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Transplant Terror Stories

Hair transplants? What the doctors don’t tell you! A letter of personal experience from Carl from Lahaina, Hawaii.

Guys if you are thinking about getting a hair transplant, think long and hard about it! The things most of these doctors don’t tell you is that your hair is going to keep receding behind the transplant area and that you never know how far back it is going to go. You will wind up taking the Propecia and Rogaine cocktail for the rest of your life unless you are willing to let nature takes its course. When you let nature take over you wind up loosing a lot of the hair behind your implants, which can make your head look pretty strange. You will become a prisoner to your implants and actually go through loosing your hair twice: once, before the implants, and then later, as your hairline recedes behind the implants.

When I got my procedure done I was in my late 20’s and had started loosing my hair at about age 21. Of course, with all the great advertisements on implants, I started my search, and after about 7 years I found someone in my price range and decided to go through with the procedure. What I didn’t know was that one procedure was going to follow another and another and another since they didn’t do the thousands of graphs that they do today. They put larger Plugs in which were rather obvious, so over a period of four years they had to go back and make the plugs smaller which resulted in more scarring and greater sensitivity on the top of my head. Not to mention the fact that every time they take from the donor area it winds up getting larger as well.

I had shaved my head numerous times before I got the implants and got quite a few compliments about how good it looked. This was about ten years ago and bald wasn’t quite in and at 28 I had thought I could attain a youthful head of hair via implants…I would give anything to be able to shave my head again and have my freedom and natural appearance! Even though my implants look pretty natural I get tired of having to cut my hair certain ways in order for them to not be obvious. The thing is, under bright lights or the sunshine it is hard for implants not to be seen and you always wonder if its obvious or

What happens a lot of times is that we get implants to be more attractive and confident and then nature pulls its tricks on us and we wind up loosing our confidence and feel like a vain and foolish person in the process. Think about it, if you’re a single guy and get serious with a lady, you will eventually have tell her that you had implants and are on Rogaine etc…how will you feel about that? You may find people looking at you out of the corner of your eye and wonder if they are checking out your implants… Many people say, “Who cares what other people think?” Well, if you are thinking about getting implants, you must be somewhat concerned about what people think? So, please think long and hard about it before you do something that can’t be reversed.



  1. Tony says:

    Did they not tell you that your hair will continue to fall our around the perimeter and you will need transplants yearly? My brother has had numerous corrections and he could have purchased a top of the line Mercedes for the money he has spent on his head and the worst part is that he wears a hat everywhere he goes because his hair is diminishing every year now that he has run out of donor areas.
    Shave it and forget it.
    Founder, Bald R Us

  2. dana smith says:

    True Story:

    I went to a large, well known North Carolina hair transplant practice (not Bosley) to relocate about 2000 hairs from the back of my head to rebuild my hairline which had receded about a half inch. They used the usual method to remove a flap of skin at the back of my head and harvested the hairs.

    After being mildly sedated on Valium and with many painful injections of Lidocaine – I went home and realized they’d only paid lip-service to the receding hairline – just a few ridiculous follicles inserted, Instead they’d populated the area on top of my head that – someday – might thin out and need work.

    While I agreed for them to put a few hairs up there – they knew my priority was the half inch area where the hair had actually receded. After all, money doesn’t grow on trees.

    Instead of giving a full faith effort to rebuild the receding frontal area at a cost of $ 10,000 (ten grand) they essentially under-performed in that area to ensure that I’d have to return for another $ 10,000 procedure to do the job I’d originally asked for.

    When I returned for my follow up – they said I needed another 1,000 hairs done – when we all knew I still needed those 2,000 hairs done – so not only were they planning from the outset to get me back for a second session – they were already trying to under-perform again to get me back for a third.

    All I wanted was to spend ten grand – not thirty!

    If you were paying ten grand to have your car painted like this – would they dare pull a stunt like this ?

    I finally went elsewhere (a smaller clinic) and told them what happened and that I wanted their assurance they’d do the job right – and in one sitting. I got a great job and good results – but I’m ten grand poorer than I should be at this point.

    Be prepared for this tactic! When you’re in the chair – doped up and in pain – the only question in your mind is ‘how much longer will the procedure take”? – not “Are they really doing what I asked for “?


  3. NICK says:

    Brand new to the world of hair loss treatment(s). I hope my “research” over the next month or so will help me decide to either move forward with hair loss treatment of some sorts (stop – or perhaps reverse – my hair loss), or simply continue with my current rate of hair loss until I’m bald. Not that bald is bad; I just don’t want to be a “chrome-dome” yet (at 55).

    I hope to gather knowledge from all sorts of experiences – the good, the bad, and the ugly! So, a hearty THANK YOU to everyone who shares their experiences on this site.

  4. Jeff Johnson says:

    Can anyone tell me if propecia works? And if there are any side effects?

  5. Zead says:


    I think you’re right. Thank you for your feedback. This helps us know what’s good for us. After a second thought, I decided not to do it. People love me for who I am. I think I’ll wait until the scientists find a medicine without side-effects that can restore the lost hair/follicles without the need to do HT.

    But I still need to know this… Regardless of the fact that it looks horrible, how does the transplanted hair feel? does it feel normal? does it hurt when touched, does it feel comfortable? Can you shave it and it grows back? does it thicken after several shavings (like the beard)?? I’ll appreciate answers Tony.



  6. Tony says:

    Your hair will continue to fall out and you will continually have to get more transplants and you will definitely have to use Propecia or Rogaine to try to maintain it, but the transplant doctor will never guarantee his work because too many transplants don’t remain in your scalp.
    Read my response to Zead for more info, especially the side effects of Propecia and Rogaine.
    Founder, Bald R Us


    Hi Everybody!

    After reading all these horrifying stories about the Hair Transplant results esp. from people living in US (which is considered to be an advanced nation in medicine), I wonder about this whole non-sense of HT…or….may be these guys are talking of old and outdated HT procedures and that too performed by inexperienced doctors? What about the HT procedures being done these days – they can’t be so bad? OK,…let’s not talk about 1980′s, 1990′s or even 2000′s ….let’s talk about the latest HT procedures of the present times… can anyone suggest, please?

    Bobby (from India)

  8. Tony says:

    Your hair will continue to recede so you will always need to have more hair transplanted. My brother has had about 6 procedures to fill in the hair that he was losing and he has spent about $30,000 so far and he always wears a hat because it looks like crap. Every time he had the procedure done, he had to take a week off from work and stay in his house because the scabs on his head looked disgusting. And yes, he has to spend the rest of his life applying Rogaine or Procecia, both of which either temporarily or permanently affect your ability to have sex. My brother has to live on Viagra because of this stuff. One of the side effects of Viagra is sudden decrease or loss of vision in one or both eyes. So, if you want to lose your sex life and go blind, get a hair transplant. Don’t take my word for it, look up the side effects of these products on Google.
    Just shave it and forget it. If you don’t have the courage to take it all off, get a buzz cut.
    Keep us posted about your decision.
    Founder, Bald R Us

  9. Zead says:


    Will FUE give better results without scarring? I read your comments… and I’m now scared. I have some questions:

    1- Does the implanted hair feel like a normal hair? when you touch it, brush it, … etc.?
    2- Will I need to take medicines for the rest of my life after doing the FUE procedure?
    3- Who is the best candidate for this procedure?

    I only have receding crowns that I want to cover. Other than that, I’m fine. I need your feedback please.

    Thanks guys!


  10. Jeffery says:

    Nice to see this place. My story is I’m an 1980s guys so hair was big then obviously and I fashioned my blonde do from the likes of Duran Duran to Billie Idol and then it grow even longer after high school during all the hair band days. This was around 1989, but even before then my hair high started thinning out a little around 87 when I got a short haircut and my cousin said it looked like I had the mange LOL.

    Even though looking back at the time I still had a cool head of hair ala Andre Agassi before his shave, I started to notice my hair line receding more and more, i began to obsess about it. My freshman year of college, I bought my first hair saving product called “omexin” and started to use it. only to realize later it was a bunch of crap. I then went through all the rogaine, etc with minimal results for a lot of maintenance and it never helped replace the hairline. So it was time to go for the hair transplant around 1990, it was bad, but I had so much existing hair at the time it wasnt really noticeable, it was ok at the time, fast forward another 5 years and it was worse, thinned out more and the doll hair was noticeable and I was always self concious about it, if the wind blew in a certain direction, I thought everyone was staring at it, so then I decided to get another transplant, this would be the final one I though, solve all my problems.

    Well at first it did, I let my hair grow out and it blended in well, all though, some chicks would stare and stare intently at my reconstructed hair line if they got real close and it was like they just couldnt figure it out for sure, but I knew, and I knew they noticed something wasnt natural. Fast forward 17 years later, 2 kids and a wife. I started to lose hair at the crown and was developing a bald spot in the back of my head I hadnt really paid attention to, but what looked weird was the plugs were still there in all there shining glory, it looked like a reverse mohawak, LOL.

    In my time a lot of girls thought of me a cute and I could pull the women at one time, but I started letting myself get out of shape and the hair thing was just aging me also. It took a traumatic set of personal events to get my life back on track and back in the gym 5-6 days a week religously cutting weight and lifting, and I went and found an old fashioned barber rather than all the girly hair salons my wife had wanted me to go to and got me a good flat top. One night I was staring at the top where the plugs were because they had never been that short before and even though it looked neat, the plugs were apparent and with my hair that short, mr bald spot in the back was a main attraction. I grabbed the scissors and cut the plugs off then shaved them, I then realized, the crap was still thick on the back and sides and give me this old man look, so I said I guess I have to go all the way with this, so I cut and shaved it all off. Only issue had was the stupid looking frankenstein scar at the back, the plugs shave down very smooth and you cant notice, but if they grow back it looks like planted corn and feels like a brillow pad. My mother freaked out, (;Ime 42 almost btw), said not to even set by her at church LOL, my wife who Ime now seperated from said she hated it, funny thing is, I was suddenly getting looks from younger chicks, big smiles and conversation that they initiated. I felt it was of the most freeing and empowering things I ever did, lotis more confidence, the only issue I was having was the scar and decding if I should let the back grow in just enough to cover it, but its a fine line between having the 5oclock shadow in the back with the scar showing or grow it out to much and get the older look. I just got plain mad and said screw it, screw that scar and screw anyone else who made a big deal out if it, it really looks better SLY to be honest..

    I just did this a couple of weeks ago but my mom and ex keep wanting me to let my hair grow back out, but I keep finding my self back in front of the mirror with my hand on the razor with shaving cream in hand and a bottle of jergens natural tan doing my thing. Its so much less time, so much worry free, not having to worry how the wind blows, throwing away the stupid hats and just embrace the world and live life. Any young guys out there don’t get a transplant and if you did get one, say to heck with it, be a man and free yourself despite the scar, give it a while you will thank yourself in the end.

  11. Shiladitya says:

    I think baldness is not a mistake,if you have a better confidence it doesn’t matters.
    Many great men were bald,people loved them for their work not for image.

  12. AntiPlug says:

    Wow does that story hit home. Unfortunately for me it’s too late. I got my first plug session at the age of 26. Second and third at 28 and 29. I’ve got a scar ear from ear so I can’t shave my head, only problem is, I can’t grow out my hair either because even after 3 sessions, there still isn’t enough hair to cover the top and crown. I’m currently 32 years old, single and depressed. If funny reading some of the comments talking about how the like being bald. And I have to agree that I wish I could just shave my head, but I can’t. Most people think I’m in my late 30′s to mid 40′s. How’s that for a confidence boost?

    I’ve always been a good looking guy (so I’ve was told), I’ve got a muscular build, I’ve got a successful career and I own my condo. But now that I look back, I realized that the success I had with women, was when I shaved my head. Funny thing is, when I started shaving my head even back in highschool when I was 14. It just worked for me, girls eat it up. NOW, I avoid most mirrors, don’t let my photo be taken and don’t socialize with friends as much anymore. Every day is a battle for me, struggling to deal with the choices I made that will haunt me till the day I die.

  13. nithin says:

    hello everyone, i am thinking of shaving my head due to hair loss and as many still confused as to whether i would look good or not.

  14. Darryl says:

    Man, i love being bald, I actually gained more confidence bald than when I had hair, I didn’t know what to do with the crap! Just the other day I went to the gym and was working out and there was a great looking lady working out, she got done with her workout and stuck around the gym just hovering around me while I finished mine. Bald is awesome, shaving my head takes 15 minutes or less and when i had hair I would spend twice that long just trying to decide what it should look like. I did get a lot of crap in Basic because my hair was thinning at 21 but once I had a chance to bic it, no one gave me crap about it.

  15. Kdog says:

    Do not even think about the plugs, no matter what anyone tells you. It is a neverending process.
    I made a huge mistake doing a couple of procedures in the early 90s, and finally said f-it and shaved it all off. Looks 50 times better, even with the road map in the back of my head. I call it tribal art, not by choice.

  16. Steve says:

    @ Mikey and Chris
    I started losing hair at 19 and thought it was the worst thing that could happen. I started wearing hats, and tried both rogaine and propecia – really the only two treatments that can stop hair loss. In consult with a prominent hair transplant surgeon, he did inform me right from the onset that following any transplant procedure, remaining on a cocktail of rogaine and propecia would be necessary.
    But honestly, at 24 I decided to buzz my head. It made me feel more confident, and when I would go out to bars, or other social gatherings women didn’t care at all about my hair. I would often meet the same or more women than my friends who had perfect hairlines. The majority of women I’ve asked said that your hairline is one of the lowest factors in whether they are attracted to you. A lot of people on this site talk about confidence in yourself. If you are confident in yourself regardless of your hairline, women notice, and will respond. And honestly, if your hairline is of such a great concern for a women that it makes them not interested in you, it is an easy way to rid yourself of someone overly superficial.

  17. maffphew says:

    Hiya. I get the feeling this is a U.S. site (apologies in advance if I’m wrong). I’m English and it seems the attitudes are more or less the same i.e. insecurities etc. But mate, forget the transplants and all that stuff. I’m 35 and have been shaving it off since 25. I used to try and hide it by brushing my hair in a certain way and my brother saw it and said ‘Shave it, it looks obvious and a bit shit’. Just do it and live with yourself. Honestly you’ll feel better, it’s only hair. Transplants and the pressure to have them seem more evident in the U.S. In Europe it’s less so I think.

  18. Chris says:

    I have same question as Mikey. Is hair transplant ineffective? Does it look natural or not? I have an appointment with some doctor for hair transplant and would like to get feed back , so I can ask him all those questions.

  19. Reckless says:

    Cris, you mention “However this surgery allowed me to shave my entire head, and with a little high quality makeup in the back, to cover the white scars, I look like a champ.”

    Can you tell me about the makeup, where to buy it, and how to apply? Thank you.

  20. mikey says:

    Hello everyone I recently been thinkin about a hair transplant… I been losing my hair since I was 18 now I’m 23 …… I wear hats EVERYWHERE the thing is everyone knows it but I’m still embaressed to cut my hair and to get rid of the hats … so are hair transplants that uneffective

  21. Armando says:

    Hi, yes I was one of the poor suckers who gave in to the pressure of getting hair transplants. So I decided to change the path of what I was supposed to look like, which was bald. It was just one of my insecurities, and at the end of the day that’s really all it was, insecurity. As soon as I had my first hair transplant within months men were was starting to shave their heads and bald was a cool look. SHIT, the timing sucked but now I had started the treatment I decided to go through with it and had another one. But now I was struck with another insecurity which was hoping that people wouldn’t notice I had hair transplants. OH MY GOD where does it end? It doesn’t, I stuck it out for years and years while my natural hair was receding the hair transplants were more obvious. What a joke. One day after so many years I was contemplating to get more proceedures done but something clicked and I changed my mind and decided to reverse it in other words shave my head. I took out
    my clippers and proceeded to trim my hair the top of my head looked ridiculous I looked like a doll with those hair plugs.I was devestated even more, so I let it grow back but I was not happy till one day I came across this site Bald are Us and read so many stories that were similar to mine.So this time I went through with it I shaved everything off and went completely bald. Regardless of what my head looked like most people agreed it was the best thing I ever did so there you go I decided to have laser hair removal on the top of my head to get rid of those ugly plugs and after about 10 procedures, the top of my head looks close enough to normal but the back of my head still carries the scars. I would rather look like this. I feel good about myself and sometimes people comment on the scars on the back of my head and I just tell them straight they were hair transplant procedures without getting into too much detail and keep the story short. People don’t really care they a
    re just nosey and who cares what they think anyway. If only I had this carefree attitude before the transplants. For those young men or any age thinking of getting hair transplants or rugs or any of those Bull S hair procedures, DONT DO IT you will regret it for the rest of your life no matter how good the new techniques may be. Dont change the course of your life on a stupid insecurity. Thats all it is, insecurity.

  22. Joe says:

    Tony, I have a question. I decided to have the surgery 3 times starting in 2002. I have since abandoned trying to “re grow my hair” and now I’m wearing it shaved. I’m African American and had been told by many people that I looked great bald before I even went to make this horrible mistake. My question is, are there any good doctors out there for donor scar revision? I would like to make that look look less noticeable.

  23. Tony says:

    Found it and corrected his spelling.

  24. Lana James says:

    Hey, all you guys out there! I happen to think bald men are very sexy!:) However…try being a woman with this problem :( . It seems as if beautiful hair is everywhere when you don’t have it. And from where I sit, it seems that most men are looking for “Barbie”. I try to wear wigs, and I have some really pretty ones, but they itch, they’re hot, and if a guy goes to kiss you, you’re afraid it’s gonna come off! Plus…I just feel like I’m lying by not being my real self. (sigh) I’m glad I read your stories, though. I’ve been considering Bozley.

  25. valerielovesherhair says:

    Guys who are losing thier hair have it pretty good considering that a lot of women find a bald, slick head pretty sexy. Why go through the pain of a transplant when you can go natural!

  26. Phil says:

    Before proceeding with two consecutive hair transplants, I specifically asked the doctor as to whether of not I’d have to take medication (beyond the healing process) after the plugs were in place. (Note: I can’t take medication for unrelated health reasons.) He clearly said “no” to my question..
    Fast forward to a year or so later, after my final transplant: The doctor then indicated that I, like “all of his transplant patients”, would be seeing him a couple of times a year. ALSO, I was to visit his clinic every month to sit under some kind of lamp. This was expensive. (Of course, none of these “services” were part of the price of the transplant.) Worst of all, I was to start taking Propecia! I couldn’t believe my ears: I had been told an outright lie (that medication was not necessary). When I pointed this out to the doctor, he denied he ever said I wouldn’t have to take meds. Well, I declined his ongoing “service” plan (i.e., automatic charges to my credit card) by not signing a contract. He responded by dropping me as a patient and will not see me for follow-up appointments. Since then, my plugs have been falling out and I can’t do anything about it. Though I thought I had researched the topic carefully before I ever got the plugs put in, and expected a sales pitch, I was not expecting to told an outright lie from the (MD) doctor himself.. I should have gotten his responses in writing! (Note: I can’t give his name for legal reasons, be here’s a hint: He’s the biggest hair transplanter in the Providence/Boston area. BEWARE!

  27. lui barrera says:

    I’ve BEEN WONDERING HOW TO TELL IF YOU ARE LOOSING YOUR HAIR OR IF IT’S JUST AN INBALANCE IN VITAMINS IN YOUR DIET? I’m 25 and my hair is going thin on top but it’s still growing, but very thin. Frankly I think I’m going bald but I dont have any bald familY. But I think all this community makes me feal ready for what ever life throw’s at me ….and if any body can tell me whats going on I would be more than happy. Be strong and happy :)

  28. Steve says:

    One question. I had a transplant procedure done in 2007 (the doc used 1,500 grafts, cost me $6,300). Anyways, I’m wondering if you guys can tell me if I can just shave my head and everything will be cool? I can’t really feel any scar in the back of my head at the donor area. From what I can tell by looking at the recipient area (the frontal hairline) it seems I could buzz it and be cool? Any thoughts?

    Recent micro-transplant surgery technology has advanced so far that many surgeons don’t trash the donor area as much as they used to earlier this decade. But what they can’t do is prevent the transplanted hair and the donor hair from falling out and making your head look like a World War 1 battlefield. .You, and no one else, will notice those very tiny dots when you shave, but a visit to the tanning solon will hide them. I would suggest that you go to a solon that uses tanning spray because the spray is safer for your skin and it is a lot less expensive and looks just as good.
    Just out of curiosity, what made you see the light and abandon the plugs?
    Bald R Us

  29. Eric says:

    Dear Tony,
    I had hair transplants and scalp reduction from 1987-1989 and in the mid 90′s.
    The transplants were a disaster. Not only did I have less hair on my head when the process was over, I had Lumps, bumps and white scars all over my head, and I had
    a nasty long scalp reduction scar, very ugly, and visible in the back of my head.
    The doctor who did the transplants lied about the results and lied to me on every question I asked him. He had doctored videos, doctored up brochures, and was a total fraud. His work gave me a scarred up scraggly ugly 75 years old comb-over head that a man in his mid 20 should never have. He locked me into this look because the entire scalp was scarred in the donor area and the recipient area.
    If I shaved the head the thousands of scars would be exposed even more.
    New transplant technology couldn’t help my look either because the butcher doctor who deformed me, used up my entire donor area.
    After 14 years of walking around with this butchers work, I finally found a plastic surgeon to smooth the scalp with dermabrasion and lasers. The surgeon however could not do anything about the white punch scars in the back of my head or the white scars on top. However this surgery allowed me to shave my entire head, and with a little high quality makeup in the back, to cover the white scars, I look like a champ. Even with the white scars I look 1000 times better than the transplant scraggly, old man, scarred up, unclean look. Yes I would have looked even better if I never did anything, but in life you do the best you can with what your situation is.
    It is not even close. A shaved head with some exposed scars is miles ahead of the fake, unclean, scraggly transplanted look. The response is amazing. I am 39, and 23 year old women think I am 25 and hot. 4 months ago the same aged women thought I was 39 and a dufus, with a loser comb over. This is not an exaggeration.
    My life will always be affected by the transplant industry that butchered me.
    Every time I put make up in the back of my head I will think of them. However the shaving of my head has finally freed me from their lock on my life. I look and feel so much better it is not even a comparison. I recommend for every one with old and new, unsatisfied transplants to just shave it and look and feel so much better about yourself. Not only will others think you look better, but you will feel and look better to yourself.

    Sincerely, Eric

  30. Jim says:

    Hello Tony,
    I’m another one of those people that got a hair transplant “procedure” done and wish that it never happened. Gee, how could I be so stupid? But unlike a lot of your other writers, I decided to try shaving my head in spite of the scarring in the back of my head. It’s been two days now and I must say…..I like it. Sure there’s a scar; but the continual anxiety about my hair loss has been lifted. And as you know, that can be quite a burden, especially if you’re only in your twenties. The fact is, I’ve decided to embrace who I am rather that be ashamed of it. Your family and true friends will love you no matter what you look like. Thanks for your time and I hope this helps some people out.
    Jim — the guy whose head has “character”.

  31. Robert says:

    Thought of suicide

    I just read on your comments page, “The worst mistake of my life”. How true his statement is! I started going bald in my mid 20′s and had a “procedure” done. God, if there is one thing I could go back and not do would be a hair transplant. What I would give just to have the luxury of shaving or buzzing my head. I hate these doctors and these companies that pray on a people’s insecurities of losing their hair. What it really comes down to is accepting ones self for who one is. Due to my hair transplant, I too have thought of suicide as did my counterpart who wrote those comments. I feel like a fool for letting someone cut into the back of my scalp and then punch little holes into my head. It doesn’t look the same. Quite frankly I think it looks like crap. Confidence, which this procedure was to give me, is out the window until I get it done again and again and again…. Something should be done to stop this procedure or to make people aware of the repercussions of it, like never having a buzz cut again or being able to shave your head. Shine on, brothers!

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