure it was right, and I was happy - no pressure to hurry, he genuinly wanted me happy, no matter how many times I made him "do it again" (I am anal and picky).

 

I was given the following pills : 2 anti swellers, 2 valium, and 2 yellow kick my ass something that starts with an X. I was offered and accepted laughing gas as well. 15 minutes after this, Dr. M started to num the donor area. I was soo worried about this as I've read of major pain during this. It was sooo easy, no pain WHATSOEVER. A couple of pricks and my whole head was numb, not pain no discomfort. Made the dentist seem like Dr. Mengela.

 

By 10am we had it right and I ws in the chair. ALL the office staff was incredible. I struck up conversation with a few of them (when alone) and they all said how they had worked at NHI for 5+ years and were very happy in their jobs - seemed legitimately caring and very professional. A VERY good sign for me. Lots of experience and happy employees speak volumes as to NHI's practices.

 

The good doctor proceeded to remove the donor strip and offered me a look. WOW, less than 1/2 inch by 4-5. All ONE strip (no hack like the multiblade knife produces). 5 people immediately started dissecting it into FU's. I watched VH1 and all seemed to enjoy the ambiance icon_smile.gif. I may have dozed off for a few min. Seemed to have wasted no time and had all 1475 FU's done in perhaps 1 hr - what tremendous team work. Turns out my donor area is very good and thick (2.6 cm)

 

Doc came in to create recipient areas, changing instrument after every 100. He said to keep it sharp and limit scarring. 2 of the techs immediately started inserting grafts, ALL 1475 - woohoo. Dr. M came in to check on progress every few min., and create more receptor areas.

 

By 2:30pm (4 1/2 hrs total) I was done and eating lunch (which was awesome btw), before my limo showed to take me home. All meds provided, including a neck pillow. Post op instruction were included and verbalized. These guys are first class!!!

 

Took a nap when I got home, woke up in some pain as the anesthesia has been wearing off, but the meds work to keep in check.

So far, I kick myself for not having done this 2 years ago. I can see the stubble and it's going to be awesome in the next 4-6 months. No real scabbing att all so far. Also zero scarring in recipient sites (donor area still bandaged). But.... I am amazed that the recipient area looks like it is normal stubble growing out of my noggin NO slit/scar marks and very little blood crusts.

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Alex,

Sounds smooth and similiar to my procedure..I am expecially happy to hear you have a wealth of donor hair. Dont be disappointed at around the 2 month mark..this may be your lowest point, often you get some shedding and are impatient to see the new hair..but in my case the shedded hair 95% came back..and I was looking noticably thicker at around weeks 12-14. Take care !!! Keep us posted. BTW..I too had very little <none?> pain with the anesthia. Guess it varies?

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Alex,

I'm at 6 weeks post-surgery now. I too was amazed to see all those hairs sticking out of my head right after surgery (7/16/01). Of course, I knew full well that they would almost all fall out before regrowth starts at ~3 months, but still, it looked pretty cool. Sure enough, they grew for about 2-3 weeks, then started to shed and are ~90% gone now. Like NW says, the 2 month point is the lowest - most of the grafts have shed and regrowth is still a month out. I know this will be one of longest months I've had in my life!

Regards,

Gary

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Were you guys told to wash it twice a day for the 1st week. Day two and it makes me soo sqeemish to touch. I can deal with once, but twice.... Any way this a.m. the swelling kicked in, had that manly frankenstein forhead, but it actually feels like its subsiding tonight. Using pees. I had heard that the shedding happens to most folks, it would be nice to be that 1% though... So far, it is better than I expected. I read so much before I decided to go for it, I think I was totally prepared for the worst. Of course that may still come, but so far alls well. Outside of waking up at 4am completely wide awake (not groggy or tired), it has been a cake walk. Think the hardest thing was trying to figure out what to tell people about my "vacation".

 

If any of you a runners, any idea when a nice short 5-6 mile run might be possible. It seems running doesn't strain your head, but don't really want to find out the hard way (I know weights are out for at least 7 days).

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Hey Alex,

You should wait to run at least 10 days..theres a lot going on in your scalp right now, I too had the "all too much fun" forehead swelling..I felt I looked like a baby buffalo/Star Wars allien !!, It went away after a few days, one thing you may consider is using a simple salt water or water/Miture of some sort to mist your scalp, I have heard this helps, I did not do it and seems my scalp dried out a bit ??..check with your Dr....In 4-5 months you will retire your baseball cap collection...Good luck.

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NW,

you mentioned this in another post. I received the Grafcyte shampoo, but not any kind of spray. I did find the company at procyte.com, but they don't sell online, nor did they list any "graf" products. I will keep looking...

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georgetiemann.com sells a single patient kit (most other stuff in bulk) for $135. Includes dressing towlettes? spray, shampoo and conditioner.

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Alex,

The post-operation scalp spray by graftcyte..is supposed to be good..it is the one thing I would have purchased immediately after surgery...but all my grafts came through <without it> and healed properly with no visable marks of any kind anyways....I just paniced a bit when they seemed to dry-out after the 1st week or so.......all ended well.

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Alex,

I agree with NW, 10 days is probably a safe amount of time before running. You certainly want all the swelling to be gone and everything to be pretty much healed. My swelling only lasted about a week. On the washing question, I have not heard of anyone else recommending twice per day. I gently washed mine once per day and used saline spray (plain old contact lens stuff) to speed the healing and help with the itching.

 

Gary

Dang, 3 months is a long time ...

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Oh my... the swelling has progressed from my forehead to the bridge of my nose, and this morning right below my eyes. I can barely see as it is quite severe... Had no idea my skin could puff up sooo much. My face looks like a baloon with 2 slits for the eyes, despite the frozen pea packs.. Don't think I'll be going for that run thats for sure. I could scare small children and adults alike. Almost called one of the girls I've been dating last night to go out today, don't think so.... LOL. Minimal itching although it is there... A good sign of healing I suppose. On the bright side, the last 4 days of metamucil finally kicked in, I feel like a new man about 12 pounds lighter icon_smile.gif.

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Hey Alex - maybe you could get work as a Warf look-alike! Anyway, I'm sure you'll feel much better in a few days. The swelling thing seems to vary a lot by individual, but I guess anybody has some. Mine was minimal. I slept in a sitting position for the first week, maybe that helped, I don't know.

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May be off topic, but NHI per their web site, now offers what sounds like the Woods technique. They call it Follicular Unit Extraction - FUE..

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Hi Alex, hope this post isn't too late, but my surgeon recommended applying an icepack (forehead only) for 10-15 minutes, a few times per day if swelling became a problem. I was lucky I had none but used the icepack anyway. Also try to sleep on two pillows to keep the head elevated above the heart, and that should help.

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Swelling lasted about 3-4 days and was really severe 3 day post-op. I am happy that in my drug induced stupor I did not forward any pics of this to my family, as I am certain they would have called 911 at the time. Day 7 is today, and all is back to normal. No real shedding as of yet and 50-60% scabs gone. Most hairs in FU's have grown by at least 1-2 mm's. Amazed at how natural the new hairs look in previously bare real estate - even under very close inspection I cannot tell that they weren't there 8 days ago, zero scarring. Donor area still a bit tender, but outside of that all seems to be going well.

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  • 2 weeks later...
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Alex,

Thanks for sharing your surgical experience in such great detail. And thanks to everyone else for mentoring Alex along in his "recovery".

 

This exchange is really a discussion forum at its honest and interactive best.

 

Your experience with swelling demonstrates the importance of using cold pack, ice, or even frozen peas BEFORE the swelling even has a chance to get started. If you wait until the swelling begins a patient looses the opportunity to pre-empt the swelling.

 

I'm glad to hear that you are over the hump in your post op recovery.

 

But now as the clique goes comes the hardest part - waiting. And as the weeks drag on into months and you still are not growing hair your faith will be tested.

 

But when your hair starts growing in about the fourth month you will have your own Chia Guy project on your hands.

 

After years of the nagging despair of watching your hair fall out you will feel the rush of seeing your hair loss reversing.

 

And it is very very exciting and optomistic.

 

Congradulations and please keep us all posted.

 

Pat - aka "The Recovered Bald Guy"

 

P.S. Feel free to email me your photos if you would like them posted.

 

Thanks for reading this post. But it's your posts that make this discussion group real and vital. Please register - it's free and easy - and then jump into the discussion.

Never Forget - It's what radiates from within, not from your skin, that really matters!

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OK, I just lost my huge and eloquent update message when my browser hiccupped, so this will not be as good.

 

At day 17 I noticed some shedding start. Between then and now, perhaps 35% of the FU's have shed. They seem to have stopped or at least slowed down in the last 2 days. Very few of my existing frontal has shed, although I have been prepared to lose it all. I won't be sad if I don't..Coincidentily day 17 was the same day 90% of my scalp felt completely back to normal - no numbness except in a half dollar spot top dead center. I also had 4-5 little whiteheads appear - so at least the pores are working - very exciting.

 

As a norwood 3a, most of my FU's were in between existing hairs and don't make for steller picture viewing. I have many pics every day for the first week, I stopped taking them because I was just as handsome every day after day 8 as I am now, and frankly no real changes. As my personal secret project, didn't have anyone around to take the real macro close-ups. I can send the most interesting which are right after, and gruesome swell man. I can say, that, from office meetings to hot intimate settings (that would be with a woman), no one has indicated in any way they were on to me. The few people I chose to tell, were all jaw dropping amazed that I had anything done, and really had to look close.

 

Thats it... outside of wanting to be that 1% of the population that has re-growth in 1-2 months, all is well... Since I do believe I will want to thicken things up, any opinions on when it's safe to do a second procedure? Doe anyone concur with 6-8 months? (thanks Pat) 12 months seems a bit long for an impatient guy getting old.

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Alex - I think the most common recommendation I have seen is to wait 9 months between procedures. This was my doc's recommendation as well. That way the hairs from the last procedure are all growing fairly healthy hair shafts. Of course, each person's hair is different. Some might grow faster, so I guess it's concievable that certain individuals could be at the same point at only 6 months. Of course, you could have slow hair too, in which case ... oh, forget it. All things considered, I think it better not to rush it, as it's not like you can do it over again if you make a mistake.

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Thanks Gary.

I mentioned that I have experienced some shedding in the last 5 days. This morning I noticed I have had many (not a few, many) hairs sprout. They are most noticible in the temple area that was completely bare pre-op. But indeed I do see them all over(very very small as 1 day of growth would indicate, but large enough for positive identification)?

 

Everything I've heard/read mentions a long dormancy period between shedding and regrowth. Can anyone shed light on this? Is it normal to have sprouts so soon after shedding?

 

Could it be the prenatal vitamins I'm taking (just kidding)... icon_wink.gif

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I had some early HT growth..it began at 8 weeks and progressed through 16 weeks, I think this gradual new-growth was nice, because it seemed less suspicous. After month 4 the new-ness pretty much was over....and after the shedding, alien forehead etc... I was rewarded with better hair......I miss that new hair sprouting feeling already...but am very happy with my improvement and dont need to quite have Elvis hair. Of course..then again maybe I could find some blue suede shoes ?? icon_biggrin.gif

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Alex,

Are you sure it is regrowth? I am at day 24 and there is certainly a lot going on up there. I too have some "buds" but I can't be sure they aren't just the transplants that have broken off at scalp level? I have been brushing the last few days, making contact with the scalp, to get the "fallen" trees going the same direction as the rest of the forest. I was thinking some of my shed hairs may have broken off rather than completely shed. Also had my first "bleeder" today (don't know if I pulled one out or if it was an ingrown hair). Anyway, I hope for the sake of both of us that they are new growth. I can see where the impatience starts to creep in! Good Luck! Rick

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It's hard to say exactly whats going on, but it does look like regrowth, a couple more each day. Today, yesterdays are a tiny bit bigger and a few new ones have appeared... I suppose it could be broken off shafts but that seems unlikely as I've never really heard of hair, naturally flexible to break off at scalp level. I also, as you probably do, have examined each and every shed hair I have seen. They all looked fairly normal(visibal root/anchor). What does make more sense to me is that perhaps any regrowth is in follicles that may have shed the very first day, or maybe hidden telogen state matterial as part of a chubby graft, coming back to life - per a post here by I belive Dr Rose or Bheemer. Not sure if NHI uses chubby or exclusivley skinny FUTs...

 

The most amazing thing about this whole process, to me anyways, is that there is so much hope. Previously I had no hope of regaining anything (tried all the meds). The only hope was keeping what I had. That is the coolest thing I think. Regardless of the final outcome, I am 99% certain, it will be better than it was. I say this because there is no visually evident scarring, so even if only 5% take (unlikely) I'll have that much more.

 

Of course the shedding situation has yet to completely play itself out, but I think only 5% of my non-HT hair may be at permanent risk...

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I also had some hairs that seemed to shed and some that seemed to break off at the surface, as well as a few that didn't even fall out. I haven't noticed any early regrowth, but I guess it's possible. I'm at 9 weeks tomorrow, so I should have some results to report soon.

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