I will periodically update this review as I get photos and as time progresses.
I'm a healthy 38 year old man with about Norwood 3 Vertex male pattern baldness. I've always had a widow's peak, but have lost substantially more frontal and crown hair in the past 5-6 years. The entire top of my head is thinning, but most prominently in the front and at the crown. I will attach pictures soon.
1/10/2016: I just returned home from my first cosmetic procedure, a hair transplant by Doctora Hernandez of Clinica Neopel, Tijuana, Mexico. I had heard of Dra. Hernandez on this forum, another hair loss forum, and Yelp. The reviews sounded good, and the price sounded fantastic. I was visiting San Diego in December, and visited Clinica Neopel for an initial consultation, as I had never had a cosmetic procedure and didn't know what to expect (please note that this initial visit was because I wanted to, not because it was required). During the consultation Dra. Hernandez explained how everything worked, what aftercare was like, and the price, which is inclusive of all treatment ($2,700 base fee plus a $20 fee for the post-surgical medication, bringing the total fee to $2,720).
Dra. Hernandez (and her husband, Dr. Hernandez, who assisted with the procedure) and her staff were very pleasant and professional. Mauricio schedules the procedures and handles the web presence/email; he is a great guy and very reassuring (I needed reassurance, as I was pretty nervous). The nursing and support team, lead by Claudia, are very professional, gentle and accommodating.
The procedure is done with local anesthesia. Other than the anesthesia injections, the procedure was completely painless. You are given Xanax before the procedure, and antibiotics and "Lite I.V." sedation during the procedure (both intravenously). I asked for additional sedation during the procedure, as I was getting bored. Time passes very quickly with the sedation!
My "strip" was 21 centimeters long and 1.3 centimeters wide (I think). From this I received 3,800 hairs in 1,500 grafts. I asked Dra. Hernandez to place all of the grafts in the front 1/3 of the top of my head, as this is by far my thinnest area and the most visible to others (I am fairly tall). She did so, creating a hairline and filling in the top of my head from approximately the front of my ears forward. The density in the after-surgery photos is dramatic! I intend to return next year to have a second procedure for my crown.
Dra. Hernandez uses trichophytic closure to close the strip incision. She had previously done a hair transplant on her husband, Dr. Hernandez, who showed me the back of his head; he had no visible scar when he ruffled his fingers through his hair, and no area of uneven hair density. It looked great.
As a man, it can be uncomfortable to consider cosmetic surgery. It's hard to shake the feeling that cosmetic surgery is just for women, and men who are overly vain. The hair transplant places I had looked at in California (my home state) seemed like "spas for beautiful people," with prices to match, which turned me off to them. I am just a regular guy, I don't want cucumber water, and I don't want to be the only male patient in a waiting room full of female patients who look like fashion models. My experience with Clinica Neopel was just like going to a regular doctor's office. It is unpretentious and down-to-earth. I was very comfortable with that environment.
Clinica Neopel is in Tijuana, so there are some transportation logistics to consider. The clinic recommends staying at the Hyatt Place, which is a nice hotel and adjacent to some great restaurants. The staff at Hyatt Place are accustomed to taking care of surgical patients and nobody treats you like a freak. The clinic provides transportation to and from your appointment, and can also provide transportation to and from the border (maybe to and from San Diego; I didn't ask, as I had other things to do in Tijuana while I was there and didn't head back to the States right away). There is no waiting at the clinic, the procedure starts as soon as you get there.
I am extremely pleased with the results so far (one day after the procedure). I will update with photos within the next week, and continue updating as time passes.