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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. Medical technicians would then separate every tiny, egg-shaped hair follicle from this "donor" tissue. Next, the doctor would incise thousands of 3/16-inch-deep slits in my scalp. Then the surgical team would plant 4,800 of my own healthy, productive hair follicles into the open wounds, one, two, or three at a time. The more I thought about it, the more I thought that sending a driver was the least the clinic could do. A cigarette and a blindfold might be more like it. The sterling service continued when I arrived in the wood and earthtoned lobby of the Bauman Medical Group. A pretty, redheaded nurse brought me water and Valium. (Should I have tipped?) Smooth jazz
dripped from speakers. After I was shown to Dr. Alan Bauman's office, I realized that he was Valium in human form-so calming, experienced, and reassuring. Plus, he'd assembled a team of two M.D.'s and four nurse/technicians to work the assembly line of my bead. And this is the guy who is a nationally recognized leader in microsurgical hair restoration including eyelash transplants. My head is the Capitol dome in comparison. How could he miss? Dr. Bauman made sure that I'd adhered to the pre-op regimen of abstinence from alcohol and aspirin (blood thinners) and had refrained from strenuous exercise. (Impact workouts can hinder clotting.) Why the precautions? Well, you've heard about how head wounds bleed. In the name of progress, Dr. Bauman was about to inflict thousands of them.
The next step was for me to sit back with my head in a machine that used tiny, high-pressure water jets-like a b r u s h l e s s carwash-to cleanse my hair and scalp in an antibacterial rinse. It felt nice. So did the Valium. Kickin' in. Yeah. I was then seated in a surgical lounge chair with a tape of Hannibal playing on the TV across the room. Wait, didn't Anthony Hopkins perform some interesting scalp procedure on Ray Liotta in this one? The drug buzz wouldn't let me care. Dr. Bauman strapped a band around my head. Dozens of tiny needles embedded inside delivered continuous doses of painkillers into my scalp. I smiled dreamily. "Give me the highest dosage ... and some more Valium, please!" I was feeling no pain as the doctors went to work behind me. The surgical team's small talk distracted me from the fact that something major was happening. Then I heard a tearing sound. It was the thin tape of skin being peeled off the back of my head for the donor follicles. Dr. Bauman immediately went to work suturing the wound. Meanwhile, several medical technicians using microscopes and microscalpels extracted and transferred thousands of gelatinous, seedshaped hair follicles from the fleshy eel to petri dishes. Now it was time for Dr. Bauman to put the "scalp" in "scalpel." His weapon of choice: a shiny, custom-made blade with an angled tip, like a slim X-acto knife. This is the truly artistic phase of the procedure. With deftness and precision, he made several thousand incisions in a randomized pattern through the bald areas of my scalp-all the while taking into account the natural direction and density of each follicle as he made the cuts. This would determine how natural my new hair would look once it sprouted. My mantra: Relax, he does eyelashes! After lunch (I recommend the meatball sub), they converged on me once again – a combination of at least two doctors and/or technicians filling Dr. Bauman's incisions with my uprooted follicles, which looked like servings of fish-egg sushi. They hovered over me for hours with tiny forceps, plucking, poking, pushing. Slowly, all the sites in my scalp were filled. The drugs continued, and I happily munched Doritos while watching incomprehensible images flicker on the TV screen in front of me. I didn't lift a finger, but when it was finished, I was exhausted. Around 4 in the afternoon, Dr. Bauman did his final examination, using forceps to push back the occasional recalcitrant seedling that had popped up out of its little furrow. Then it was back to the washing machine for one last antiseptic bath. My debriefing consisted of an introduction to the special postoperative take-home kit I'd be using for the rest of my vacation. No bandage was placed on my scalp. Instead, I was issued gauze pads and
liquid-filled packets. My instructions: Soak the gauze in the solution and place it on my head for an hour, twice a day. The solution was a hydrating treatment containing an infusion of copper peptide that would help heal my skin. "Copper is an essential nutrient for healing skin cells," said Dr. Bauman. "The more you use it, the sooner you'll heal." There was also a set of shampoo and conditioner full of similar compounds. And, best of all, they gave me a series of little manila pill packets: Percocet and Motrin (for pain), prednisone (to reduce swelling), and Propecia (to prevent future loss of my untransplanted hair). Dr. Bauman nodded at my shredded head and gave me a satisfied grin. "Six months from now, you won't believe how much hair you have." The next morning, I woke up with spotty smears of blood and other effluents on the sheets and pillowcases. (Note to self: Tip maid.) I gingerly washed and conditioned my hair. The streams from the showerhead felt like individual flamethrowers, and after I dried off, the general, viselike pressure all over my head was worse. But that's what the Percocet was for. I reviewed some notes I'd tapped into my laptop the night before, under the influence of my whole prescription cocktail: "My scalp is a tight, hard helmet, both numb and prickly at the same time. As I contemplate the rending of the hairy strip of flesh from the head, it occurs to me that the appropriate metaphor is 'adult circumcision."' But in my case, I'll have more to show for this cutting, not less. Later that day, Dr. Bauman gave me another computerized scalp wash. Then I was introduced to a new machine: the Low Level Laser Therapy Hood. It looked like an old salon hair dryer, but retrofitted by Q: Inside were rotating red laser projectors that stimulated scalp cells and hastened healing of the thousands of mosquito-bite scabs. A daily field trip came onto my vacation schedule: I was to travel across town to Integrative Therapies, a sports-medicine clinic, where for the next 5 days I'd spend an hour a day in a hyperbaric chamber-you know, the kind of oxygen tent that Michael Jackson sleeps in. It looked sort of like an inflatable, clear plastic coffin. Once I got inside, they pressurized it to a few times normal atmospheric pressure and fed in pure oxygen. The pressure forced oxygen into my lungs and even into my pores, to accelerate healing. Afterward, I felt pretty good, but there was absolutely no improvement in my moonwalk. The rest of my vacation flew by. After 5 days, I was off pain meds entirely and feeling pretty normal. Dr. Bauman told me that all was well. The implantation scabs would fall off in about a week; the stitches would dissolve soon after that. He lent me another cool gadget-a LaserComb, which worked like the laser helmet I'd been using in his office. "Run it slowly over your entire scalp for 15 minutes every other day," he said. He also told me that in nine out of 10 cases, the spiky little shoots that I could feel sticking straight up like a crew cut would fallout, and those roots would go dormant for a few months, then gradually-yes! -regenerate hair He shook my hand and said, "This will be the longest 6 months of your life. Be patient and then enjoy your new hair." One year later: The results are nothing short of miraculous. I've gone from Costanza to Kramer-a Chia Pet on Miracle Gro. Every week that's gone by has brought noticeable improvement. It's a pleasure to look in the mirror. My whole life has improved-the person I always felt like on the inside is now visible on the outside. And he's one hairy guy. My current girlfriend – young, beautiful, fun – is unfazed by it all. She likes my full head of hair. Her only response to the work I've had done is, "When do I get my implants?"
State-of-the-Art Hair Restoration for Men & Women
For more information, free consultations and online consultations, contact Dr. Bauman today: 1-877-BAUMAN-9 toll free • 561-394-0024 • www.baumanmedical.com • firstname.lastname@example.org
Located in beautiful Boca Raton, Florida
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 www.menshealth.com. # Reprinted by Reprint Management Services, 717. 399.1900. To request a quote online, visit www.reprintbuyer.com.
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