Nearly 4000 Graft Hair Transplant
I was in my early twenties when I started experiencing excessive hair loss. I originally took a very laid back approach to treating it too. I let my balding progress and eventually ended up with a Norwood 7. I was very bald. But it was the early 1990s and there wasn't many hair loss treatments on the market that looked appealing. Propecia had just come out and no one really knew what it would do to you. The hair transplant techniques at the time did not produce very good results either. Most of the before and after results I saw were very poor. I decided no treatments were really worthwhile and decided to let my male pattern baldness progress for decades.
As my life went on, I got married, had two children and didn't have the disposable income to spend on a hair transplant. I did keep track of innovations in the hair restoration field that were happening know. When the strip transplant came out, I didn't like the results. People were left with a big ugly scar where the strip excision came from and I worried that if the transplant failed, I would have a very visibly ugly scar in the back of my head.
Work, kids and life got in the way until around 2013, when I had read a lot online about follicular unit extraction hair transplant surgery. I liked the results I was seeing online and many patients seemed to have great hairlines, thick density and they didn't have any visible scars at their donor site. Lots of people seemed to be having great results with fue hair transplants. I finally felt compelled enough to meet with a famous hair transplant surgeon in Manhattan, Dr. Robert Bernstein. Dr. Bernstein has been treating hair loss for a very long time. In fact, I had followed his former colleague, Dr. William Rassman's, hair loss blog for a very long time. Dr. Rassman was on the west coast and recommended that the readers of his blog who were on the east coast see Dr. Bernstein, who he said was a good hair loss doctor.
I had my consultation with Dr. Bernstein at his office on 55th street in Manhattan. I had to pay a consultation fee of around $180 (I think - I can't remember exactly how much it was). His office is in a low key building and when you get off the elevator, you walk into his very modern looking office, which has a warm and friendly feel to it. The desk staff (who is right in front of you when you get off the elevator), is also very friendly. Dr. Berstein told me my hair loss was very extensive and I would require 3500-4000 grafts and I would never be able to have the hair I had as a kid, but I would be able to get enough coverage that I would likely be happy.
One of the things I liked most about Dr. Berstein is he is a very honest and direct guy. He doesn't beat around the bush. He tells you the truth and doesn't sugar coat it. He never over promised and made sure I had reasonable expectations before continuing. It was obvious he had plenty of business and wasn't trying to oversell me on a hair transplant unless I really wanted it. I had read stories online of patients who had gone to hair clinics and the doctor tried to convince them they'd see great results and they were dissatisfied with the end results.
In May 2015, I had my FUE procedure. The procedure took quite a long time but wasn't painful. You feel some pain when the local anesthetic is injected into your scalp, but that quickly goes away and then your head is very numb. Dr. Bernstein used an Artas Robotic Transplant machine to extract individual hair follicles from the back of my head and prepare my donor area to receive those follicles. The worst part of the whole procedure was lying face first as if you're getting a massage, while the machine preps your donor area. Otherwise, the procedure was pretty uneventful, only time consuming. I left with a bandage around my head and was told to very careful not to touch my scalp and damage the follicular units that were transplanted.
During the two weeks I took off from work to heal, I didn't leave the house much. I was very careful with my head and over these two week the scabs that formed on my head started to fall off. Once the scabs had fallen off, my head looked very natural with a shaved head. That's the nice thing about having a FUE procedure - you can wear your hair very short because there’s no scarring.
The first 3 months of healing you wait until you get through the ugly ducking stage. At 3-4 months I had some growth. By the 8th month, I was very impressed with the amount of hair I had. My hairline was starting to look very natural, at least for a guy who was a 'chrome dome' before the procedure.
Getting a hair transplant was up there with the best decisions I've ever made in life. Having hair feels so good. So many people have complimented me on how good I look with my new hair. Even my own barber, who I hadn't seen since my hair transplant, said he didn't feel bad charging me full price for a haircut anymore now that I actually had hair. If you're suffering from hair loss and have the discretionary income to get a FUE procedure, I could not recommend getting it done more highly. It's a life changing procedure.