Photo & Blog Updates

BOOM! 5 months, 1 week

Hello everyone,

Below are pictures depicting my progress 5 months and 1 week since my HT with Dr. Rahal. I am “over the moon” excited about my hair at the moment. It’s now very difficult to differentiate between the transplanted hair and the non-transplanted hair. Furthermore, wet hair no longer destroys the illusion of my “combover” before my transplants or thinner coverage from my first transplant.  Hence the “BOOM!” in my title!

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4 month, 1 week

Hello everyone,

Below are pictures depicting my progress 4 months and 1 week since my HT with Dr. Rahal. Still a bit thin in places, but overall I am still satisfied with my growth so far.

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3 months, 1 week

Hello everyone,

I apologize for my lack of diligence in the posting of my HT progress. Work has been occupying a lot of my time as of late, but at least it keeps me off the street!

My progress and comments at 3 months, 1 week:

Pain: The pain, irritation and numbness in the donor and recipient area have subsided completely

Scar: Still difficult to find, but probably would be noticeable if I clipped my hair down to a 3 or 4.

Normal activities: I have returned to all normal activities. I am still easing into the weights, as I’m still a bit apprehensive about inadvertently stretching the scar.

Overall state:  I am completely satisfied with my progress so far. The density isn’t quite there yet, but I’m still in the early stages. I’m hoping that the next couple of months will bring much growth and happiness!

Pictures: I have included four pictures of the current state of my HT growth. Even though it’s been 3 months and 3 weeks since my HT, these pictures were taken at the early part of this month.


1 Month 1 Week

Hello everyone,

I’m at the 1 month mark, 1 week mark.  All the transplanted hairs have shed at this point and I am squarely in the middle of the doldrums stage.  The remaining hair in the thinning areas is hair from my first HT.

Pain: The pain and irritation in the donor area have subsided altogether.  I still feel some numbness in the recipient area, but based on my last HT experience, this is normal.

Redness: The recipient area is still slightly red, but this is due to my pale complexion.

Shockloss: I didn’t have any shockloss after this procedure.  I had a good amount in the recipient and donor area after my HT with Bosley, so the lack of it this time was a nice surprise.

Scar:  I no longer have any tightness in the donor area, and I cannot find the scar.  I know this means nothing and I will have to wait until the 6-7 month mark to see the final result.

Overall state: So far, so good.

Pictures: I have included four pictures.  They are of somewhat poor quality, so I’m going to look into different image producing options before my next update.

Pre-Op Pics in Work/Social Situations

These pre-op pics are posted to show how I styled my hair for work and social situations before any hair transplants were conducted (note: I don’t use concealers).  Since the forelock and areas behind the recession were still strong, I was able to fill in the recessed areas by pushing the hair from the forelock to each side and then comb the hair behind to the front.  The only time someone would notice my recession was when I cut my hair short or during a windy day.  Even the transplant surgeons that I visited initially thought I was crazy until I lifted  the  “combover” from my recessed areas.  They all agreed (independently) that I had good hair characteristics (wavy/curly hair and low hair/scalp contrast) which created a nice “full head of hair” illusion. 

1 week postop

It’s been ~1 week from my hair transplant with Dr. Rahal.  For those who are thinking about having a hair transplant with Dr. Rahal, I just want to highlight the importance of one of his postop instructions: take at least one week off after the procedure (and maybe even 2-4 weeks if possible).  Even though my recovery has been quick (I went back to work on the fifth day with no pain or swelling), you will not look presentable if you follow Dr. Rahal’s postop instructions to the most finite detail.  The application of the vitamin E oil to the recipient area is extremely important (it really does help with the healing process), but also highly difficult to apply and left my “combover” greasy and wet for the entire day (the “combover” refers to my long hair behind the recipient area that I use to cover up the redness and scabs in the recipient area).  To my horror this week, one of the VPs at my company asked me if I had been running outside when he passed by me in the hallway!  Yikes!  Plus, just my luck, I happened to meet some cute girls during my daily interactions, which of course were quite embarrassing to say the least.  By some miracle, one actually agreed to go out a date with me last night….awesome…me, the girl and my greasy/wet combover!  So the moral of the story, unless you a total boss (or bum…I’m pointing the finger at myself now) and don’t care how you look in your work and social life (or is able to wear a hat at all times), I would highly recommend that the Rahal hair transplant patient take at LEAST one week off from life to heal and stay out of the limelight.

Preop and Postop Pics

I’ve attached preop and postop pics. They should be pretty self-explanatory. Remember, ~1800 grafts are not adequate for the area that was covered (assuming you are a Norwood 3 and need to blend it into the thick hair behind it). I had ~1300 to 1500 grafts already implanted from the Bosley procedure. I will be including full facial pictures (eyes, nose and mouth blotted out) because I think it is supremely important to see how the hairline frames the entire facial structure. Pics of the hairline and forehead only are great, but it doesn’t give me an idea of how the hairline fits in with the overall face of a person.

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).

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.