Below, a hair transplant patient shares his detailed hair restoration surgical account with us. His hair transplant surgeon was Dr. Alan Feller who is a member of the Coalition of Independent Hair Restoration Physicians.
Well, I’ve been and done it – I have gotten a hair transplant! And boy is it strange to see and feel hair where before was barren scalp? That sure makes me feel good.
I flew from the United Kingdom a week last Thursday, 6th September 07 for a strip surgery (Follicular Unit Transplantation) session with Dr Feller to address deep temple recessions and re-define my hairline. I was a hair transplant 'virgin’ prior to this and had the good fortune to find the Hair Transplant Network hair restoration forum and meet with Spex, of whom I can’t speak highly enough, in finding a solution to my hair loss.
I was very nervous about travelling to New York, but in the event, I don’t know what I was worrying about! The journey was straightforward and I navigated my way to Great Neck by public transport without a hitch. The rail system is superb, easy to use and the staff really helpful. The cab drivers take a bit of getting use too, but after a couple of trips, you soon get the hang of it! They seem only to vaguely know where it is you want to go, which is a bit disconcerting, but I always ended up at my destination. I read in the local paper that the cabbies had been on strike for 2 days the week before, over the introduction of sat nav in cabs?
I had a pretty good idea of what to expect on the day from reading the accounts of those who have been through this process before. The advice and support of those who post on the forums has been invaluable in preparing me for what I was putting myself through, but it didn’t stop me stressing as the day drew near.
On Friday, 7th September 07, I arrived at Dr Feller’s office early and accosted him making his way into work from the car park. I introduced myself as his hair transplant patient for the day and we rode the lift to his office with two attractive young ladies. Dr Feller has an easy manner, complementing them both of the smell of their perfume, which got him a good response and a smile. Unfortunately, they got out at level 1, whist we continued to his office suite on the second floor.
Once he had changed into his work clothes, Dr Feller showed me round and settled me in his office to discuss the day ahead. He asked if I had heard the laser comb debate and proceeded to tell me of his plans to seek FDA approval to market a therapeutic ‘thermal hat’ device to combat hair loss (a woolly hat with heat pads) as a tongue-in-cheek response to the absurd claims made by the peddlers of such laser products. He’s got a great sense of humour!
I was very soon at my ease and we were discussing what I hoped to achieve, given my loss pattern (a level 2 on the Norwood Scale) hair characteristics (thick, wavy), available donor hair (very good density and supply) and potential future hair loss (limited due to my age  and the fact that my hair loss has stabilised many years ago). Donor laxity was not an issue (This was my 1st hair transplant surgery and I had been doing the scalp exercises for about the last month).
Dr Feller drew what he considered was an appropriate hairline, approximately 1cm lower down my forehead and calculated that some 2000 follicular unit grafts would be required to give good hair density (Spex had estimated 1800 – 2000, so was spot on). I liked the hairline as it was very natural given my age and gave me back a little bit more than I had lost. I was also keen to close in the temple area and regain the temple points that I had lost, so Dr Feller drew in the temple points, using the fine hairs that remained in this area as a guide. He then drew a line connecting the temple points back to the hair line and estimated that another 500 grafts would be required to fill in these areas, giving a hair graft count of 2500.
I was in two minds about the extent of the temple lines and considered asking for them to be drawn further forward to close in the temples a little more, but on reflection decided that what Dr Feller was proposing retained my characteristic broad forehead as a counter-point to my long and angular face shape. It is a testament to his experience and skill that Dr Feller was able to translate my aspirations so well in the hairline that he proposed.
Having finalised the extent of the hair restoration surgery, I paid my fee and had preoperative photo’s taken, we went though to the main surgery room where I was introduced to the team, who were without exception all welcoming and very reassuring. After I had taken off my shirt and handed a tee shirt to wear, Dr Feller started to mark out the donor area. I could feel him pushing against the scalp, checking the skin laxity and adjusting the line accordingly. Once this was done, he marked out how much of the recipient area he wanted clipping back. The Tech’s then set about taping up my hair and clipped both the donor and recipient area. This was something I was dreading, but fortunately, very little wa