Old Bald Guy
Age: 71 | Bald Class: Email Me
My 1st Hair Transplant (HT) surgery was performed over a 2-day period in Dr. Keene's Tucson office. When more than about 3,000 grafts are required Dr. Keene prefers a 2 day session ("mega-session") back-to-back to minimize fatigue and stress.
My graft count was:
463 - 1's; 1,435 - 2's; 1,538 - 3's; 704 - 4's For a total of 4,140 grafts.
The average hairs per graft was 2.60 for a total number of hairs of 10,763.
From viewing sites like this it appears that 4,000 grafts is the minimum for someone with the amount of hair loss I have to get what I would consider a minimum satisfactory result. I would have preferred more grafts but my donor area was limited to the amount harvested in one HT session. At my age I'm not expecting what someone half my age would want so I had hoped that the results of one "mega-session" would be satisfactory and that another procedure (which I did not want to have) would not be necessary.
Update 5/6/2011: Well, while the first surgery was "satisfactory" as I suspected, for my amount of hair loss, I, felt that I needed additional grafts to "fill in" some areas so I decided to have a second procedure which was done in December 2010. Approximately 2,200 grafts were added in the second HT procedure.
I have had no non-surgical treatments as my balding occurred to the greatest extent before any cosmetically acceptable procedures or medications were available. Dr. Keene prescribed Finasteride that I'm now taking.
My Hair Loss Story
At 23 I started noticing my hairline beginning to recede. It gradually receded back toward the crown over the next 35 years. At about age 58 it had pretty much stabilized (at 5a). I cringe when I see recent photographs of me because of how old I look even though I am in good shape and don't "feel" old. One of these photos was with me and my mother who is 87 years old and I thought, "Oh my God, I look as old as my mother"! Shortly after this I saw a show on TV discussing the FUT method and how good it can look. I knew nothing about the procedure except that HairClub and Bosley performed the procedure. I interviewed them both. I was appalled at the schlocky presentation and selling pressure at the HairClub and walked out. Bosley was much more professional but it was another salesman giving me the spiel with about 10 minutes with the doctor. The doctor looked at my head and told me I would be a candidate for 2,500 grafts. I assumed this meant I would need another surgery with additional grafts at a later date because of my extensive hair loss. I gave Bosley a deposit, scheduled a surgery date and left the country for 5 weeks. When I returned, one week before the scheduled surgery I went to my barber for a trim and told him what I planned on doing. He told me about 3 of his customers who had transplants from Dr. Sharon Keene in Tucson, AZ and that it looked so natural you couldn't tell that they had a transplant. I went home looked up Dr. Keene and called her for an appointment/interview. I cancelled the Bosley surgery (lost my deposit) and met with Dr. Keene. She met with me for over an hour and patiently answered all my questions. She measured my donor area and transplant area and suggested 4,000 +/- grafts in a 2 day mega-session. I went home and did some research after finding sites like this one, and reviewed her credentials, which were impeccable. Dr. Keene's fee was very reasonable and much less than what I would have paid Bosley for fewer grafts with another surgery yet to come.
How has my hair loss affected me?
I have always been very insecure about my hair loss especially now that I'm a "senior" citizen and it makes me look really old. I know my friends and family don't mind and I even tell bald jokes to make it appear it doesn't bother me but it really does.
What hair loss treatments have worked best for me?
I have not tried any other hair loss treatments because I always assumed they were expensive and worthless.
Am I happy with my hair transplant experience and the results?
It's now been a year after my second HT procedure and I'm very pleased. Two procedures and two years is longer than I originally anticipated but the results are worth it and I feel a lot better about my appearance.
What hair loss treatments would I recommend?
This is a very personal decision but I would only do the FUT because it's permanent, doesn't require maintenance and if done correctly doesn't look that I've had anything cosmetically done. That was the most important to me.
How has hair restoration surgery changed my life?
I'm retired so I had the ability to be a recluse for about 6 weeks until I was fully healed and the transplanted hairs had fallen out. I won't hide the fact that I've had a transplant(s) but I don't voluntarily tell anyone either. Most people who haven't seen me in a while do a bit of a double take. Just last night an old (female) friend said she didn't recognize me at first and said I look a lot younger. Has it dramatically changed my life? No, but I sure feel better about the way I look and I'm much less self-conscious about being bald.
My general advice and suggestions.
Do thorough research about the surgeon. Look at a lot of pictures and progress of patients with similar hair issues to yours so that you have a pretty good idea of what to expect but understand that the progress and results are different for everybody. The process requires more "maintenance" and attention than I realized while the hair is growing in but the results are worth it. I'm participating in this site because I found it very helpful for me to be able to preview what other similar patients look like and went through during their procedure. Understand that waiting, especially during the early months post HT will be difficult. It's an expensive proposition, especially when you need over 6,000 grafts, as I did, so plan accordingly. I hope my experience will help others following me.