I went in for my consultation today. I met with a guy name Anthony Diemont. He was good. A salesman to be sure, but he seemed to know what he was talking about. He had just gotten a procedure done, so his hair was still a bit thin (which I found kind of funny). He filled me in on the whole shootin’ match – soup to nuts, as it were, of the Bosley process.
We talked a bit about why I wanted to do the procedure, what my goals were, etc. I don’t know if there are any wrong answers, or if they would ever say “you shouldn’t get this procedure done,” but he thought my goals made sense. He also thought that I was in good position to get hair restoration, since I’m still in the relatively early stages of hair loss.
As it happens, the hair at the back and sides of a man’s head is genetically programmed to never fall out. Who knew? So what happens is they take a strip of tissue from the back of your head, then suture the skin back together. Then they take the sample tissue, and remove all the hair follicles. Here’s something I didn’t know – hair follicles either sprout one, two, three or four hairs from them. So your head is filled with the four different kinds of follicles. Anyways, they take the follicles and separate them all out. Then the surgeon makes a bunch of tiny incisions on your scalp where your hair is thinning and inserts the follicles one at a time, putting the “one’s” and “two’s” closer to the hairline, and the “three’s” and “four’s” more in the middle of the scalp.
Apparently, there’s a two week period after the surgery where the top of your head – basically all those little incisions – scab over. Anthony showed me pictures – it doesn’t look great. Your head is pretty much covered in these little red dots. He told me that after a couple of weeks, these will go away. I asked if it was o.k. to wear a hat during this time, and he told me it’s fine, but to avoid any tight-fitting or knit hats. He said they would give me a plain white baseball cap to wear when I was done.
Then there’s a three month dormant period where nothing really happens. I guess the follicles are taking root or something. After 3 months, hair starts to grow, and he said it takes another 6 to 9 months for it to grow in fully. So this is not a quick fix. But what I found interesting is that it isn’t plugs. They don’t put strands of hair into your head, they implant follicles. So it seems to basically remove the risk of having ‘doll hair,’ which is a very good thing.
The surgery is an all-day procedure – it starts around 7:30 a.m., and goes until 5 or 5:30 p.m. They give me lunch, and a bunch of movies to watch. They use local anesthetic while it’s happening, so I’ll be awake for the whole thing; then they send you home with some pain killers – apparently the next few days after the surgery can be a little uncomfortable.
Here’s a couple other things I learned today – they separate the balding areas of the scalp into three regions: the ‘front,’ which is actually most of the top of your head; the ‘top,’ which is a small area more or less straight up from your ears; and the ‘back,’ which is what I always thought was the ‘crown’ – the area at the back of the head where a lot of us start first losing our hair (I, on the other hand, started to first lose hair on the ‘front’ and the ‘back’ at the same time. Equal opportunity baldness.)
Also, I found out that I’m a “5-A” in terms of my baldness classification. There’s not much further to go – the only two categories above me are 6 and 7. These describe different patterns and stages of baldness.
The last thing I learned about was the cost – and Bosley ain’t cheap! Essentially, they charge on a ‘per-follicle’ basis, so each follicle they transplant costs around $7. We figured I was going to need around 1800 transplants, so the full cost came close to $12,000.
They have financing which makes it easier. In this kind of thing, my thought is that you get what you pay for - so you might as well go for the best. Of course, it's easy for me to say, since I know that Bosley is going to give me the procedure. But if you're trying to restore your hair, I think it's valid to ask yourself if you really want to go for the 'bargain.'