View Full Version : New - 29yrold - Male - My story - 1600 grafts to crown, 400 to hairline (w/photos)

06-24-2014, 02:26 PM
Hey Everyone,
New to the forum and figured I'd tell everyone my story. 2009/2010 was the first time I really observed thinning to a point I needed to address it. My father is 65 and has typical male pattern baldness, but his hairline is ok for a person of his age. He's fully bald in the crown area though, and my brother (30yrs old) is pretty thin throughout the top of his head now. My brother thinned earlier and more aggressively than I did, and I realized when I was about 24/25yrs old that I needed to do something before its became "too" obvious. He began thinning around 23/24.

I did the standard research into different options hoping to prevent a HT, but I wasnt ashamed of needing a future HT if necessary. I saw a Dr. in 2010 in Houston who said it wasn't his specialty, but recommended I get on Propecia asap. I didn't heed his warning unfortunately due to the "negative" side effects.

The beginning:

In 2012 my thinning advanced further to a point I could no longer hide it. It was what it was, but still wanted to address it before it got worse and became extremely noticeable. My brother had thinned even more... I knew I was following his footsteps, but was still in better shape than he was at my age.

In April of 2012, I went to see Dr. McGrath in Austin, TX. I heard/read good things about him. On my first consultation, we discussed approx. how many grafts I would need, and he cleared my fear of Propecia. I received an RX for Finasteride, and I began immediately taking 1.1mg per day. I have taken 1.1mg every day since April 2012 without fail.

Finasteride Results:

After about 3 months on Finasteride, I had pretty significant thinning. I cant remember if you call this "shock loss" from finasteride, but I lost a significant amount of hair. People began commenting here and there about my thinning. People would ask my age, and then go wow... and your thinning that much? At that point I was frustrated and knew I'd one day likely proceed with the HT, but I had heard about shock loss from finasteride and knew there was an ugly duckling period. I stuck it out, and by about the 6month mark... I started to see regrowth of what I lost, plus some new hairs. I definitely gained hair to my hairline, and the volume of my hair increased throughout.

I had read that you don't get the final results from finasteride for 2 yrs, so I made myself go the full 2 yrs before re-evaluating a HT. Over the two year period, I feel like the results from finasteride provided more volume while dry; however, while wet... I feel like my hair is thinner. My suggestion would be that although each of my existing hair follicles are thicker, I have overall, less total follicles. So, while dry, they it looks thicker, but once wet down, you can see the area between the follicles.

The review:

In April of 2014, I went in for my 2 yr review with Dr. McGrath. He agreed finasteride had really helped protect what I had, and even agreed I gained volume in areas. Overall -- he explained I would be far more thin had I not been on finasteride, and I could agree seeing how thin my brother is today. I am overall pleased with the results, and it was more than worth the $30 a month. sidenote -- finasteride is the only product I use -- no rogaine, no minoxodril, etc etc.

At this 2 yr visit, I also discussed going through with a HT in approx. 12 months down the road. I wanted to get my financials in order to pay for such an operation. After discussing further, I actually decided to set a date 2 weeks from my 2 year follow-up. There's no time like the present, and I guess I would rather enjoy my hair for longer than wait another year. I can afford it now, so why not do it

The Surgery:

So, off I went. 2 weeks and in for surgery. The surgery itself was fine. The injections hurt...not going to lie, but they were tolerable. I guess the staff said I have a high metabolism because I kept burning through the lidocaine injections, and they kept having to re-inject. short bit of pain to stay numb the rest of the time, so I didn't mind. all in all I prob had 4 separate sets of injections over the 8 hr period, which I guess they tell me is more than normal.

I received 2000 grafts via Strip method (400 to hairline, 1600 to crown) -- I don't know the count of 1, 2, and 3 hair, although they said I had a lot of 2 hair. I'm pretty dense on the sides and back donor region. The Surgery took a full day - 730 am - 430 pm. no major complaints....it was pretty easy for the most part. A little valium to relax, slept for about an hour total, lunch break, and then watched a movie on the back half. valium wore off around 3:30 and I just stuck out the last part of the operation and talked to the staff as they worked on me. Very happy with the staff overall at McGrath Cosmetic.

The Recovery:

Well, here came the hard part -- how to I avoid people for about 10 days. Fortunately, I have a work from home job; however, I do rent rooms in my house out to a few people. I camped out in my room most of the days and worked from my bedroom. Nobody seamed suspicious. When I would go out in the living areas, I wore a hat. one of my roommates took note of this because I never wear hats, and he always saw me with one on. he mentioned something, but I just sort of blew it off and said too lazy to comb my hair before going back to being a recluse.

I can't take Rx pain meds because I'm allergic to them, so I was stuck with Extra Strength Tylenol for the duration.

Days1-3 weren't great - I value my sleep, and sleeping with my head up on a stack of pillows and a towel around my neck for support isn't exactly my idea of great sleep. the pain was tolerable and knocked myself out with some mild sleeping meds. Standard procedure during the days -- cup bath in AM, spray my head every hour, rub some med on the scar, etc etc. Redness, obvious signs of the HT present. Culdesac'ed head from being shaved... hard to hide.

Days 4-6 were better, but I started getting claustrophobic. I'm a very active person and 6 days of nothing, are 6 very long days. I'm used to working out and running every day. I also developed a sharp pain in my back which I attributed to sitting in bed all day. I also itched everywhere... figured I had poison ivy from my dogs touching me maybe.(my roommate took them hiking with him) The pain got worse and spread to my legs, and elsewhere. I thought I pinched my sciatic nerve. Come to find out.... it was way, way worse. I guess from the combination of stress of the procedure, and taking prednisone which weakened my immune system, I came down with SHINGLES...at 29yrs old. And let me tell you... Shingles are the worst thing that can ever happen to a person. Oh ya... Also poison ivy from the dogs (everywhere on my body) For me, who has never been able to take pain meds, I have a pretty high pain tolerance. Nothing I've ever done (separated shoulder, broken hip, broken fingers, broken rib, etc...) has ever even compared to the amount of pain that shingles causes. 3 intense sleepless nights and shrieking, sharp, burning pain is enough to drive someone crazy. It felt like someone was stabbing me with needles and putting matches out on my skin. Once night I slept in the bathtub. I did everything but come to tears from the pain. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. Throw in the discomfort of the HT, and the recovery was not a fun one. I basically ate a bottle of Tylenol and sleeping meds and hoped to pass out before I couldn't take it anymore, and just killed myself instead. it would have been a waste of money on the HT though....so I stuck it out.

Days 7-10, after getting on some Rx meds for the shingles, the shingle pain calmed down after about the 3rd day. I'm so glad I got on those meds fast enough...I almost missed the boat. By this time, I'm hardly realizing any discomfort from the HT. Although -- there is still redness and weird shaved head. I'm still wearing hats, but I'm going out and hanging with the roommates in the common areas. I even went out on the 8th day to a bar for a few hours. I could cover the front up well enough with the hat, that no one saw any redness.

Day 10 itself -- got stitches removed, and took my first real shower. Scrubbed the scabs off and things are starting to look "fairly" normal again. Ive been out in the house without a hat on a few times, but doing my best to not show off my bald spot. Some of transplanted hairs are shedding, but nothing too bad.

Days11-14 - finally started being able to work out again. did a 50% workout on day 1, 75% on day 2, and 100% workout and running on day 3. On the 14th... I'm back into full swing so I'm happy. The shingles are also completely gone now other than some scabs! Very happy about that. Some more shedding, but I'm probably holding onto over 50% at this time. The pain is minimal, but present.... almost like a sunburn. You know its there, but don't really know until you accidentally bump your head or something.

Day 15 - I took a leap of faith and went in for a haircut. I was hoping the donor scar region would have grown out enough to go with my standard 3 buzz on the sides... well, I guess I was a little hopeful. Although, it didn't look "too" bad. sort of looks like a hat-line, but if angled downward, you can see the scar too. there's about a 1" area that is shorter than the rest. I think it will look just fine over time, but for now, its still a little obvious. Back to wearing hats :/

Day 17, I re-shaved the sides and back myself with a size 3 guard. This helped hide the donor hair shortness a little better as it grew a little more. (i'll probably do it again in another day or 2). I think in a few days, the hair from the donor region will be about a 2 or 3 guard length, so I can blend it in without notice. The scar is hard to see unless angled just right. I'm down to about 25% of my transplanted hairs still in place.

Day 18 - is TODAY. I'm very happy I went through with the HT, and I realize my recovery was far harder due to the extra issues of shingles and poison ivy. I'd grade recovery a 5/10 if it was the HT alone. maybe worse if you had an office job or something that you had to go into and be more public. Working from home definitely helped my decision to get it done sooner than later since I wouldn't have to be public much.

Today -- id say about 85% of my hairs have shed out, but I'm not upset. I know its part of the process. Still a slight sunburn type of feeling in my transplanted regions, but less than what it was a few days ago. I realize I have about 7-9months of waiting before I really get to see the results, but I am excited. Its a waiting game now.

I'll post photos below of before and after so you can track my progress along with me.


2010 - December


2012 Apr

(coming soon) -- waiting for Dr. to send them over to me

2014 Apr

(coming soon) -- waiting for Dr. to send them over to me

2014 - 6/6/14 - 1 day post op


2014 - 6/11/14 - Day 11 Post op


2014 - 6/24/14 - Day 18 Post Op

33134331353313633137331383313933140331413314233143 331443313333145

06-28-2014, 10:59 AM
see below before getting on finasteride 1.1 2 years ago


06-28-2014, 11:27 AM
see below


07-05-2014, 06:06 AM
Hey man, good luck on your progress and thanks for sharing you story. I'm due to get mine 3rd week of August. I have 2.5 weeks off work to hibernate before having to face anyone but I have a tonne of projects set up to be working on from home, need to keep the mind busy.

A few points I was alarmed to read based on your story. I've already been sent all the dos and don't from my surgeon and will be reviewing this in person too but they include

- not scrubbing any scabs and picking at them I've been told I'll need to wash gently and when they're ready to come off they'll come off. Scrubbing them can do damage to some of the implanted follicles even in week 2.
- Exercise is off the menu for 3 weeks according to my recovery chart. Then you can begin to slowly introduce exercise again.
- Wearing hats should be avoided in the first 2 weeks to allow the area to breathe and recover. I'm surprised you give a sh!t what your housemates think. I'm more concerned about random people on the street staring than people I know :P

Keep us all posted on your progress, exciting to see things grow out!

07-05-2014, 08:15 AM
Hey Big30 thanks for the reply. I wouldn't normally care what my roommates think...I actually told one of them, and I told my old roommate, hower, one of the roommates is pretty immature so its not worth telling him. just yesterday he wanted to inform me that I as going bald...like I didn't know. He's just kind of dumb and doesn't think before he talks sometimes. I would be concerned what he blabbered to other people is the reason I didn't tell him. The other roommate just recently moved in so I didn't have a lot of trust built up yet. But....I made it through the akward stage without either of the two knowing so, I'm in the clear now.

As for hats, scrubbing, etc. Every Dr. Has a different routine. FUE vs FUT I believe also have slightly diff regimens.

As for hates - so long as they're loose fitting, they're fine. I also only wore it when id go out of my room, which was rare for the first week. And only maybe half the day one day around the 5 day mark. I kept my hair very moist w the copper spray at all times.

Scrubbing - after about the 5th day the hairs are secure. I waited til day 10 to lightly scrub. Know I was not rubbing hard...just breaking loose the scabs. The dr. Informed me at day 10, the only way to loose a graft would be to basically tweeze it out. That the meaty part of the graft is in there solidly. I looked up pics of shedding vs lost graft, and I don't think I "lost" any. Any scrubbing caused some shedding, but that was to be expected

Lastly exercise - exercise after day 10 doesn't affect your receipient area. Again, the follicles are locked in - what the fear about exercise is stretching to the donor region after the stitches are removed. The dr. Said just go 50% day 10(stitch removal), 75% the day after, and I could go 100% 2 days after. Said by day 12, the donor area has strengthened with new "fibers?" or whatever after the stitches were removed. Ill never shave my head entirely....so even if my donor scar stretches even a little, its not the end of the world for me.

All in all though, I'm almost 30 days out....scar looks and feels good. The raised scar bumb is going down every day and redness is leaving. Hair looks like nothing ever happened. Excited to see some results...

07-05-2014, 08:28 AM
Great to hear, and you're right it's nobody's business but your own anyhow so if you don't feel like telling the housemates then good for you. I'm getting FUE done so I won't have strip scar to consider, but still feel resisting the urge to rub scabs will be my biggest challenge. I'll be so keen to push the healing process forward I'll be tempted, but will just put post-its everywhere - fridge, bathroom, TV, headboard ... saying "No touching!!!"

Keep the pics coming along. I'll be sharing my pics here too when I get it done, and planning to also start a blog to help pass the time :)

Good luck with the healing!

07-05-2014, 09:39 AM
Great writeup! Itís really nice to see peopleís journey on the forum. A lot of guys just come here, figure out what to do and then move on. Thanks for taking the time to give back and share!

07-15-2014, 06:59 PM
Just touching base. I'm a little over 5 weeks out. Since my hair cut, I can now walk around without worry regarding the donor region. The hair is still slightly shorter, but barely noticeable. for anyone who was wondering how long it takes to get back to "normal" with your hair -- the 4 week mark is about when you can walk around and not worry about anyone knowing anything. (so long as you didn't shave your head)

08-07-2014, 03:56 PM
2 month follow up -

So, I don't know if this is strange or not, but I've actually seen the first few hair sprouts on my frontal region. maybe about 8 total spots. Possibly hairs that never fell out during the shedding stage, but theyre baby dark hairs. 2 of the areas have double-hairs coming out. Also, the donor scar is drastically less visible. the photos below are from my haircut today. When at normal standing position, the scar is unnoticeable. when I tilt my head down, and the light catches it right, you can see it through the hairs. Will follow up at 3 months. I'll keep everyone posted on my progress.


08-09-2014, 03:31 PM
Hey man, good luck to you with the hair growing out as fast as possible, it all looks good so far. I had a similar surgery back in January and I am interested to see how your crown shapes up compared to mine. I am 11 days away from the 7th month mark and I had about 1542 grafts in the crown. I am a bit worried that it's not going to be enough to give me the coverage in my crown that i want and i also don't know how many doubles, triples etc each graft had. My growth is going pretty slow IMO, I didn't start to see new hair's until the 4th month and those were on my temple. You may end up coming in a lot faster than mine, I'll continue to watch this thread. Here is my post if you want to compare.


08-10-2014, 11:35 AM
thanks for the reply. I've been struggling to find anyone with approx. 1600 grafts in the crown region so I'm definitely interested in watching your progress as well. Everything I've read and seen though -- 7 months is about when it becomes "noticeable" that things are growing in. I think some major changes occur in the 9th month range, and then pretty good idea of final result at 12 months. crown grows in slower also. you still have plenty of time man, don't get frustrated. It looking good for 6 months IMO.

08-11-2014, 06:22 PM
thanks for the reply. I've been struggling to find anyone with approx. 1600 grafts in the crown region so I'm definitely interested in watching your progress as well. Everything I've read and seen though -- 7 months is about when it becomes "noticeable" that things are growing in. I think some major changes occur in the 9th month range, and then pretty good idea of final result at 12 months. crown grows in slower also. you still have plenty of time man, don't get frustrated. It looking good for 6 months IMO.

Yah I have read those things too, I'll post an update in 10 days at my 7th month mark.

09-22-2014, 03:30 PM
Nearing in on 4 months. no progress so far. Just writing to let everyone know i'll continue to do followups. I still expect to see my first decent results around the 7 month mark, so just patiently waiting...

Actually, I should provide an update on the scar. The scar ridge is definitely getting smaller. my girlfriend said it looks much better too. Its still visible if you know what to look for and I tilt my head, but overall, must better. I would expect after 6-8 months it will probably no longer be visible

11-04-2014, 03:27 PM
Hey all -- So I'm about at my 5 month mark. I had my 4 month followup with the surgeon last month who took a new set of photos. The verdict was that I had a bit of shock-loss. Realistically I was probably a bit thinner before going in; however, he said he could see the hair starting to come through the scalp and my results are pretty much about what he expected. I knew most of this ahead of time, so I wasn't worried. I know the 7-9 months tell more of the whole story.

However -- I'm pleased to say that hitting my 5 month mark, I can finally see some results! There are some very thin, "stringy" type hairs. a lot of them are a bit curley-cue. The new hairs don't quite behave like my other hairs yet... but I know that's how it starts. I can see my new hairline starting to form, and I can see some fullness starting to come in.

Photos below -- i'll write again next month35790357913579235793357943579535796

11-04-2014, 09:47 PM
How much did you pay for the transplant?

11-05-2014, 07:48 AM
About $7k

11-24-2014, 10:19 PM
How old are you?

I would like to have a chat with the guy who gave you this surgery.

11-24-2014, 10:31 PM
I'm 29 - its in the subject of the topic.

Are you interested in a consultation? Where are you located out of? I'm in Texas

11-26-2014, 04:31 AM
Srry. . I missed some of your headline.

29 years old. Did your doctor tell you what Norwood category you are when you went in for the consultation?

12-15-2014, 01:31 PM
About a week past my true 6month mark... I've been busy lately so sorry for the late reply. Still seeing some slow progress. more coverage but the new hairs are definitely thin. Its funny seeing a new hair break through every once in a while because its all curled up and doesn't respond to combing until you take a shower and use some product. All in all, I'm pretty happy so far, but still looking forward to a "breakthrough" in coverage. I wish I could fast forward a few months.

I know next month is the supposed big one where you see a pretty large change, so...1 month to go. hopefully have good photos to share next month

01-08-2015, 10:15 AM
Hey All,
approaching my 7 month update -- making a quick post.

All in all -- still happy with results, although I was hoping to be a little "further" in the process. I can absolutely see results, but I was hoping by month 7, I'd be on my way to a true full head of hair. There's definitely some light spots still, and when wet... even more noticeable, but I'm going to keep waiting. theres a lot of thin hairs that haven't fully formed, so I'm really looking forward to seeing the final result over the next 11 months or so....

photos below

02-03-2015, 02:26 PM
373133731137315373128 month update, 1 photo of hair completely wet

I'm not seeing a whole lot of progress from previous month.... I guess there's more fullness, but I still have areas I want to fill in. hopefully soon...

02-03-2015, 04:44 PM
You should try to take all pictures in the same lighting, it's really hard to see your progress.

03-17-2015, 06:17 AM
quick update

I'm over 9 months at this point. Although I do think it looks "pretty good", I'm really hoping I start to see more coverage over the next few months as the hairs mature. I know they say it takes a full 18 to see total growth...

Dry, my hair looks pretty good and healthy with some shaping cream.
Wet, you can definitely see through the thin areas.

I assume at some point in my life, i'll probably need to go back for another dose of maybe 2000 hairs to get the coverage I really want, but I'm hoping I see a bit more progress from my first session