It is quite common for those suffering hair loss to try to keep the bald spot or receding hairline a secret for months or even years at a time. Hats from an often extensive collection are commonly deployed in this ongoing effort. But what about your hair transplant? If you have finally decided to get one, or have already had a transplant, are you proud of it and inclined to share it with the world, or have you locked this secret in the vaults of your soul and thrown away the key? Let’s look at these two ways of handling what for many is a life-altering procedure.
Post-transplant and proud of it
Some guys enthusiastically embrace the entire transplant process and their experience is an open book. From the get-go they share information with their loved ones, soliciting their opinions and getting their impressions during the important clinic vetting phase. They bring a spouse or friend with them to the initial consultations. At holiday parties or football games they are forthcoming about the procedure, explaining to curious (and sometimes envious) peers the details of a follicular unit transplant. They share a wealth of information, explaining how the procedure felt and how long it took. They talk about how they made to have a transplant and how they felt when the new hair began to appear. They detail the day they left their hat at home and how good it felt. They recommend their physician to those who seem to be taking notes.
These guys feel comfortable with the process and its outcome. They see no reason to hide the fact that they’ve had a transplant, treating it like any number of other procedures, such as getting a new crown at the dentist.
One benefit of this approach that is often unforeseen is that, suddenly, other guys come out of the woodwork and admit they’ve also had a transplant, or are seriously considering one. By opening that door and discussing their own transplant they’ve created a safe space to talk about these matters for guys who may not yet be ready to take that leap. The veteran of the procedure can become a trusted confidant, and a source of information and even comfort for those still wrestling with the decision as to whether a transplant is right for them.
Wild horses couldn’t drag it out of me
If some people talk freely about their transplant to anyone who cares to listen, others keep their transplant a secret that they’ll take to the grave. They often feel a deep sense of embarrassment, and many guys are not even sure why that is. Having hidden their hair loss for years, the subject matter of hair in general is actually a painful one, to be avoided at all costs. They surf the web in secret, looking at hundreds of “before and after” hair transplant shots with a growing but guarded sense of hope. They spend months—sometimes years—researching clinics. They painstakingly vet every hair transplant physician in their state, and if a doctor of sufficient caliber cannot be found in the vicinity, their secret search extends to encompass the entire U.S. Phone calls to the clinic are made from the car to ensure privacy. Emails are sent from an account no one else can access.
Months before the hair transplant takes place, these guys will begin buzzing their head, as though sporting a new hairstyle, then they keep buzzing it post transplant until the new hair comes in. They take a “fishing trip” during the actual transplant procedure, and take to their trusty hat once more to hide the minor redness, puffiness or mild scabbing that often exists in the first few weeks post op. Some men will take two weeks vacation during this time to hide these post-op conditions from colleagues. Others will claim a sunburn or allergic reaction to a topical ointment. Luckily it is very rare that people confront—or even notice—the post-op conditions.
The good news is that follicular unit transplantation delivers undetectable results. No more “doll hair” looking plugs, and no strange color or texture incongruities (when the transplant is performed by an experienced physician) means that no one, not even your wife or hair stylist, can tell that you’ve had a hair transplant. But keep in mind that if someone is particularly observant they may notice that you have more hair now than you used to, which is certainly not the natural trajectory of hair loss.
No right or wrong way
Whether you are open and forthcoming or private and discreet about your hair transplant is entirely up to you. There is no right way or wrong way to deal with it. It’s a personal decision to go forward with a transplant, and at the Hair Sciences Center we emphasize respect for the individual, and always exercise complete discretion in every sense.
We will say this: 10 months out you won’t be able to hide your happiness.
Dr. James A. Harris is an internationally renowned hair transplant surgeon, inventor of patented follicular unit extraction technology, published author in the field of hair restoration and an advocate for patient care. Learn more about Dr. Harris or read rave reviews from his patients.