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BruceWayne68

Dr. Gabel – Gabel Center Hair Restoration – 4351 Hair Grafts – 9643 Total Hairs.

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I am writing to anyone interested in my experience with Dr. Gabel and his entire staff at the Gabel Center.

I am 44 years old, workout regularly, eat healthy most of the time, maybe drink alcohol once a week, and economically I am definitely middle class. The decision I made to have this procedure was five years in the making and here at day 12 I just could not be happier.

 

Dr. Gabel , Aileen, Amanda, Corrine, Matt, Bridgette, Lulu, and Debbie all played an important role in making my entire surgery day a pleasure as well as the playing an important part in the successful outcome of the procedure itself. These people brought a combination of joy for their craft, a spirit of team work, and spot on focus for the task at hand. I was cared for and interacted with not just as a customer but as a human being and felt like I was one of the gang for the hours that I was there being cared for. Honestly I can not say enough about every single person I have interacted with throughout the entire process.

 

Just a few things that I think are important before I tell you about the day I had.

 

I am someone who tries to be a bit of a skeptic so that I make good decisions. I did a ton of research about this process and Dr. Gabel himself. I felt very prepared with ideas and questions when I first met with Dr. Gabel. During my original consult five years prior and the second one this past June Dr. Gabel let me know that I had excellent hair to work with and that my donor area was going to be easy to harvest from and transplant.

I don’t know if those details are the same for everyone but I did ask Dr. Gabel during our first consult about the type of people that he has turned down for the procedure. There was a small list of answers to that question but the fact that a list of examples existed instantly really made me believe in Dr. Gabel’s integrity. I work in the health care industry and I myself regularly refer clients to other professionals who could be more helpful.

 

I had sort of an odd pattern of baldness happening in the front but specifically the right side and very typical significant diminishment of hair around my crown area.

I have used Rogaine for about ten years and two and a half years ago I started to use Caboki, which is a fiber filler for those bare areas. When I first used the Caboki and saw and felt such a difference I knew I had to find a way to make this surgery happen. All I can say is that I immediately felt less self conscious and more relaxed when I was interacting with other people.

 

So saving the pennies to do this started immediately. Truthfully sitting down and doing the math the yearly cost of what I was spending to give myself the appearance of hair was significant enough to make me realize that this investment in the procedure was ultimately going to be equal except ….. I was going to have real hair …. My hair. I would have spent the same money over the next ten years to cover up my hair loss and even as good as the Caboki worked it has its limitations and its drawbacks. This procedure was going to make that change permanent and from the looks of it here at Day 12 is going to be so much more then I had hoped or expected.

 

 

Prior to the surgery I was given a bunch of pre and post surgery self care instructions all of which I was able to ask questions about and reminded about through phone calls and e-mails. I took all of this seriously and prepared for my day of surgery as best as I possibly could.

 

Okay … So … The Big Day.

 

I was at the office at 6:30am. Make sure you eat a solid breakfast folks, seriously. Since I had no major health worries my blood pressure & pulse was checked and I had time to speak with Amanda about some last minute thoughts and find out a little more about the run of the day. I was given a significant amount of paper work that discussed the various hazards and legalese that comes with any and every surgical procedure as well as details about the use of photos in order for Dr. Gabel to show his work. Dr. Gabel came in and sat down with me and verbally confirmed everything that had been outlined in the paperwork before I was given any medication. I brought some pictures of myself from ten years ago or so in order to give Dr. Gabel some concrete perspective on what I was hoping for and also how I wear my hair.

 

After that the design phase began with Dr. Gabel, Amanda & myself. With just a few minor changes from the original markings we all came to a place that looked like I was going to get what I came for.

 

Medication was administered and Dr. Gabel left to gather together his staff and talk over the game plan for the day. After about ten to fifteen minutes I was brought in to the procedure room, introduced to a few more members of the staff and placed face down in a moveable chair where a local anesthetic was administered to the donor area. One of the technicians massaged the area which I believe helped to move the anesthetic into the tissue and maybe help to loosen the skin and evaluate the area to be removed.

 

I will say right now that the only “pain” I experienced the whole day was the application of local anesthetic and we are talking about a tiny, momentary, sting wherever it was applied locally.

 

From there I was brought to my feet and turned around to sit down in the chair. The area where transplants were to be placed was shaved on down completely and again local anesthetic was applied to the entire area. Once it had taken hold Dr. Gabel began to make the incisions with an assistant continually verifying the count. While this was happening the rest of the crew was busy at work making the grafts from the donor area which had been removed earlier.

 

Throughout the day I was given bathroom breaks as needed, had a lunchtime break, and communicated with constantly about comfort, pain, and anything I asked questions about. At one point Bridgette let me look at the graft making procedure and Lulu even let me look into the microscope to see my own grafts. I am such a science geek that it was a real treat to see all of that.

 

Dr. Gabel then began the transplant process. As the hours passed in this part of the procedure Aileen and Corinne were also placing grafts along with Dr. Gabel himself. I was treated to a wide variety of music, everything from Beethoven to the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I am not kidding when I tell you that there were points in the day when everyone working was rocking out a bit and just having a great time doing what they were doing. It felt great to be there and I just have to say really created a positive feeling inside me that even before the procedure was half way done that I had made an excellent choice.

 

The day lasted nearly 13 hours. Yes, it was a long day for me, but I can only imagine how long a day it was for the entire staff. Not for one second did I feel like they were in a rush to get done nor losing the focus that they had shown on my behalf all day long. At the end of the day, roughly 7:30 more pictures, more medication, more instructions and …. A full look at the work that had been done. I honestly had a moment of high anxiety right before looking in the mirror but it quickly faded when I saw what had been done. Right from the start it looked like I was going to have so much freaking hair !!!

 

Even after looking at so many videos and photos of the procedure I just thought to myself this is really impressive. All those little hairs just sitting there …. Crazy. My girlfriend who also looked over Dr. Gabel’s site and saw a lot of the photos was aghast at one I presently looked like. Her father had a couple of procedures of this nature and she couldn’t believe how different mine looked. As she drove me home I recounted the day for her and she just couldn’t believe I had so much fun. When I told her about Dr. Gabel cranking the Johnny Cash for me at the end of the procedure we both just started laughing.

 

 

1st Night-

 

After eating dinner at home and decompressing a little bit I knew I was not going to get much sleep. Not because of any real pain but because of my really worry about rolling over in the night and damaging the incredible work that had been done. I set myself up on my couch with a couple of movies and kept a few Gatorades by my side to stay hydrated. Overall I probably got about 3 or fours hours of total sleep during the night and following morning. Still really no pain and I will say that I took the pain meds only once the night before and then it was just Ibuprofen from there on out. If there was any sensitivity it was very mild in a few tiny spots along the donor area sutures.

 

I returned later that morning to Dr.Gabel’s office where my head was cleaned and inspected by both Aileen and Dr. Gabel. Here again I was given extremely positive feedback that was very genuine about what they felt the results were. So homeward I went with the next five days off. I will say I wished that I was able to have a full seven days off but such is the life of a working class guy. When I left my initial appointment I was given an extremely helpful flow chart of what I should be doing for self care every single day. Over these days I followed the post care instructions to the letter and had only one day of any sort of issue. The swelling and fluid moved down into my eyes, which I was told would happen, and made life challenging for a day maybe a day and a half. Again here though it wasn’t painful in any way it just made life a little challenging.

 

Day 7 –

 

Following the self care instructions I began the soaking bath process. One of the nice things here was when my head was immersed in water I was able to massage along my suture line and feel every little bit of what was going on. To make the time more enjoyable and to help me with timing I brought my docking station into the bathroom and played some of my favorite music. I felt like this was a meditative time to focus my thoughts on the grafts and the newly growing hair. Because I was a little nervous about being to aggressive and dislodging the grafts I got myself out of the bath and watched what I was doing in the mirror to remove the crusting which in my case was not a whole heck of a lot. After I was able to remove some of the skin I shampooed the rest of my hair gently with baby shampoo and actually ran a comb through it with the soap still in it. I then got back in the tub, rinsed my hair and gently made the finger circles over the transplanted area to clean off the flaking.

 

Day 8 – I returned to the office in order to have my stitches removed & asked questions about the soaking process and how I looked after my first attempt at removing some of the crusting. I was given a mirror and Aileen helped to specifically show me the crusted tissue I was to focus in on and also was given the suggestion to soak a bit longer to help soften the tissue. Dr. Gabel came in and was super happy with where I was at and again I think we all felt like when this all grows in it will be outstanding.

 

So here I sit at Day 12 writing this all out. Everyday I look in the mirror and know that things are changing. Everyday I look in the mirror and know I made a great decision for me and for my life. Dr. Gabel and his entire staff are amazing at what they do.

 

Everyone’s story is their own and I urge everyone to do their own research and find their own way to what will work best for them.

 

I will try to keep people updated on my progress and even get some photos up.

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Hi Bruce, rather new to this. You were my 1st read and i must say i am impressed. I do have a consulation with Dr. Gabel soon. Anxious and apprehensive I am not from Portland and my major most (bad english. haha) question is how much of an issue would it be for me to be not physically in portland for post op? Do you think that could have been a negative? not being able to see Dr.Gabel for teh 7/8 day appointment?

Secondly 4351 grafts seem like a lot.I have been hearing that around 3000 grafts is all most surgeons recommend. guessing 1 graft equals 2 hair. Sorry if these are basic questions. Just dipping my toe in the HT world. -Thanks Raj

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Hey there Raj....

 

I am not sure about the Post Op follow up. In my case it was just to get my stitches out and a few photos but I was very happy to have these people to see me a week later to confirm that everything looked good and clean and that there were no problems developing that I was unaware of. I think it would really be an important question to ask & if you are already in contact with Dr.Gabel and that wonderful staff you might drop them an e-mail asking this question before you even see Dr. Gabel for your consultation. I am sure they will give you the best answer that they can. Secondly I wanted coverage in the front and in the back so I had more grafts - varying in numbers from 1 to 4 in order to just have one procedure. Dr. Gabel and his entire staff are highly professional Raj. Ask all the questions you want and be prepared for honest straightforward answers.

 

Hope this helps Raj....

 

BW

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Thanks for the speedy response. I have read nothing but good things about Dr. Gabel. Always good to hear it one more time. There is a 'new' place in the town I am in. The place uses neograft and flies in an experienced technician. Did you ever come across a similar option or look into neograft? -thanks Raj

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Hey Raj....

 

Happy to help. This is a big decision.

I did look into neo - graft and for me I just wanted to work with human beings. As a person I think I have a little more mistrust of the auto-mated process or technology. I am still of the thought that some of these surgeons are artists. I don't feel as confident showing a machine my " old hair " photos and getting a little personalized customization. Maybe like laser surgery for your eyes the neo-graft process will be improved upon to that level of specificity. You should set up a consult with the place in your town to talk with them and see what they " feel" like to compare with your visit to Dr. Gabel.

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Well said. Being an engineer myself I agree with ur sentiment about machines. Haha.

Lack of a scar at the donor area seems like an only advantage to me since is am most likely going to need 3000+ grafts. So strip method only.

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So Here I sit at 3 weeks past surgery and everything seems to be going exactly the way it should.

Here are some Pre-Op & Post Op Photos.

I will try to post some here and now photos when I hit the 1 month milestone.

 

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