Mikey’s Hair Transplant – The Diary

Background

Sectioning the transplant area

I have been gradually losing my hair since I was in my late teens. I have just tried to ignore it and put it out of mind. Maybe I am going through a midlife crisis…

Myself and Eugenio decided to try a hair system. You know, those videos that have been flying across socials. It was AMAZING. They were awesome. Their upkeep became taxing however, and we quickly lost our interest in them.

… So I decided I would get a hair transplant.

After a lot of searching and reading, I decided to approach a company called the KSL Clinic and get the ball rolling.

As full disclosure, I am PAYING for this WITH MY OWN MONEY. I have not received any discount for this. I did inform them that I would be covering this on air, on socials and keeping a blog on the website. As a thank you, they have offered me some complimentary PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) therapy to help my transplant. It’s not required as part of the process, but it is said to improve results – even without a transplant apparently!

The procedure was booked for the 25th of May, and now I am slightly anxious… I hope you enjoy my journey and I hope it helps you in yours; either your own, or if you are supporting someone who is going to have one.

 

May 25th - Procedure Day

So today is the day I get the procedure done! I have a mix of anxiety (I really can't stand needles) and excitement to how this will end up! My crown is basically non existent and I'm looking forward to having hair on the top of my head again!

I arrived at KSL Clinics in Maidstone with Eugenio (he is taking videos and photos) and was greeted at the entrance by Michelle. Instantly welcomed and filled in the forms. Made payment, and set up my direct debit - interest free by the way! We were offered a drink and asked what I wanted for lunch, and had a quick chat then relocated up stairs.

I spoke with the surgeon and his technicians and I moved into the room to have my treatment. The nerves are really kicking in now.

I sat down, had a little hair cut, and the surgeon marked where the grafts would be placed. We all agreed and I was taken over to the table and asked to lay face down (I tried not to make an inappropriate joke here). ... Now the bit I am really dreading. The numbing injections.

So I'm not going to lie, this was the most unpleasant part of the entire procedure. Did they hurt? Yes. Did it last long? No, about 5 minutes. Once I was all good and numb, the time come to take the donor hairs from the back of my head. Something I imagine picking micro vegetables in a fancy restaurant might be like. This part took about 2, maybe 2 and a half hours. I tried not to distract the technicians too much with questions. I was asked to reposition myself a few times so they could get better access to parts of my head. This bit did not hurt at all, but the sound of the tool to extract the hairs was a strange experience.

After I was "harvested", I was given a provided lunch with chocolate and full sugar drinks (to replenish your blood sugar levels). Now, time to put the hairs back in my head.

First, the surgeon came in and checked that I was still numb and gave me another round of injections. These are not too bad as the majority of my head was still numb. He then used a tool to carefully make little holes in my head. Recreating my crown, and following the growth directions of the hairs that I did have. This took a little time. I managed to watch an entire film - I think it was Bridesmaids.

Next, the technicians came back in and began to put the hairs back one by one, graft by graft into the holes made by the surgeon. They had the patience of saints. I was lying on my front and my back was starting to hurt, so I had to readjust myself a few times and requested some drinks. Thinking back about it, lying on my front was probably the worst part of this whole thing as my back really started hurting. Putting the hairs back took around 3 hours - but I had a pretty large area to cover - I managed to watch Legally Blonde (I know, shush) and listened to some music.

Once everything was complete, I was given another sugary drink and watched a post op care video outlining what I need to do in the next 2 weeks. After I went back into the surgeon's room to disuss aftercare and was given my care package with some tablets, shampoo, antibiotics, tea tree oil, Savlon and post op care instruction sheets, neck pillow (however I recommend you buy one as this one is a pretty basic blow up one. It should be supportive and comfort is nice).

Once I was all done, I was collected and taken home by car.

Then the anaesthetic wore off... I'm not saying it was agony, but it was most certainly not pleasant. Burning sensation, prickling, very very red. It's expected though, I mean I did have over 5k holes in my head! However an ibuprofen and some co-codamol, 30 minutes and I was ok.

Learning to sleep upright has been a challenge. I was awake most of the night.

Day 1 - Post Op

So, the next morning after the procedure. I'm pretty sore now, time for some painkillers.I have removed the bandages as advised... This isn't pleasant to look at. There is a burning sensation and prickling, but with the painkillers it is manageable.

I had an awful night sleep. Only due to my anxiety of damaging the grafts.

I have started taking my antibiotics (4 a day), and spraying my head every other hour with the saline solution I was given.

Day 2 - Post Op

Continuing to take my antibiotics and spraying my head with saline ever other hour. I keep watching and taking photos.

The pain today is minimal, so much I no longer need the painkillers. I'm also refusing to wear a shirt for the fear that I might knock the grafts. I bought a new neck support pillow for when watching TV as I am falling asleep. I still haven't mastered sleeping upright so I'm quite tired. Tonight, there seems to be hair growth. A sign of things to come?

But look! The redness is starting to go down.

Day 3 - Post Op

So today the pain is basically gone. It's getting quite itchy though and I worry I might scratch my head in my sleep. So I'm going to cut my nails right back. A little swelling today, but not where I thought. My face is fine, but my neck is swollen and has given me ears like an Elf. Galadriel Realness? Caine vibes from Jupiter Ascending?

Still going with my antibiotics and saline spraying. Today I have also started the Savlon application to the donor area; tonight I will apply the Tea Tree oil (provided in my care pack from KSL Clinic)

Day 4 - Post Op

I slept better last night. The addition of the Savlon and the tea tree routine is very much helping the itching. I'm completely off the painkillers and the swelling is going down. However I'm randomly falling asleep due to the bad sleep I have had in the past couple of days.

So not much change today, bar the Elf ears are on their way out and returning to normal as you can see from the photos. I'm not saying I'm disappointed, but eventually I thought they might have been cute.
However, the donor site has started healing well and some of the scabs are falling off themselves.
That white you see is Savlon by the way.

I have found 1 or 2 grafts in my hand however, which is upsetting, but 2 out of 2500... I can't complain.

In the evening, I added some Arnicare to the donor area also, and I have to say the combination of Tea Tree oil and Arnicare has been a winner. Now I just need to mentally tell myself not to touch my head, no matter the itchiness.
I still worry about touching my head in my sleep that I can't control (because I'm asleep), but I am looking at my scalp each morning and I don't see any damage. Cutting my nails right back has helped if I am unconsciously doing this.

Day 5 - Post Op

The little pains in my head are all but gone now. A lot of the scabs are coming off themselves also (from the donor area and the transplant area).

BUT today was my FIRST rinse with lukewarm water and baby shampoo. Genuinely sent shivers through my entire body. It was such a nice feeling and so soothing. All the little bits gathering in my remaining hair (sounds disgusting I know) all came out, and I am on the path of feeling clean!

However, I did notice 2 grafts in the bath after the rinse. I contacted KSL to see if this was normal. It's a little disheartening, but I have to remember... 2 grafts today, 2 the other day - 4 gone in total - out of the 2500 done. I'm sure it's fine.

The itching has reduced a little today actually. I know it's still quite early, but silver linings and all

Day 6 - Post Op

Today has been the first day where I have felt generally normal - on my head I mean. There are a few parts of the donor area that feel "thick" so I have a feeling the scabs are going to fall off soon. I am having moments of itchiness but it's no longer a lot, just moments.

The back of my head is clearing up very nicely today also. I am really shocked at how quickly my hair is growing after it was cut on Saturday.

Last night was also my first night of sleeping flat! I was out like a light, genuinely! I have started using a silk pillow case to ensure that it was soft on the grafts. Even though I am pretty sure they are in now, I am still in that 2 week caution period.

One bit thing about this morning... I woke up with a load of red dots on my pillow this morning. Not bleeding, but the scabs that are ready to come off are clearly just coming off in my sleep. Sound rank, but it is what it is! So the bed has been cleaned thoroughly for this evening.

Day 7 tomorrow, last day of antibiotics!

P.s.. I can't wait until I can have a proper hair cut. This Monk with a quiff thing isn't flattering in the slightest. =)

Day 7 - Post Op

The day I have been looking forward to! Quite a number of things happening today.

1. Last day of Antibiotics
2. Second hair rince (not a full wash, just a rinse like in day 5)
3. ITS DAY 7! Half way though the risk period.

After washing my hair, of course I let I dry naturally. Today, it looks like the scabs on my head are about to fall away. But rather than one by one, it looks like they're all ready to drop. I'm not going to touch them, I will let it happen naturally of course.

Today for me, is a landmark as it's half way through the risk period. I know everyone is different and everyone will react differently, but I have to place trust in what the surgeon and aftercare team at KSL have told me.

Update 1:
The scabs all sort of fell off... almost in one moment. A large chunk fell away and went down the neck of my hoodie (if still not waring clothes I need to pull over my head). Then through the course of the night, more and more came away. This evening, it looks basically clear. However I have noticed one area of my head looks thinner in hair. I wonder if that's the extraction or if the hair still hadn't grown due to the healing.

Update 2:
So as the day has passed, the transplant area seems to be looking bare. More than it was a few days ago.
Is this natural? I have been reading online and apparently it can be. I will keep watching.

Day 8 - Post Op

Today there is not much change you can see. I am certainly less itchy and the scabs are all starting to fall off naturally.
I went into the back garden today (first time actually out the house!) and it felt so strange with the air moving between. the hairs. I have to remind myself though, I haven't had short hair on top for quite some time, so it might be my own hair growing back through I am feeling.

Little bit of aggravation from a nerve behind my ear today. I have had to take some pain killers and it looks a little swollen.

Day 9 - Post Op

I have had to continue taking painkillers for that nerve. It's swollen to the point where I can see it in pictures. It was pretty bad at one point that I just needed to sleep.

However today is another rinse day! It's become a thing to look forward to as more of the scabs come away. Each time it looks better and better.

So I washed my hair, and LOADS of the hairs came out with the little bits of old skin attached. The same as I posted earlier. I know I shouldn't worry, I was told by KSL this is natural and the root of the hair will remain in my scalp. Looking closer at the pictures, I can see more coming out. But as I said, I need to trust this is normal.

I wish I could rub my fingers through the hair while cleaning it, but you can't touch it at all! Looking forward to day 14.

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