This is What They Call the “Ugly Duckling” Phase

It’s been nearly two months since my hair transplant and I am currently in what transplant veterans call the “ugly duckling” phase.

This is the post-operative period in which a patient is not only still healing from the surgical scar in the back of the head, but dealing with the shock loss of existing hair from the trauma of the surgery.

Couple that with the redness and sparse hairs that are sprouting in my frontal areas and it’s pretty evident why they refer to it as the ugly duckling phase.

But if you look at the above photo and compare it to the ones I’ve posted here since the operation, you will see that I’m slowly making progress.

The ugly duckling in Hans Christian Andersen’s famous story grew to become a beautiful swan, so I’m hoping to least emerge with a decent head of hair.

It’s almost like puberty but instead of waiting for that first pubic hair, you’re waiting for that first sign of real hair growth in your bald spots.

Dr. Mejia tells me the first signs of real growth won’t be evident until at least three months after the operation, so I have at least one more month to go. And other veterans on the hair transplant forums I’ve been visiting say it could even take longer.

One guy who goes by El Nino on the Bald Truth forum broke it down this way, based it on his own experience.

Surgery Day – Not too bad and over in a day.
Next 14 days – Some discomfort and trouble sleeping.
Up to 3 months – Ugly duckling stage and the worst period.
3 – 4 months – Native hair should be returning and the start of growth of HT.
4 – 6 months – A lot of new growth which should become more visible.
6 – 10 months – More growth of HT hair and maturing of earlier growth.
10 – 12 months – More maturing of the HT.
12 – 18 months – Final result.

So it’s going to be at least another year before we see the final result of Dr. Mejia’s work.

Yesterday, I swung by my hairdresser, Frezia, to get my hair cut for the second time since the operation and she is very impressed so far from what she’s seen.

Considering there has not been much hair growth, she was focusing mostly on the donor scar on the back of my head, which is nearly invisible now.

There are some spots where I can feel some scabbing but other parts where I can run my fingers across it and it’s like there never was a scar there.

Dr. Mejia stitched it up using the tricophytic closure, which he describes in the video of this blog post.

Frezia said Dr. Mejia did a good job of removing the donor strip higher rather than lower on the back of my head because she had one client who ended up with a scar very low and it made it much more difficult to conceal with his existing hair.

Check out Frezia in the video below. If you’re in the Miami area, I highly recommend her whether you’re a man or a woman. She is an artist. Check her out at Evolution in the Gables.

In reading through these forums, you can see there are a lot of doctors out there who just don’t have the experience or the talent to ensure a quality hair transplant.

The forums are filled with horror stories from patients having to fly to other states or countries to see surgeons that are qualified to remedy the damage that was done by previous surgeons.

I’m glad I’m not going to be one of those people.

Here is  a video of him removing my stitches two weeks after the operation, a procedure that I’ve read could be very painful.

I had been off the pain killers for a week and the worst I felt was a slight tugging.

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Dr. Ricardo Mejia

Jupiter, Florida's Most Qualified and Experienced Hair Transplant Surgeon