Battling the Bald

Reporter: Foti Kallergis

myFOXaustin (AUSTIN) – More than 8 months ago, FOX 7’s Foti Kallergis invited you into the operation room to witness a hair-raising procedure called hair transplant surgery.

(Watch Foti’s Hair Transplant Journey)

“I don’t like needles, but here we go,” said Kallergis, as he entered the operation room. Kallergis has been battling the bald since his early 20’s and decided to undergo the procedure to restore his eroding hairline.

“It’s been such an emotional journey for me. Losing your hair, waking up every single morning and seeing hair on your pillow,” said Kallergis.

At the age of 27, Kallergis was bald to the middle of his head. So he sought after Austin Transplant Surgeon Dr. Daniel McGrath.

The surgery began with the harvesting of the donor hair, taken from the back of Kallergis’ head. A local anesthetic was used before a slice of scalp was cut out. The donor scalp was cut up under a microscope. For hours, several assistants dissected the hair follicles strand by strand. In the meantime, Dr. McGrath, poked more than one thousand in the front of Kallergis’ head. The tiny holes are the recipient sites where each follicle was implanted. The entire procedure took about seven hours.

“The reason why I did this in front of the camera is because I want to make sure that guys know that it is okay to talk about it,” said Kallergis. “It’s okay to undergo a cosmetic procedure to do something about it, even if that means putting myself on the line, putting my head on the line. I think it has opened the conversation for all men.”

Days after the surgery, Kallergis’ head looked like a swollen porcupine. The recipient sites scabbed over and eventually fell out. The implanted follicles stay in place and became dormant for weeks.

“There was one point where I didn’t see any growth, and I had a nightmare that something was wrong, and the hair wasn’t going to grow,” said Kallergis.

“It’s normal for the hair to kind of go into a state of dormancy, and during that state of dormancy, the shaft of the hair that we transplanted will just fall out but the follicle stays in,” said Dr. McGrath.

The new hairline began sprouting after about three to four months. The full results of the procedure could be seen after 8 months. But Kallergis said he wanted more thickness along his hairline, so he went in for a second transplant.

“The hair that we used for the transplantation, will never fall out,” said Dr. McGrath.

The cost of the procedure depends on how much hair is transplanted. It ranges from 25-hundred dollars to 10 thousand dollars.

“It’s life changing, that’s the only way to describe it,” said Kallergis.

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