Hi all, this is my first post here, but I’ve been a long-term reader of this forum and others. I’ve taken a great deal from reading these forums in the past in order to thoroughly educate myself, and help me in my decision making. This has been invaluable, so I feel it is my turn to give something back, and hopefully contribute to this essential source of information.
I finally had my first HT on Friday 15th Dec with Dr Feller, something that took me the best part of 7 years to commit to. I am 24 and had a 2000 graft procedure in the hairline, and I am six days post-op. For me, reading other people’s experiences, good and bad, has helped me a great deal, so I will now do the same in the hope it may help others in the future.
I first started balding barely at the age of 17, and with a very high birth hairline, this soon became noticeable. My temples receded quite rapidly over the course of less than six months, to leave me with a very mature looking hairline. I also have very fine hair, which made this worse. Looking back, I believe my rapid thinning at this stage was in part very much like many adolescents experience in their late teens and early twenties: the transition from a child’s hairline, to an adult’s hairline. However, because my hairline was already very high and my hair is very fine, this transition may have had a disproportional affect aesthetically on me. I think very naturally, I developed quite a complexion about this, something that has existed to this day.
I believe it is perfectly natural to be concerned about hair loss, it is an undesirable change to many and much as to be expected it has an adverse impact on self-esteem. Make no mistake about it, hair loss is a psychological issue. Much of it is a battle against your-self. Just like being fat is deemed a negative thing, hair loss is something no one really wants to suffer from. Unfortunately we live in a society that makes this harder to live with. There are of course those that can go through life without being concerned about hair loss, or to an extent where it does not play heavily on their mind. That is great for them, however, I like so many others, are not one of those. It may have been the fact I was so young, but it became a very frustrating thing for me, and I sought a solution.
I soon trawled the internet for baldness treatments. I quickly dismissed most of the treatments I saw as unsubstantial, evidenced through their lack of credibility and lack of results to match. The major thing that kept coming up however, was Rogaine. I concentrated my research on Rogaine, but unfortunately it soon became clear to me that this was going to have little if any impact at all in helping me with my problem. The fact that it has had very little success in re-growing hair and even with halting the hair loss, especially in the hair line area led me to reject it as an option. I was young, and I wanted an immediate result.
I finally came across hair transplants, which looked like the perfect solution. Your own hair and my hairline back. I read with excitement about the new ‘mini and micro’ grafting techniques, which sounded fantastic. I actually remember coming across Pat’s website at the time, who is now the editor of the Hair Restoration Research Forum, who was showing impressive results from Ron Shapiro. I remember reading about the essential talent of artistry in performing a hair transplant, and about the science around it, but by the same token I don’t think I truly understood the difference between a good surgeon and a bad one at that time. I wanted to go ahead in principle, but at the same time I had no means to afford it then and the prospect of actually having surgery done was petrifying. Something inside stopped me from pursuing the HT option at this stage, and I’m so glad that it did.
However, that did not solve my problem, and neither did anything else, which left me pretty depressed. Remembering back, this was the worst I have ever felt about hair loss. There was no hope in sight and the future looked uncertain. It’s not a feeling I would wish on anyone else. In some ways however, I have been one of the lucky ones. I have learnt to come to terms with my hair loss and not let it consume me. This is not to say it did not continue to greatly affect me, but I remained a more or less outgoing and confident teenager. This was helped by the fact that the hair loss I suffered in my late teens has barely progressed to this day. I suffered a serious shed at 17, and luckily my hairline to the age of 24 has moved very little from what it left me with then. My crown has thankfully never thinned either. My way of dealing with it was quite a styling challenge, but I grew a long fringe, as was actually able to conceal any evidence of hair loss, certainly to the next person in the street. I have had this style ever since. This gave me the confidence to go on with my life, but inside it has never been ideal and rain and wind pretty much became my worst enemies.
I continued to stay abreast of all developments in the hair loss world, but surgery always seemed like too big a step to take. Results remained variable and I was always concerned about the long-term picture. Donor hair can only go so far. At varying points over the next seven years I considered taking action against my long term nemesis of hair loss. I got on Propecia as soon as it was approved for sale in the UK, and it was beneficial to the quality of my remaining hair. At the lower points, I even visited a couple of the more internationally known hair-piece distributors, but thankfully my better judgement told me they were a terrible idea. They can give you a full head of hair, but that would do nothing to solve your own mental battle. The prospect of living in huge paranoia didn’t appeal to me.
I stepped up to Dutasteride once it was released, which I am also happy with, but of course as I knew before I starting taking it, as with Propecia, it was not going to give me back my hairline. I went through all my adult years, 7 exciting years, without a hairline. It has always remained an issue, even if I was able to cover it up.
But then something changed. I started seriously considering the hair transplant route again, not because of a low-point, but actually because I was in such a happy time in my life. I had recently travelled the world, I was full of confidence, and I had a great job. This actually gave me the impetus to finally put my hair loss issue to rest. It also coincided with a time where the hair transplant industry had really gone to new levels. The number of great and ethical doctors was increasing, and science behind has moved on so much, and the results it was producing were great. This gave me the confidence to final make the decision to go for it. This I think is the hardest part of the whole journey, finally making that decision. A hair transplant remains to be a risk, but it is a measured risk. A risk that I took very seriously, like everyone else should. I finally became comfortable with this, so I decided to go ahead.
I was already very familiar with the top doctors in the world from long term research, so once I had made the decision, it really didn’t take me long to commit to a date. I knew if I was going to do this, I was going to do this right, which meant going to one of the best doctors in the world. That meant going state-side. I had around 4 doctors in mind, which I believe all could probably produce the same standard of result. Ultimately I chose Dr Feller based on a feeling. Somehow I knew he was always the front-runner. This was the case even before I met with Spex, who was a great help to me in sorting the actually procedure out. Dr Feller's results speak for themselves, and the sheer number of satisfied patients was the winning factor for me. That counts for more than anything else. It’s not easy to give someone else responsibility for taking a knife to your head and performing a surgery that will last for you for the rest of your life. So the biggest concern is not to make a mistake, and do it right.
At the present time, I feel I have done just that, I am hugely looking forward to the results. I’ve posted some before and after pictures below to let the rest of you see. These are exciting times, and the future looks even better.
Good luck to everyone
Ps One thing i've realised recently, once this actually grows out i've got no bloody idea how to style it!! I've never had an post-teenage hair style before!!