Two Seperate Hair Transplant Surgeries Totaling 6,873 Graphs
Ever since I was a teenager, I had been fearful of losing my hair. My dad has had hair loss since the day I was born and my granddad was completely bald. I was wise enough to realize I wouldn’t have much genetic luck when it came to keeping my hair. As a freshman in high-school, when most people were concerned about acne and girls, all I cared about was my hair.
It was not until I was 23 that I started seeing the first visible signs of hair loss. It started very slowly at first and then gradually picked up until I was 30, when it became very noticeable. Of course it had to happen during my young adulthood, the most critical time in any young man’s life. I kept telling myself it was better to have hair loss than another disease, but when Friday and Saturday night came around, I barely had the confidence to leave my house.
Once my hair loss became noticeable, I visited with a doctor who was a hair loss specialist. He performed a miniaturization test on me and confirmed I had androgenetic alopecia, or genetic hair loss. He prescribed 5 mg of finasteride, which I cut into 1.25 mg quarters and I took it once daily. I was also told to apply minoxidil once a day. I first used the minoxidil solution and then eventually switched to the foam to prevent it from running down my face. I found that applying the foam at night was the best, although I frequently got dandruff from it and needed to use Nizoral shampoo (which is also supposed to have some benefits when it comes to hair loss). The combination of these treatments helped stabilize my hair loss, but I did not have much regrowth.
I had been on medication for 3 years and every morning I would wake up, go to the bathroom and the first thing I would do was look in the mirror. And each morning my hairline had not returned. I held out for a while hoping the medication would stimulate growth, but eventually I got past the denial stage and seriously started considering hair restoration surgery.
I went to Dr. Edmond Griffin in Atlanta for my hair transplant procedure. Online, I had read a mixed bag of reviews about him, and it did make me hesitant to go see him, but I had a close friend who had a hair transplant done by him and had good results. I had to weigh what I read online with what a close friend, who I trusted, was telling me.
I'm a transplant (no pun intended) from Boston, MA, so it's not like I should talk, but the first thing that I was struck by about Dr. Griffin was his thick southern accent. As a northerner, I automatically assume that a southern drawl makes a person sound 'slower.' This made me judge Dr. Griffin the minute I met him during my consultation. However, my concerns were put to ease as I spoke with him. He seemed to really understand my concerns and had a gentle demeanor. During my consultation, we discussed a follicular unit extraction (FUE) hair transplant, due to my concerns about having a strip scar in the back of my head. Despite my substantial hair loss, Dr. Griffin agreed that a FUE procedure would be able to delivery the density and hairline I was looking for.
The pricing for my hair transplant procedure was where all the pain came in. Dr. Griffin charges $5/graft up to 3k grafts and then they add a $1,000 fee on top of that. I needed 6,873 graphs done on two separate sessions. With a discount, I ended up paying almost $35,000. In certain areas near Atlanta, you could buy a house for that amount. This was one expensive bullet for me to bite, but I had the money, it was just hard decided on if I should spend on hair. Hair meant a lot to me though. I know my fellow hair loss sufferers would agree with me on that.
Leading up to my hair transplant surgery, I told myself two things: 1) I was going to have to wait 6-12 months to see results. 2) My old hairline was never going to return to the way it was when I was a child. I was not naive to think that hair transplantation was a miracle procedure. I was a realist about my situation. With the number of graphs I was having transplanted, I knew it was possible I was going to have thinning over time in my donor area and that the coverage on the top of my head may not be as dense as I hoped. I did fear having multiple graphs fail on me and being left with thinning hair in both my donor and recipient areas. I just had to hope for the best given the situation I was in.
Both of my surgeries were pleasant enough. The only painful part of my surgery were when I received the local anesthetic injections. They were done under local anesthesia and I did not feel any pain during or after my surgeries. I had 2,226 follicular units grafted to my frontal region and 4,647 individual hair follicles implanted on the top of my head. I was itchy and numb in my donor area after both procedures. This stopped at around 2 weeks post-op, when most of my scabbing fell off. Once the scabs has fallen off, I only looked a little bit red in the recipient areas. Around 3 months post-op is when my transplanted hair really started to fill in.
It's has now been 30 months since I had my surgery and my hair looks marvelous. I do not have a single regret about getting this surgery. It was worth the ridiculous amount of money I spent on it and it has improved my life so much that really wish I had surgery earlier. I will have to continue to take hair loss medications for the rest of my life to stop my male pattern baldness, but I don't care. Having my hair back has meant so much to me and it's one less thing for me to worry about. I guess now I'll have to turn my attention to aging and the wrinkles that come along with it.