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SMP Experience at Dr. Jae Pak’s Office 02/07/2014


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  • Regular Member

Background

I have had 4 hair transplants (three strips and one FUE) sum totaling north of 10k grafts over the last 10 years. I was also on Propecia. I was pretty happy with my hair post HT 3, however I always had the “is it out of place” jitters in public. Due to a temporary health issue I had to stop Propecia. While off of Propecia I noticed that I had a significant diminished ability to recollect memories while on the medication and I decided to stay off completely. Fast forward to today and I again was not happy with my hair. I have always hated the balding look; I want either “good” hair or no hair. Due to the strip scar shaving my head was no longer an option. I have been wearing a hat 90% of the time going out of the house for the past 3 years.

 

I had seen pictures of SMP and did some casual research a couple of years back. However, in January, I decided to go forward with SMP. I live in San Diego so I visited HIS Hair and Dr. Pak at New Hair, both in Los Angeles and both a few miles from each.

 

I visited HIS Hair and spoke with practioner Zhang, a very nice guy who actually sold me on the procedure (he had it done himself). Zhang did remind me more of a tattoo artist than a medical professional. Zhang instructed me that there would be two 4 hour sessions to achieve good results and also gave me a price.

 

I also saw Dr. Pak, who was also very pleasant, but didn’t speak necessarily positively on SMP. He answered my questions, showed me some results, and told me that it would take 2 to 3 sessions to achieve good results.

I was really leaning toward HIS Hair because of years in the business. However, I decided to go with Dr. Pak (even though he was more expensive) because of two reasons: (1) it was a medical office (vs a nice tattoo parlor) and (2) I have the option of anesthesia.

 

I shaved my head a few days in advance and one of my daughters commented that I looked like I was wearing a bald cap (even with 10k grafts placed). Honestly, I was really shocked by the width of my scar (roughly 3/4” to 1”).

 

SMP Session 1 (02/07/2014)

I arrived at the office at 7am (had to leave San Diego around 4:30am to get there). Christine took me in, had me sign some forms and a lunch order. Pulse and BP were done. Versed was an option, but only if I stayed in LA for the night. I had to get back to San Diego that evening as my daughters were coming home from school in the afternoon. So Dr. Pak gave me nitrous oxide (so I was unaware of the injections) and then the Lidocaine injections. I remember the injections from the hair transplants while waning off of Versed, they can be really painful.

 

Dr. Pak did the front hair line back to mid scalp himself; he has an amazing attention to detail. Christine (Dr. Pak’s SMP assistant) worked on me almost continuously for 8 hours that day (excluding a 30 minute lunch break). She was amazing, always making sure I was comfortable, anesthetic was still working, etc. She brought me my lunch order on a tray.

 

Dr. Pak and Phanna (another assistant) worked on me on and off during the day. As Dr. Pak came in he would do sections himself or instruct Christine to blend more here and there (this happened many times throughout the day). Things I thought looked awesome, he was just not happy with.

They have an internet enabled TV to keep patients occupied (Netflix, YouTube, and so on), it really did make the time go by fast.

 

I read in the HIS hair forums, that getting SMP done without anesthesia was common place and easily tolerated. There were points and time where the Lidocaine would wear off a bit. Christine and Dr. Pak would ask if I wanted more anesthetic when they noticed that I was starting to feel the pain. At points I would say I was fine and to continue on, I started to feel that I could have probably have done it without anesthetic, however, as I let the anesthetic wear off it got more and more painful. I really wanted to be the guy who could say he got SMP without anesthesia, but it’s not me. I can tell you now there is absolutely no way I could have had done SMP without anesthetic.

 

SMP Session 2 (02/14/2014)

Much of the same as procedure 1, except that the day went much longer, I arrived at 7am and left at 4:30, another 9 hours of treatment. At the end of the day he told me he wanted me back faster than the front office schedule would allow (early March), so he made time for me on 02/21/2014.

 

SMP Session 3 (02/20/2014)

I brought my 11 year old daughter (as she was out of school that week), she played Minecraft on her laptop the whole time (Dr. Pak gave me the office WiFi password). My daughter commented “What service they have here!” They had bought her lunch as well (she loves sushi), had a candy tray available for us, and gave her ice cream after lunch.

 

At the beginning of the day, Dr. Pak told me if I am unhappy with anything to call him, come back, and he will fix it. At the end of the day (after another 9 hours of work), he told me I know you’re not a big fan of traffic (as I had complained about it on each visit, it’s a 3 hour drive home at 5pm), but I want you to come back as I (Dr. Pak) am not happy.

 

 

SMP Procedure 4 (04/03/2014)

My daughter had such a good time last time, she decided to join me again (and save me a bunch of time by allowing me to use the car pool lane). It was another 8 hour session (7am to 3pm), traffic difference from Los Angeles to San Diego was much better leaving at 3pm (only took about two hours to get home).

 

Only real difference in this session was Tran performed the SMP instead of Christine. Tran was on vacation for my first three sessions. Tran was also very kind and always made sure I was comfortable. Dr. Pak went over my hairline and scar personally. Both Tran and Dr. Pak kept up the amazing attention to detail that NHI had showed me in the previous three sessions.

 

Dr. Pak mentioned in the previous sessions that I had a bit of shadow created by the unevenness in the scar on one side of my head. He said that a collagen injection should fill the area out. Again with his commitment to the final product and a satisfied customer, he did the collagen filler gratis.

 

Reactions

The first night out after session 3 (last Friday), I got ID’s (by a 20-something waitress) and a very large bouncer. I haven’t been ID’d in 10 years. I had much better reaction from women in the bar as well, not sure if it was the look or the confidence associated with the look.

 

One of my friends (also a dual HT recipient) who now shaves his head, said you should shave a little closer. I think this is a great testament to the fact that SMP (when worn correctly) looks natural.

 

Another one of my close friends is a dermatologist (also on Propecia) was very impressed with the results.

 

 

 

Conclusion

If you are counting, we are talking about 34 hours in the chair; this doesn’t include the 6 hours of two needles going at the same time. All the shots and the sitting in place are somewhat grueling, however, I would do it again in a heartbeat. In fact, if I would have to go every month to achieve the final result I would.

 

I was completely enthralled with the results, as soon as I saw the results (post session 1) I wanted to go hatless in public for the first time in 3 years.

In comparison to a hair transplant, SMP is an overnight “miracle”. I have been through the pain of the hair transplant (staples and sutures in my head) and then the 6 months of waiting, hoping to have hair like Brad Pitt at the end of it and to be disappointed. To sit down for 8 hours and have “hair” is just an amazing emotional moment.

 

Dr. Pak, Christine, Tran, and Phanna all have an amazing attention to detail, they worked hard to keep me comfortable, and the overall customer service experience is excellent.

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  • Senior Member

thanks for the detailed writeup. any possibility of posting some before/after photos?

they offer anesthesia right?

go dense or go home

 

Unbiased advice and opinions based on 25 plus years of researching and actual experience with hair loss, hair restoration via both FUT & FUE, SMP, scalp issues including scalp eczema & seborrheic dermatitis and many others

 

HSRP10's favorite FUT surgeons: *Dr. Konior, *Dr Hasson, Dr. Rahal

HSRP10's favorite FUE surgeons: *Dr. Konior, *Dr. Bisanga, Dr. Erdogan, Dr. Couto

(*indicates actual experience with doctor)

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  • Senior Member

congrats man looks good, scar is nicely taken care of

 

since you've had HT's and have growing hair, how short do you have to keep it?

do you have to go shaved looked all the time for the SMP to look natural?

go dense or go home

 

Unbiased advice and opinions based on 25 plus years of researching and actual experience with hair loss, hair restoration via both FUT & FUE, SMP, scalp issues including scalp eczema & seborrheic dermatitis and many others

 

HSRP10's favorite FUT surgeons: *Dr. Konior, *Dr Hasson, Dr. Rahal

HSRP10's favorite FUE surgeons: *Dr. Konior, *Dr. Bisanga, Dr. Erdogan, Dr. Couto

(*indicates actual experience with doctor)

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  • Senior Member

btw I suffer from chronic scalp eczema and there are some days I feel like just shaving it or cutting it majorly short, instead of the never ending shampoo rotating and gently trying to remove small dry skin from my hair every morning

go dense or go home

 

Unbiased advice and opinions based on 25 plus years of researching and actual experience with hair loss, hair restoration via both FUT & FUE, SMP, scalp issues including scalp eczema & seborrheic dermatitis and many others

 

HSRP10's favorite FUT surgeons: *Dr. Konior, *Dr Hasson, Dr. Rahal

HSRP10's favorite FUE surgeons: *Dr. Konior, *Dr. Bisanga, Dr. Erdogan, Dr. Couto

(*indicates actual experience with doctor)

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  • Regular Member

Honestly with all the pain and disappointment of my HT surgeries, I really have a malice toward the hair on my head so I don't plan on growing it back. In addition the response to the change has been pretty incredible and I have built up quite a bit of confidence in the past month, which has yielded some interesting personal successes. So this hair cut (or lack there of) just works for me. Dr. Pak has pictures of people with SMP that have grown it back, so if you are interested check with him.

 

Interesting on the scalp issue I had quite a bit of scalp pimples that came every month or so. It was really irritating to me (and painful), my girlfriend used to comment about me touching them all the time. I noticed that when I had hair, keeping it short seemed to keep the pimple problem down (but made my thinning crown look worse). I haven't had a pimple on my head since I started shaving.

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Big improvement! Glad your happy. Do your buzz with a clipper or shave with a razor? Do you find the treatment to be "undetectable"? Also it sounded like dr.pak wasn't really pushing the smp route per your write up....can you elaborate on his reservations to the treatment if any?

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  • Regular Member

Thanks HTHELP. I use an electric shaver on the top every two days or so and a blade on the side every day. The scar feels "funny" when it has growth. The scar is not undetectable. At certain angles it is noticeable because of the difference in the texture of the scar vs the surrounding virgin skin.

 

Regarding Dr. Pak, we talked about it his reservations at length (remember I spent a lot of time in the chair). In a nutshell, I would say is very sensitive to wanting a satisfied customer. Your satisfaction as customer really has to do with your expectations (with either HT or SMP.) If an NW6 comes in and expects Brad Pitt hair at the end he wants to make sure that you know it "ain't gonna happen."

 

In my case when I went for the consultation, I wasn't sure if I was going to shave or grow it long. With a scar and SMP you can't really grow it short on the sides, you need enough hair to cover the scar, all the SMP does is to shade the background. Some people have very large scars and having a good shaved head result with SMP is uncertain. He told me that I had both a unnoticeable scar (with hair) and a good hair transplant, so it made for a good SMP base.

 

Hope that makes sense.

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Makes sense, thanks. Outside of the scar area would you say the rest of the smp is undetectable to your natural hair to someone who didn't know you had anything done (and even for those that do?)

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  • Regular Member

Hi HTHELP,

 

I would say the rest is not detectable. My friend who had a HT, a scar on the back of his head (thinner than mine), and now shaves commented to me "You should shave closer, because women love it"

 

One of the things that SMP doesn't give you is texture. So if you are bald, you can feel it not being real. Fortunately, my 10k grafts give my head some good texture.

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  • Senior Member
Honestly with all the pain and disappointment of my HT surgeries, I really have a malice toward the hair.

 

Superb!

I love this statement. I've never heard of 'hair malice' before, but it's in my top-ten now, estranged cousin of 'hair-greed' .

 

And so true for a lot of us who may, from an outsider's view, be better off with grown out, albeit thin or patchy hair, but instead, out of a sense of justice, for all the investment we have put in, accept nothing less than rocking hair or no hair at all.

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  • Regular Member

Thanks HairBarron!

 

Unfortunately it would be an awkward hat-wearing-month to get to a state of "hair normalcy," which I don't plan to invest as I love my head shaved.

 

Honestly, this is the first time in 10 years where I like to look at myself in the mirror and have my picture taken and I wouldn't give that up for anything.

 

Dr. Pak does have pictures of people with SMP and hair, my advice would be to contact him.

 

 

Hey Wyngnut2,

 

Great looking results! Glad you're happy with it. I had a question for you. As you already have 10k grafts and great texture on your scalp, how long do you think you'd be able to grow out your hair without having it look thin?

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  • 9 months later...
  • Regular Member

02/05/2015 - Touch Up

 

It's been over a year since my first SMP procedure and I scheduled a followup procedure for 02/05/2015. I really feared showing up (driving the 2 hours at 4am) and Dr. Pak saying it looks fine and there really isn't much to do here. For the most part it looks to me the same as the day I got it.

 

However, Dr. Pak and his staff examined my head with a critical eye and definitely saw the fading that happens from exposure to exfoliation and UV. Now that I see the new final result, my jaw again drops to the floor. It looked good before, but now it looks amazing. One of the big things that I noticed is the difference that occurred in the camouflage of the scar. It's very hard to see the fading that occurs when you see your own head day to day.

 

The touch up procedure went the as smoothly as the 4 days of initial application. This one started at a little before 7am and ended at 2pm. The day started with gas and lidocaine. A few booster shots shots over the day to keep the "numb buzz." The lidocaine really seems to fade for me when eating lunch. Christine and Len worked on me continuously for that time except for the lunch break. I feel asleep multiple times as the tattoo needle is almost a pleasant vibration once you have the lidocaine and I woke up at 4am to get there. FYI, Len is a new addition to Dr. Pak's staff (as of last April) and just as pleasant and diligent as Christine.

 

I brought my daughter (aka car pool lane buddy) again. We were both amazed at the kindness and service at Dr. Pak's office. We both smiled at looked at each other when each of 5 different people (including Dr. Pak) offered us a beverage when we started. They bought my daughter and I lunch (Burgers from The Counter) and served it to us in the chair. Then there is the ice cream dessert and candy bowl to boot. We watched some YouTube and Netflix during the procedure when I wasn't sleeping.

 

As an update on me, personally. I have never looked back at hair. I don't think I have had it longer than three day's growth over the past year. My hat collection is collecting dust and I have a nice collection of sunscreen to replace it. There is always something, eh? On other people detecting the work, I have dated a few women over the past year, all ask about the scar, but none know about the SMP. I end up explaining it just for grins.

 

I highly recommend Dr. Pak and his staff; they are diligent, hardworking and are continuously looking to make the procedure as pleasant as possible. Now (a year later) I realize the value and foresight that Dr. Pak provides by allowing his clients a simple and easy way to maintain the SMP look.

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  • Regular Member

A really good write up. Appreciate the detail and time you put into educating this forum on your experience. I have a couple of questions: 1) I assume this is permanent SMP, not temporary…correct? 2) This seemed like a very involved process and I compliment you and your doctors for the attention to detail…..can you comment on the cost of a process like this (it doesn't have to be your situation specifically….just your educated opinion)?

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  • 11 months later...
  • Regular Member

This update is going to sound like a copy of last years, because truly it was. Sorry in advance. Probably the biggest change is my car pool buddy grew a foot since the last time she was at Dr. Pak’s office. Anyway, I figured I would take on the four plus hours of driving to see how Dr. Pak could improve on his previous perfection.

 

When I arrived Dr. Pak examined my head and asked what I wanted changed. I said I don’t have any complaints. Dr. Pak and Tran developed a road map for the day and Tran went off to work. Starting at 7am and ended approximately at 4pm. (Just in time for LA traffic).

 

A side note here, I drive approximately 105 miles back to San Diego and it always amazes me that in the first hour (leaving LA) you drive 20 miles and the second hour you drive 80+ miles.

 

I went gas-less for the lidocaine injections this time. Dr. Pak injected the base of my skull which blocks the back of your head through the crown. The injections hurt, but are bearable. Tran worked from 7am to Noon. We ate lunch (I had the BLT and my daughter had the Caesar Salad). After lunch the lidocaine was wearing off, so Dr. Pak gave me a booster in the base of the skull and injected the front hair line, so Tran could complete the front of my scalp. Dr. Pak came in during the afternoon to do my hairline, said he was done and left the room. He came back again to do more work again said he was done and then left the room. Finally, he came in a third time (in the final hour) to do more work. Being a perfectionist myself, I find it amusing to see him come back over and over again to perfect his work.

 

I watched YouTube and Netflix all day (feel asleep a few times) and my daughter played on her computer.

 

Results? Scalp and scar rejuvenated to perfection.

 

An update on me. Not really much since the last update. A note, these forums and web searches for Hair Loss Treatments are really a faint memory.

 

Unfortunately the conclusion is a verbatim copy from my last touchup, as my opinion hasn’t changed and I felt I put this eloquently in my last update. :) I highly recommend Dr. Pak and his staff; they are diligent, hardworking and are continuously looking to make the procedure as pleasant as possible. Now (two years later) I realize the value and foresight that Dr. Pak provides by allowing his clients a simple and easy way to maintain the SMP look.

Edited by Wyngnut2
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This update is going to sound like a copy of last years, because truly it was. Sorry in advance. Probably the biggest change is my car pool buddy grew a foot since the last time she was at Dr. Pak’s office. Anyway, I figured I would take on the four plus hours of driving to see how Dr. Pak could improve on his previous perfection.

 

When I arrived Dr. Pak examined my head and asked what I wanted changed. I said I don’t have any complaints. Dr. Pak and Tran developed a road map for the day and Tran went off to work. Starting at 7am and ended approximately at 4pm. (Just in time for LA traffic).

 

A side note here, I drive approximately 105 miles back to San Diego and it always amazes me that in the first hour (leaving LA) you drive 20 miles and the second hour you drive 80+ miles.

 

I went gas-less for the lidocaine injections this time. Dr. Pak injected the base of my skull which blocks the back of your head through the crown. The injections hurt, but are bearable. Tran worked from 7am to Noon. We ate lunch (I had the BLT and my daughter had the Caesar Salad). After lunch the lidocaine was wearing off, so Dr. Pak gave me a booster in the base of the skull and injected the front hair line, so Tran could complete the front of my scalp. Dr. Pak came in during the afternoon to do my hairline, said he was done and left the room. He came back again to do more work again said he was done and then left the room. Finally, he came in a third time (in the final hour) to do more work. Being a perfectionist myself, I find it amusing to see him come back over and over again to perfect his work.

 

I watched YouTube and Netflix all day (feel asleep a few times) and my daughter played on her computer.

 

Results? Scalp and scar rejuvenated to perfection.

 

An update on me. Not really much since the last update. A note, these forums and web searches for Hair Loss Treatments are really a faint memory.

 

Unfortunately the conclusion is a verbatim copy from my last touchup, as my opinion hasn’t changed and I felt I put this eloquently in my last update. :) I highly recommend Dr. Pak and his staff; they are diligent, hardworking and are continuously looking to make the procedure as pleasant as possible. Now (two years later) I realize the value and foresight that Dr. Pak provides by allowing his clients a simple and easy way to maintain the SMP look.

Can you post some pictures?

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  • Regular Member

Here is the latest picture.

 

Regarding blending with hair line. I haven't had hair longer than 1/16" since I did SMP. You can't see it in the picture, but the transplanted hair definitely helps gives a 3D appearance. I don't think I will ever grow it back, life is just simpler without it.

Collage-2016.jpg.1a10a3ef1f89ff1bac285993c1b9dc89.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...
Here is the latest picture.

 

Regarding blending with hair line. I haven't had hair longer than 1/16" since I did SMP. You can't see it in the picture, but the transplanted hair definitely helps gives a 3D appearance. I don't think I will ever grow it back, life is just simpler without it.

 

Thanks for the update Wyngnut2, your results look very nice! Huge improvement from where you started, night and day really. The scar is concealed nicely and just looks like you have a full head of hair with a close buzz cut. I can relate to your trip between San Diego and L.A., I used to make that commute often.

Glad things have worked out for you with NHI. Cheers:)

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