For a provider, nothing gives a better understanding of a procedure than to have it done on themselves. I had experienced nearly all our procedures at krch Aesthetic Medicine to better understand them from a patient perspective. I have done coolsculpting, thread lifts, spider vein treatments, TriBella skin rejuvenation, and more.
The one thing I had not done until October of this year was a hair transplant with our NeoGraft FUE device. My personal hair stylist and our NeoGraft hair line and density specialist, Kathie Downie Bogle, encouraged me to do this. She mentioned at several of my recent haircuts with her, how I would benefit from some greater density at the front of my hairline and how adding some hair to the receding corners of my forehead would make me look younger.
She also asked if I was doing anything to slow or stop hair loss. At our North Central Phoenix clinic, we take a comprehensive approach to hair restoration. Beside transplanting hair or using PRP to re-grow or restore hair, we also prescribe meds to slow or stop the hormone-assault on existing hair follicles, so they are around longer. Well Doctors really are their own worse patients. I had not started these meds myself! So, I scheduled the NeoGraft procedure and started taking the meds.
To harvest the donor follicles from the back of the head, we cut the hair very short, typically to a 0 or 1 blade fade which basically means you leave stubble. A short hair shaft reveals the angle of the follicle under the skin better. This allows the grafter to get the full intact follicle which is very important to its survival. As part of our procedure we include this haircut with Kathie 1-2 days before your procedure so you can have a good donor area and the best hair-style possible.
After completing our first NeoGraft patient of the day, I got on the table for my procedure. Some of the initial injectable anesthesia was felt but it was very tolerable. We use an approach that minimizes discomfort. My donor area was quickly numbed and our lead NeoGrafter C.J. began harvesting.
Well as I mentioned, Doctors are their own worse patients. I had not stopped some of the natural blood thinners I take, omega oils, in time for the procedure. I had only stopped these the day before and know I should have stopped them about a week before. So, the hair follicle harvesting had some extra but still minor bleeding. I did not even know this until I saw my video. I was just happily listening to music not really feeling anything while they were extracting the follicles! So future hair transplant patients, stop your blood thinners well in advance of the procedure! We will advise you on this. If you are on prescription blood thinners, we will work with your prescriber to see if you can be safely weaned for your procedure.
The 1000+ follicle extraction went quickly. Just a few hours while face down on the table. We took a lunch break and had food brought in for the staff and the patient. We do this for all NeoGraft patients. It was nice to know that at any time I could have got up and taken a break.
It was time to place my new hair follicles! The recipient areas were numbed and both NeoGrafters made the scalp ready to receive the follicles. We use 2 NeoGrafters to speed this part along. At this point I am face-up in our big comfortable procedure chair and can watch any of the streaming services for entertainment. The grafters place the follicles in a random pattern and carefully angled to give a very natural, easy to maintain new and dense hairline. Our hair expert, Kathie is there again to make sure the angles and hairline compliment your facial features and make styling easy.
The team was done in less than a couple hours, bandaged my donor area, and sent me home for a restful 48 hours. There are some minor restrictions during the first 48 hours. I knew I would feel more comfortable at home with the head bandage that needs to be in place for 48 hours. I stocked a lot of healthy food for the 2 days. Recovery time is greatly decreased by eating healthy. It helps rebuild the tissue and established the newly placed follicles. Eating healthy also decreases your inflammation so you feel less discomfort. I took a couple Tylenols the first night just to make sure I would sleep comfortably. I really had no need for additional Tylenol after that first night.
The only other challenge was sleeping with 3 pillows to keep my head up away from the pillows. My only other challenge was remembering not to bend over. This increases blood pressure on the follicles, can cut off blood supply, or even push the follicles out. It was also important to not touch the donor or recipient areas. The donor area needs to heal, and the newly placed follicles are very fragile for about 2 weeks. You can’t touch, scratch, or bandage the area where the new follicles are placed. I was amazed how quickly the donor area healed. At 48 hours it was largely recovered!
I train regularly in cycling, spin class, weights, and rowing. It was tough to be idle for the 2 weeks. You are also supposed to stay out of the sun during this time too. Easy exercise is ok, so I walked in the cool temps of early morning Arizona and saw some great sunrises and many of the cool neighborhoods around my home.
After 2 weeks I gradually increased my exercise level. It takes time for new hair to grow in. Hair grows slow. We tell patients about 6 months. Patients who do the PRP with their procedure have faster hair growth and recovery times. It has only been about a month and a half for me. I can feel the new hairs just beginning to come out and can’t wait for them to grow fully out.