View Full Version : What I wished I knew before my FUE one year ago

11-05-2015, 01:38 PM
Just thought I should share my story with some info I would have been quite happy to have before my FUE nearly one year ago. :)

My whole life I had widows peak, and it has always bothered me. My first gf I had when I was 19 even pointed out that I will surely turn bald later, when playing with my hair.

Last year, at age 43 I, was not bald, but my widows peaks receeded so much I decided to finally do something about it. After loads of research, I found that FUE seemed to be the best alternative for me. And many recommended me to try a clinic in Brussels, so I did. I connected to them and got an online consultation where I sent various pictures of my hair. They recommended me a 2500 FUE, which I accepted.

First off, I realized that the best clinics are very busy. I had to wait several months for a chance to visit them, and it would be even longer unless some other patient cancelled. So, lesson one was that choosing a high price clinic does not necessarily mean you will get any VIP treatment, and you have to accept whatever schedule they have available. There are relatively few doctors with a solid reputation out there, and they are all booked from there to the moon.

That brings me to the second point, which is that even though you pay for the top class doctor, it does not necessarily mean he will do much of the work while you are there. In my case, he punched out the grafts, but everything else was done by his assistents. I expected he would also put the grafts back in, as the orientation is very important for a natural look. But, two separate assistents did that whole procedure.

A negative aspect of the visit is how you stop being a person once you enter the hospital, and turn into some kind of object. The first thing they did was tell me they needed to take photos of my head, to be used for their marketing purposes. Well, I wish they would inform me of this in advance. Not just throw it in there in the last minute, when it in all practical sense was too late to pull out. It is not a big deal, but a bit rude when you come to the hospital a bit anxious about the coming surgery, just throw you in front of the cameras as the first thing on their agenda. I realized this industry is most of all about one thing, making money. And the more subjects they have on film, the more successful cases they can show off.

Next they asked me if I wanted to shave all bald, or just the donor area. Since I just wanted to cover the widows peak area, I decided it is better to just shave the donor area and as little as possible in the receipient area. So that my procedure would not be obvious to others later. What I found next is that they did not hire hairdressers for this job, but rather sheep farmers.

I was hoping to come out looking somewhat normal with a donor area partly covered by surrounding hair, but they just mechanically got rid of the hair, without any thoughts of how it would look. My hairdresser took a look at this after the procedure, as I wanted to tidy it up as best as possible. And he was really shocked at how little effort they put in to make it look natural. Apparently it would be quite easy to do that, and still get good access to the donor hair. Especially by considering details like transitions from the donor area to the ushaved hair.

Luckily it was winter time, so I covered my head with a bandana the first days, then later a hoodie. Keeping indoors most of the time, until a few weeks later when I finally looked presentable. I am priveliged as I can work from home, but if not, I think it would be very challenging to hide the procedure from anyone around you.

Also note that you cannot color your hair the first couple of months. So, if you have gray hairs, they will be very visible as your hair is growing out from scratch again.

Further more, I found that the recipient area skin was really red for a long time. Even six months later, there's a visible red ridge in the area where the new hairs were implanted. In my case not a big issue as I did not shave all the way and have dark hair covering the receipient area, but if you have a fair skin complexion or blonde hair and keep it shaven for the procedure, it might be something to consider.

All in all, you have to be prepared to look strange for a while before you can look better than before. :)

Now, back to the procedure. My next surprise was that the procedure is quite painful. Ironically injecting the pain medication into the scalp was the worst part of the surgery, as the skin on your head has a lot of nerves. It did not last for many minutes, but it is one of those things I would be happy to know in advance, to be mentally prepared for it. However, in my case, I had no problem with pain after the procedure and could sleep well without any medication. I suppose this is individual.

From then on, it is all about being patient. You can watch TV while listening to the assistents talk about their own stuff in their local language, while working on you. I understand they may be bored doing this kind of tedious work every single day, but again, you really felt like an object which they need to do some mechanical procedure on. Even laughing loud to each others while talking about something, at the same time stabbing me with syringes. It is something about having people laugh while causing you pain that makes it even less comfortable. Zero empathy or consideration. I do not expect this to be the case in every clinic though, but it is my experience. Do not expect too much service.

I had to repeat this procedure the next day to finish everything. The second day was much easier as I was already prepared for what would happen. Then, I was shipped home with some reading material about how to treat the wounds and a bandana to cover the procedure. They were thougthful enough to give me a note for the airport security explaining that I have done surgery and it is not convenient to remove the bandana for inspection.

You get some medicine, salt water, special shampoo and other things to ensure there will be no infections or problems. I found it quite easy to deal with this, as you can embed it into the daily shower routine.

From then on, it is all about being patient. Waiting for the hair in the donor area to grow back so you wont look weird. Waiting for swelling to be reduced. It will actually take one to two months before you are really presentable. And by then, all your new hair will have fallen out. So, it is basically a long slide downhill for a while. It is an investment of money, time and temporary loss of presentable looks.

But, then, on the bright side. After about five months, the new hair started to grow. Now, 10 months later I never think of my widows peak anymore. The new hair looks thinner than the surrounding hair, as it is spaced further apart, but looks natural, strong and the results are finally good. Last night my new gf was running my hair through her fingers and complimenting me on my thick hair. Sounds like some kind of cheesy HT commercial, but it actually happened, and it inspired me to write these words since I actually forgot all about it now. :)

Would I have done it if I know what I know now? Yes, definitively, but I would have been better prepared for the challenges and negative aspects of it all.

11-05-2015, 01:53 PM
great post, thanks for sharing!

Rashid Rashid, MD, PhD
11-06-2015, 11:47 AM
"put the grafts back in, as the orientation is very important for a natural look. But, two separate assistants did that whole procedure." This is a common misconception. Putting the grafts physically into the whole does not determine the angle/spacing/growth pattern. All that is determined by the site making. Placing the grafts in the actual hole is done by technicians and is a critical step i.e bad techs can result in bad results. BUT it is not the angle/orientation of growth that is determined by the placement.

As strange as it sounds ,the hairs just grow and adjust to the pattern of the sites/holes made by the doctor.