This is a thread documenting my recent 2612 graft FUE procedure with Dr. Rahal.
I'm a NW3A in his late twenties/early thirties who has battled hair loss over the past few years. I've done the big three more or less consistently over the past few years and finally bit the bullet on doing a procedure after some bad experiences at work and with women that convinced me beyond a shadow of a doubt how important having hair really is. After doing some research last year I finally settled for Rahal.
As the thread says, I did a 2612 FUE procedure, which yielded a total of 5336 hairs. The total graft count was as follows:
1 unit: 547
2 unit: 1426
3 unit: 619
4 unit: 20
His head nurse technician Mike did all the extractions with a motorized extraction tool. Rahal did the incisions, and finally implanting was carried out by Mike and another experienced technician (6-7 years of experience). Two additional staff members assisted. The procedure lasted for 12 hours from 06:00 until 18:00. During the extractions I bled a bit more than usual, otherwise the procedure went smoothly.
The clinic as most of you know does multiple procedures; another FUE procedure was going on the same day, for crown work. I stayed awake for the majority of the procedure and opted not to watch a movie as I wanted the staff to remain focused while they were working on me. My impression during the procedure was that they took their work seriously. I have some minor observations that I'll share based on the final outcome, but nothing serious.
Worth noting here is that they were using a tool that had been introduced during the past 2.5-3 months, called an "implanter". This is essentially a plastic tube that reduces damage to the graft during implantation and allows for denser packs. According to the doctor this is part of a major shift across the industry. Apparently Lorenzo, Bernstein, Erdogan and other famous docs are already using this, though since adoption is somewhat recent only Erdogan has final results on file.
During my consultation I became quite concerned about this as it introduced an additional element of uncertainty to the process. However, the doctor stressed to me that Erdogan's results had been amazing and that the introduction of the implanters would reduce risk rather than increase it.
Pre-op/Post-op and Patient Experience
As detailed by many others over the years here, this is a clinic that takes patient care and post-operative follow-up very seriously. A lot of thought has been put into the "journey" that you take from showing the first interest to submitting the final follow-up photos. I won't spend too much time on this here, just state for the record that I have had a uniformly positive experience throughout. I really like the staff and they have come across in a sympathetic manner in all the interactions I've had with them.
The doctor himself is a good man. He has rock solid ethics. While there I met a NW3 patient who to my semi-trained eye would seem like a good candidate, but was ultimately turned down. For this patient there was a risk of donor depletion, and his final pattern of loss would make the transplanted hairline seem odd if the loss progressed. Another, younger patient was turned down during my time there as well, due to his loss being too minor.
Some reviews I saw characterized him as seeming "rushed", however I have had the complete opposite impression. He has been very generous with his time to address my various concerns and my myriad of different questions about post-op care and the procedure itself. Personality-wise he does have a bit of swagger to him, however in a way that I associate with high performers from work. Full marks for him and his team in this respect.
The industry is "caveat emptor", and I take some blame for poor research in selecting my surgeon. My intention with choosing Dr. Rahal was to derisk my procedure, which I thought I had done by going for a clinic with a good reputation online. I did not want to go to Turkey, and had been somewhat underwhelmed by the results of the euro surgeons that were available in a reasonable timeframe. Rahal is routinely mentioned in top #3 lists across the internet and I also spoke with a former patient of his that I trust, and got his assurances that a large FUE session would not be a problem. I dodged most of the obvious bullets, like ARTAS, newbie techs, dense packed Armani hairlines, cheapo third-world surgeons and fallen greats.
However, I overlooked the negative experiences of forum member Sean (which I believe was due to a combination of physiology and inexperienced staff members working on him during his initial procedure) and SugarHighs (combination of factors but probably physiology seeing as the hairs grew and then shed), and some of the other rather subpar FUE results floating around here.
Ignoring the fact that Sean's procedure was back in 2011, most of the results you can find are rather old and there isn't really a plethora of recent complete hairline FUE results similar to what I was going for. Some of the patient results posted here evidence poor growth, though there is clearly a trend of better performance over the years. Mike told me that they generally don't get poor growth, time will tell but he seemed confident when he said it. I should mention that the most recent results you can find here, those of zx_toth and ftbpicks, both had very good growth and final results.
I guess I've attached some new meaning to "doing your research". It really means going the extra mile; scouring the web for results and first-hand accounts, and compiling everything into a timeline. Contact former patients that stopped updating. Get everything in writing before you go in, like how many techs will be working on you, what tools will be used and the doctor's involvement in the surgery. No matter how this procedure turns out, I'll be much more careful with my next one, that's for sure.
The road ahead:
The way I see it, I'm taking one for the team here, essentially. If the results turn out great then that should help assuage anyone who's apprehensive about doing a larger FUE procedure with this doctor. As I said, the patient experience is top notch and I'd recommend anyone that can handle a FUT scar to go with Rahal.
Attached are some pre-op, post-op day 1, and day 11 pictures. I'll get some higher res pictures soon so I'll upload those as soon as possible. However, having browsed a few of these threads over the years I know most people don't care too much about the post-op pictures, the final results are what matter. I'm committing to semi-regular updates until the 12 month mark.
Other recent FUE patients of Dr. Rahal are welcome to post here, especially those that are far enough out from the procedure to see how it turned out.