View Full Version : Dr. Charles - Boca Raton - 944 grafts in crown - 12/14/2011

12-15-2011, 11:31 AM
I've posted before (http://www.baldtruthtalk.com/showthread.php?p=17308#post17308), and just wanted to update everyone on my situation. Pics are attached, datestamped so you know the journey prior to this. I'm 33 and struggle with thinning in the crown. My situation has seemingly gotten better over the last 13 months of continually being on Propecia. I feel that the hair loss has stabilized - which is a good feeling...but I am not seeing regrowth and the thin areas still appear quite thin. I've seen Dr. Charles three times over the last eighteen months. I've really appreciated his time and patience as he answered my questions and provided his advice. He didn't rush me into surgery at all...and like other posters have said about their experience with him, he was level-headed and realistic (about expectations).

After much research and many conversations with people, I went under the knife yesterday in his Boca Raton office. First let me say that I know it takes a very long time for some to come to the decision to go for an HT...and I think that's okay...put in the time until you finally feel comfortable.

I don't know how other procedures go...those involving hairlines, those that are more complicated than mine. I am grateful that my case is not as problematic as others feel theirs are - I know I have struggled with the issue very badly and I greatly sympathize with all of you out there who are having to deal with this (awful) curse. I first noticed thinning in December 2008. And struggled for three years while trying various things. Then I decided it was time to do something about it.

Overall, the procedure is not bad at all. I think that if you allow your anxiety to build up and get stressed out about it beforehand and while you're in the surgical chair, it'll be more difficult than if you just relax and remember that you are in great hands. I did have to keep reminding myself to relax (I only took half of the recommended sedative...probably if I would have chosen to take the full dose, I would have been floating through the process). The worst part is the removal of the strip, in which are your follicular units. I'm not naturally squeamish, but if you are, I recommend that you do not think about it or picture it - honestly it grosses me out. Then, while Dr. Charles' technicians are parsing out the individual follicular units and keeping them viable in saline solution, Dr. Charles went to town on my crown area, making hundreds of tiny incisions at certain angles to replicate the natural swirl of hair that should be there. He encouraged me to keep him updated on how I was doing painwise, and when I started to wince and steel my jaw a bit, I let him know and he re-injected the area with additional anethesthic. I recommend not "gutting it out" even if many of us have the tendency to do that...if it's kinda of hurting you, just let him know. The anethesia (Lidocaine) works immediately once injected. Then, the follicular units were placed in their proper spots. I felt a very tiny and barely perceptible pinch with each one. If you are distracted in conversation or watching TV, you wouldn't really notice it. This part takes the longest time - the placement of the follicular units. Thankfully, I had very minimal bleeding because otherwise it slows down the placement of these units a ton. Follow the Doctor's instructions to minimize blood thinning pre-op. And read over Spex's collection of tips from his experiences. I'd say my procedure took 3.75 hours. It honestly went fast. I chatted with the doctor and technicians, and watched a movie (and some SportsCenter).

Dr. Charles proposed 1,000 grafts initially, and actually ended up with 994, which is I think speaks to his experience doing this. There is no wastage. It's down to an exact science. And then the rest of it is art. He called last night to check in, and called me this morning to say that it was 200 ones, 451 twos, and 343 threes (although there probably were some fours in that last grouping). Oh, they took out a 14cm strip. He really comes alongside of you and helps you through this whole process. That has put me at great ease and really raised my confidence about the outcome down the road. I feel great about how the procedure went. Obviously I have no idea what's going to happen with shock loss and this period of waiting for new growth (which as we know is the most difficult). But I really feel great and being an eternal optimist, I am going to just believe for the best. With regard to me physically, I feel very good. I wanted to just try last night without pain medicine, and I don't think I need it. I am probably a 2 on a pain scale of 1-10. Sleeping was quite difficult, though, I tried it in my recliner because I'm super nervous about accidentally rubbing the top of my head and pulling out some follicles. And I am not putting pressure on my sutured strip because I know that will definitely hurt.

That's all I've got - just wanted to share. I'm really happy I took the leap of faith, had it done with Dr. Charles, and that everything went as smoothly as I hoped. If you have any questions, post here or private message me. Otherwise, I'll keep posting pics over the next 6-12 months. I am committed to immersing myself in huge projects so I don't think about my hair loss every day (like I did before surgery). And I will wear a ball cap a lot.