I've been lurking around these forums for a few years now and thought i would give an account of my story so far.
I first noticed that I was losing my hair when I was around 21. It was nothing major, I just noticed that it was receeding at the temples although the rest of my hair was fine. At around 22 it started to get worse and that's when I decided to address it.
I looked around on the internet and came across these types of forums and having read around decided to get on Proscar and then later Minoxidil. I gave the Minoxdil a try for around 7 months but I noticed that it was making my hair loss worse and only noticed very minimal hair growth (if at any at all!). I think it may have been because I was using 12.5% concentrate which is quite strong. So in the end I ditched the Minoxidil.
Last year, when I was 24, my hairline had receeded a bit more and that was when I decided to turn to hair transplants. Again, I decided to use the forums to do some research and going by the excellent accolades showered on Dr Feller, I decided that he was the way to go. I got in touch with Spex and sent him a few pictures and he kindly got these sent to Dr Feller for his opinion. Spex came back to me within a day with the Dr's opinions! Eventually after some months of deliberations I decided to bite the bullet and book in for a session. Again Spex did the leg work and got me an appointment for Monday 23rd February 2009!
I arrived in New York on the Saturday before the surgery and stayed with a friend on Saturday night. I had booked the Anchor Inn for the night before the surgery so checked into there on Sunday night. The hotel wasn't very flashy but it was fairly cheap at around £105 per night (remembering that the exchange rate at this time was pretty rubbish, so the The Andrews was not really an option for me!).
Couldn't really sleep too well the night before the surgery and was on the phone to Spex at 5am to get some last minute advice. He was very helpful in describing what the place looked like and if it wasn't for this description I think I would easily have missed the place!
I ordered a taxi from the hotel and got stung for $20 for a 5 minute ride from the hotel to Dr Feller's place! I wish I had arrived there a little earlier on Sunday to find out how close the place was so that I could have made adequate arrangements.
Having met up with Dr Feller in the morning, we spoke through what I was looking for and he drew up some lines of the new hairline and got something we were both happy with. We started the surgery around 8am and finished up around 12.30pm. It felt very, very long to just sit in that chair!
The Dr and the technicians were all very kind and helpful, making jokes, offering me food and drink etc. and that made the whole experience much more bearable!
In the end I ended up getting 2300 grafts mostly around the temples and front third of my head. I have to say that the Dr and his team did an excellent job and the hairline looked great and I can't wait to see it once it's grown out again!
I would say that the first 10 days are the most difficult just because it's very uncomfortable to sleep with the staples around the back of the head. In terms of the swelling, I noticed a bit right after the surgery but it was at its worst at around Day 3. Then by around Day 6 or 7 all the swelling had disappeared again.
I flew back to London the day after the surgery and spent 2 weeks at home before returning to work. I went to my GP to get my staples and it wasn't as bad an experience as I thought it would be. A few of them did pinch somewhat when they were coming out, but nothing that was unbearable. Straight afterwards I decided to buzz down my hair to make everything even and at this point even the scar was healing up quite well so it didnt look too bad.
So anyway, to wind up my epic story, I'm now a month out and on the long road to hair recovery! If anyone is thinking about having the surgery done and would like to get in touch, I'm happy to answer any questions.
Also, for anyone who is going over to the US and would like transport from the airport, I found this Car Service who are right next Bayside station - Kelly's Car service. It only cost $37 for three of us from the Anchor Inn (in Northern Blvd) to JFK airport which was the best one I found. It might be a company to look into if you need a ride to/from the airport: (718) 229-4141
I've attached some photos in the following order: Pre-op, Hairline at Day 2 and Hairline at Day 12