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May 2004

Keep Your
Hair Forever

His noggin was bare.

He wanted hair.
All he had to do was spend a week in
sunny Florida--and let a doctor cut
2,200 holes in his head.

Y VACATION PLANS were set: a week in a nice hotel in
beautiful Boca Raton. But while other guys would return
from such a trip with golf scorecards and stealth bikini
photos, I'd be coming home with the ultimate souvenir-a
full head of hair. Or the seeds of one, at least. I'd decided that I was done
being bald, so I signed on for a $10,000 procedure called follicular-unit
micrografting, a new surgery that lets you treat your scalp like a wheat
field and grow your own.
My intended crop: hair. Lots of it.
I was nervous, of course. A lot could happen. My seedlings could die
in the field. It could look terrible. It could hurt. (The doctor told me I'd
be awake the whole time.) Nursing these anxieties, I sat in the lobby of
my hotel, jittery, waiting for the Town Car the surgeon sent for me. Then
I ran a hand across my smooth scalp and smiled. It would all be over
soon. My indecent scalp exposure, that is.
Here's what the first day of my vacation itinerary included: After
numbing my skull with lots of anesthetics and some quality drugs (a
great selling point for any surgical procedure), the doctor would peel a
long, thin strip of hairy skin off the back and sides of my scalp-a eel of
flesh with one greasy yellow side and one long, hairy, buzz-cut - side. dripped from speakers. After I was shown to Dr. Alan Bauman's office, I
Medical technicians would then separate every tiny, egg-shaped hair realized that he was Valium in human form-so calming, experienced, and
follicle from this "donor" tissue. Next, the doctor would incise thousands reassuring. Plus, he'd assembled a team of two M.D.'s and four
of 3/16-inch-deep slits in my scalp. Then the surgical team would plant nurse/technicians to work the assembly line of my bead. And this is the
4,800 of my own healthy, productive hair follicles into the open wounds, guy who is a nationally recognized leader in microsurgical hair
one, two, or three at a time. restoration including eyelash transplants. My head is the Capitol dome in
The more I thought about it, the more I thought that sending a driver comparison. How could he miss?
was the least the clinic could do. A cigarette and a blindfold might be Dr. Bauman made sure that I'd adhered to the pre-op regimen of
more like it. abstinence from alcohol and aspirin (blood thinners) and had refrained
The sterling service continued when I arrived in the wood and earth- from strenuous exercise. (Impact workouts can hinder clotting.) Why the
toned lobby of the Bauman Medical Group. A pretty, redheaded nurse precautions? Well, you've heard about how head wounds bleed. In the
brought me water and Valium. (Should I have tipped?) Smooth jazz name of progress, Dr. Bauman was about to inflict thousands of them.
The next step liquid-filled packets. My instructions: Soak the gauze in the solution and
was for me to sit place it on my head for an hour, twice a day. The solution was a hydrating
back with my treatment containing an infusion of copper peptide that would help heal
head in a machine my skin. "Copper is an essential nutrient for healing skin cells," said Dr.
that used tiny, Bauman. "The more you use it, the sooner you'll heal." There was also a
high-pressure set of shampoo and conditioner full of similar compounds. And, best of
water jets-like a all, they gave me a series of little manila pill packets: Percocet and
b r u s h l e s s Motrin (for pain), prednisone (to reduce swelling), and Propecia (to
carwash-to prevent future loss of my untransplanted hair).
cleanse my hair Dr. Bauman nodded at my shredded head and gave me a satisfied grin.
and scalp in an "Six months from now, you won't believe how much hair you have."
antibacterial The next morning, I woke up with spotty smears of blood and other
rinse. It felt nice. effluents on the sheets and pillowcases. (Note to self: Tip maid.) I
So did the gingerly washed and conditioned my hair. The streams from the
Valium. Kickin' showerhead felt like individual flamethrowers, and after I dried off, the
in. Yeah. general, viselike pressure all over my head was worse. But that's what the
I was then Percocet was for.
seated in a I reviewed some notes I'd tapped into my laptop the night before,
surgical lounge chair with a tape of Hannibal playing on the TV across under the influence of my whole prescription cocktail: "My scalp is a
the room. Wait, didn't Anthony Hopkins perform some interesting scalp tight, hard helmet, both numb and prickly at the same time. As I
procedure on Ray Liotta in this one? The drug buzz wouldn't let me care. contemplate the rending of the hairy strip of flesh from the head, it occurs
Dr. Bauman strapped a band around my head. Dozens of tiny needles to me that the appropriate metaphor is 'adult circumcision."'
embedded inside delivered continuous doses of painkillers into my scalp. But in my case, I'll have more to show for this cutting, not less.
I smiled dreamily. "Give me the highest dosage ... and some more Later that day, Dr. Bauman gave me another computerized scalp wash.
Valium, please!" Then I was introduced to a new machine: the Low Level Laser Therapy
I was feeling no pain as the doctors went to work behind me. The Hood. It looked like an old salon hair dryer, but retrofitted by Q: Inside
surgical team's small talk distracted me from the fact that something were rotating red laser projectors that stimulated scalp cells and hastened
major was happening. Then I heard a tearing sound. It was the thin tape healing of the thousands of mosquito-bite scabs.
of skin being peeled off the back of my head for the donor follicles. A daily field trip came onto my vacation schedule: I was to travel
Dr. Bauman immediately went to work suturing the wound. across town to Integrative Therapies, a sports-medicine clinic, where for
Meanwhile, several medical technicians using microscopes and the next 5 days I'd spend an hour a day in a hyperbaric chamber-you
microscalpels extracted and transferred thousands of gelatinous, seed- know, the kind of oxygen tent that Michael Jackson sleeps in. It looked
shaped hair follicles from the fleshy eel to petri dishes. sort of like an inflatable, clear plastic coffin. Once I got inside, they
Now it was time for Dr. Bauman to put the "scalp" in "scalpel." His pressurized it to a few times normal atmospheric pressure and fed in pure
weapon of choice: a shiny, custom-made blade with an angled tip, like a oxygen. The pressure forced oxygen into my lungs and even into my
slim X-acto knife. This is the truly artistic phase of the procedure. With pores, to accelerate healing.
deftness and precision, he made several thousand incisions in a Afterward, I felt pretty good, but there was absolutely no
randomized pattern through the bald areas of my scalp-all the while improvement in my moonwalk.
taking into account the natural direction and density of each follicle as he The rest of my vacation flew by. After 5 days, I was off pain meds
made the cuts. This would determine how natural my new hair would entirely and feeling pretty normal. Dr. Bauman told me that all was well.
look once it sprouted. The implantation scabs would fall off in about a week; the stitches would
My mantra: Relax, he does eyelashes! dissolve soon after that.
After lunch (I recommend the meatball sub), they converged on me He lent me another cool gadget-a LaserComb, which worked like the
once again – a combination of at least two doctors and/or technicians laser helmet I'd been using in his office. "Run it slowly over your entire
filling Dr. Bauman's incisions with my uprooted follicles, which looked scalp for 15 minutes every other day," he said. He also told me that in
like servings of fish-egg sushi. They hovered over me for hours with tiny nine out of 10 cases, the spiky little shoots that I could feel sticking
forceps, plucking, poking, pushing. Slowly, all the sites in my scalp were straight up like a crew cut would fallout, and those roots would go
filled. The drugs continued, and I happily munched Doritos while dormant for a few months, then gradually-yes! -regenerate hair
watching incomprehensible images flicker on the TV screen in front of He shook my hand and said, "This will be the longest 6 months of
me. your life. Be patient and then enjoy your new hair."
I didn't lift a finger, but when it was finished, I was exhausted. One year later: The results are nothing short of miraculous. I've gone
Around 4 in the afternoon, Dr. Bauman did his final examination, from Costanza to Kramer-a Chia Pet on Miracle Gro. Every week that's
using forceps to push back the occasional recalcitrant seedling that had gone by has brought noticeable improvement. It's a pleasure to look in
popped up out of its little furrow. Then it was back to the washing the mirror. My whole life has improved-the person I always felt like on
machine for one last antiseptic bath. the inside is now visible on the outside. And he's one hairy guy. My
My debriefing consisted of an introduction to the special current girlfriend – young, beautiful, fun – is unfazed by it all. She likes
postoperative take-home kit I'd be using for the rest of my vacation. No my full head of hair. Her only response to the work I've had done is,
bandage was placed on my scalp. Instead, I was issued gauze pads and "When do I get my implants?"

State-of-the-Art Hair Restoration for Men & Women

Located in beautiful Boca Raton, Florida
For more information, free consultations and online consultations, contact Dr. Bauman today:
1-877-BAUMAN-9 toll free • 561-394-0024 • •
Alan J. Bauman, M.D.

© 2004 Rodale Inc. All Rights Reserved. Produced under license by Reprint Management Services. ® is a registered trademark of Rodale Inc.
For more information about Men’s Health®, visit
# Reprinted by Reprint Management Services, 717. 399.1900. To request a quote online, visit

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