View Full Version : Been saving 6 years for my first HT... but having second thoughts about FUT

07-06-2014, 05:44 PM
New to this site. I have saved six years to have $20k - $30k available to get my first HT later this year. But I'm starting to have some last-minute second thoughts. My story...

I began losing hair quickly around age 21. In 2005, at age 25, I tried Propecia which was a disaster for my libido and I quit after a few months and depressingly resigned myself to becoming bald. By 2008, when I was 28, I was a NW4/NW5. I found a few hairloss websites (hairlosshelp.com comes to mind) and happily learned about FUE/FUT procedures and have been saving ever since. I quickly fell in love with Hasson and Wong's gallery of successful HT patients and have been planning to do a 4000+ graft session once I could save enough money. I also didn't want to do a procedure until I was in my 30s and felt my loss pattern had stabilized and could be artfully enhanced by a skilled surgeon like Dr Hasson. The idea that I would one day be able to afford a HT and again have nice hair helped me cope with the feeling of loss that had previously consumed me throughout my early 20s. Thankfully I also learned about Couvre concealer from hairloss forums and I that bought me a few years of improved appearance and confidence while I waited and saved.

At age 30 I also swallowed my pride and accepted the nasty side effects and got on the finasteride and rogaine foam daily regimen and it helped preserve and perhaps enhance what I have left.

Now that I'm 34, I have the vacation days and cash available to finally make this long dream happen.

I would consider myself a serious and focused candidate. I'm ready to get my first HT on my virgin scalp this November or December. I'm ready to travel anywhere in North America for an onsite consultation and eventual procedure. I'm scheduled to have an in-person consultation with Dr Hasson this summer.

But I'm having second thoughts on the FUT strip procedure. I think Hasson and Wong's published results are incredible looking. But I like to wear my hair short - a #2 or #3 is preferred and I can't stand the sometimes sloppy look of the regrown hair around the area where the donor strip was excised. People on forums seem concerned about "scars" showing when shaved, but rarely mention the actual way the hair appears once fully regrown/recovered in the sides and back of the head around the strip area. I can usually detect it when people around me or on TV have had HT not just by observing their hairlines, but by noticing the bushy hair and sloppy regrowth patterns around the sides and back of their heads. Then I notice the tell-tale thinness in their transplanted areas.

I have full confidence Hasson and Wong will do a good, natural looking job on the transplant area. I'm just not sure the donor area will look natural. I have seen very few Hasson and Wong (or any other FUT doctor, for that matter) patient photos that I couldn't guess the patient had a HT based on the donor area hair length, styling, and characteristics.

I'm also very concerned about the recovery time. I can take up to 3 weeks off, but based on HT photos on forums like this, it seems like FUT takes a good six weeks+ before its not obvious you just had something major done to your head. I work at a job where I wear a suit, appear in public, and have a reputation to protect for the next 20 years. Unfortunately a cosmetic procedure for a man such as a HT would not be good for my reputation. I'm also a red head with pale skin, and my wounds tend to stay pink/red a lot longer than most people.

I'm also concerned about my donor area laxity. I've always been a slim, fit guy, and even though right now I'm the fattest I have ever been in my life, the back of my head is tight (I'm slightly out of shape - about 6ft, 180 lbs instead of my usual 165 lbs and 12% body fat). Even doing the laxity exercises is uncomfortable, and hurts and my skin and strains my elbows. Which is why I'm traveling all the way to Vancouver to do an in-person consult with Dr Hasson and want to get his personal opinion on my laxity and the likely scarring/rehealing outcomes before scheduling a HT.

I'm going to see Dr Hasson with a enthusiastic and fully open mind, but after six years, I'm also starting to wonder if I should consider other options. Namely a FUE option? I find the strip-less procedure to be seductive, due to the quicker recovery time and lack of strip-excision and complications that come along with that. Back in 2008, I didn't see many spectacular outcomes being published by FUE doctors compared to Hasson and Wong and others, but has that changed? It seemed back then, FUE got you less grafts and the transplanted grafts didn't always successfully regrow compared to strip?

I just want to walk into this with all the info I can. The prospect of a HT has been a boon to my self esteem in ways that can scarcely be measured all these years. It helped me look into the mirror by helping me look past what I saw but instead imagining what I would one day have. It helped me maintain eye contact with coworkers and women when their gaze wandered to my hairline, to know that one day my hairline would no longer be an issue. But I don't want have any regrets either and end up with a HT that looks worse than what I have now.

Who are the best FUE docs? How do they compare to Hasson and Wong? What are the current FUE standards, technology, equipment, and procedures I should look for? Do FUE doctors use the "lateral-slit" technique advertised on Hasson and Wong's website to transplant hairs to result in regrowth that looks natural?

One thing that has bugged me over the years: some of the docs on these forums don't have any unhappy patients/photos, or the patients photos suddenly drop off about a month after the HT. I'd like to see the good and the bad, otherwise I'm suspicious. If a clinic does at least one patient a day for years, there should be thousands of happy patients and hundreds of unhappy patients on sites like these. There doesn't seem to be that kind of visibility of negative outcomes, and it makes me wonder if patients are coerced (through discounts/contracts, or gratis touchup procedures with gag orders, or litigation).

I'd like everyone to know, whatever doctor and procedure I choose, I intend to fully document and photograph pre-op and post-op.

I have included some recent photos, two with my hair wet and slicked back to fully reveal the thinness, and two with my hair dried and styled.

07-07-2014, 12:05 AM
Dr. Cole in Atlanta is a good FUE doc. He's done more cases than anyone with respect to that method and just won the Golden Follicle award. He also uses PRP+Acell claiming an average of 50% regeneration of harvested follicles from the donor area (which means he can expand your donor supply in theory). His website is forhair.com.