Although I wish to remain anonymous, I did feel that it was important for me to tell my story regarding my hair loss as for over 10 years I have been fighting this battle and too well I know what anybody in my situation goes through. Who do you discuss the problem with – it is not easy. For me and like most people my hair is very important and to do what many people do and shave it off and accept the fact that I was losing my hair, was not an option I was willing to take – well not without a fight…..
So about 10 years ago (in my early 30’s) I noticed that my hair was beginning to thin out on top. It seemed to just happen “over-night”, although I know that was not the case, but it did come as a shock. Now there is baldness on both sides of my family so it looked likes there was no way I could avoid it. Shortly after that (as this was now something that was getting on my mind), I spotted adverts in the papers about laser treatment where you sit under what looked like a Hair Salon hood dryer, so I was interested. The sales pitch was exactly what I wanted to here and that a number of these sessions would put a stop to my hair loss problem and promote growth, I signed up for a series of sessions. Well to cut a long story short this was a total waste of time and money. As far as I was concerned this solution does not work and is not a solution for anybody that already has hair loss. If the hair is gone this laser treatment (even if it did work) cannot make hair grow if it does not exist. So as it did not cost a huge amount of money and I convinced myself that I probably did get some benefit from it, I was not too worried about the experience. In saying this I would not recommend this treatment to anybody.
During the next few years my hair thinning problem continued, albeit at a very slow rate and to be honest probably I was the only one that noticed the problem, but it was something that I had become extremely conscience of. I would not go outside the door without first checking to ensure that nothing was visible. In 2010 I started researching on-line into Hair Transplant procedures. This was something that I was originally 100% against, but the more I read about it and all the “spin” that was out there, I decided I was going to do something (when you are desperate you will do anything). At the time I decided against the strip method as it seemed to be very intrusive and I decided to go for FUE. So I went for my consultation and once again the sales pitch was exactly what I wanted to hear. I was told that following the procedure, the very next day in fact I could go back to normal life as if I had nothing done and that in six to twelve months later my problem would be gone (and that’s exactly what I wanted to hear). So I decided to go for it and signed up for the procedure. Well the reality was a million miles from what they had told me. On the day of the procedure (which took place in a reputable clinic in Ireland (not by an Irish company), I first had to shave off my hair (number 1) which was fine, I had no problem with that, however this was still not tight enough and before the procedure they shaved it even tighter in the area where the donor hair was to be extracted. Following the procedure I then had which seemed like a big open wound at the back of my head (probably 5” x 2” in size) and for the next week or more I could not leave my house, as it was totally visible that I had some procedure or that I had a serious head wound. Finally after about 2 weeks the wound had recovered and my hair started to grow and I was able to get back to normal life again. Just as well I had 3 weeks holidays from work, as otherwise I do not know what I would have done. My hair grew back over the next number of months and yes the transplanted hair did grow. After just a few months I was not happy with the coverage that was achieved. It seemed as if they miscalculated the size of the area and ran out of donor hair leaving some of the thinning area with little or no coverage. I did go back for my six moth post consultation and raised this concern, but they tried to convince me that all looked good and would only get better.
Roll on the clock 2 years and my hair thinning problem was worst that ever. When I think about it now I probably had the procedure before I had lost too much hair, but in the next 2 years I lost a significant amount. However if I did not have the procedure when I did, by late 2012 I would have had a large balding area on the top of my head (popes hat etc.). At this stage I did have a serious problem and I was using a product that you shake on your existing hair that makes you look like you have a full head of hair. This does work brilliantly and yes it did give a huge amount of confidence, but it had got to the stage that I could not leave the house without using this product. In addition if my hair was wet, then you could really notice the problem and I was very conscience of it. So I again contacted the company that did my first procedure as I thought that it was pretty much my only option (as good as it gets). I originally asked for my before and after photos etc., so that I could do some comparisons. This was something they were unable to provide (due to some technical issues) and at that stage I lost total confidence in them (if I ever did have confidence in them, but as I said when you are desperate you will do anything). Overall I would not consider this as a total waste of money, as there were some benefits in having the procedure, but the worst thing of it all is that from the beginning you are just told one lie after another.
So I started my research again. Now I had dismissed HRBR previously and more specifically the strip method, but when I did see HRBR on the Late Late Show and had researched it more, I did get over my phobia regarding the strip method. My original fear was that I would have a huge scare on my head and that if I shaved off my hair that it would be noticeable (well after all shaving off my hair was what I was trying to avoid). So I booked a consultation with HRBR and I liked what I heard. I was told that the strip to be removed would actually be a lot of the area that was used as the donor area in the previous procedure which was already badly scarred and in addition I would not even have to shave my head. Now again I still was not sure if I should believe everything that I was told, but for some reason I did. Was it the fact that it was an Irish company based in Ireland. Was it that they appeared on a reputable program like the Late Late Show – probably all of the above. In addition it might have been the fact that the surgeons where actually Irish surgeons with a proven medical track record. But most of all after speaking to Maurice Collins I just knew he was somebody you could completely trust and was just not going to tell you what you wanted to hear. So in early 2013 I had my procedure. The procedure took a full day to complete. I arrived at the clinic early on that morning and did not leave that evening until approx. 19:00. I walked out of the clinic with no bandages, no open wounds and the stiches were hidden under my hair. The morning following the procedure I returned to the clinic for a checkup and immediately I could see the implanted hair. It looked like I had all my hair back again. I travelled home later that morning and for the first 2 days I had to continuously keep spraying the implanted area. That first evening I went into my local shop and the only thing that looked strange was the fact that my hair was wet, other than that there was no way of knowing that I had any procedure what so ever (what a difference from my previous experience). As I had been told, the implanted hair fell out gradually over the next few weeks, and then started growing from the root. I was told it would take 12 – 18 months before the final results would be visible. As the months passed the hair grew and within a short few
months I stopped using the shake on product, as now I no longer needed to do so (still have a few boxes of it and hopefully I will never need to use again). Since the procedure I have been using Regaine and Finasteride tablets as prescribed by HRBR.
I have just had my 18 month post consultation and I am 100% totally satisfied with the results. Looking at the before and 18 month after close up photos side by side is amazing. I am no longer conscience of my hair and honestly I do not think about it from one end of the week to the next. Sometimes I do get the mirror and check just to make sure that it is all still there and no further thinning is occurring, but so far so good. So where from here – I will continue to use the medicines that have been prescribed and return yearly for my annual checkups. By using the medicines hopefully that it will stop any further thinning from taking place, but who knows what the situation will be in say another 10 years. It might well be that I might have to go back for a further procedure, but right now I cannot see that there will be the need for it.
My only regret is that I did not go and speak to HRBR before I had my first procedure. Now it is not cheap and the difference in cost between what I originally paid for my first procedure and this one is significant, but so are the results. It was money well spent and I would spend it again if I had to. At the time of my first procedure I probably might still have taken the same path because of (a) cost (b) the spin I was told. Now looking back, it was not the right option and that is one of the main reasons I am telling my story so others can learn from my experiences and not make the same mistakes.
So what would I recommend to anybody out there with the same problem as I had, well my advice is very simple go speak to HRBR before you do anything else.