The following hair transplant patient blog was submitted by a former hair transplant patient of Dr. Paul Cotterill.This blog provides a great perspective of what to anticipate before, during and after hair transplant surgery.
Blog Entry One
The reason for my blog, is so others can see what hair transplants are all about, and to show that you don't have to be bald to need or want a transplant. There are lots of options out there.
The reason I have decided to get a transplant, is that I really liked how my hair used to look, but now, it has started thinning in the front. Some people go the other extremes and shave their heads, but I just couldn't bring myself to that. Also I didn't want to be that guy who in 5 years looked like he is doing a comb-over. I'm already camoflaging the thinning area in a couple ways.
1) I do highlights. Highlights may be a bit out of fashion for guys these days, but all my friends say I look odd without them, so I keep them. That and they actually help distract the eye from how thin the hair is. I don't know HOW it works, but whenever my highlights would grow to the point of being cut out, I would notice the thinning of my hair a lot more...so I would get back on the highlights.
2) My hair style - I do the messy hair in front thing, and use a bit of the messy hair to hide the receding corners a bit.
So people have this misconception that you need to be partially bald to get a transplant. Not so, my friend and I are about to have transplants, and we have full heads of hear... but we also have receding hairlines. I'm only 35. I just want to have a few more years of youth left in my hair to enjoy. I find thinning hair makes people look older than they are...so I'm fighting the aging process tooth and nail.
Video of Mark prior to hair transplant surgery discussing why he chose Dr. Cotterill and his reasons for havign hair transplant surgery.
Blog Entry Two
This is my video blog from about 8 hours after my procedure. I'm feeling fine, not really in any significant discomfort. A little tender, but very worth it. I'm really excited to see how well this grows in. My doctor was great, extremely informative and attentive. His website is at http://www.drcotterill.com/ He will eventually have videos of my procedure on his site, so I will like to them once he posts them, so that people following this blog can follow the entire procedure.
Blog Entry Three
Below is a video from the day after my procedure. You will notice that my hair has been washed by Dr. Cotterill, and that it is now hiding the site of the procedure.
Dr. Cotterill was kind enough to send me a photo he took of my head the day after my procedure. As you can see I had a lot of work done... The little dots you see are the little transplanted hairs. They only poke above the surface a little bit, so you can't actually see the hair yet. Once this has grown in it will look way better.
Blog Entry Four
Mark provides a video of how his hair transplant is progressing. The video was taken on the second evening after his hair transplant surgery.
Mark provides a photo of his progression the second day after hair transplant surgery
Blog Entry Five
Mark provides a video overview of some swelling that he experienced a few days after his hair transplant surgery.
Blog Entry Six
Mark provides an update three days after his hair transplant surgery. Any swelling that he has experienced has almost completely disappeared. Many hair transplant patients don't experience any swelling after surgery and those that do, experience very little and such swelling disappears quite quickly.
Blog Entry Seven
So I just realized that I hadn't posted any photos or pictures of the back of my head! I'm sure some people must be wondering what the donor site looks like. So the following picture was taken today (Monday) following my procedure last Thursday. I should point out that the site looked like this from day 1. It was well hidden. I usually wear my hair shorter in the back - about 1/4 inch long. But I decided to let it go to a half inch just to make sure that things would be well hidden when I got the procedure done.
In the photo, my fingers are pointing along a horizontal imaginary line where the stitches are hidden beneath my hair. The doctor uses a process called "Trichophytic closure" which causes hair to actually grow through the scar, making it even less detectable.
Blog Entry Eight
I decided not to do a video entry tonight, so I'm just going to post a photo I took and give a little explanation of what has been going on today.
In the photo above, you can see that my healing process is going very well. If you look closely at my temple corners you will see very short hairs starting to poke through. I almost would swear that they've grown since they've been implanted...but it may be more likely that the swelling just went down, OR that the scabs are just falling away more, thus exposing more hair. As you can see there are only a couple of red clots left, the rest have turned white from all the soaking, and are starting to drop away in the bath.
I have been soaking my head as perscribed in a tub 2 times per day. I have been adding Epsom salts to the bath each time, and this evening I decided to squeeze two vitamin E capsules into the water, just to help the skin retain some moisture - as 2 baths a day and washing hair twice a day dries you out a bit.
My swelling has subsided almost entirely, so I'm quite happy about that - since it's been less than 4.5 days since I got home from the procedure (Thursday 1pm, to Monday 8pm).
I will be working from home again tomorrow. Luckily I work in I.T. for a financial institution, so I'm all set up with VPN and can do all my work from home. However, I'm fairly confident I could go to the office tomorrow, and nobody would be the wiser.
I enjoy lightly touching the top of my head... It's prickly like I had a really short buzz cut. The odd sensation is that the scalp in the area of the transplant has lost some sensitivity, which is normal. It's due to nerve endings all being disturbed, so it feels a little like you're touching somebody else's head. My doctor has told me that this just takes a little time to return to normal.
To combat the swelling over the last couple days, I do the following:
Right after my bath, while my circulation is still going, I do a cold compress on my forehead, while laying at an incline of 45 degrees to help take the swelling away. For the past couple days I was religiously applying ice every hour for 10 minutes.
Starting today I added a few things to my routine (and these were not the advice from my doctor, but rather something I decided to do)
1) I began alternating a cold compress with a warm compress, to keep the swelling down and the circulation going. I figure the swelling is mostly gone, so this will just speed the last bit away.
2) I drank a lot of green tea today too as a diuretic, just to flush out my kidneys as much as I could and help the get fluids from the swelling out of me. This again - my idea, not the doctors. I figure it couldn't hurt so why not.
3) I ate a couple cucumbers and some asparagus today for the sulphur and asparagine. Helps to stimulate the kidneys. Can you tell I've been doing a lot of Googling lately? I never usually go for weird medical ideas, but I like both cucumbers and asparagus, so I decided - hey why not, they're good for you anyway.
Blog Entry Eight
Mark provides additional photos of his donor area where the strip of hair was removed from.
This shot is a better example of how well hidden the donor site is. My fingers tips are actually resting on the corners of the suture line. So as you can see, it's quite a long elliptical slice they take from the donor spot. But it's a thin one.
Directly between the two green lines is where the sutures are. You can see that it lifts the hair ever so slightly. In fact at first I thought it was a line from where my hair cut used to taper, as I haven't had it cut in a while. So it confused even me. It wasn't until I took a photo with the hair a little wetted in back and lifted the hair that I saw the line dips a little due to the angle I took it and that the slight ridge of hair was in fact due to the sutures ever-so-slightly lifting the hair that was flowing over top of it.
But I am really happy with how unnoticable it is.
Blog Entry Nine
Mark has his stitches removed
This morning on my way to work I stopped in for my 7 day appointment, to have my stitches removed. Luckily Dr. Cotterill's office is right along the same Bloor St. (Toronto) subway-line as my work, so i just had to hop off on my way into work, and snip-snip-snip, and hop back on. Only took about 10 minutes total.
It has now been a couple hours since I had my stitches out, and I've realized that the bit of discomfort I experienced on the back of my head, was actually becaue the stitches were in! As soon as they were out, my head felt... practically normal. I don't feel anything when I press on the back of my head where the stitches were! I've never had stitches before, so I guess it's because they pull slightly when your skin moves around on your head.
Dr. Cotterill examined the suture line, and said that it was looking "excellent" and that I took great care of the area, so my scar will eventually be virtually undetectable, a very slight pencil line. I'm really glad to hear that. I was very religious about following the instructions on soaking the area and massaging it. I was also using vitamin E on the suture line for the last three days, to help it along.
I thought getting a hair transplant was going to be a bigger deal than it is turning out to be. I was pretty much fine after 4.5 days. On the 6th day I was back in the office, and my natural hair was hiding the transplanted area just fine. Today (7th day) and I'm almost 100% back to normal.
I'm almost saddened as it means my blog is going to go stale for a little while... The only thing I have to do now is sit back and watch it grow over the next several months. Zzzzz...
Blog Entry Ten
Mark provides an update three months after his hair transplant surgery
Blog Entry Eleven
Mark provides an update at the five month mark after his hair transplant surgery.
Blog Entry Twelve
Seven months after my hair transplant, this shows the scar from the donor area.
The technique for making the scar nearly invisible is called trycophitic closure. Dr. Cotterill did a really good job, as you can see in the video below, my scar is hardly visible.
Keep up to date with Mark's latest posts by visiting his personal blog