Pat before and After

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Helping those with hair loss.

My First Hair Transplant Procedure - What it was like

7:00 a.m. Showered and washed the top of my bald head with a wash cloth. Being able to use a wash cloth on my head was one of the very few perks of baldness. I wanted to enjoy it while I still could :-)

 In the near future, hopefully, I'd have to worry about shampooing and styling my new hair. No more wash cloth.

7:15 a.m. Ate a light breakfast and drove to the Shapiro Medical Group clinic.

7:45 a.m. Matt Zupan was at the clinic and ready with a tiny paper cup of liquid valium (to calm and relax me) as I came in. I don't normally drink in the morning but for medicinal purposes I was happy to indulge. Nothing like a little valium to take the edge off things.

8:00 a.m. Dr. Shapiro came by and we reviewed where and how he would place my transplanted hair. We agreed that we would focus on using the estimated 1,400 or 1,500 grafts on the front half of my bald palette. This would establish my hairline and give me the most dramatic initial improvement. After all, most people see your face not the back of your head.

 In later hair transplant procedures, spaced at least 4 months apart to allow for the healing and growth of the newly transplanted hairs, we would also cover the back of my head. I felt relaxed and in good hands.

8:15 a.m. I changed into a medical gown and took a seat in a chair that was very similar to a dentist chair. One of the five medical assistants on hand for my hair transplant session took my blood pressure, while Dr. Shapiro and his staff prepared for the surgery. I'm a bit nervous. But in some ways I'm excited by all the attention my bald head is getting. I joke around with the medical assistants who are very friendly and attentive.

8:20 a.m. Now comes the needle. One of the assistants gives me several injections of anesthesia in the back of my scalp where my donor hair will be taken from. She does a nice job of humoring me while pausing between shots so that each shot became less noticeable as the anesthesia took affect. During this I felt an occasional sharp but tiny pain in my scalp. Another assistant prepared my donor hair area by shaving (only) the hair that would be taken out and used as donor hair.

8:45 a.m. By now the back of my head has no feeling and is numb. It's now time to remove the donor follicles. Dr. Shapiro uses a scalpel to remove a 1/2 inch wide by six inches long section of donor skin from the back of my scalp. During this I could not feel any sensation of this happening at all. He then sutured (stitched) my scalp together. Once again, I could not feel anything.

This suture line is easily covered by the hair around it. And in time it is virtually impossible to detect even when you're combing through your hair looking for it. Even my hair stylist could not find it when she looked for it with a fine comb four months later.

9:00 a.m. The assistants take the strip of donor hair follicles and using stereoscopic microscopes begin separating it into natural groupings of 1,2,3 and 4 hair "all micro follicular unit grafts". Due to the large (mega session) number of small micro grafts Dr. Shapiro uses, it requires several trained assistants to prepare the over 1,400 grafts he will be transplanting on me.

    Micro grafts created from
natural groupings.
One of several medical assistants uses magnification to create 1,2,3 and 4 hair micro grafts in natural groupings.

While the medical assistants are trimming and preparing the grafts, Dr. Shapiro gives me several shots of anesthesia in the front top of my scalp. This is the area where he will be transplanting my hair follicles. These needle shots did give me a few sharp pains, but only temporarily. Once the anesthesia took effect the top of my head was completely numb.

9:30 a.m. Once my scalp was fully anesthetized, Dr. Shapiro begins making micro fine incisions into my scalp. I couldn't feel the incisions at all. Later he will place the hair follicle grafts into these incisions. 

To create hair that grows in a naturally random pattern, he makes the incisions in irregular and varied patterns. He also varies the angle and direction of the incision to determine the direction the hair will grow. 

This is as much an art as a science. And just as a painter uses a brush to create a skillful illusion, Dr. Shapiro uses his scalpel to reproduce the natural appearance of normal hair.

The fineness of the incisions allows Dr. Shapiro to make the incisions closer together, while still minimizing any trauma to the scalp tissue. This enables him to place the grafts closer together, the way they grow naturally.

10:15 a.m. With most of the incisions made, Dr. Shapiro begins placing the the grafts into the incisions in my scalp. With the help of an assistant, he slips the grafts into place gently, one after another.

During this process I felt no pain. I actually enjoyed this process. I spent my time watching a movie and chatting with Dr. Shapiro and the assistants, knowing that I was being transformed from a thinning man into a thickening man.

12:30 p.m. I had a hearty lunch compliments of Dr. Shapiro. Getting a new head of hair really works up an appetite.

3:30 p.m. By late afternoon, all my grafts (1,450) had been successfully transplanted to the top of my head. It was exciting to look in the mirror and see all the hundreds of short hairs (the donor hairs are shaved down to less than a 1/4 of an inch to make them easier to handle) sprouting out from what had been my barren scalp.

3:45 p.m. After surgery Dr. Shapiro sat down with me and reviewed my post operation care. Basically I needed to lay low for a day or two and not touch the grafts. 

I was given pain pills to take if needed (which I never did), an antibiotic to prevent any kind of infection, and some pills to reduce or eliminate any possible swelling of tissue around the area of the scalp with the newly placed grafts. I was also given some ice packs to apply to my forehead to prevent any swelling.

 With Dr. Shapiro's procedure there is no need for bandages. I thanked everyone profusely, put my baseball cap on, and drove home.

4:30 p.m. I made it through rush hour and it felt good to be back home after a full day at the clinic. Naturally I spent the next hour starring in the mirror in amazement. My bald barren wasteland had been transformed into a slightly receded distinguished hairline. Going from baldy to distinguished, now that's a promotion!

7:00 p.m. After a light dinner I was becoming very drowsy. The operation had tired me out so I went to bed early. I slept fairly soundly that evening.

Day After - I woke up feeling slightly sore in the back of my head, but it was minor and I felt no need to take any pain pills. I lounged around the house that day and took it easy. My only real pain came from watching day time television and seeing too many TV ads for truck driving schools and the like. My scalp was numb but in no real pain.

Day Two - Following the doctor's instructions, I was now able to gently wash my hair on the back and sides of my head, being careful not to rub the grafts on top of my head. 

In addition, I was able to carefully rinse the area of my scalp with the transplants using saline solution. This helped dissolve and rinse away some of the tiny scabs surrounding my new transplants. Yet I was still not comfortable going out in public with my scalp exposed. 

In my opinion the tiny scabs, at least on my previously barren scalp, would be noticeable. As a video producer I do a lot of editing. And thanks to the many prominent filmmakers who are thinning and wear baseball caps, it's perfectly fashionable to wear a baseball cap just about any where. So I had no problem going to work and editing wearing my cap.

Day Three - Still no real pain and I haven't touched the pain pills yet. I continued to wear a baseball cap when in public. In my opinion the tiny scabs are noticeable for a good  four or five days.

 I also got some swelling in my forehead. I hadn't been vigilant in applying the ice packs to my forehead since I had seen no swelling during the first couple of days. However, months later when I had my second and third procedures I was much better about applying the ice packs and experienced no swelling. This swelling went away a couple of days later.

Day Five - I could now wash my entire scalp and gently rub the transplanted area. Between my washing and the quick healing of Dr. Shapiro's micro incisions the transplanted area's appearance improved dramatically. I now felt fairly comfortable exposing my scalp without my cap.

I was also beginning to recover more feeling in my scalp. The numbness was gradually going away and I felt a dull ache in my scalp, as if the nerves were reviving.

 Once again, nothing that caused me to grab for my pain pills. I'd describe it as mild discomfort.

Ten days later - I dropped by the clinic and had the stitches removed from the donor area in the back of my head. The stitches came out smoothly and without any pain, using no anesthesia. By now I felt no real discomfort in my scalp. But the back of my scalp did feel tight and slightly taunt.

One Month later - The little hairs in my transplanted grafts began to shed, leaving no visible scaring or any sign that this area of my scalp had ever been transplanted. My scalp looked identical to how it had looked before surgery. 

But not to worry. This shedding is normal. My transplanted follicles were alive and well beneath my skins surface and taking root like growing seedlings. At this point, if I hadn't remembered doing the procedure I wouldn't have known I did it.

Three to four Months later - After a couple of months of waiting my faith was rewarded. Like tiny little sprouts breaking through the soil, my first hairs made their appearance. Halloo they have risen again!

 This was as exciting as the Second Coming. It was the second coming - of my hairs! Talk about the excitement of being a teenager, again! Every new week I sprouted more hair and as each hair grew it got thicker and thicker. Looking in the mirror was never so much fun.

Me four to five months later

Six Months later By now all my transplanted hair was growing and getting thicker every day. This gradual regrowth makes your improvement in appearance so gradual that most people don't notice what's happening. They just think you look younger or better. 

But if you need an excuse you can always pretend that Rogaine actually worked for you (ha, ha). And if they believe that the joke really is in on them.


12 Months later - what you see is what you've got. And you've got it for life!

If you think 'bald is beautiful'...

think again.

Contact me (Pat)or The Shapiro Medical Group

To call the Shapiro Medical Group Directly

Call 1-800-843-1989 or 952-926-0000
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