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RecessionProof

2338 Grafts With Konior: Hairline Restoration (FUT)

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Posted (edited)

Hey everyone, I'm about two days out from my ~2300 graft FUT procedure with Dr. Konior. As often happens with Konior, he initially quoted me 1500 grafts but wound up going all the way up to 2300 to pack everything in more densely. It was one of the smoothest and most painless medical experiences of my life, and the whole thing took about 12 hours. I'd take a hair transplant over getting cavities filled at the dentist any day.

I'd like to start by thanking the past Konior patients who have documented their procedures so thoroughly. Spanker, Reyes1, SamSpade, and the various Matts (among others) posted incredibly detailed threads that helped make my choice of surgeon very easy. I hope that I can continue in their tradition with another well documented write-up.

Pre Surgery

I was 28 and probably a NW2.5 or 3 prior to this surgery, and my main goal was to restore my receded hairline and fill in the temples. I've been on finasteride and minoxidil for several years and they've definitely slowed things down, but there are a few spots that have slowly continued to thin (including in back...but it looks worse in one of the below photos than it really is). I plan to continue both meds for the rest of my life, and will likely have additional "tune up" surgeries down the line to maintain what I have. Dr. Konior actually suggested a low dose pill version of minoxidil for those who find the application of Rogaine to be tedious (I only apply the foam once per night because it's such a pain in the ass).

I spent months reading about hair transplants and researching doctors until I finally narrowed it down to Konior, Rahal, and Hasson (I had already decided to stay within North America). There's no question that all three are hairline masters, but there were a few things that stood out about Konior that steered me in his direction:

1. His relative conservatism and focus on long term strategy would be a great check on my own desire to be as aggressive as possible.

2. If you look at his cases, it's pretty clear that he is often able to do with 1500 grafts what most surgeons need 2500 or even 3000 grafts to achieve. Konior's ability to make every graft count really speaks to his artistry and perfectionism, which is of course another big advantage for young patients like me who need to use every single graft very judiciously.

3. He performs one surgery a day and as others have pointed out, does virtually the entire surgery himself -- donor extraction, lateral slit incisions, and graft placement. I do think one or two of his techs placed some of the grafts, but he supervised them meticulously and I overheard him tweaking anything that didn't look perfect. This isn't to say that technician-heavy clinics are inherently flawed -- many techs at other clinics have years of experience and are truly skilled workers -- but ultimately, I felt that a tech-heavy approach would add another level of risk that I'd prefer to do without.

4. Konior's year long wait list and relatively high price speak volumes, especially since he does minimal marketing and is pretty selective when taking on new patients. These things may seem like "cons" at first glance, but over time I came to see them as major "pros." A hair transplant is something that will affect your appearance for the rest of your life, and I knew that 10, 20, or 30 years from now I'd care a lot more about having picked the right hairline than saving a few thousand dollars. More often than not, you get what you pay for -- and plastic surgery is not an industry where you want to look for a bargain.

5. Konior's immediate post op photos have a really clean and distinctive look, with very little blood compared to most other surgeons' graft zones after surgery. I've always found it very satisfying to look at his post op photos and notice the precision of the graft angles and placement.

The Surgery

One thing that isn't often discussed on here is the feeling of oh shit that kicks in as your surgery date approaches. As soon as I realized my surgery was a month away, the reality of the situation hit me hard: was I seriously about to fly to Chicago and undergo surgery just to give myself better hair? Eventually the excitement started to outweigh the fear, but it was for sure an emotional rollercoaster until I finally arrived at Konior's office at 6:30 AM.

Once I checked in with the doctor's staff, I finished my paperwork and wrote down my lunch order. Everyone was very kind and conscientious, and at around 7 the doctor came in to discuss the surgical plan.

As Dr. Konior and I settled into our initial conversation, I immediately felt my anxiety begin to fade. He really took his time to discuss his hair loss philosophy, crack a few jokes, and field a few questions that I had. He seemed totally relaxed and in no hurry to push things along, and by the time we moved on to drawing the hairline I felt totally at ease. Helping a patient feel comfortable during that first meeting is a genuine, underrated skill and it really helped to set the tone for the entire day.

He then had me draw my version of a hairline -- I wanted it lowered just a bit with my temples filled in, and I asked him to pack it as "densely as he thought would be ethical".

Konior took one look at the hairline I drew and said something like, "yep, I know what you want" as though he'd seen it a million times before. He then spent about 45 minutes drawing his own version of the hairline, erasing and re-drawing parts of it over and over again until he thought it was perfect. He took pictures from several different angles while doing so, and every now and then he'd pause to stare at my hairline the way a painter looks at his work while trying to get those last brush strokes just right. It was easy to see how Konior's artistry and surgical precision are a super effective combination.

When the doctor handed me a mirror to look at his proposed hairline, I was ecstatic (the hairline he drew is visible in the pics I've attached). I had worried that he'd push for something more conservative, but what he drew turned out to be pretty much exactly what I'd hoped for. So I basically told him I wouldn't change a thing and the process continued.

I felt even more relief when I learned that he would only have to shave a small portion of my existing hair to create the new hairline. I've seen a lot of Konior cases where patients went for the full shave, and I really hoped I wouldn't have to go down that route and thus experience a much longer "ugly duckling" phase. When he wound up just shaving a few useless miniaturized hairs in front, I felt pretty confident that in another week or two I'd be able to cover up the work without wearing a hat. As someone who wanted to get back to work and my social life as soon as possible, this was a HUGE weight off my shoulders.

With my last major fear assuaged, I was genuinely excited to get started. They gave me some valium and had me lay face down while the doctor got ready to remove the strip. I have a pretty low pain tolerance and a very strong fear of needles, but I have to say that the numbing shots were the least painful shots I have ever experienced. They used some sort of vibrating device on my skin next to the injections, which made the actual shots feel like nothing. I barely noticed when the strip actually came out, and then they gave me a bathroom break and got ready to start the incisions.

I was given more valium throughout the day and for the most part I felt restful but awake. I dozed off a couple times and woke back up mid-snore, but for the most part I just chilled out and focused on staying perfectly still while Konior and his techs did their thing. Occasionally I'd feel some soreness in back and they'd have to re-numb me -- the re-numbing shots were actually a little more painful, but that's probably because I waited too long to ask for them (the doctor was really in the zone so I was hesitant to interrupt).

As mentioned earlier, he did have two techs present during graft placement but I'm pretty sure he placed most of them himself while the techs would pass him the grafts that had been dissected. It definitely sounded like he placed the most important grafts himself, such as the 1s along the hairline.

At around 6:30 PM, the surgery was finally complete. Konior and his team put in roughly a 12 hour day in total: 2 hours of conversation and planning the hairline, followed by 10 hours of performing the surgery itself. Compared to what I was expecting, the entire day felt like a series of best case scenarios -- I got exactly the hairline I wanted, felt close to no pain whatsoever, and was able to keep enough existing hair to (hopefully) cover up the procedure after another week or two.

Konior's staff was nice enough to give me a ride to the Comfort Suites that evening, which I really appreciated because I was not looking forward to interacting with strangers in my post surgical state. In fact, I didn't end up having to interact with anyone -- the Comfort Suites have a back entrance you can open with your room key, and my room was right next to the back door. So yet another small anxiety was eliminated.

I don't think I could have asked for a better experience. Immediate post op pics are below (I circled a small mole in the final pic for added perspective):


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Edited by RecessionProof

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Posted (edited)

Here are a few "before" pics as well. As you can see, comb-overs have been pretty effective:

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Edited by RecessionProof

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Posted (edited)

Days 2 + 3 Update:

Pain has been super manageable as I've set alarms and kept a paper log of which pills I've taken at what times (the office provides this). Initially I took 2 vicodin every 4 hours, and after a couple days I'm down to 1 vicodin every 6 or so. Remembering to take your meds on time is absolutely key in ensuring you won't experience any FUT pain. There were only one or two brief windows of time where I felt some slight discomfort in the strip area, and I've had no trouble at all sleeping on the staples. I'm pretty amazed at how functional I've felt so far -- I could probably do some work from my laptop right now if I had to.

Swelling was minimal for the first couple days, though I did have some along the incision so I wound up icing that day and night. I thought I'd managed to avoid the infamous facial swelling, but it finally happened on day 3 and is (hopefully) now fading.

There has been no bleeding or oozing from the graft zone whatsoever.

So far I've gone back to the office for cleanings each day after surgery. Anya removed my staples earlier today and has been really helpful in keeping the graft and donor areas clean.

Funnily enough, I ran into someone from this forum on my way into the office yesterday. He was consulting with Konior in hopes of repairing some hairline work that had been done by another popular surgeon...in any case, it was great commiserating with someone who went through the same journey. So if anyone on here is in the Chicago area, feel free to shoot me a message and I'd love to show off my Frankenstein head.

Edited by RecessionProof

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That is quite a lowering of the hairline. Will make a world of difference for you when it hopefully grows in.

Very interested in this one, please remember to update us along the journey. And thank you for a great write-up.

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Looks perfect as Dr. K’s work always does. The post op pictures are so clean. I am in a situation where I can’t justify paying his fee, but do not want anyone else to perform my hair transplant. Congratulations and happy growing. You’re going to look awesome. Looking forward to updates.

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Posted (edited)

Thanks for the kind words! I'll definitely be posting more pics in the weeks to come, including my attempt at a cover up once I'm able to comb my hair forward again 👍

His fee is definitely considerable, but much more manageable if you opt for FUT rather than FUE.

I have one more meeting with him tomorrow morning before my flight back to NYC...here's hoping I get the OK to wear a hat on the way home.

Edited by RecessionProof

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Thanks for the detailed write up @RecessionProof!

Did you happen research much on Dr. Nadimi? I'm considering her for a potential session since her schedule is more available than Konior

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Posted (edited)
20 hours ago, mephesto said:

Thanks for the detailed write up @RecessionProof!

Did you happen research much on Dr. Nadimi? I'm considering her for a potential session since her schedule is more available than Konior

She's great! I've only seen a few of her results posted on here, but her style and approach seem very similar to Konior's.

I was actually hoping I'd get to meet her but we didn't end up crossing paths. Konior's tech Anya mentioned that Nadimi posts a lot of her results on Instagram...here's the link:

https://www.instagram.com/dr.saharnadimi

 

Edited by RecessionProof
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will be following! interested in what changed from thinking 1500 would be enough to 2300. Was his initial hairline way more conservative? I feel like even 2300 is low for that amount of area, but like you said, he has a way of working his magic.

 

happy growing!

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, hairlossPA said:

will be following! interested in what changed from thinking 1500 would be enough to 2300. Was his initial hairline way more conservative? I feel like even 2300 is low for that amount of area, but like you said, he has a way of working his magic.

 

happy growing!

His original estimate was 1500-2000 based on photos I sent a year ago. This was the only hairline he drew, and after drawing it he did mention that 1500 wouldn't be dense enough to fill that zone. So I basically asked him to fill it in as densely as possible, to the extent of what he considered ethical.

I'll see if I can find out what density he was able to get tomorrow morning. My guess is somewhere between 40 and 50 FU per cm.

 

Edited by RecessionProof

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IMO, you’ve made great choices based on solid research and are likely to get a fantastic result. Thanks for taking the time to document and best of luck!

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5 hours ago, RecessionProof said:

She's great! I've only seen a few of her results posted on here, but her style and philosophy seems very similar to Konior's.

I was actually hoping I'd get to meet her but we didn't end up crossing paths. Konior's tech Anya mentioned that Nadimi posts a lot of her results on Instagram...here's the link:

https://www.instagram.com/dr.saharnadimi

 

Interesting. It appears she does a number of different cosmetic surgeries in addition to hair transplants. Not something we typically see with the surgeons on this site. 

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Posted (edited)

Here’s my first attempt at camouflage. Had to comb my hair quickly to catch my flight so not the best hairstyle. But I am feeling pretty damn good about not wearing a hat right about now 👌

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Edited by RecessionProof
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Posted (edited)

Day 4

Had my final meeting with the doctor Saturday morning before my flight. He was as amiable as ever, and gave me instructions for finally showering and gently shampooing the grafts. The plan now is to keep applying ointment to the incision, starting to apply aloe vera gel to the grafts (to encourage crust shedding), and pretty much just wait for the growth to happen. Still a little swelling under my eyes, but looks like it’s on it’s way out.

I was also able to get my graft count:

Total: 2,338 grafts

Singles: 309

Doubles: 1373 

Triples: 656

 

Definitely pleased with the number of doubles and triples. My guess is he had just enough singles to create a soft hairline, with the rest allowing me to have a super thick frontal third.

He did mention that I have very fine hair, so I guess we’ll see how everything pans out. 

He also said I had at least 4000 grafts or so left for the future.

Edited by RecessionProof

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Posted (edited)

Day 8


It’s been just over a week and crust shedding is finally in full swing (check out that big boi on the right). I think the white color is the result of keeping my crusts very moist through frequent shampooing and the use of aloe vera gel. Per Dr. K’s recommendation, I’ve been applying the gel liberally to the recipient area to the point where it’s receiving moisture pretty much 24/7.

This has been both to facilitate gentle crust formation and also in preparation for the inevitable redness to come in a few weeks — my hope is that constant aloe vera application will help me avoid that classic ring of discoloration. Stay tuned for how that ends up working.

On a related note, I highly recommend using Amazon to find the top rated versions of each product your surgeon suggests for post op care -- the high quality aloe vera gel and spray bottles I found online are far better than the cheaper alternatives I found at CVS, and the gel is absorbed by the skin much more quickly with none of the weird green residue. Feel free to PM if you’re ever looking for a specific recommendation.

Visited family with my cover-up hairstyle and a sprinkling of Toppik, and no one could tell anything had changed until I lifted up my existing hair to reveal the graft zone. Even then, everyone was fascinated and really impressed -- my mom was half expecting something bloody and freakish, but when she saw it she truly believed it could pass as a short hairstyle even without the cover up (especially now that the grafts in front have grown slightly).

Below are pics of the graft zone, scar, and my latest cover-up hairdo. Curious to get some opinions on the scar, as I think it's looking pretty good but don't have a lot to compare to.

 

 

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Edited by RecessionProof

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Day 11

Crusts are mostly gone and sutures are out. The nurse practitioner who removed them was very complimentary towards the quality of the sutures and incision.

Updated pics attached. The grafted hairs in front have grown a little, gonna miss these lil guys!

I'm mostly going out without a hat at this point, but I'll wear a hoodie for safety when it gets windy. I don't think anyone has glanced at my hairline or suspected anything.

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On 4/18/2019 at 3:43 AM, RecessionProof said:

Day 8


It’s been just over a week and crust shedding is finally in full swing (check out that big boi on the right). I think the white color is the result of keeping my crusts very moist through frequent shampooing and the use of aloe vera gel. Per Dr. K’s recommendation, I’ve been applying the gel liberally to the recipient area to the point where it’s receiving moisture pretty much 24/7.

This has been both to facilitate gentle crust formation and also in preparation for the inevitable redness to come in a few weeks — my hope is that constant aloe vera application will help me avoid that classic ring of discoloration. Stay tuned for how that ends up working.

On a related note, I highly recommend using Amazon to find the top rated versions of each product your surgeon suggests for post op care -- the high quality aloe vera gel and spray bottles I found online are far better than the cheaper alternatives I found at CVS, and the gel is absorbed by the skin much more quickly with none of the weird green residue. Feel free to PM if you’re ever looking for a specific recommendation.

Visited family with my cover-up hairstyle and a sprinkling of Toppik, and no one could tell anything had changed until I lifted up my existing hair to reveal the graft zone. Even then, everyone was fascinated and really impressed -- my mom was half expecting something bloody and freakish, but when she saw it she truly believed it could pass as a short hairstyle even without the cover up (especially now that the grafts in front have grown slightly).

Below are pics of the graft zone, scar, and my latest cover-up hairdo. Curious to get some opinions on the scar, as I think it's looking pretty good but don't have a lot to compare to.

 

 

IMG_0209.thumb.jpg.503ba6f575432846d0d6eaa9fe4f71b2.jpgIMG_0208.thumb.jpg.eba11c51ba6338f29bac7ba9e3cb6faa.jpg

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I’m not implying anything by saying this, but I’ve never seen crusts like that. 

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22 minutes ago, JayLDD said:

I’m not implying anything by saying this, but I’ve never seen crusts like that. 

Thought the same thing but Dr. K assured me they were just moist crusts

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6 hours ago, RecessionProof said:

Thought the same thing but Dr. K assured me they were just moist crusts

seems like an oxymoron but okay lol

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8 Week Update

Most of the grafts shed at the 3 week mark, so now it's just a waiting game. A few have stuck around and grown out, and some early sprouts are starting to come in. Pimples have been appearing almost every day, which I interpret as a sign that the growth is coming.

There's still a good deal of redness along my hairline, but friends and family have assured me that it's not very noticeable in public. Haven't really spotted people looking up at the redness so I haven't bothered wearing a hat. It's a lot more obvious under the harsh lighting in the below pics, and I've been applying aloe vera and moisturizer daily to make it fade more quickly (doesn't seem to be making a huge difference though).

The scar is still easy to spot when I part my hair, and I did notice a patch of shock loss a few weeks after surgery. Looking forward to attempting some shorter hairstyles once the existing hair grows in a little more.

There's still some numbness in the recipient area and above the scar, but as time has passed it's continued to fade. I will note for those considering FUT that while it was relatively painless for me and I was able to get back to work quickly, I wouldn't discount the fact that your head will feel very different for an extended period of time. I definitely don't regret going with FUT, but I do feel more tempted to go for FUE next time around because the healing process does take a while.

 

 

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18 hours ago, bismarck said:

It has been a few months, any updates sir?

Going to post another update at the 3 month mark. Lots of new sprouts coming in, so I’m excited for the hairline to start forming 

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On 6/16/2019 at 11:11 AM, RecessionProof said:

Going to post another update at the 3 month mark. Lots of new sprouts coming in, so I’m excited for the hairline to start forming 

Sorry, I didn't note the date carefully on your last post. Please be patient and keep us updated. Good luck growing.

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