My Hair Loss Story

Hello everyone! I received a FUT hair transplant from Dr. H. Rahal on December 13, 2012 that consisted of 1827 grafts. I have written up a decently comprehensive story of my hair loss history and hair transplant experiences to educate others on the process. Please ask additional questions if you so desire.

My hair loss story:
My hair loss at the temple regions became noticeable during my last year of college at 22. The loss was minor and it never really bothered me from an emotional or social perspective. Over the last ten years I receded back to a Norwood 3 pattern but my curly hair and low hair-scalp contrast allowed me to cover the recession to a large extent with a well-placed comb over. I became more self-aware of my hair loss when I accepted a post-doctoral position in a university setting. The sight of Norwood 1s on an everyday basis created envy within me that I was unable to shake. I wanted my hairline back…even if it was higher than when I started!

I hastily choose Bosley for my first hair transplant based on their generic photo results. I was under the impression that hair transplant procedures were now a simple surgical procedure on par with a breast enhancement surgery. I did enough research to determine that hair transplantation had greatly improved since the “plug days,” therefore, I knew I could obtain a natural result. Unfortunately, I did not realize that some surgeons were vastly superior based on their scientific knowledge of hair transplantation and artistic ability.

Due to Bosley’s poor post-op care, I took to the internet to find photos of other hair transplant patients to determine what I should expect over the next 12 months.  Unfortunately, after looking at hundreds of hair transplant results, I realized that I was going to need another hair transplant to obtain the results I desired. It was at that time I committed to intense research through several online hair loss sites.   After six months of research, I choose Dr. H. Rahal for my second procedure based on his ethics, his hairline philosophy and consistent results. Hopefully after this procedure I can forget about hair loss for the next 5-10 years since I am taking propecia/proscar, I currently do not have thinning anywhere else (based on visual and microscopic analyses) and my family hair loss history is favorable (worst cases are Norwood 3v or 4).

Medications:
I started taking Propecia at the beginning of January 2012. I have not noticed any changes due to the fact that I was not thinning anywhere else other than my hairline and the temple regions. I am only taking it to slow down future hair loss (family history of crown loss later in life).

First hair transplant story with Bosley:
I’m not going to discuss the details of the Bosley procedure. In short, I received ~1500 grafts for an area of ~40cm2. It was a decent experience, I wasn’t butchered at least, but it became clear I was going to need another procedure to increase the density.

My on-site consultations after the Bosley procedure: I wanted the see a variety of hair transplant surgeons based on their scholarship, artistic abilities, innovation and of course, final results. I choose to visit Dr. William Rassman due to his scholarship in the field of hair transplantation, Dr. H. Rahal for his artistic ability and Dr. Sanusi Umar for his innovations.

I saw Dr. Rassman one month after my hair transplant with Bosley (March 2012). He did a miniaturization study and declared me a Norwood 3. Based on his analysis and my answers about my family hair loss history, he said I could use my donor anyway I desired. He predicted I would never be worse than a Norwood 3V. He then stated he would like to do an additional 1000-1500 grafts on top of the Bosley surgery to create a denser hairline

I then visited Dr. H. Rahal in August 2012. He agreed with Dr. Rassman’s assessment (hair loss would not be significant and I would have plenty of donor for any future procedures) about my hair loss and prediction. He stated that I would need an additional 2000 grafts. I thought that was a bit excessive at the time, but he added that I also have very good laxity so I shouldn’t be worried about running out of donor.

Lastly, I flew out to see Dr. Sanusi Umar at his Redondo Beach clinic in August 2012. He also agreed with Dr. Rassman and Dr. Rahal about my future hair loss. I asked him numerous questions about body hair transplantation. This is my interpretation of his view of body hair transplantation: he only uses body hair if and only if it increases the cosmetic result significantly (e.g. leg or nape hair for the hairline and beard hair for the middle and crown) for “normal” cases. He argued that he must use body hair for repair cases and severe balding, but scalp hair is always preferred, especially for cases like mine. He also recommended 2000 grafts in addition to my 1500 grafts I received at Bosley.

My decision:

I choose Dr. Rahal for my second hair transplant due to several factors. First, I agree with his hairline philosophy. It’s aggressive, but not absurd. I was worried that an aggressive, flat hairline might look weird if I ever start thinning in the crown area. But after looking a many, many older men over the last year, my fears more or less receded (pun intended!). I saw a large amount of older men who had an adult hairline (several centimeters above the crease), no corner recession, yet had crown thinning. Second, I choose him because of the consistency of his results, especially the ones that were posted by the patient. His results were constantly “wow” results, especially for cases that resembled my balding pattern (hairline and corner recession only). Third, the price was right. I can’t believe he doesn’t charge more for his surgeries.

Why did I go with FUT instead of FUE? Quite simply, I already had a FUT scar, so there was no reason to go the FUE route, especially since I need a larger procedure. Second, it was cheaper. Third, I’ve kept my sides longer the last eight years, and I don’t see myself wanting to shave my sides like I did in my teens and 20s. Fourth, and I know this is debatable, but based on my research, but there were a massive amount of “wow” FUT results in comparison to FUE results. Could I be wrong about this…of course, but that was my conclusion based on my research. I truly believe FUE will become king in the next 5-10 years for small and medium sized cases, but for now, I believe FUT consistently gives the best results. Fifth, I have great healing characteristics. I had a hard time finding my Bosley scar, so I’m confident that I will be fine in the hands of an elite surgeon.

My second hair transplant story:

First on-site consultation – already discussed above

Patient advisor – Chad Charles was my personal patient advisor. He answered my questions swiftly and accurately. Whenever I had a question he couldn’t answer (due to the medical expertise required) he spoke to Dr. Rahal and then returned with an update. Chad was unbelievably helpful and is an all-around good guy. I would definitely recommend him to anyone looking to have a hair transplant with Dr. Rahal.

Payment – I paid for the hair transplant with an international credit card through Bank of America. This card allowed me to make purchases in other countries without a foreign transaction fee. I then swiftly transferred the balance to a 0% card which I will pay over an entire year.

Travel – I traveled by car to Ottawa, Ontario from the Washington DC suburbs. It was about a 10 hour drive. Not bad. I had trouble at the border convincing the staff that I was going to Canada for hair transplant. It might be helpful to bring a letter of intent so that you have proof of the hair transplant surgery.

Lodging – I stayed at the Brookline Guesthouse. I highly recommend this lodging arrangement for a couple of reasons. First, it is much cheaper than the other places around town (according to my research). Second, it is sooo nice talking to other hair transplant patients. I felt so alone after my hair transplant with Bosley (like no one in the world could understand what I just experienced), so talking with sympathetic persons was a true blessing. Third, the place was stocked with breakfast food which can be eaten at all points during the day. It was nice knowing that food was available when I didn’t want to go out and buy something. Fourth, the place was set up for hair transplant patients. I believe every room had a reclining couch which is necessary for the first five days after the surgery to minimize swelling.

Surgery Experience – What can I say other than the Rahal surgical team is a perfectly oiled machine. Dr. Rahal is a true master at his craft. I don’t know about rankings, but he must be at least one of the top hair transplant surgeons in the world. Numerous persons on his technical staff had been with him for 10 years or more. It feels nice to know that the surgical staff members placing the grafts have over 10,000 hours of experience…each! Below is a timeline for the surgery:
6:30am – I entered the Rahal facility and immediately met Mike, the lead surgical technician. He is a really good guy. He has an unbelievable bedside manner. He seemed to be by my side the entire day (I’m exaggerating, but he made it seem that way). He gave me the consent forms to fill out and had them completed by 7:15am. I would recommend you read them over before you arrive. Have your patient advisor send them to you by email or fax. Bottom line is this: a hair transplant is a surgery, and surgeries can go wrong even in the most capable of hands due to a number of reasons (e.g. patient healing characteristics).
7:15am – Pictures with Shane, a member of Dr. Rahal’s staff
7:30am – I met with Dr. Rahal in his office and he immediately determined my growth over the last couple of months since my last consultation with him. He recommended a slightly lower number of grafts – 1600 to 1800. He looked at my facial characteristics and drew a line where he believed the hairline should be placed. I agreed we walked into the surgical area.
~8am – I was prepped for surgery and given numbing shots to my donor area. These shots are not for the weak at heart. They hurt like hell. Once Dr. Rahal determined that I was ready, he began to remove the strip. There were a lot of surgical staff members in the room determining whether I was stable during the whole process. I’m going to be blunt about the strip removal…it doesn’t hurt…but a shiver goes down your spine knowing that a piece of flesh is being removed from your head! It’s all for a good cause, I suppose!
~8:30am – an enormous team assembles to cut up the grafts for transplantation. This step took about 2 hours.
~9:30am – Dr. Rahal came in to make the recipient sites while his staff separated the grafts. We had a nice chat about the state of the hair transplantation field. Mike then entered the room to inform us that they were able to obtain 1827 grafts. Dr. Rahal was quite pleased since we only removed a strip from the back and lower right side.
~11am – Three surgicial staff members went about placing the grafts into the recipient sites.
~1pm – Done! I was amazed with the speed and efficiency of the Rahal team. For comparison, I was at the Bosley clinic until 5pm for 1500 grafts!

After the surgery: Not much to note. I actually didn’t experience much pain at all. But please do not think this a normal scenario. I experienced tremendous pain after my Bosley surgery. I don’t think the pain was all due to the surgeon and the staff. I was and am currently following the post-op instructions down to the smallest detail. I had the surgery on Thursday and was back to work on Monday. This is not the ideal situation. Please, at least, take a week off if possible.


 

Comments

  1. Thanks for your great write up and for sharing your experience.

    Keep us posted, and we look forward to following your progress 🙂

  2. Thanks for the detailed write up. Patients are always saying how helpful it is to read these.

Post a Comment

*