I am a 35 year old male and have been taking...
I am a 35 year old male and have been taking propecia for about 7 years. Back in my 20's when I started, I had been told to look into "hair plugs". At that point in my life, I was not ready and as I have gotten older and while propecia has helped, my hair thinning is definitely starting to show.
I recently started my research to into hair transplant. I was referred to Dr. Pizarro and after an initial consultation it was recommended that I have 2,000 grafts to the front and top/crown of my head. My hair isnt falling out like it was, but you can see it is starting to really recede.
I was also very interested in this new Stem Cell Hair Therapy where they spin your blood down to the stem cells and then inject into your scalp. I was also told that doing this when you do the grafts is like adding fertilizer to grass seed when planting.
So as I continue my research I have been in contact with Dr. Pizarro, have picked a date and am looking forward to getting this started. I feel there is a lot I can control in life, and hair loss is not one of those things..without a little help from an elective surgeon.
Surgery Scheduled - Nov 21st
After sitting on this for a few months and doing more research as well as the most recent research on hair transplant and stem cell treatment, I have decided to move forward with the grafts and stem cell procedures. Scheduled for the 21st of November with Dr. Pizarro. Will be a week after I do a 168 mile bike ride from Miami to Key West and a week before Turkey Day.
Surgery Rescheduled - Dec 5th - Day 1
So yesterday I had my surgery and my experience with Dr. Pizarro completely exceeded my expectations. I had 1,786 grafts (not plugs) put into the front part of my head, with the direction that I did not want to change my hair line. This was more to invest in protecting the hair from the front to the crown. I also had PRP (stem cell) injections not only with the grafts, but also at the whole crown of the head.
The toughest part, as expected was the removal of the donor area in the back of the head. Dr. Pizarro and team did an outstanding job, not only in comforting me, but also in the stitches (as far as I can see today). I did not realize the cut would literally go from ear to ear around my head. But, this was needed based on the number of grafts.
All in all, yesterday was pleasant, and after almost 8 hours, I was extremely satisfied and grateful for the whole team. I could not believe that it took 3 people to individually take each hair follicle from the donor strip to be implanted in my head. This made me at ease knowing the level of detail which was being invested in my hair transplant.
Getting home, I was doing OK, however in about 2 hours or around 9PM I was in pretty large amounts of pain. I think I waited to long to take the Vicodin and Valium Once taken, and crawled into bed, I felt good..woke up at 4AM to take another Vicodin, and as I lay here on the couch on day 2, I am feeling already better. Sleeping was a bit tough so my advice is to take a towl and roll it up and put it around your next like a pillow to take the pressure off the donor area.
Next step is to keep the area a little moist for 48 hours, and then use a special shampoo. DO NOT TOUCH THE GRAFTS I keep being told :) This will be the most difficult as I was already have restless syndrome :)
48 hours until I can wash my hair with a special shampoo. More updates to come then.
Day 2 and recovery is progressing
Today I went to have my hair washed at Dr. Pizarro's in order for me to look presentable for a skype interview I had scheduled. The swelling is minimal and the pain, even still there, hasnt been so bad on night 2. You can see in the pics how it is progressing.
Day 5 - Shampooing both Grafts and Donor Area
Survived the weekend of shopping, christmas decorating and watching movies with the family. I thought I would hate having to wash my grafts and especially the donor area with the shampoo and conditioner provided, but thanks to the help of my amazing partner, it wasn't bad at all. Keeping the donor area clean will limit the scabs that may appear next week when the stitches come out.
My level of discomfort is now pretty minimal and only limited to after I lay on my back for the whole night, or if I go move than 6-8 hours without a Vicodin. I have started wanting to scratch a lot, but have refrained. I find it most comfortable to rub my neck line for relief.
Eager to get the stitches out next week, for all the graft scabs to fall out, and for me to be able to actually put some product in my hair! LOL
Began using the laser comb as well, 3 times a week. Feels like something out of the future that should be saving lives and protecting me against enemy drones. :)
Day 10 - Itching Like Crazy, healing very well
So at Day 10 my donor area has been itching like crazy. It's all I can do to keep my hands off of it so that I do not pull out the stitches myself! :) All in all tho, things are progressing nice and I am sure when I go in 4 days to have the stitches removed I will get rave reviews on how I have taken care of the graft site.
Couple of new pics to show how well the scar will be hidden as well as the scabbing of the grafts and now falling out (which is normal) as things start to grow over the next 3-6 months.
Day 13 - Sutures removed, amazed at how well I am doing!
Today was finally the day to have my sutures removed. I have to admit, I woke up dreading it since I have never had more than 5-10 sutures removed before, and this cut for the donor area went all the way from ear to ear. The removal was very painless quite honestly. A few hair pulls, and a couple of scabs that were ready to come off. I added pictures of the suture area and you can see that after just 2 weeks, the healing looks great and the scar area will be thin.
Scaring is my #1 concern so I am going to start putting fresh aloe right from the plant on the scar daily. My body tends to scar very easy so I am told this is the best thing for it. It also will help with the itching I described above which of course is the body healing.
I got home and let the graft and donor area soak in conditioner for an hour and then was finally able to take a full shower, with full blast water, and what a great feeling it was. As the saying goes, "so fresh and so clean." I then used a really soft brush to brush through my hair which over the next few days will have the rest of the scabs gone.
So the best news. My graft area is already growing hair! I had no "shock loss" which is when other hair falls out when implants are put in (which eventually regrows). Also, the grafts that were put it which typically scab up and fall out, and then take about 3 months to show hair, are still showing. I was told this was mainly due to my younger age as well as my health. I like the idea that all the hard work will remain and I can just continue to watch it grow. It's kinda like one of those Chia Pets we all had at one time and would just check daily to see its progress.
I couldn't be happier. The few days of uncomfortableness post-surgery and finding it hard to sleep in some positions, we well worth it. I must admit, I have the unique situation where I am home most of the day so it made it easy. I would recommend taking a long weekend, say Thursday till Tuesday if you were to have this procedure so that you can have rest and time to heal.
Next update will be in a few days to see how the scabs come off and when I finally get a hair cut.
2 Months Post Op
So I am passing the 2 month mark and things are looking really good. None of the grafts have fallen out which I hear is normal. I can rub my fingers through and still feel them. The scar is completely hidden and I have been able to cut the side of my head using a 2 or 3 guard. There is still a bit visible on the right side of my head, but I scabbed more there so I assume over time that will go away. I have been using the laser comb and also putting Vitamin E serum on my scar like clock work.
Things have really gone well. I cant wait for another 4 months to really see the difference. I haven't taken any new pictures but will do and upload some soon.
4 Months Passed
It's been awhile since I have updated my progress. After 4 months, my hair is still about the same as it was before, which actually I hear is a good thing. I have little to no shock loss, and the grafts are growing. I know it can take up to 12 months+, so I am being patient.
10 Months Post- Op
Figured I would post any pictures I had while i was thinking about it. I am now 10 months since I had my procedure and am really pleased with the results. I will post some more pics and take some of the back of my head when I get the chance.
11 Months After Surgery
Finally got around to posting some more pictures.