Hair Transplant Journal
Recently a hair transplant patient of Dr. Wasserbauer’s shared his personal journal notes from his hair restoration experience. We hope you find some insight from his experience.
Surgery day: Was there from 8:45 am to about 5 pm. Started with filling out some forms, then went in about 9:15. Sat in a large comfortable chair that can also hold you face down. First, Sara had Jan come in so the hairline could be selected with me. Then Sara took an electric shaver and shaved a strip of hair in back of my head from above the ears. They gave me an antibiotic and two Valium orally. Then they did anesthetic–lots of uncomfortable pricks and some pain. Once the area was numb, she cut out the strip and they started harvesting the hair while Sara cut hundreds of little “slots” in my scalp in the area to be transplanted. Then Sara left and two technicians painstakingly placed the hair grafts, one by one. They said they can do about 100/hour.. By 4 pm or so they had placed all-Sara came back and said it was 2,954 grafts. I found watching a movie too difficult so I simply slept or conversed with the techs during the procedure. At the end, my head was wrapped with gauze over the sutures and then a bandana was temporarily placed over the scalp.. Was sent home with 8 Vicodin and 2 more antibiotic pills to take that night and the next morning.
Day one: Head was sore, Slept upright all night. Took two Vicodin with dinner and slept well until about 3 am. Took two more Vicodin with crackers. Slept until about 11 am. Had a little cereal and the final antibiotic. Began to feel quite nauseous. Went to hair wash appointment (Jan drove) at 1 pm. Gentle wash was only slightly uncomfortable. Sara came by to say hello. She said there was some swelling and that would increase for a few days. They recommended short walks might help reduce the swelling. Stay upright. She also gave me a sub-lingual pill for nausea, which helped. Went home and took two more gentle hair washes with a cup before bed. Took two Tylenol PM and slept until about 7 am.
Day two: Meditated then took gentle shower using the gentle shower spray. Felt good. Ate eggs for breakfast. No painkillers today. Just spraying with saline every hour or so, which relieves some of the pain/burning sensation. Took two Tylenol PM and slept pretty well, although sleeping in a recliner is not as comfortable as a bed!
Day three: Meditated early, then went for a walk. When I put on my jacket to leave, just the stretching to don the jacket caused some pain at the site of the sutures. Walked slowly for a while since they said it might help with the swelling, which is noticeable. There is a bulge at my forehead (very firm) and some sagging, swollen skin above the left eyebrow. Massaging frequently. Tried ice last night but it was not very comfortable or effective. Mediated again, took a shower, at breakfast and took an Aleve. Feeling better after that (and an hour or two).
Day four: Did not sleep well last night. Sleeping in the recliner is getting uncomfortable. In the morning, tried lying down but that was not comfortable either since I quickly developed pain in the area of the sutures. Got up early, took a walk, ate breakfast, took an Alleve. Felt pretty good all day. Was able to catch up with email at home and work and pay the bills. Was careful to not do too much because I still have pain when I bend over. Mild headache all the time. Scabs have formed on each follicle. They are supposed to wash off over the next few days, along with their hair. I am using a cloth cap, which is more comfortable that a baseball cap.
Day five: Slept pretty well in the bed for the first time last night, mostly on my left side, since the right side of my head was still painful. Had applied ayurvedic oil to scalp before bed, which felt good. Showered and washed hair this morning. Still all the hairs seem to be in place in the transplanted area, which is still red and sore and may be swollen a bit. The donor area is also sore. Took a long slow walk to Saul’s for breakfast. Rested the rest of the day. Scabs still evident but both donor and recipient areas seem to be healing as one might expect.
Day six: Sore but feeling better. Realized I still need to take two Aleve tablets every day for pain and swelling. Scabs are able to be rubbed off easier with application of oil such as coconut oil. Took two showers to help.
Day seven: Feeling closer to normal. Scabs still need to be rubbed off, which hurts a bit but makes it feel better once they are rubbed off. The dead skin looks white when it is wet. Not easy to rub off. Being gentle. Oil seems to help. Pain is much less, but still taking Aleve.
Day ten: Stitches removed today. Hurt a bit. Small amount of bleeding.
Days 10-15: Skin continued to slough off the scalp. New hairs starting to eject, along with other hair due to shock. Scalp color gradually returning to normal, but scalp continues to hurt. Random and consistent pain seems to indicate nerve regrowth, but scalp is still numb at area of implants. Rotating the scalp gently reveals pain, especially at front and right middle of scalp. By day 15 the scalp flaking returned in the front especially and some hair is falling out. Other hair seems to have grown–what was 1/8″ now is about 1/4″. Scalp at front still redder than surrounding pate.
Day 21: Numbness, pain, and throbbing are reducing. More feeling in the back of the head and in the front where the transplants were done. Relatively little flaking of skin and scabs. Scar quite visible under the hair. Scalp is less tight in back. Overall, some pain, but looking normal enough (most transplanted hairs have fallen out) that I can go out without a hat. The bulb or root of the transplanted hairs are visible–somewhat like it looks after a close shave.
Day 28: Still having significant numbness, pain, throbbing but it is gradually reducing. The scar area in back is mostly done stabbing and oozing, but not entirely. Still somewhat numb back there, but getting better. The hair follicles have mostly dropped their hairs and are lying dormant–feels like stubble. The transplanted area is still noticeably pinker than the rest of the scalp. Wearing hats most of the time–fortunately it is winter so I am not getting too hot.
Week 6: Numbness decreased noticeably, but still there in front. Pain ditto. Scar still oozes a bit at times, but mostly ok. Had a haircut at 6 weeks, which was fine. Have had a couple of pimples on scalp, but easy to burst. Scalp still a little red. No hair growth showing yet.
Week 8: Numbness reduced. Scalp in back starting to fill in. No noticeable new hair. Head starting to feel almost normal.
Three Months: Scalp discomfort is minimal. Most feeling has returned, but still a little numb at times. The scar area at the rear has not filled in with hair but is inconspicuous as long as the hair is carefully brushed in that area. Some noticeable sprouts of hair in the transplanted area, but the hair is very fine and not yet full enough to be really visible. But promising….
Six Months: Significant hair regrowth. Pretty good coverage but thinner than regular hair. Most all of the nerves have regrown not but the “divot” is still there in the back and on the sides. Have to do a “comb-over” to make things look reasonable. New hair is somewhat “kinky”. Encouraged by the progress. Hoping for more by 12 months when it is supposed to be maximum results. Still some stabbing at small areas in the back from time to time…. Hair cutter says the hair has filled in nicely at the scar in the back.
Nine Months: Kinky hair growing out and becoming more natural and wavy. Several inches long even after being cut several times by the stylists. Pretty good coverage, but not as dense as native hair. Discomfort at scar and implanted areas is gone. Vigorous head massage at India PK was no problem, and in fact, felt quite good. Hair was stable and did not fall out even with the most vigorous massage. Depressed areas at scar are reduced and not very noticeable. Feeling sufficiently enthused to consider more transplants if Doctor recommends when we meet in October.
Twelve Months: Delighted with the results. Lots of people telling me I look younger, although they can’t put their finger on why. The hair growth is so gradual it does not stand out as the cause. I also feel better about myself. Amazing that self-esteem can grow just from something as simple as a hair transplant. My wife and I are so happy with the results that we have scheduled another procedure for next week to fill in the crown area. I know there will be some momentary discomfort (see above) but it will be well worth it. I could not be in better hands than those of Dr. Sara and her staff. Really nice people who are caring and know what they are doing. Many thanks to them!