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3,404 Grafts with Dr. Panine

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I'll apologize ahead of time as this is likely going to end up being a bit long winded. I tend to try and describe everything a lot.



I've spent the better part of a year looking over this site and doing research to try and counter the problem of my hair loss that started at the age of 19.


Doctors had me on Propecia off and on, but as I went through life and finances became more difficult due to various situations through the years, not to mention the skyrocketing costs of Propecia alone every time I got a refill, I eventually went off of it due to other Health concerns forcing me to drop what was, essentially, a non essential medication compared to other things at the time.


It became increasingly frustrating to go into the Pharmacy and quite literally, the cost of Propecia would go up by 10 dollars nearly every time I got a refill the last time I had a prescription over 2 years ago. I remember back in the day when I first started, it was 55 dollars for 30 pills. But ever since that day, the costs have continuously skyrocketed until I had to stop at the near price of 100 dollars for 30 pills.


I didn't know enough back then that Doctors could prescribe Finasteride to cut up, and even if I had, the doctors I had dealt with I doubt would have assisted me in such a matter. They were concerned about other things like my Cholesterol and overall health rather then something that was cosmetic.


So, my hair loss continued. The effect was slow and gradual despite my taking what Propecia I had through the years, but it started to definitely become noticeable these past 3. Granted, it's likely due to how I have my hair that the effects were less pronounced. I keep it quite long, and have since the age of 20-21. It is a look I prefer and I have had quite a few ladies comment that they rather liked my appearance with my hair as long as it was. Down to the middle of my back.


Combing it back and tying it back allowed me to hide the balding spot on the back of my head. But unfortunately, it did little to hide the receding hair line that time eventually eroded away due to my genetics. It was a losing battle.


I went home one Christmas to see my parents and came across an old photo album of myself and the way I looked back in those days, and it was depressing to say the least. So, I decided to start digging deeper and doing more research in the goals of seeking to do a hair transplant.


Eventually, I decided to go with Dr. Panine, and set up a consultation with him.


Stuart met with me when I drove down to Chicago from out of state that day and discussed with me what I wanted to achieve, and what my realistic goals would be. I understood fully that I would never be able to go back to what my hair once was. It was, in fact, quite thick.


However, after explaining that what I wanted more then anything else at this point was to restore my hairline to as close as possible to what it once was back in the day, we began to go over my options and discuss what was possible.


Thankfully, after meeting with Dr. Panine and learning that my Donor Area was quite excellent, it lifted my spirits quite a bit as to what could be done. I remember Stuart saying during the consult that they could easily get around 10,000 grafts out of me if they wanted to from my donor area, though they only do 3,000 grafts per procedure. Further discussion went on, and I understand quite readily that they stressed to get full coverage I wanted that two procedures would be required.


Since I was more concerned about my hairline, and since I grow my hair quite long anyways, it was determined that if I went ahead with the Surgery, they would focus on the hairline first. That way, once it started to grow out, I could comb it back as I always have most of my life and cover up the thinning crown of my head. 1 year later after the Hairline, the 2nd procedure would be done to cover the Crown.


I asked Dr. Panine if he could restore me to literally the hairline I had lost when I was younger, and expressed that I had old Photos of how I looked before the Hair Loss began. He stated that such should definitely be possible. That if I had a photo he could look at and use during the surgery that showed what my hairline was back in the day, he could definitely use that and replicate it as close as humanly possible.


I drove back home that day feeling relieved. Thinking that at least some part of my life that had been taken out of my control, could be put back into my hands once more. Most my family members have been bald, the onset always starting from a young age. And the more hair I lost, the more depressed I got over matters.


I just didn't look like I used to, nor did I have the self confidence that I did back in the day. Dr. Panine's words during the consult as well as the advice both he and Stuart gave me during that day definitely gave me hope that I could, at the very least, feel like I was reclaiming that lost confidence.


I decided to do some more research. What was involved, how long recovery would take, etc. Eventually I called up Stuart and gave him the Green Light. I wanted to go ahead with the Surgery and gain back what genetics had taken away from me.



I went in to get a hair transplant for 3,000 grafts, electing to go to the Gurnee office to get my procedure done. Admittedly, I was quite excited to have this done. Not nervous, just excited. I felt like I was finally taking back the reigns in my life and regaining some measure of control. I know it sounds odd and perhaps foolish, but that is how I felt.


I had a big breakfast, and arrived at the Gurnee Office early and awaited my Surgery.


Dr. Panine and his staff were extremely professional, and did everything in their power to make sure that I was always comfortable and that the procedure was as painless as possible.


I brought in my photo album of old pictures, and after going through with it Dr. Panine and choosing a picture that best represented what I wanted to achieve, he taped it up on the wall to have a reference then drew out the hairline with blue marker. Discussing what would look most natural and my goals, Dr. Panine adjusted the line to achieve what I wanted, but what would also look natural and when fully grown out, indiscernible that I had had a hair transplant. I should note, I have and always have had a natural Widows peak, and though slight, that is the look I wanted back. Something that felt familiar and comfortable to me. Dr. Panine definitely helped me achieve this in our discussions and drawing out the game plan as it were.



After they trimmed the donor area, Dr. Panine began to apply the anesthetic to numb the area, which I have to say, was the most painless thing I had ever felt. I wish more Doctors used needles like that to inject Anesthetic. I barely even felt it.


The rest of the procedure, though long, went along quite easily. I chatted with Dr. Panine and his assistants as the situation allowed, because I didn't want to disturb Dr. Panine's concentration when he was working on vital steps of the procedure. But I had great conversations and watched some movies as well. I was extremely relaxed during the entire procedure, so much so that I decided to simply fall asleep several times and let them proceed to do the work they needed to do while I napped.


The only downside to things is that Dr. Panine had to use quite a bit of Anesthesia on me, but to be honest that is because of my genetics. Historically throughout my entire life, my body has always tended to chew through Anesthesia like Candy, as well as proving highly resistant to many medications. This case was no different. But Dr. Panine and his staff provided excellent care for me, telling me if I ever felt anything at all to let them know. The moment I felt anything and alerted them, they would numb me right back up without hesitation. Truly excellent care.


The procedure finally done, I went to go rest at a hotel that night after getting some food before doing so. After such a long procedure, I really didn't have much of an appetite, only managing to eat my fries and the cherry berry smoothie from McDonalds that I got before taking my meds and trying to sleep.


Some people say they don't have a lot of discomfort after the first day. Unfortunately, I did. However, I do not attribute this to anything else save my own body and it;s resistant nature to medication. I took a Vicodin and Vallium as prescribed, but the Vicodin did not make a dent in the discomfort I felt, and sleep came only after a few hours of trying to cope with the discomfort. I debated taking two...but I didn't wish to risk issues and decided to talk to Dr. Panine and Stuart the next day about the matter of the Vicodin.


When I woke up that morning, the pain was far less then what it had been when I fell asleep. And was far more tolerable. After going in and getting my results checked up on by Dr. Panine and talking with Stuart, it was agreed upon that two Vicodin were ok for me to take, but for me to wait 30 minutes to see if the first wasn't working.


I should note: Two Vicodin DID work. Whereas the one didn't do much, the discomfort vanished entirely with the two Vicodin, so literally, as I suspected, it was a case of my body just needing a stronger dose.


Dr. Panine said that things looked great, and then Stuart and I sat down to discuss the procedure that had occurred and Post Op care.



Stuart told me that in the end, they got 3,404 grafts out of me in the following Breakdown.


1 hair 1,807

2 hairs 1423

3 hairs 174 for a total of 3,404 grafts and 5,185 hairs.


I drove home that day, taking care to not bump my head or touch the grafts. Most of my recovery has honestly been spent sleeping. Whenever I undergo any kind of Surgery, I tend to sleep for hours and hours on end quite easily. 16+ sometimes. I would wake up, shower my body, shampoo the back of my head with Children's shampoo and then lather up my hands. Dabbing the recipient area very gingerly with the lather, I'd then take a cup of water and gently pour it slowly over the area, rinsing it off. I was a bit more vigorous in scrubbing the donor strip area, but still gentle.


The days went on like this, with me waking up, showering, letting my hair dry naturally and only very gently dabbing the recipient area with the lightest touch of paper towel on my head, and then eating. I'd then Play Diablo 3 or watch TV or so for 4-6 hours, get tired, and go back to sleep again. I made sure to keep a strict regimen on my medications as well, always taking them when needed as was advised of me.


Thus far, I am now day 5? 6? Not sure, the Procedure started Tuesday Morning and ended very early Wed morning. Dr. Panine really took great meticulous care to get this right I could tell. The recipient area looks good. The day after the first Wash I had a couple of accidents touching the recipient area, but sent pics to Dr. Panine. My understanding is if I lost a graft, I would have bled quite noticeably and Dr. Panine Confirmed that. He took a look at the pictures I sent and said to not worry, that everything looked A +.


I have to say, I am extremely happy with everything that has transpired. Stuart and Dr. Panine have continued to gladly answer any questions I have had post procedure, and they have been nothing but absolutely courteous and professional when dealing with me.


At this point, it looks like some of the hairs are beginning to shed in some parts with crusts falling off as well, but everything looks great. I am eagerly awaiting the day I can have the sutures removed and resume workouts and daily activities as the days roll on. And more importantly, crossing my fingers for fantastic hair growth.


So I am going to take a picture at the end of every week for a year from now on, recording my growth on a week to week basis and put it up in a blog so that not only I can track my progress, but so that everyone else can see it as well. It is my hope that it will give me a way to reinforce in fact that yes, growth is happening, and for me to be patient as well as to see the slow transformation that will take place over the coming year.


All in all, I have to give my immense thanks to Dr. Panine for his professionalism and courteousness as well as that of his staff and Stuart as well. They made this whole experience comfortable, relaxed, and stress free.



Below are the pictures that Stuart took of me. Pre Op and Post Op. You can see my hair is quite long in things, and that we concentrated quite heavily on the hairline, and brought it back down to where it once was when I was in my 20s using Dr. Panine's expertise as to what would look natural for my current age of being in my 30s.

















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Congratulations! The post-operative pictures look great!


I hope you'll keep us updated!

"Doc" Blake Bloxham - formerly "Future_HT_Doc"


Forum Co-Moderator and Editorial Assistant for the Hair Transplant Network, the Hair Loss Learning Center, the Hair Loss Q&A Blog, and the Hair Restoration Forum


All opinions are my own and my advice does not constitute as medical advice. All medical questions and concerns should be addressed by a personal physician.

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Thank you for writing about your experience with Dr. Panine. I always enjoy hearing from his patients. He is the surgeon I will be going to once I get enough money together.

Finasteride 1.25 mg. daily

Avodart 0.5 mg. daily

Spironolactone 50 mg twice daily

5 mg. oral Minoxidil twice daily

Biotin 1000 mcg daily

Multi Vitamin daily


Damn, with all the stuff you put in your hair are you like a negative NW1? :D

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I am one week post op I figure at this point. 7 days roughly. It's been a blur.


Shedding and crusting of the hair has begun to occur. I accidentally bumped a bit of the crusting with my fingernail earlier and it looks like it bled a little. I guess the skin was still a bit attached to the crust and the area is still tender.


I've been leaving this stuff alone and letting it shed off on it's own in the shower when I shampoo. Just dabbing the Recipient area with my fingers full of shampoo and then rinsing very gently with water, and just letting it air dry.


I have to tell you though, the past two days, the recipient area after a shower and when it begins to dry has really started to itch. I've done a great job of not touching it and simply ignoring it, but man am I looking forward to when I can get these sutures out so I can scrub my head vigorously again like I used to.



From what I understand, the phase I am in where I am shedding and crusting is normal. It looks to be healing good. I don't think I dislodged a graft from bumping the bit of crusting like I said, I figure there would be ALOT more blood if I had and I would also notice the hair and a bit of material around it as well.


I think it's just surface damage basically, the crust was still adhered a bit too much to the skin and when I accidentally bumped it, the skin got opened up a slight bit.


Otherwise everything's great. Sutures no longer really have any discomfort, and my energy has picked up dramatically at this point.


Hopefully everyone else can confirm all is ok at this point by the picture. I myself don't feel any real discomfort or any issues. I think it's just the healing/shedding phase starting at this point really.


You can kinda see where I bumped the crust in the picture, that tiny red dot in between the two sections. It didn't even really bleed per say, just, well, sorta oozed and filled in the spot I guess.




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Thanks everyone for the feedback. I appreciate it.


Stuart called me up and sent me some stuff in the mail to help with the crusting. I expect it to arrive saturday and he said to just gently put it on the areas and it should help things exfoliate naturally in a faster way.



I put on a T-Shirt today after a shower because I was getting ready for work, and noticed a hair had come out. Likely, a simple shed. I doubt that it is a lost graft because at roughly 2:30 am when it will be Friday this morning, It will have been 9 days post op. My understanding is that even at 8 days, grafts are pretty secure. The chance of losing them without directly pulling on them intentionally or some really bad accident is pretty remote.


There was no bleeding whatsoever. So as I said, I doubt it's a lost graft. I've seen someone say that when you lose a graft you bleed almost like a horror show.


This is likely just a shed hair follicle with the root/bulb attached with crust surrounding it. However, since the question comes up often from others, I wanted to put a picture up so that in the future others who come across this can hopefully allay their fears about lost grafts, and confirm that yes, it is just a shed follicle with crust/scab attached.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Week 2 has come and gone. Sutures have been removed. Cannot describe in enough words how wonderful it felt to have them out.


From now on I'll start posting to my blog. Easier for others to track my progress that way. I'll update roughly once every week, over the year to the day of the Transplant so Progress can be recorded and seen.


Link here: Hair Restoration Social Network - Hair Loss Patient Blogs

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  • 3 months later...
  • 3 months later...

Update has been a while in coming.


I won't say much. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves. I am out for the Holidays so I am just going to post them up here in the thread.


Pictures are comparison of Pre Op vs what is at the time of these pictures being taken, a little over 6 months progress. Stuart took these during my checkup on my progress when I hopped in at the beginning of December.


So, without further ado, here are the pics. Enjoy folks and I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts as to how well I am progressing.








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  • 2 months later...
  • 2 months later...
  • 1 month later...

Sorry this took so long everyone. My job has been beyond insanely busy as the place I work at has expanded and things have just been ludicrous. I tried my best to keep photo records of progress but it looks like the only good ones I have are from December of 2012 and April of 2013. Bane of using an iphone sadly.


Finally got some time of and went to Dr Panine's office to get updated photos from Stuart. So, here are all the photos I have.


The final photos were taken just last weekend, on Saturday, July 20th.


The picture of the Scar from the donor area is also included.


I'm not sure if further improvement will continue. I'm hoping it will continue to look better and improve further as I believe the transplanted hair will continue to grow and improve up to 18 months total time yes?


It looks absolutely fantastic compared to what it once was in the beginning and mid way photos that show how I looked before the procedure was done. I'm curious as to what everyone thinks and would appreciate any and all comments.


Pics are December 19th, April 28th, and then the final pics, in that order.


Let me know what you think!







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Congratulations on your hair restoration. It looks REALLY nice so far, and will continue to improve past a year........From what I keep hearing, some of the biggest changes occur between months 8-11 in terms of density, so we'll have something to look forward to there (I am only 8 months post-op myself).


Looking forward to seeing your next update. Those grafts made a huge, very positive difference for you.





4737 FUT with Dr. Rahal on 11/16/2012


Daily regimen: 1/4 Proscar (1.25 mg Finasteride), Rogaine Foam (twice daily), 1000 mcg Biotin, 1 combo Vitamin D/Calcium/Magnesium, 1500 mg Glocosamine, 750 mg MSM, 1200 mg Fish Oil, 2000 mg Vitamin C, Super B-Complex, 400 I.U Vitamin E.


I am not a medical professional. All views and opinions expressed in this forum are of my own.

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