View Full Version : My Great Repair Experience with Dr. Jerry Cooley

09-09-2011, 01:26 PM
On August 30, 2011, I went through a great repair experience with Dr. Cooley. I will have to change the picture, get some to post, but, the current picture looks nothing like me now. After having surgeries in the early 1990s when I was very young (I'm 42 now), I thought I had no hope. I would always have a pluggy hairline and never see the real "me" in the mirror. I could never eat outside in a cafe without a hat, or feel comfortable at the beach (again, without a hat). Why had I made such a mistake when so young, was a thought that often went through my mind.

After seeing a friend who had a repair by Dr. Vogel in Maryland (excellent work, by the way) and doing a lot of internet research, and meeting with Steve Gillen who was very helpful, I went on a search for the right doctor for me.I ultimately chose Dr. Jerry Cooley, because of the time he spent with me before surgery in a phone consult (as did some other doctors who I would also recommend) as well as emails (as well as his great staff of Lollie and Ailene), patient recommendations, and the fact that I thought his plan was what I felt was the best one for me.The key factors in my choice were that Dr. Cooley said that he felt comfortable doing the repair in one procedure and that Dr. Cooley did not require that I shave my head. I also felt that we had a good rapport and that his plan was the best one for my needs.

I basically had several choices to correct my pluggy hairline. I had had 4 open donor procedures in the past (not strip surgeries) and was very concerned about how many grafts I would have left to have to use. Dr. Cooley recommended a conservative approach to the hairline, did not think comouflage (just implanting new hairs in front of and around the plugs without plug reduction/removal) would be enough, and recommended an aggressive punch removal/reduction of the pluggy grafts and strip surgery all in one procedure. He also said that in his experience that A-Cell would help with the healing of the areas where the front row of plugs and some others where reduced/removed. Another choice recommended was plug removal first with recycling of the removed hairs, then followed by strip surgery. But, I wanted to get the best results in one shot. I did ask Dr. Cooley if he thought I would be better off having plug removal first,then followed by strip surgery, and he said thatin hisviewtwo procedures wasn't necessarygiven my needs.

When I arrived atDr. Cooley'soffice by shuttle on the morning of surgery at 7:00 am after staying at the nearby hotel, we met, went over the plan again, and I totally trusted what he was saying (after I had asked so many questions before, at the end of the day, you have to put your trust in your decision to choose the best doctor for you). When Dr. Cooley asked whether I wanted to be as aggressive and get the best result, even though initially it might not look the best because of the open holes where the plugs would be reduced/removed, I said to go for it. Then, it was into the chair.

This was nothing like the earlier procedures I had and I felt no paid at all the whole time. While I slept some of the time, I know that Dr. Cooley had his team of about eight techs working to get the follicles ready for implantation, and that Dr. Cooley made the incisions for implantation. I believe that Dr. Cooley and two techs did much of the implantation in the recipient area, and in the end it was Dr. Cooley and Brandi, his head tech who were working on my head to finish up. It seemed that Dr. Cooley was in the room the whole time (at least when I was up) and the whole atmosphere was top notch. On a side note, for those other busy guys out there, it was nice not to have to worry about the blackberry. And, when all was said and done, after I think more than 11 hours, I couldn't believe it -- my hair looked pretty good -- there wasn't much redness where the follicular units were implanted, and, thanks to my stretching exercises that I did for 6 weeks before the surgery, and an enzyme that Dr. Cooley uses on the strip, I was able to get over 3,000 grafts (when other doctors had told me my max would be 1,500 to 1,800). And, I might have another 1,500 left if I need another procedure. One thing I'm happy about is some of the open donor scarring in the back of my head was removed by Dr. Cooley's removal of the strip and closure. Dr. Cooley also did not require me to shave my head, which was important to me given my profession.

That night, I went to the hotel, had some dinner, took the valium and demoral, used my airline pillow (I recommend this), and slept fine except when I woke up as directed to use a spray to increase blood flow that Dr. Cooley recommends. The next morning, I went to Dr. Cooley's and got shampooed and I couldn't believe it -- I was finally looking at me again (albeit with smaller holes where the row of plugs in the front had been removed/reduced) and not at some guy with a bunch of plugs in his hairline. I told Dr. Cooley that when the holes healed up, I would even be happy if I just look like this (without the grown in hairs from the transplant), as opposed to seeing that half smiley face in the front of my head with pretty much bare flesh behind it. Dr. Cooley said he had heard that many times before before. My scar (75 stitches or so) also feels relatively fine and Dr. Cooley said it looks good, as did some of my friends who looked at it.

I could not be happier. There are two other HT patients (from older techniques) at my office and both were impressed, as has everyone who has seen how clean the work is. I can only hope that when the time comes, it all grows in as expected. Basically, two days after major HT surgery, I looked like a guy walking around with a slightly wet head -- thanks to the spray and my not coming my hair to not affect the implanted follicles. I of course am not doing any physical exertion or exposing my head to the sun.

It has now been ten days since the surgery and my head does not have a pluggy look at all. It is so nice to be out in the wind, or the rain, and to not worry about how my hair looks (of course, I do wear a hat to protect my head). It looks thin, of course, but to me, just looking natural, means the world. Most of the plug reduction sites in the front have shrunken to very tiny scabs and I expect them to be done within the week.

I owe so much thanks to Dr. Cooley, Brandi, Ailene, Lollie, Stephanie, and everyone else on his team. Their kindness and patience throughout is to me what medicine should be all about. I never felt pushed or that anything was being sold to me, and I know Dr. Cooley was the captain in control of a well-run ship. The whole time, I honestly felt that everyone on his team was looking out for my best interests and were extremely competent in their field.

I know there are multiple approaches to HT repair, but, if you are considering one, now may be the time to consider it given how the technology has changed. And, if you are just considering any type of HT procedure, I highly recommend consulting with Dr. Cooley and his team.

Attached are photos from the day of surgery. The ones with the blue background are before, and the ones with the black background are during/just after. Note the scarred tissue in picture showing where my strip was shaved from the old open donor procedure that I had. Just seeing it makes me so upset that a doctor would have done that to me, but, that is all gone as it was about 95 percent removed when Dr. Cooley took outthe strip (which got us 3300 follicular units, which was way more than other doctors estimated -- thanks I think to my regularscalp stretching exercises that I did extensivelyfor six weeks prior to surgery and an enzyme Dr. Cooley uses to help get more laxity in that area). The scar -- at ten days, is healing nicely and is not noticeable at all due to my hair -- I will take the stitches out at three weeks.

Also note in the other picture how, even with the red dots where the plugs were removed, how much more natural I look than in the before photos.

If anyone has any questions about repairs, please email me. I learned so much and I would be happy to help anyone looking for advice.


09-13-2011, 05:46 PM
Good to hear you are doing well . Again you will look real good once it comes in . Excellent move getting the repair .

11-02-2011, 01:00 PM
Any updated pics? I know it's only been 2 months but I'm sure it looks good now that it's completely healed.

11-15-2011, 08:52 PM
Here are photos taken at three weeks -- things look much better now although still no hair has started growing in (my surgery was on 8/30/11)

11-15-2011, 08:55 PM
Here are photos at 7 weeks. All in all, one has to consider how bad this looked before the surgery. At least now I don't have to worry about blow-drying my hair, or turning my head as I used to have to do when it was a windy day. The plug reduction sites have healed very nicely and I am waiting for the hair to grow in. It has now been 2.5 months since the surgery and I'm looking forward to what the next 4 months will bring.

Feel free to contact me with any questions. Bill