Hair Transplant Info

Procedure 1

Dr. Cooley



Bald Class: Bald Class 3v Email Me

I had my first hair restoration procedure of 2,300 grafts to the hairline and forelock performed June 18, 2004. It bolstered my hairline beautifully. Medication alone would not regrow the hairline back to its' original state. While I opted for a slightly "mature" hairline, I have regained my youthful appearance.

My hair restoration procedure was amazing, to say the least. I was comfortably sedated during the entire procedure and even chatted with the doctor and technicians the entire time (when I wasn't watching movies or even napping).

The recovery process was not difficult and is eased with preparation. I went back to work under a cap three days later with no problems. I avoided heavy lifting for about 8 weeks and kept the recipient and donor areas clean for optimal healing conditions. I truly believe that helped greatly in ensuring a speedy recovery and quick, healthy growth rate.

The physician that perform my hair transplant is Dr. Jerry Cooley of Charlotte, NC. He and his extremely professional staff ensured that I received the best of results. I was the only patient scheduled for surgery that day, as is that clinic's protocol. There truly is a "family feel" to the clinic and the patients' best interests are always kept at the forefront. I cannot say enough about Dr. Cooley and his staff for what they have done for me. I would recommend this clinic to anyone considering this procedure.

My second procedure was performed on February 3rd, 2006.  I had my second procedure performed on February 3rd, 2006.  The objective was to bring the hairline down just a bit and to add some graphs in the upper temporal region for further definition. The graft count ended up being about 1,500 grafts, and the results will no doubt be as beautiful as the first.

First things first, I have to once again crow about how skilled and expert Dr. Cooley and the staff at Carolina Dermatology all are. I am continually impressed at the level of service and dedication that the entire staff exhibits from the initial consultation, through the procedure itself, to the follow-up appointments. There is not a time that I can think of that my comfort and and well-being were not the absolute first priority. That, to me, speaks volumes about their dedication to their craft.

This time around was basically on par with my first procedure. I arrived at the clinic early, at 7, and Dr. Cooley and I went over some last minute issues to ensure that we were "on the same page" about the goals of the procedure. I then took some Valium to relax me and I laid face-down on the chair for the excision. While my donor area was being prepped, I was given an additional sedative intravenously.

I have to admit that I am somewhat of a "lightweight" with sedatives, so I have to apologize in advance that my account will not be absolutely complete (I tend to snooze a good bit during procedures).

Just like last time, all I felt during the excision was a bit of pressure. Dr. Cooley utilized the Trichophytic Closure technique on my donor area this time around. He has been doing this with great results for a little over a year now and judging from what I see so far two weeks out, my case will be no different.

After I was sutured up, I turned over and sat for the incisions to be made. I sat and watched Monty Python and the Holy Grail (yes, I watched the same movie last time too) while Dr. Cooley labored on the recipient area. It wasn't long before I was snoozing again, though.

I was awakened for lunch and sat comfortably and ate. After lunch, I watched another movie while the grafts were placed. Yes, I had yet another nap. What can I say? I told you I was a lightweight.

I woke up (finally!) late in the afternoon and Dr. Cooley and his staff were still working diligently. He joked with me about napping all day. I can't help but to feel a little guilty for sleeping so much while they work so hard, but it REALLY made the day go by FAST. While I felt as if I had been there for about an hour-and-a-half, I had actually been there about 9. Wow.

After Dr. Cooley was finished placing the rest of the grafts, I saw what I thought I never would in a doctor's office: he let his staff go home while he finished cleaning up. While I am sure that they did the majority of it before they left (there certainly aren't any "slackers" there!) I had never seen a physician so willing to do the clean up himself. Again, it is behavior like this that makes me respect the man and the clinic so much.

I was given my post-op instructions (yes, I know them by heart but I still like to hear them) and take-home bag consisting of several surgical caps to sleep in, some valium to help me sleep, antibiotics, and a Graphcyte-like spray that Dr. Cooley gives to all of his patients that he makes himself. While I hear that other clinics pass off the charge of Graftcyte to the patients (around $300) this formula is completely free for patients of Dr. Cooley. It's great stuff too. I was picked up by my girlfriend and rode back to the hotel room. Dr. Cooley had recommended a nearby Italian restaurant that does great take-out and we brought that back to the hotel room.

All in all, an "A+++" experience once again. This clinic really puts the patient first.

Here's a cool new innovation that Dr. Cooley is utilizing: after all of the grafts have been inserted, a large shower cap-like thing is put over the recipient area. Oxygen is then pumped through a tube into the cap essentially permeating the entire recipient area and newly-placed grafts with precious oxygen. He explained that this technique is still in the "theory" stage but he has seen promising results from it thus far.

Another very cool thing: I got to donate a few grafts to Intercytex research for hair culturing. As far as I know, he extends this opportunity to all his patients but I cannot be positive. I am ecstatic to be helping that research any way that I possibly can.

At about two weeks post-op I had my sutures taken out. I was absolutely stunned at the rapid rate that my recipient area healed. There was a bit of a pink hue in the recipient area the first two days post-op, but after that it was back to its natural skin color. I don't know whether that's due to Dr. Cooley and staff's impeccable skill, the spray that I kept on it for two weeks post-op, or the oxygen-permeation method, but my belief is that it is a culmination of all three.

Once again, I am the happiest of patients even at just two months post-op. The recipient area looks absolutely immaculate and there is no indication that there was ever a procedure performed. My donor area feels great and the scar, though still healing, cannot be seen through my hair at all.

Non-Surgical Treatments:

At age 20 I began a medicinal regimen of Propecia and Minoxidil. I utilized these medications for approximately 11 months with surprisingly good results. Lack of education and false bravado from my promising results left me to be lax on the treatments for the next four years. My situation worsened considerably and I slid to a NW4 by the time I was 25.

I renewed my efforts with vigor and enthusiasm. I restarted Propecia and Minoxidil and added 2% Nizoral medicated shampoo to the mix with great success.

I recently substituted the drug Avodart for Propecia.

Propecia, Minoxidil, and Nizoral 2% work. I have had great success with these treatments. I recently switched to Avodart because it is a stronger drug but I strongly encourage anyone considering medication to start with Propecia. It very well can be more than enough for you.

I would highly recommend Propecia under the strict guidance of a physician. Propecia is a powerful medication that can help to stave off future hair loss.

Minoxidil is also a very helpful addition to my regimen. Without it, I do not think that I would have regrown the amount of hair that I have. Diligence is required for Minoxidil, however, in that it must be applied twice daily indefinitely for however long you wish to keep the results that are dependant upon it.

Nizoral 2% has been very helpful at keeping scalp conditions optimal for regrowth. It, also, is a substantial addition to any hair loss medicinal regimen.

My Hair Loss Story

I began to notice my hair loss at the young age of 18. My temples recessed rapidly and my crown began to thin shortly thereafter. By the time I was 22 years old, I was a NW3 on the Norwood scale and by the time I reached 25 I was easily a NW4. I lived under a ball cap night and day.

I am especially sympathetic to the unusually young hair loss sufferer, though I can easily understand how a person of any age can be affected by the condition.

How has my hair loss affected me?

Losing one's hair can leave the person feeling robbed of their possession and extremely self-conscious about their appearance.

There are options available to most. Research is imperative to this task and I am here to help anyone that I can find an adequate solution to their affliction.

What hair loss treatments have worked best for me?

Currently, I use:

  • GSK Avodart - .5 mg per day. Used since November of '04. Some heavy shedding at first, but thankfully passed after the 6 month mark. No side effects noticed as of yet. Works well. Continued thickening of the crown and vertex, though no real benefit seen to the hair line.

  • Minoxidil 5% (generic) - 3 to 4 mL per day. Used regularly since April of '04. I apply applications at least 4 hours apart, but not necessarily 12 hours apart. I use 1 mL per application on the crown for two applications per day. I use 1 mL per application on the hair line for at least 1 and sometimes 2 applications per day. This stuff is greasy and can be a pain. I never apply it if I know I am going to be leaving the house in the next two hours, so I usually confine the applications after I am home for the day. Great benefit seen in the crown and vertex at first, but I believe I am just maintaining now.

  • Nizoral 2% and sometimes 1% if I run out of the 2%. I use it 3x per week and leave it on for 5 minutes at a time. I think it really helps with the "minoxidil itch" and keeps the scalp feeling healthy. Used since April of 04 so it is impossible to know if it has any real regrowth benefits on its own or if regrowth seen since that time was in conjuction with or solely the minoxidil. Will continue using indefinitely.

  • Nioxin Actives Cleanser and Scalp Therapy. In my opinion, one of the best shampoo and conditioners on the market. Used since ~1999. I don't claim to have seen any regrowth or even maintenance, but it works well as a thickening agent and leaves the scalp feeling great and the hair manageable. Will continue to use.

  • Alpecin caffiene shampoo and after shower lotion. Used since ~about a month ago. I ordered this out of curiosity and I am glad that I did. Much too early to tell if it actually has any regrowth properties but on the days I use it, my scalp feels great, my hair feels great, and it has a great smell. I drink a lot of coffee so I don't think the added caffiene gives me any kind of rush but your mileage may vary. The after shower lotion smells great and leaves the hair feeling good too. I will continue to use this for a few months to report back on any (if any) results.

I used Proscar 1.25 mg/day successfully, however I opted to move on to Avodart.  I strongly recommend that anyone considering using an internal DHT inhibitor look to finasteride (Proscar, Propecia, etc.) before using dutasteride (Avodart).

Am I happy with my hair transplant experience and the results?

I am extremely satisfied with the results that I have gotten. I have a hairline that I am proud to show off to the world whereas before I would hide my lack of hair under a cap. I look and, more importantly, feel my age again. I have the confidence to go out and not have to think about my hair anymore. It just is not the stressful issue that it used to be.

What hair loss treatments would I recommend?

I would highly recommend Propecia under the strict guidance of a physician. Propecia is a powerful medication that can help to stave off future hair loss.

Minoxidil is also a very helpful addition to my regimen. Without it, I do not think that I would have regrown the amount of hair that I have. Diligence is required for Minoxidil, however, in that it must be applied twice daily indefinitely for however long you wish to keep the results that are dependant upon it.

Nizoral 2% has been very helpful at keeping scalp conditions optimal for regrowth. It, also, is a substantial addition to any hair loss medicinal regimen.

Surgery is not for everyone but most certainly is a viable and rewarding experience for those that are good candidates. The most important parts of receiving the surgery are knowing what to expect, choosing a great physician, and continuing diligence with a comprehensive medicinal regimen. There is no reason that a good candidate for surgery cannot have great results with a winning game plan!

How has hair restoration surgery changed my life?

As stated before, my confidence has increased ten-fold. Gone are the days of brushing my hair this way or that to cover that ever-growing spot of scalp. The only time I really have to think about it now is while I am taking my medication or applying my minoxidil.

My general advice and suggestions.

The hair loss sufferers' greatest friend is education.  Educate yourself on what works, what doesn't, and on the science behind the mechanisms that are causing you to lose your hair.  Share your experiences and knowledge with others.  There are many "real" success stories out there.  Once you know how to sift through the hair tonics, snake oils, and false claims, you will find that looking at and assessing your situation objectively will bring you so much closer to your goals.