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I know this will take a while to read but I ask that you read in full if you want a better understanding of the HT process. I know my experience may vary from others, but at least you will be better informed of what to expect before, during, and after your HT. I have been a long time lurker on the forum, constantly reading peoples post about preventative treatments, suggestions of HT surgeons, and analyzing HT results from patients posted pics. I guess it is now my turn to give back to the community that has helped guide me in the right direction for my hair restoration needs. If you want to know a little more about my hair loss background please read my initial post here: http://www.hairrestorationnetwork.com/eve/161402-dr-gabel-dr-hasson.html#post2270274 If you don’t want to read that I can sum it up rather quickly. No real family history of baldness, I started receding for the past 4 years, I had a bad experience + growth with one of the top FUE doctors on the site (let’s not get into that discussion please, it is what it is and I have moved on) . PLEASE share your comments about my experience/pics, and if you have any questions please ask.

I want to make this as informative as possible for you and share my experience in detail because I know there is so much fear in getting a HT (specifically w/ FUT). Whenever something is permanent it takes a lot of time and guts to actually go through with it. I know for me I spent weeks and months at a time reading forums, analyzing before and after pictures. I am glad I did because research is key. I would not advise getting a procedure done until you have fully weighed all pros and cons (looking at family history of baldness etc.) Nor would I advise meeting only one HT surgeon. Do your research, meet with A LOT of docs, and talk with patients who have had procedures with those docs so you can hear about their personal experience. (A quick thank you to takingtheplunge, Spex, Bill, and othersyde for answering all of my questions. Othersyde, if it weren’t for you, I probably would not have gone through with the procedure so I thank you). So in my post today I will be talking to you about my HT that just took place this last week with Dr. Gabel. I was never even thinking about writing this experience on the forum mainly because I just wanted to get the procedure done, get my wanted hair back on my head, and move on with my life. But then I thought about how scared sh*tless (yes I will probably use this word more than once in this post) and how I would have liked someone to do the same. Secondly, I had such a positive experience w/ Dr. Gabel that I had the urge/want/need whatever you want to call it, to share my experience in full.

What first impressed me about Dr. Gabel was that he meets with all of his potential clients in person. He actually fly’s to Seattle and I believe Idaho if I am not mistaken. To me this was really important because online consultations can be misleading due to lousy photographs as you can probably tell from my first post. I did a few online consultations with other coalition Dr’s on the forums and all of them were relatively in the same ballpark in terms of # of grafts so going into my consultation I had a good idea of what to expect. My first impression of Dr. Gabel was that he was thorough, conservative, and brutally honest. We talked about my family history of baldness, past procedures, current medications, and expectations so he could determine the best course of action. During the consultation never did I feel rushed so he could see the next client, nor did I feel he was trying to sell me on “X” number of graphs. I can definitely say he is more on the conservative side saying he thought I would only need around 1,000-1300 grafts. This number was a little disappointing to me as I was thinking more on the line of 1500 (which is what other HT surgeons estimated). I must note that I was totally set on FUE, because the thought of a linear scar on the back of my head scared me sh*tless and I figured I would lose the remainder of my hair stressing about the scar if I were to go that route. But we discussed the pros and cons of each procedure and seeing that I was most likely a bad candidate for FUE (previous procedure resulted in not so great results), FUT would be my only rational option if I were to get a procedure done. I too am a Doctor in the healthcare field and I know the importance of explaining EVERYTHING to your patients. Dr. Gabel did a very thorough job in this, checked my laxity, evaluated my donor area, and drew out a conservative hairline. He really took his time to look at the entire picture. (Sure enough I went home, did research, and found that typically (not always) FUT does give better yield on a more consistent basis)

*I don’t want to get into a debate on what gets better yield, is a more traumatic procedure etc. etc. etc. nor do I want to start a debate on who’s the best HT Dr. I want to stay focused on the topic at hand which is my journey into the world of HT and my procedure with Dr. Gabel.

The initial consultation lasted over an hour I would say I left there feeling pretty good about the whole thing and that I found the man to carry out my procedure. I guarantee that if you do take the time to meet with Dr. Gabel you will find that he is truly a class act. Even if you decide not to go with him for your HT, you will walk away saying that he is definitely a good human being.

Over the next few weeks I weighed all options, evaluated the time I would need to take off to hide away, and ended up scheduling the procedure. Side note: Isn’t it funny how girls get boob jobs and flaunt them around town, but if a guy gets a HT, he feels the need to hide away so no one knows what he did? I’ll admit I’m definitely one of those guys. I don’t know if it’s an ego, pride, or masculinity thing, but I guess that’s the way it is. So as you can guess, I am hiding away in my far off cave, away from civilization, until all the evidence has subsided, writing this post.

So I guess we can move forward to the week leading up to the procedure. Sure enough, I get sick on Tuesday (my procedure is Friday) and am scared to death that I may not be able to get this thing done. Most likely my immune system was comprised due to the thought of having a permanent scar on the back of my head along with being at work where people were sick. So doing the right thing I call Dr. Gabel’s office just to give him a heads up that the HT may not be happening. I’ll just put this out there now, Aileen is a saint. If you ever do get a HT with Dr. Gabel you will know exactly what I’m talking about. But anyways, Aileen calmed me down and was able to get Dr. Gabel on the phone to talk to me. Dr. Gabel said that if I’m too sick to come, no worries, we can postpone for a future date or cancel all together. He was very polite and sympathetic and just asked that I keep him updated so he would know whether or not to bring in his staff on Friday or not……..understandable. I take my vitamins, get some sleep and bam, feeling great the next day call Dr. Gabel up and the HT is back on.

Day of the procedure I showed up at the office at 6:30a.m. and was greeted by two of his employees (I’m sorry I don’t remember everyone’s name!) The three of us went into a consultation room, went over the pre-procedure check list, took vitals, signed all the necessary papers, etc. Drinks and snacks were offered and at this point I felt comfortable, but still scared sh*tless. Dr. Gabel then came into the room, explained the day to me, and we went to work designing the hairline. Between me, two of his employees, and Dr. Gabel himself, we decided on a conservative hairline that we all agreed would look natural. This wasn’t something that was NOT done quickly mind you. I would say it took well over an hour, possibly an hour and a half until we were all in agreement. During this I could see the personality of Dr. Gabel come out. He is a true perfectionist. I mean it got to a point in where we were talking about millimeters! It was a little humorous watching Dr. Gabel stare at me so intensely, closing one eye, alternating to the other. Funny or not you could tell that he took pride in what he was doing and wanted it perfect. He also double checked the design with this device over my head. Dr. Gabel, maybe you can explain what that contrapment was? When you look at my hairline design from the pics you may say that we could have brought it down more or changed this or that but I was trying to be realistic and have a mature hairline + good density. The two most important aspects to me were density and an invisible scar. Dr. Gabel promised he would do his best in these regards but in the end it’s your physiology that determines how big the scar will be. I know that the key to a small scar is NO TENSION. Tension causes stretching resulting in a bigger scar. I must state again that my fear wasn’t the procedure necessarily, but the fear of having a stretched out scar making me look like a freak and everyone finding out my deep dark secret. I believe that Dr. Gabel did do a great job in getting primary closure using the double suture technique with trichophytic closure. I know there is a debate whether sutures or staples should be used but lets not turn this post into that debate either. The deep layer sutures were resorbable, the outer sutures were black silk I believe? He also sutured me up using running sutures. I don’t know if there is any advantage to this over interrupted or running interlocking etc. but I trust his judgment. (You can be the judge based on the pictures).

So now that everything was signed, hairline designed, initial pictures taken, I was able to pop a valium. They said I could take two so naturally, I took the second. Side note about pictures: Dr. Gabel has an entire room dedicated to pictures. He uses consistent lighting in the room., “Markers” in the room that you stare at so you can get consistent angles for every photo session (front, side, back, etc.). So after personally seeing his photo room I know that his pictures are taken consistently and no alterations are being done, no messing with flash or any other “tricks” that people may use to enhance results.

Back to the surgery: I walk to the operating room, I greet the rest of his staff (everyone is amazing by the way) and we get started. The injections don’t hurt that bad (thank you valium), and before you know it, the donor area is shaved, excised out, and I’m all sutured up. Instantly the team gets to work doing whatever it is they were doing to dissect the hairs from my ex-scalp. I believe there were 4 people under different microscopes? (correct me if I am wrong?) I could not believe the attention to detail these ladies had. They were focused, and I mean FOCUSED at doing whatever it was they were doing. While that was going on, Dr. Gabel got the rest of my scalp numb. I’m not going to lie to you. If you want temple work done you will really have to pay for that. The injections to numb the temple area suck. I mean suck. Valium cannot compete with temple injections. Temple injections trump Valium (paper-rock-scissors analogy)

So let’s get away from temple injections. Dr. Gabel asked that I not talk during the first half of the procedure and to just relax and enjoy the music in the background. I understood and took no offense because it was a crucial part in the procedure. He was making the incision sites and needed to count the number of incisions per cm2 or something along those lines? That’s what I assume at least because I heard him counting to himself. Whatever it was he was doing he was in the zone. Every 30 mins to an hour everyone else updated Dr. Gabel on the number of 1s 2s 3s etc. that I had. He told me he needed this information to know exactly how many incision sites to make and what size to make them. Everyone had their sheets marking all this stuff down. His practice is a completely organized, well-oiled machine. During the entire procedure Dr. Gabel was by my side 90% of the time (this was another important aspect that helped me in my decision in choosing Dr. Gabel). He placed most of the grafts along with two of his auxiliaries. I really can’t explain how well everyone worked together as a team. I guess you would just have to see it. I mean his auxiliaries were looking through a microscope for hours at a time dissecting grafts. It was quite amazing if you ask me. I must add that time was not even a factor during the procedure. They were thinking we would be done by 4 or so. We ended up not finishing until 6-6:30 and not a single person tried to rush or get out of there on time for the Labor Day weekend. The reason for it taking so long was that the strip which they predicted would yield approximately 1500 grafts turned out to be 2157! This wasn’t a miscalculation on Dr. Gabels part, but I had an extremely high donor density (woohoo for me I guess). Dr. Gabel said that when calculating he had to factor in my previous FUE procedure, scar tissue resulting from this, etc. When I heard the number 2157 though I about sh*t myself though. I think Dr. Gabel may have been puzzled why I wasn’t ecstatic with such a high number. The reason being I had only budgeted for 1500 grafts. I didn’t say anything there but just went along with it (at the end of the procedure without me even asking he told me not to worry about the extra grafts. He said that we talked about 1500 the morning of the surgery and that’s all I would be charged for) Wow 657 grafts free of charge. I still don’t even know what to say about that………. speechless. During the entire day I got a good idea of who Dr. Gabel was as a person and these are the adjectives I came up with: Perfectionist, artistic, methodical, meticulous, and ethical. My opinion about Dr. Gabel is that he truly cares about the product that he puts out there. He is in the business for all the right reasons and not just for the money. You can see the pride and passion he takes in his work.

Ok the day is over now but to top it off, not only did he buy me lunch, we went late so he bought me dinner as well. He told me to come by the next day for my one day cleaning if I was still in town.

Night of surgery: To my surprise I was not in a lot of pain. What I typically tell MY patients to do after a surgery I perform is to take 1 tab of vicodin which has acetaminophen in it, but to also compound it with ibuprofen 600mg every 6 hours if the vicodin itself doesn’t stop the pain. I recommend for EVERYONE to do this. I was hardly in any discomfort at all. I was only worrying about dislodging my sutures which I had no basis for. It’s important to note that Ibuprofen is a better pain reliever and anti-inflammatory agent than vicodin. Combine them together and it works great for post op pain. Make sure you don’t exceed the recommended dose of acetaminophen or ibuprofen though or your kidneys and liver will suffer!

Day after surgery and the next two days: So it’s Saturday on Labor Day weekend and Aileen and Dr. Gabel meet me at his office for my one day cleaning. People, wherever you get your HT done, stick around the next few days so the pros can clean everything up for you properly. I know I would have done it incorrectly if not shown how to properly do it. Side note again: Aileen you have the hands of an angel. She shampooed my hair, cleaned the grafts and I felt rejuvenated. She is truly a professional at what she does.

I can’t speak highly enough about the staff that Dr. Gabel has put together. I know from experience that a well trained staff is crucial to run a quality practice. I ended up going there for cleanings/pictures on Sunday and Monday as well. Keep in mind this is Labor Day weekend! Overall I am very impressed with the whole process and am very thankful I went through with it. (again thank you othersyde for your encouragement and support).

If any of you are wondering where I stayed, I stayed at the Econolodge for three days which is literally a block away from the clinic. It’s not this nicest place but good enough and CLEAN. It allowed for me to get some piece and quite, watch 3 day’s worth of television, and get some good old R and R. It’s cheap too by the way. If you mention Dr. Gabel’s name it comes out to $58 a night after taxes.

Closing thoughts: Do I think Dr. Gabel is the best HT doctor out there? Who knows and I am definitely not one to make that accusation nor do I think anyone can. I can say my experience with him was fantastic though. Would I trust him to perform another procedure on my head again? Yes (I hope I will never need one though, no offense Dr. Gabel). Would I trust him with my friends and family? Yes. Would I recommend him to people who ask my opinion? Yes. Am I still scared about what my scar will look like in months to come? Yes. Was it better than my first HT experience? Yes, by a mile.

Please note that I can only speak for the process that I just went through and not results. Only time will tell if the results will match the procedural experience. But I would assume great results come from a great/flawless procedure, so I expect nothing short of a fantastic result. And if it doesn’t turn out as planned I have faith that Dr. Gabel would make it right.

What I want people to take away from this is that:

1) DO YOUR RESEARCH and find a reputable doc that you feel COMFORTABLE WITH!

2) Meet with your potential HT doctor IN PERSON (I know this is not always possible)

3) DON’T let travel be a factor in your decision

4) DON’T jump into a HT by letting someone prey on your insecurities. (this initially happened to me)

 

Finally, I am awaiting to get my pictures from Dr. Gabel. Once I get them I will post them immediately. Once I do so I would love to hear all of your opinions on the work and what I should expect a year from now. Thanks!

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Dr. G is in my top 3. You picked a great doc. What is your age if you don't mind? LONGEST POST EVER by the way, but a good read. Good luck.


I am an online representative for Dr. Raymond Konior who is an elite member of the Coalition of Independent Hair Restoration Physicians.

View Dr. Konior's Website

View Spanker's Website

I am not a medical professional and my opinions should not be taken as medical advice.

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Yeah sorry about the long post but I'm glad that you made it through it all. I wanted to try and explain the entire process to the best of my ability to let those who have never gone through the procedure get a better idea of what to expect. To answer your question I'll be turning 27 soon. Who are your other docs you have in mind? I would definitely recommend meeting all of them in person if at all possible.

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To answer our question, my favorites are SMG, Konior and Gabel. True and Dorin are up there and H and W put out great results too.

 

Of that list though, Konior and Gabel are the least talked about great surgeons in my opinion, so I enjoy seeing posts of both of these guys.


I am an online representative for Dr. Raymond Konior who is an elite member of the Coalition of Independent Hair Restoration Physicians.

View Dr. Konior's Website

View Spanker's Website

I am not a medical professional and my opinions should not be taken as medical advice.

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Yeah you definitely don't hear about Dr. Gabel as much as you do some of the other docs on here. Because of this I had never really considered going to him for a HT originally. But after talking with numerous people on the forum, having a consult w/ him in person, and talking to some of his patients and seeing their results, I was sold. So far I am extremely happy with my choice.

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db12166,

 

Congratulations and thank you for taking the time to write such a detailed account of your experience with Dr. Gabel! I've not met him but his reputation truly precedes him. I'm confident that you will achieve the results you hope for.

 

Best of luck!

Edited by TakingThePlunge

David - Forum Co-Moderator and Editorial Assistant

 

I am not a medical professional. All opinions are my own and my advice should not constitute as medical advice.

 

View my Hair Loss Website

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I agree 100% - Dr Gabel is a true unsung hero IMHO :cool:

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Well congrats man! Take it easy and relax the next couple of weeks and make sure to put the medications (Polysporin, mineral oil, etc.) on your scar every day and keep it safe and clean, and I have no doubt you'll have an amazing outcome.

 

And Wow! Over 2,000 grafts! Your HT will be even more epic than mine! I'm jealous! Definitely keep us updated with the pics.

 

Oh and don't be alarmed in 7-12 days when the new hairs fall out and it looks like you're even balder than you were before; it wigged me out a little too, but that just means the new follicles have taken root and begun making new hairs under the skin. The new hairs will grow in very thin after a month or two, and just keep getting thicker and denser over the next 6-8 months, and they'll look awesome.

 

I'm really happy that I was so influential in swaying you to get this done and to get it done with Dr. Gabel; he's a true professional surgeon, not like those talentless hacks that prey on peoples' desires and trust and then butcher their scalps for money and just make them live with the awful results, and I guarantee you're going to be absolutely ecstatic in a relatively short time.

 

We're all stoked for you and everyone loves a success story (especially the protagonist of said story lol). Keep us updated! Congrats again!

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Great story and read! Sounds like you had a wonderful experience and it is really good that you shed some light on a doctor who isn't as well published as the other coalition dr's. Your post definitely made me look Dr. Gabel up and review his work! Happy Growing and def keep us posted on your growth!!!

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OK here are some pics. Dr. Gabel e-mailed and told me he is attending a convention this week so that's the reason he hasn't sent me any of my pics from days 1-3. I have been taking daily pics with my cellphone though. These aren't great quality but will give you the idea of hairline design etc. Let me know what you guys think. The first pic is from day 5. The others are from today (day 8).

IMG_0589.jpg.999ee4b95f624c91fd63505e17c7adde.jpg

5b32cf7d5d2ad_2011-09-1012_13_00.jpg.1b49e2a501725b63673f752d02f22b6a.jpg

5b32cf7d6fd91_2011-09-1012_13_45.jpg.96712abf016404783eedb8e746819ba3.jpg

5b32cf7d8fdee_2011-09-1012_14_061.jpg.f2440ecc8f54443f25b60e330a24390a.jpg

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I forgot to add but I'm sure you all can tell, I just got done w/ a shower. I don't know if this makes results look better or worse, just thought I should make a note of it.

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It's looking good! Nice to know you were treated so well :)

 

 

Is it normal that I have already shed most of the transplanted hair? I noticed the shedding starting around day 12 or so and have lost most of the transplanted hair since then. I am almost at 3 weeks now and the transplanted areas are almost completely bald.

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Is it normal that I have already shed most of the transplanted hair? I noticed the shedding starting around day 12 or so and have lost most of the transplanted hair since then. I am almost at 3 weeks now and the transplanted areas are almost completely bald.

 

Nothing to worry about. It's perfectly normal.


David - Forum Co-Moderator and Editorial Assistant

 

I am not a medical professional. All opinions are my own and my advice should not constitute as medical advice.

 

View my Hair Loss Website

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Is it normal that I have already shed most of the transplanted hair? I noticed the shedding starting around day 12 or so and have lost most of the transplanted hair since then. I am almost at 3 weeks now and the transplanted areas are almost completely bald.

 

As TakingThePlunge said, that's completely normal; same thing happened to me. It will gradually come back, first very thin after 2-3 months, then thicker and thicker until it's at full density after 8-12 months. It'll look really good at 5-6 months as well though, most likely. Just gotta have a little patience and all will be good. Better than before, in fact!

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Yes, very normal. Have patience......the first month or two can seem long because you hair may seem thinner overall, but it will come back and then your new grafts will start to grow.


Surgery - Dr. Ron Shapiro FUT 6/14/11 - 3048 grafts

 

Surgery - Dr. Ron Shapiro FUE 1/28/13 & 1/29/13 - 1513 grafts

 

http://www.hairrestorationnetwork.com/orlhair1

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Nothing to worry about. It's perfectly normal.

 

Thanks guys for the responses. I was a little worried there for awhile. I know you are suppose to starts shedding the hairs around 2-4 weeks. What got me worried though was I felt I started shedding at day 12 or so, and on the forum I have been reading of guys not shedding anything for 1-2 months!. I guess I wasn't sure that the grafts were secure yet and that I may have lost them.

 

Another question, when is it ok to start drinking alcohol? I'm not planning on binge drinking, but definitely a few beers with my buddies for Sunday football.

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As TakingThePlunge said, that's completely normal; same thing happened to me. It will gradually come back, first very thin after 2-3 months, then thicker and thicker until it's at full density after 8-12 months. It'll look really good at 5-6 months as well though, most likely. Just gotta have a little patience and all will be good. Better than before, in fact!

 

 

I also have some redness going on in the recipient area. Is it ok to apply aloe vera, vit E, or hydrocortisone to the recipient area? And which is preferred? At this point nothing can damage the grafts correct? (im at day 20 now)

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They're pretty sturdy now, but I'd consult Dr. Gabel before putting anything on the recipient area; but I mean your scalp's been stabbed several thousand times, some redness and swelling is the least to be expected. Maybe some hydrocortisone cream something..? Ask though, I'm not sure on this one. I just wore a hat a lot.

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All normal :cool:

 

 

Here I am at day 24. Nothing new to show on the recipient area so I thought I would take pics of the donor scar. I would really like to hear everyone's input on how the scar is coming along, location (too high, too low, just right), thickness of the scar, what I can eventually expect a year down the road, etc. I think I do have some shock loss, but as long as my hair isn't wet it is impossible to see.

1.jpg.eb07a4b5350b05702f26441b48686e96.jpg

2.jpg.24518f7259966947e19ba4f31f8a8787.jpg

4.jpg.d699dac91eecde0bd8d894f70d89d482.jpg

3.jpg.949cce53418a894a88dd5d99b25461bd.jpg

5.jpg.02b2e1280c7345bc42650aa858179f54.jpg

6.jpg.9a481851819fff84888a484c76164294.jpg

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I forgot to ask, could I get away with cutting my hair w/ a #8 guard and still be able to hide the scar?

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I forgot to ask, could I get away with cutting my hair w/ a #8 guard and still be able to hide the scar?

 

Probably; that's pretty long. I get mine cut with a #3 guard now, and it's essentially invisible. I will try a #2 on this upcoming haircut.

 

Also, your scar looks a lot less nasty than mine did at day 24!

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