Transplant Procedure Info
Procedure 2 Rating: Very Good
2084 Grafts by Dr. Bisanga
BaldieTwoBald Class: Email Me Techie Specs
1s x 527
2s x 1974
3s x 1452
4s x 750
Totalling 4703 grafts, 11831 hairs
2.5 average hair per follicle
My Hair Loss StoryBrace yourselves....it's a long post!!
I've been reading this forum for a looong time and after many years of Propecia and minoxidil, I've taken the plunge and started my Hair Transplant Journey.
I've learnt a lot from this forum and would not have had a transplant if it wasn't for all the incredibly useful information on this site and the forum.
The meds worked fine for a few years but I've progressed to a NW6 with nothing on top so it was time to get this party started!
All of you have shared your story with me so it’s time for me to share mine…here we go!
Consultation Day, Brussels - April 2013
Before visiting Dr. Bisanga I had sent some pictures through to one of the advisors. The reply I received was not encouraging. They said Dr Bisanga had looked at the photo and it looked like I had very poor donor area, but he would be open to see me in person to see what can be done. That shocked me a bit since my hair on the sides is very very thick (at least that’s my impression). I do normally keep my hair very short (I am a complete cueball on top after all!) so I was hoping that made it look more sparse than it really was.
Dr Bisanga is a busy man. There was a 2 months waiting list for the consultation!
I arrived in Brussels well ahead of time and made my way to the clinic ((half an hours walk from the train station). I arrived 30 minutes early and the receptionist made me a cup of coffee whilst I waited. They also asked me to fill in the same paperwork I had already sent them using the online form 2 months ago…..I would have thought they kept those? Anyway…..
Unfortunately, the appointment prior to mine was late so my appointment was pushed 20 minutes or so. I was on a tight schedule but in the end I had a good 30 minutes or so with him. As mentioned I had sent pictures earlier and Bisanga said it looked like I had poor donor area.
Luckily…pictures can deceive!! It turns out my donor area was averaging 78 grafts per cm2 and hardly any miniaturization. My hair is also medium coarse which helps immensely. To top it off, I had excellent laxity so he could go for the full 2cm wide strip. He gave me the all clear and estimated around 4800 grafts. This was enough to cover the frontal part of my scalp but I would need another session to fill in the crown and midscalp area.
Day before D-Day
Arrived in Brussels in the afternoon at Catalonia Forum hotel which is situated a convenient 1 minute walk away from the clinic. Had an evening meal at the hotel which I do not recommend to anyone. I had spaghetti Bolognese which tasted like something out of a can and my wife had a chicken burger which tasted more like veal (we think it actually was veal) and it was covered in a green guacamole type substance…awful!
Luckily, I was not in Brussels for a culinary experience and had other things on my mind. In particular an awful headache which prevented me from sleeping. It was probably a nervous headache (if there is such a thing?). I eventually did fall asleep only to be abruptly woken by my 6am alarm clock! I must have gotten no more than 2 broken hours of sleep that night.
Surgery Day (August 2013)
A nice long shower and breakfast in the hotel (which, contrary to the evening meal was very good!). Arrived with my wife a little bit early at the clinic (07:25) and was greeted by Dr Bisanga himself who took me through the initial paperwork (consent form etc..). We then discussed the hairline. I’m a NW6 cueball and I’m not looking for Justin Bieber hair so we agreed upon a relative high hairline which would allow for better coverage. I wanted a decent frontal coverage but also a “scattering” in the back to reduce scalp shine. I will need another transplant (probably FUE) at some stage to fill in the gap and I was always aware that would be the case.
After choosing our lunch I said goodbye to my wife as I was “taken away” to get changed and to have photos taken. 8:10 am I was in the chair. Dr Bisanga returned and drew some lines on my head as well as shaving both the recipient and donor area. Dr Bisanga then left me in great care of his team who took my blood pressure. It was sky high! I was incredibly nervous and my heart was working on overtime. I was given a half a Valium and hooked up to a hear rate monitor whilst they prepared to inject the aesthetics.
Before the first injection my heart rate was a whopping 110! Then the first injection came…hmm, not so bad. Then the second, third, fourth etc. It was not that painful at all. Granted, it’s not pleasant, but noting I couldn't handle. The Valium seemed to kick in as well. My heart rate was sinking to around 80. I don’t know how many injections I got but it was a lot!
8:45 (I think)
Dr Bisanga returned. They showed him my high blood pressure reading and I thought “here we go, they’re gonna say they can’t do it”.
Luckily, that wasn't the case. I was given another Valium and we were ready to go. I had a loooong strip, 32 cm long and 2 cm wide. I think he cut it in 3 sections and I couldn't feel a thing. The worst part of it was when they removed the individual strips. 2 of his staff was pulling my scalp (one up and one down) really hard whilst Dr Bisanga removed the strip. That was slightly uncomfortable, not painful but uncomfortable.
the strip was removed and the donor area was all sutured. It’s an interesting feeling when he pulls the skin tight with the sutures, again, not painful, just a really weird feeling. Dr Bisanga now started to make the graft incisions.
I REALLY REALLY need the toilet!!. I kept it in for a bit and Dr Bisanga said just 5 more minutes but those 5 minutes turned to 10 so I was eventually allowed to go. When I got up I felt really dizzy and I stumbled over the heart monitor cord…hope I didn’t’ break it! I was struggling to walk. Not sure if this was due to the drugs or perhaps the blood loss during the strip removal (I saw the bin, it was full of red pads!). I staggered my way to the bathroom to do my stuff. One of the technicians asked if I was ok since it took me a while (I was only peeing, in case you are wondering!!). You try unzipping whilst slightly dizzy and lightheaded! And before you ask…I decided to sit and pee! It would have been messy otherwise.
Lunch time. My wife came to join me. We had ordered lunch in the morning during the initial consultation and it tasted 10 x better that the hotel restaurant!
Back in the chair…..I was now high as kite and the rest of day flew by. I was offered a selection of movies to watch and chose “Firewall”. Don’t ask me how it ended. I had to turn my head away from the TV the last half hour…oh well!
We’re finally finished! My blood pressure was taken again and it was back to normal. I felt very relaxed but still tired. And my butt hurt like hell! 10 hours in the chair will give anyone butt-ache!
I was given antibiotics, pain killers shampoo and a saline solution along with a post operative care manual.
We ordered room service that night. We both had Pizza as we figured you can’t really go wrong with pizza. It was ok (e.g. edible)
I was told to sleep in a 45 degree angle. There was no way I could get comfortable and I was so scared of knocking the grafts. The anesthetics started to wear out and the donor area hurt like hell! The tension pain was unbearable. I gobbled some painkillers which took the edge of it but there was no way I was going to get a good nights sleep. I perhaps slept for an hour that night.
Day 1 Post-Op
OOOUUUUCH!!!!! Auuu Auu Auu!! I really wish they would have given me a better painkiller!!!
Forget worrying about pain during the surgery, the post op pain is unbelievable. I didn’t know what to do with myself. We went for breakfast but even eating hurt (created movement in the donor area). I gobbled some more painkillers which helped slightly.
I made my way to the clinic where they cleaned my hair. I also met Dr Bisanga again, which was good because I had a couple of questions for him. When I looked at the transplant he had placed a little “island” of grafts near my crown. I couldn't work out why. He said that this was the hair he placed to prevent scalp shine. Along with the existing hair it should blend in and “fall” (like a mini comb-over) over the remaining bald patch. I've attached a close up of that part and it looks quite neat.It kinda swirls around the crown...Looking forward to see how that develops.
My second question was how much I would need to cover the remaining bald patch (midscalp). He reckoned around 2k-2.5k for good density or 1.5k for moderate density. This could be done as FUE.
We said our goodbyes and they ordered us a taxi. The journey home was long and painful. We got the Eurostar back to the UK. It was the most uncomfortable train journey of my life. I also think it made the pain worse since moving all the time kept the blood pumping and this resulted in more pain.
In the evening I relaxed and watched TV spraying my head with saline every 2 hours, but I couldn't really focus on anything. The pain was always there. We watched a comedy show but we had to switch to something else. Laughing is NOT recommended as it makes the pain even worse! My wife went to bed and I decided to sit in the sofa by the TV as it was very comfortable and allowed me to have a 45 degree angle. I just sat there staring at the wall…wallowing in self-pity.
I had already had my allowance of painkillers but I had to take something so I took a couple of paracetamol anyway. In the end I did fall asleep. I woke up a fair few times with the pain, but I just moved my head to get in a better position and I then fell asleep again.
I feel so much better than yesterday! Had cup of tea (decaffeinated!) and some painkillers.
Went to the bathroom to spray my saline solution…
What the F***!! Who’s that in the mirror? My forehead and cheekbones was swollen like a balloon. I looked like a science experiment gone wrong. Luckily I was aware that this would happen, but I was told it would be the 3rd or 4th day and should disappear by day 6.
I've now washed my hear and looking at the recipient area it doesn't look too bad. Minimal scabbing so far. I hope this is a good sign and it doesn't get too bad. Considering the amount of holes I’ve had punched in my head it doesn't look too red either…maybe that will come later.
I grew my hair relatively long (long for me) in order to try and hide the strip scar....suffice to say I failed to grow it long enough. Once the sutures are out I'll have to shave it..looks ridiculous right now.
I've yet to receive the photos taken by BHR but attached are 3 photos taken today, 2 days post surgery.
Hairline, back (swirly thing) and the suture.<
These grafts will fall out in a couple of weeks and then the waiting game will being.
How has my hair loss affected me?