Day 17 After Hair Transplant Procedure

My head is looking fine. The last three days have been great in terms of being able to clean up my scalp. People that know I have had it done can't even tell now that all of the scabs and scaling has fallen off. Also, since I have been able to start cleaning my scalp, my existing and transplanted hair has been falling out like crazy. I'm noticing that these hairs appear to be clumped together within scabs that are falling off so it's probably just looks like a lot as I clean up my head. I say that because today doesn't seem to be as bad. I'm hoping the worst of it is over but time will tell. Just a note that only a fraction of the transplanted hair has fallen out so I'm not looking bare in the transplanted areas.

Since my head looks normal now, I'm going to reduce the postings of pictures to probably once a week to track the progress. Any more, I think, would be overkill.

Day 14 After Hair Transplant Procedure

Today is the last day that I have to pour a bucket of water over my head for a shower. YIPEE!!!

Once my official 2 week ban on touching my head with anything other than the pads of my fingers passed (2 hours ago), I grabbed a comb and gently started to comb out my hair. YUCK!!!

I'm guessing the reason I wasn't itchy these past two weeks is not only due to the Diprolene I put on my scalp but also due to the fact that the nerves in my scalp were cut so I don't feel anything. Actually, I can feel pressure but the pain nerves are mostly hit and miss on my entire scalp. I am told that after 3 months all feeling will be back.

Anyway, back to my story. I was combing out my hair and was not ready for what started to show up in the comb; flakes, scabs, and hair. I then felt my scalp all over and it felt like a thick crusty layer was covering the entire area. At least now I will be able to start scrubbing my scalp to get this stuff off. You notice I said hair was now coming out; not only my original hair but the shock loss has started. The reason I wasn't seeing it fall out yet is that all of the crusty layer was holding everything together like weeds in dirt. Once the crust started flaking off, the hair came with it as it had already released from the follicle but was trapped in the scaliness that is now my scalp.

Here are some updated pics. The small black spots at the base of each transplanted hair are little scabs that will fall off over the next few days.

Day 10 After Hair Transplant Procedure - Suture Removal

A few hours ago I had my sutures removed. The last few days they were really bothering me when I laid down on a pillow. It was more of an annoyance than anything along the lines of an ingrown hair. So they take out the stitches which are very thin blue threads. It's amazing how irritating something so small can be.

I was told that people that heal quickly are usually finished healing at day 10 but slower healers take 14 days which is why Bosley says to wait at least 14 days before any activities. I think I'm healed but I can wait another 4 days. I can't wait for a regular shower and to be able to comb my hair!

If you have read the previous entries, you will notice that I didn't complain about a lot of itching. I forgot to mention that the day before the procedure, I applied Diprolene, a topical steroid that eliminates dermatitis, on my entire scalp. I figured it would be a way to alleviate any itching that would occur. I think it worked. Now, I can't prove it worked, but a symptom of this procedure is a lot of itching during the healing process. I had almost none. I recommended to Jose, my suture remover, that he pass that along to the doctors as it might be a good thing to include as part of the standard regimen if they can show it to work.

One other observation is 99% of any pain I had was related to the suture itself and not the transplanted hair on the rest of my scalp. When Bosley perfects the hair cloning process that they are working on, this procedure should get a lot better as the donor hair won't be required except for a little spot for the donor hair to be cloned. This small piece of skin and hair will be taken and healed way before your actual procedure. The real pain of this procedure will be with the initial anesthesia injections and that is about it.

Day 7 After Hair Transplant Procedure

I slept great last night. One week has past, and it doesn't hurt to lay down anymore, it's just a bit uncomfortable. There is real slight itching in one or two spots but nothing noteworthy. The worst problem right now is the suture. I am getting sharp pains every once in a while in two distinct places - at each end of the suture at the knot. Three more days and it comes out. I am back to full functionality except for any physical activity. I was told by Bosley that they don't want you to sweat and they don't want pressure to build up in your head from exertion or bending over. If I have to bend, then it must be at the knees and not the waist. I have been trying not to sneeze just in case I blow out my hair like a porcupine shooting out it's quills. Happy

Since one week has past, I think it would be good to show a comparison of my head from the consultation, the day after the procedure, and pictures I took last night. It's a pretty dramatic difference from Day 1 to Day 6.

The Consultation

DAY 1 ( a lot of redness)

DAY 6 (just a few small scabs at the transplanted hair)

I am expecting the hair shock loss to kick in at anytime. I keep checking but it hasn't happened yet. Shock loss is where your hair falls out and the follicle goes dormant for 3 months before starting to regenerate new hair. I'll let you know when it starts.

Day 6 After Hair Transplant Procedure

Unlike my optimistic stance in yesterday's blog entry, I ended up taking the last Vicodin last night because I needed the sleep and didn't want to wake up due to pain. It worked.

Today I took some updated pictures.

You can see that all redness is gone and there are very small scabs at some of the transplant locations. The amazing thing is that none of it hurts and I'm not itching. The suture in back is still annoying but that comes out in a few days.

Since the redness is gone, I am now going out in public without a hat but still making sure I stay out of the sun. Nobody seems to notice now or they are being very polite.

A friend saw this site and said to me that he can't believe I did this especially since 6 months ago when he mentioned it to me I said there was no way. All I can say is that seeing the accelerating hair loss and knowing that it might all be gone in a few years will make you go places you never thought you would in a million years. I equate it to a vegetarian that gets stranded in the woods and after two weeks decides that it may be OK to eat the next thing that comes along. Maybe that's a bit drastic but you know what I mean.

Someone also said I was vain and it wasn't the sunburn issue at all. There might be something to that but I can't wait until I can walk outside on a sunny day without worrying about getting sunburned on my head. People that aren't losing their hair will just never understand.

Day 5 After Hair Transplant Procedure

Last night was awful! I tried to go the whole night with no pain medication because my head didn't hurt yesterday during the day. In fact, it didn't hurt today either. The reason is during the day my head isn't laying back on a pillow. I started in the recliner and went to the couch in all sorts of positions but just couldn't get comfortable. I think I may have slept off and on between 5 and 6 AM! So this morning I got up and took my last Methylprednisolone and a Darvocet in case I wanted to lay down. That chance never came.

No need to be a hero, I'm going to take the milder Darvocet for my night pain. The Vicodin is overkill at this point.

Day 4 After Hair Transplant Procedure

Last night I tried sleeping in a bed for the first time (with Vicodin). I did it but a couple more days in a recliner will be a bit more comfortable. Not much to report today except that I'm feeling better. My head isn't red anymore and the transplants are now looking like little dried up scabs. Hopefully, they fall off soon.
I just thought of something that may be interesting. Throughout the day, I have been feeling slight tingling of and on where the new hair is. It almost feels like somebody lightly touching my head. My guess is it has something to do with the nerve regeneration. If anyone knows what I'm talking about please drop me a note with a little explanation.

On a pain scale, I'm at a 1.5 out of 10 at the worst. It's more of a discomfort than anything else. No Vicodin anymore. I have one Methylprednisolone to take tonight and then one more tomorrow and that's it for the drugs.

Day 3 After Hair Transplant Procedure

Today was a great day! I woke up after my first full night of sleep and there was minimal pain. As a result, I didn't need to take any Vicodin today. I did take the Methylprednisolone before breakfast and after lunch as directed. I have two more days and then it will be gone.

I am experiencing a little more itching as things heal up. I can't scratch but I was told that I could gently touch the area but don't rub it. It seems to work pretty well. When I touch the transplanted area, I feel all of the little stubble from each hair. It feels pretty neat.

Today, my scalp doesn't look any worse than a bad sunburn. It does, however, feel tight since the skin was stretched slightly to close up the donor area. For the last two days, my scalp has been getting very oily. It's probably just a by-product of the healing process. I definitely need to wash my hair every night. It's a delicate process where I mix the shampoo with water in a cup and then gently pour it over my head. I then pour clean water to rinse it. It doesn't seem like much but it actually removes that oil. The problem is, I can't really comb it too well for another 10 days. That will be a great day!

Time to take my last Methylprednisolone for today. I'm going to try the bed tonight so I need to take the Vicodin. I want to at least lay my head down without any pain.

Day 2 After Hair Transplant Procedure

I almost made it through the night. At 5:30 AM I woke up in pain again and had to take another Vicodin. After about 20 minutes it started to kick in and I slept for about 3 more hours. When I awoke, I turned on the TV and my doctor, David Deutsch, was speaking in a Bosley infomercial. I thought the timing was quite funny and felt lucky that I was worked on by one of their lead doctors.

The first thing I noticed today is that my head isn't as purple as yesterday. I took a Vicodin at 10 AM and that was it for 8 hours. I wanted to see if I could last without any pain medication. The answer is definitely no. Without the meds, my pain went up to a 5 out of 10. I took the Vicodin at 6 PM and the pain went away; it also made me tired.

I also noticed something else today, I have a completely numb area in the back of my head just above the center of the donor area. I'm guessing when the strip of skin was removed, some nerves went with it. I am told that they will fully regenerate within 3 months.

I can definitely see a difference in the transplant area. When the hairs are transplanted, they are very short like stubble and give the area a filled in look. These hairs will fall out within the next two weeks when they go dormant. Three months later they will start to grow. I can't wait!

I am going to take a Vicodin and a Halcion before bed tonight and I just noticed I forgot to take the Methylprednisolone yesterday (5 pills) and today (4 pills). I will take one of the 4 pills and resume the schedule per the directions on the box.

Day 1 After Hair Transplant Procedure

Last night was not a great night. I started in a bed but at about 2 AM I woke up in pain (Mike's pain scale 5 out of 10). Surprisingly, the 3002 holes in my scalp for the transplant don't bother me, but it's the suture in the back of my head. The strip of skin from the donor area was 25 cm long (10 inches) by 1 cm. Two large stitches in a cross-stitch pattern (similar to a baseball glove) are pulling the scalp back together. The local anesthesia must have worn off completely while I was sleeping as well as the Vicodin because it hurt to lay my head down on a pillow. I went ahead and took Vicodin for the pain and Halcion, a sleeping pill. I then went to a recliner chair for the rest of the night. After about a half hour, everything kicked in and I was able to get comfortable by putting a pillow under my chin and leaning my head forward. This kept all pressure off the back of my head. Once the Vicodin took hold, the pain level went to 1 out of 10.

This afternoon I went back to Bosley to get my hair washed and also to get instruction on how to wash my hair. After my hair was washed, they blotted some of the blood clots to clean me up. They told me to mix a tablespoon of Bosley shampoo in a cup of water and pour it over my head gently so as not to dislodge any of the transplants. I have to do this for 2 weeks until the hair is set.

Here are a few pictures after my hair was washed. It's purple but it doesn't look too bad.

While riding in the car to and from Bosley, I was feeling a bit nauseous and very tired. I think I might have been hungry and not realized it. Hopefully this is a one-time event; I'll make sure to eat more regularly while I'm healing.

Today's drug schedule was as follows:
Vicodin: 2:30 AM, 10 AM, 4 PM, 10:30 PM
Halcion: 2:30 AM, 10:30 PM

This time I took the Halcion before going to sleep along with the Vicodin to see I can make it through the night. I'm also sleeping in the recliner chair to start.

Day 0: The Hair Transplant Procedure

I showed up just before 7 AM at the Beverly Hills office. I checked in and signed a form that allows Bosley to take a small, 'fresh scalp' sample for research and I get $100 back. Bosley is currently trying to clone hair so that in the future only a small sample will need to be taken from a person instead of a long strip. I figured that since they were already in there, they could have it.

I was taken back to my room for the day. There was a reclining chair similar to one in a dentist's office. A flat panel TV was right in front of it and 4 microscopes were located around the edge of the room.

I now understand why the costs for this procedure are so high. There was a doctor, David Deutsch, a registered nurse, and 4 medical assistants. The roles are very well defined and they worked together like a well-oiled machine.

To start, I was given Methylprednisolone. A second dose was given at lunch time.

First, Dr. Deutsch came in and sketched a hairline on my head. He also marked the donor area on the back of my head.

A collar was then put on to prevent any fluids/blood from dripping down past my neck.

Next, my hair was tied up in 3 pigtails.

The donor area was trimmed very short.

The RN then started with the local anesthesia. This was the only painful part of the process (5 out of 10). It started with 3 rows of about 10 injections along the donor area to numb the entire area. Some people can tolerate pain but I'm not one of them. I let out a couple of screams in there. Once numb, all was good. The doctor then came in to remove the donor strip.

The 'headband' is there to prevent any fluids/blood from running down into my face. It was there for the entire procedure.

For those of you that have had surgeries under local anesthesia before, this is probably old hat to you. During the removal of the strip, every cut sounded like crunching. It was a bit unnerving but it was over in about 10 minutes. Two sutures, were put in to tie everything up. During this short process, the doctor brought in an iPod and asked what I wanted to listen to. We listened to Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata and Fur Elise and he was done. This picture show everything sewn up. It was very clean.

Now the tedious work started. The medical assistants took the strip of hair and started to separate it under the microscopes. They were sorting it into one hair, 1-2 hair, and 3-4 hair follicles. The low number hairs go along the hairline while the denser follicles go towards the inside. It took several hours to do this separation.

At around 11:30 AM, the RN numbed up my whole head the same way she did the back. Again, it was painful but only for a few minutes.

Now the fun starts. The doctor used an instrument that looks like a miniature spear to place the openings for the new hair. He used a stabbing motion as the assistants counted the number of punctures all the way up to 3000. I asked the doctor what that crunching sound was followed by a solid thunking sound. He said the crunching is the puncturing of the skin and the thunking is the point hitting the skull. The only way I can describe the crunching sound is it sounds the way I would think a termite eating wood would sound under intense amplification. Nobody else could hear it but me.

Once that was over, a movie was put on while the medical assistants proceeded to place the hairs in the newly created slits. They were done with all 3000 a few hours later at 3:30 PM. They were very efficient. The doctor came in occasionally to inspect the work and praised them on the good job they did.

One of the perks for having this done is that I got a great hat out of it. I like to think of it as 10-gallon ball cap. I was told that I must wear a hat for the next 3 months if I am outside more than 15 minutes to avoid freckles at each of the transplant locations.

I left the office at 4 PM and got home at 5:30 PM due to LA rush hour. I was exhausted but still numb so no pain. I took a Vicodin around 6 PM and again around 10 PM before bed. I hope I feel good tomorrow. We'll see...