Freddy’s Hair Transplant Journey – Part 2: During Treatment

Freddy had his hair transplant done in July at Hair Medical Restoration in Tijuana, Mexico. He told us the beginning of his journey in the first part of his story.

He is now sharing with us how the actual procedure went and how he felt coming home after surgery.

“When I arrived at Real del Rio Hotel, which was both very nice and conveniently located in close proximity to the Medical Hair Restoration, I called the Dr. Jorge Cortez. He asked if I preferred to sit down and discuss my hair transplant that evening or early in the morning. Being a morning person, I chose the latter. Dr. Cortez also discussed what I needed to be aware of prior to the hair transplant. The doctor told me to have a light breakfast, no alcohol in my system and to wear a button up shirt (to avoid contact with the head when removed). I had a difficult time sleeping that evening as a result of my mind racing as I laid in bed: Would the surgery be painful? Would I be satisfied with the results? Were these doctors comparable to the doctors in the United States? I would soon find out!

What headline should I go for?

The start of my procedure started at around 7:00 AM, with Dr. Jimmy Cortez, MD picking me up from my hotel. When I arrived at the Clinic at about 7:30 AM, we went to Dr. Jorge Cortez’ office and discussed my goals and desired outcomes regarding my hair. Both Dr. Jorge and his brother Dr. Jimmy Cortez gave their assessment of what I should have done. It was obvious that both doctors had the expertise and experience to give me the hair procedure that I wanted. Moreover, Dr. Jorge Cortez would be taking an artistic approach to restructuring my hairline, which is exactly what I was looking for. After making many valid points, both doctors came up with two realistic outcomes. I chose to go with their recommendation of having a more natural hairline, instead of filling in my temples. Dr. Jorge Cortez then took a marker a made a drawing of where my new hairline would be.

The start of my procedure

Once the doctors and I decided on how to approach my hairline, I was asked if I wanted my head shaved or left alone. It was recommended that I shave my head which would both speed up the surgery and make it easier for the doctor to see. So I went with Dr. Jorge’s recommendation and let them shave my head. Once my head was shaved, I was taken into the room where my surgery would be performed. The doctor cleaned my scalp and injected a local anesthetic into the donor area (back of my head) of my scalp. The pain of the injections lasted for a few seconds and felt no more painful than getting a flu shot. Once the initial sting was gone, I felt no pain at all. In fact, I felt nothing, my head would be completely numb for the rest of the operation.

I was now ready for the actual surgery which I would divide into two stages: The first, which would take approximately 3 hours, was hair follicle removal from the donor area. The second stage would be the actual implantation of the grafts into the recipient area. This process would take a little longer, about 3-4 hours. So the entire procedure took about 7 and ½ hours.

How my procedure went

For the first 2-3 hours, the hair follicles from my donor area were removed. I could feel the instrument entering my scalp. I also felt a plucking sensation when the follicles were removed, but I felt no pain at all. During these next few hours, I would drift in and out of sleep. Once Dr. Jorge Cortez removed the hair follicles, they were given to his brother Dr. Jimmy Cortez for harvesting. Dr. Jimmy, with the use of a microscope and the assistance of his nurses, harvested the donated hairs into to the 1500 hair grafts needed for my procedure. These hair grafts would later be relocated to my balding recipient area. Once all the hair grafts were ready, it was time to have lunch. The doctors ordered me a pizza, and I took about a half hour break to eat and relax. I was now ready for the second part of the operation.

It was now time to implant the hair grafts into my recipient area. Local anesthetic was injected into the balding recipient area. Next, my follicular unit grafts were placed into the tiny incisions made by Dr. Jorge Cortez. This long process would go on for the next four hours. Dr. Jimmy Cortez put on a movie, but I was too sleepy (from the two muscle relaxers given to me earlier) to watch. Consequently, I would drift in and out of sleep until the all the grafts were implanted and the surgery was complete. The most difficult part of my journey was over!

Right after my procedure

After the completion of my surgery, the doctors took several pictures of the recipient and donor areas of my scalp. They also wrapped a compression bandage around my head which I would leave on for the next 24 hours. Next, the doctors and I had a consultation about the aftercare aspects of my procedure.

The doctors gave me pain killers, antibiotics and their corresponding prescriptions. I was also given advice on how to clean my scalp, along with the shampoo and a saline solution I would be using for the next month. I was also told not to work out, drink alcohol or pick at my scabs during the next few weeks. During the latter part of our consultation, I was given instructions on how to sleep and what clothes to wear. I was told to wear either button up shirts or sweaters with zippers for the next week so I wouldn’t disturb the transplanted hair when removing them. More importantly, I was told that I would have to use a neck pillow so that I would remain on asleep on back so I wouldn’t disturb the hair grafts. The neck pillow was the only item Dr. Jorge Cortez did not provide.

As a result, I would advise you purchase a neck pillow in advance, or at least ask your doctor if he/she would be providing one.

Nevertheless, I ended up purchasing one at a local Walmart in Tijuana for about $5.00 US dollars.

Coming home after surgery

During the next two days, I would relax and prepare mentally for work. My surgery was on a Friday, so I had two complete days to recover before I would go back to work. I was still undecided about being upfront about my hair transplant. Initially, I decided that I would wear a hat and keep my procedure completely private. That quickly changed once I arrived at work. My hair transplant was nothing to be ashamed of, so I told all my coworkers and took off my hat. Comfort and care for my hair grafts were much more important than the secrecy I initially desired.

Anyway, my friends, family and coworkers were all completely supportive of my decision to have a hair transplant.

I was told by one of my coworkers that there are two types of people who have cosmetic surgery: “those who tell the world and those who will try and take it to the grave! Don’t be the latter, OWN IT!” I chose to “own it,” and here I am sharing my story on Youtube and on this post.

The following weekend after my surgery, I had a big birthday party with all my childhood friends and family. With a new hairline and freshly shaved beard, I was a bit apprehensive of how people would react to my new appearance. My anxiety quickly subsided as everyone said that I should keep my new buzz cut hair style. Almost all my friend commented on how my buzz cut, along with a clean shave made me look 10 years younger.

The funny thing is that reason I looked so much younger was that I had a new hairline!!

And not one person new the real reason why!

I would like to give a special thanks Dr. Jorge and Dr. Jimmy Cortez and their team at Hair Medical Restoration in Tijuana, Mexico, and the Shaz and his team at Qunomedical.

I am so excited about the prospect of a new hairline.

My self-esteem and confidence has improved and I will soon look as young as I feel.

And these positive changes would not have happened without your support and guidance. I can not thank you guys enough!

If you read my first two posts, I hope you continue to follow my progress. I will remain committed to keeping you up to date with future updates. Perhaps, by following my progress, you will become one step closer to making the decision to have a full head of hair once again!”

Fred Reilly

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About the author

Coree Howard, Content Writer

Coree has worked in international development, travel, and trained as a Health Coach. First as a Health Manager and now a content writer, her time on the front lines working with patients helped her understand their needs and what information they want when looking for the best healthcare options.

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