I wanted to share my experience with Dr. Vladimir Panine, Surgical Coordinator Stuart Rosenberg, and his staff based on a recent scar revision and hairline graft procedure. To put it succinctly, I highly recommend Dr. Panine and would go to him again for any future procedures.
Prior to visiting Dr. Panine, I had three FUT procedures with MHR, in 2005, 2007, and 2009. I went with them primarily due to awareness from the ongoing television ads and direct marketing they did. In hindsight, I did not do enough research to determine the best doctors, and I just went with what I was most aware of. I received a total of 3500 grafts across the three procedures. The grafting results were satisfactory, although I was unsatisfied with the linear scar that grew larger with each procedure. In each of the three procedures, the closures were basic stitches, took about 15 minutes to close, and were removed around the 9-10 day period.
With the help of this site, I researched a number of practices offering scar revision options. I explored FUE, scalp micropigmentation, and FUT scar repair. After speaking with and visiting multiple practices in the Chicago and Minneapolis area, I decided to go with Dr. Panine.
I especially appreciated Dr. Panine and Stuart’s honest and candid assessment and recommendation. I came in requesting FUE because I didn’t want to deal with another linear scar. They indicated that they could do FUE, although it would likely take multiple procedures, and there was no guarantee as to how well the grafts will take due to the limited blood flow into the existing scar. They indicated that they could do an FUT scar removal and revision as my scalp still had some laxity, although I would need to do scalp exercises for a few weeks leading up to the procedure. In essence, they ensured that I understood I had some control on the success of the procedure. I asked if we could also do another grafting procedure and get a few thousand more grafts to transplant up top as long as they were going back in and making a new linear cut. Although this would have resulted in a more expensive procedure, they recommended against it due to the amount of tension it would place on the existing scar. In essence, it would defeat the purpose of a scar revision. They indicated that they could likely get around 300 grafts by doing the revision as some hair would be cut out when removing the existing scar, and they could transplant those if we wanted. But they did not guarantee any more than that as they did not want to mislead me. Based on this, we decided to move forward with the FUT scar revision and placement of approximately 300 grafts in my left frontal hairline area where some thinning was noticeable.
In the days leading up to the procedure, Stuart was in touch to ensure I understood procedure, scalp exercises, medication, etc. It was clear he was invested in ensuring the procedure was a success.
On the day of the procedure, Dr. Panine and his staff did everything to ensure I understood the process. I didn’t expect it, but I actually enjoyed the procedure. A few key points about the procedure itself, as compared to the three previous MHR procedures I had:
· Communication: Dr. Panine, Stuart, and his staff were in constant communication during the procedure. They explained what they were doing at all times, constantly asking me how I was doing, and ensuring I was comfortable.
· Zero to minimal pain: I was used to pain to the point of nausea from my three previous procedures, primarily from the administering local anesthesia. It was just something I had grown accustomed to suffering through for a few hours. During Dr. Panine’s procedure, I felt minor pain similar to a needle prick for the first shot of local anesthetic in the donor area. After that I felt no pain at all. Just pressure. He constantly asked if I was feeling any pain – his primary concern was that I was comfortable at all times. He even indicated how he typically conducted his procedures with the patient sitting upright so they feel more comfortable, as opposed to lying face down as being operated on. I was still able to fall asleep sitting up during the procedure as well.
· Scar revision: Dr. Panine took approximately two hours to do this. He took extreme care with the cut, using the trichophytic closure where the hair will grow back through the scar. He used dissolving internal stiches, a long running external stitch, and singular external stiches where needed. To me, the time he spent on the actual revision and closure reflected the level of focus and perfection he places on this.
· Graft placement: From what I could tell Dr. Panine placed most to all of the grafts himself. During this time, we would chat occasionally, but there were times where he indicated that he would not be chatting because he wanted to focus on some of the more precise components of the procedure. Again, I appreciated his focus.
· Number of grafts: Although we committed to approximately 300 grafts being harvested and placed as a result of the scar revision, Dr. Panine was able to obtain and place 851 grafts during the procedure. This was due to a few factors, including my scalp laxity increasing in the weeks leading up to the procedure from the scalp exercises Dr. Panine and Stuart had me do. Although this required a few additional hours for the procedure and could have been a higher cost, Dr. Panine and Stuart indicated that they would not charge me extra for the additional grafts. They explained that they typically agree to and honor a set cost with the patient prior to the procedure, as opposed to asking them to sign off on paying more if they are able to harvest additional grafts during the procedure while the patient is under the influence of medications. Again, this really conveyed their honesty to me.
As I left, Dr Panine and Stuart both indicated that I could call them at any time with any questions or concerns.
I returned to the clinic the next day to have bandages removed and hair lightly washed, along with a review of instructions.
I have had a couple family members in the medical industry look at the scar revision, and indicate that they can tell already that he did a precise job and it will heal well, noting that hair is already touching hair above and below the stiches.
I returned to the clinic at 15 days to have stitches removed. Scar is healing nicely, scalp tension is minimal and improving every day, and I have no pain at all.
I’ll try to post some photos around the six and 12 month marks to show results. But ultimately, I’m very appreciative of the work of Dr. Panine, Stuart, and his staff, and would highly recommend them to anyone considering a procedure.
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