View Full Version : Post-op and worried
05-12-2011, 10:39 AM
Hey everyone --
After reading these boards for a while, this is my first post.
Well, as my username implies, after thinking about getting a HT for well over decades, I finally did it. I'm now 51 years old, I've been on Rogaine and Propecia for over a decade, and my loss seems to be stabilized in the crown and front hairline areas. I did some research (although I suppose one could always do more), consulted in person with 4 leading surgeons, and I opted for FUT with a surgeon who is very well-respected on this board. The plan was to focus on the crown, and then to reinforce the front hairline if enough grafts could be harvested. 4450 grafts were taken, and so 3600 went into the crown and 850 went into the front hairline. The top and crown of my head were shaved for the procedure.
I had what I suppose are the usual post-op jitters -- wanting to make sure I was protecting my grafts during the critical period, a little startled by the swelling (which has completely subsided), a bit surprised by the extent of tension and numbness in my scalp -- but I was doing okay for the most part until I had my staples removed at 2 weeks post op and then trimmed down the sides of my head a couple of days later. What I revealed was a donor area that seemed very wide and red to me. The doctor's office has been responsive and communicative with me and says that my progress seems normal for this stage. But I guess I'm just wondering if other people had the same experience with such a wide, hairless, red donor area following the procedure. I think I've been a bit surprised by the severity of the donor area and it has me worried.
To this message, I will attach my pre-op pictures, and then I will attach some post-op pictures to the next message.
05-12-2011, 10:45 AM
Here are my pictures at 2.5 weeks post-op. My main concern is the donor area redness and thickness. I think with my naturally thin hair, it would seem that I will have to grow my hair on the sides rather long to conceal the eventual scars.
05-12-2011, 03:47 PM
I guess you do have to grow your hair a bit longer to conceal the scar, at least at this time. I know the scar will get better with time and redness should go away except for the line itself.
I just hope your doctor was a good doctor. Some doctors seem to leave wide scars behind. Good doctors don't. I'm NOT talking about your scar. I'm just saying in general. Good luck.
05-12-2011, 04:21 PM
Thanks for the feedback. I appreciate it, and look forward to the donor strip becoming less obvious. Indeed, my doctor was a good one -- considered on here to be one of the best.
With the top of my head being shaved and with the donor strip clearly visible, I guess I'll be wearing a ballcap for at least 2 or 3 months. That is a lot longer than I anticipated, so it's a bit of a surprise. But it'll be worth it if the end result is good.
05-14-2011, 12:28 AM
You're welcome, man. I know the worrying that goes with the process. Like I said, the redness will definitely go away and only a very fine line will be left. Numbness will last a lot longer but it's not that bad. If your doctor is a good one then I think there's nothing to worry about.
05-14-2011, 02:37 PM
Thanks, man. I appreciate the reassurance. ... I did indeed go to one of the supposed top doctors on here, but boy, the redness and thickness of my donor strip sure is giving me pause. Here are a couple more pictures -- one of each side -- at week 3 post-op. Does this look normal?
05-14-2011, 11:17 PM
Again, I'm no expert or nothing but I've gone through a few HTs already. The difference is I have more density and I have thick black hair. I remember my scar looking the same as yours around the same period after my HT. It was itchy too and not the best feeling when touching around it. Only thing like I said my scar was more concealed because of the nature of my hair. I never paid much attention to it because I knew I would've freaked my self out.
Try to forget about it for a while. There's gonna be this weird feeling for some time that's for sure but hey, it's a wound and it's only been 3 weeks. Even a small deep cut on the finger can take a couple of weeks to heal. Imagine a cut much bigger. And once again, if your HT was done by a good doctor I don't think you need to worry much. You could check with your doctor again after a week or 2 just to make sure.
05-15-2011, 10:47 AM
Thanks again for your feedback. It really helps to hear what you have to say, particularly because you've been through this yourself. I think your advice for me to just try and take my mind off of it for a while and to remember that it's a wound that needs to heal is great advice. I didn't really grasp just how long I'd have to be hiding out (or under a hat) after my procedure, but I'm trying to adjust and settle in for long, isolated waiting period.
The numbness and itchiness don't bother me at all. I can handle that. It's the look of my donor strip that is so unsettling. My native hair is very thin and fine, and so it will be more difficult for me to mask the healing and eventual scar. (You're one of the lucky dogs with thick, dark donor hair, which I wish I had!). .... I was at the gym yesterday -- wearing my hat, of course, and I just kept lookin around at all of the guys with buzzed or short sides, and I can't help wondering how it will ultimately be for me in terms of just how short or long I'll be able to wear my sides because of the scar. I've never been a total buzzer, but being able to get away with 1/2" would be nice. And I'm already thinking about going to Dr. Cole (who was not my strip HT doc) down the road for FUE into the scar, if that would help....
Thanks again, V.O.D.
05-16-2011, 12:39 PM
Having a darker thicker hair no doubt makes it a lot easier to hide the scar not only from others but from yourself. That's why I didn't spend a lot of time looking in the mirror. But yeah, the main concern about an HT isn't the HT itself, but how you're going to hide the scar and the transplanted area. I still don't know how people who have an office job for example can have an HT. There's no way avoiding the use of some kind of a hat for at least a month or so after the HT.
Didn't you bring up the subject of scarring with your doctor ? If he didn't think it was a concern even for someone with a very fine or thin hair then I don't think it's an issue. I've seen -not in person- men with thin hair get HTs and it didn't look like the resulting scar was a problem. If you think about it, a straight fine scar even on bare skin isn't that noticeable after a while. So, having any kind of hair coverage would be a big plus. Won't it ? However, I need to mention that some doctors ARE better than others when closing the wound. I personally had a wider than usual scar by an earlier doctor, but was fixed by my last HT doctor. So, it all depends on the doctor like I said. But yeah, you might have the option of transplanting hair into the scar. I dont know much about that. But hopefully you won't have to do that. Just keep your hair a bit longer. Maybe get a tan -under the sun- to make the scalp a bit darker. I personally wouldn't care too much about the scar unless it looked really bad. I'd just say I had an accident.
I would say, put a hat on for at least a couple more weeks or more. Don't look in the mirror, and just let your body do the work (of healing the wound). Then check and see if it's something that you can live with or not. If transplanting hairs into the scar is an option then no need to worry yourself about something that might actually turn out alright after a proper amount of healing.
05-18-2011, 06:56 AM
Your scar looks very normal for this stage. DHT is correct, the redness should subside, and you should be left with a very thin white line which your hair should cover easily. One reason in may be more visible at this time is becuase when you have an HT the donor hair is trimmed, so if more hair is trimmed than is actually taken, there can be short hair around the donor site which makes it more obvious. Furthermore, it is rare, but for some people the sutures can actually cause a little bit of telogen effluvium in the donor area. That is where the hair goes into a resting phase and then grows back in about three months. Similar to what happens with the actual grafts. I can't say for sure from the pictures if either of these are true for you, but I suspect that in a couple weeks/months, you will barely be able to detect the donor area. Good Luck.