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Hi everyone,

Long time lurker, first time poster. I'm sitting here in my hotel one day post op after getting the morning cleaning and repositioning of the grafts, and I have some time to kill. So, I figured I would write out hairloss story as well as my experience with Dr. Steven Gabel and his team of excellent technicians.20180918_133411.thumb.jpg.e7abe12301c6a0771791e1cf0dd32453.jpg

This is my baseline photo the day I started minoxidil and finasteride on September 21st, 2018. 

 

 

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The photo on the right is when I resigned myself to being bald sometime around March of 2018. Photo on the left is three months into treatment, around December of 2019.

 

 

 

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I was a great responder to finasteride and minoxidil. I also gave dermaneedling a try, which I believe helped a lot. I only did it a couple times - I will attach a photo showing the aftermath. This was in January of 2019. After this photo, I stopped doing progress pics so much because I let my hair grow out. 

 

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What I kept my hair at - I could conceal my balding very easily, but if the wind blew the wrong way, it was game over. This was in May 2019.

 

 

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This hurt worse than the transplant. Derminator II, 12 needle cartridge at 1.25mm on fast for 5 minutes. Photo in December 2018.

 

Since January of 2019, I have basically been taking 1mg fin once a day, minoxidil foam morning and night, a collagen supplement and a hair vitamin supplement. I plateaued on regrowth at around September of 2019, and it wasn't really good enough for me, as I could only style my hair one specific way and I could still see the scalp. I started researching hair transplants around this time.

I reached out to three places before finding this forum. The first was Dr. Lupanzula, which I found from Joe Tillman's youtube channel. I thought he was incredibly humble, talented, and ethical. I reached out to his team, and they were responsive. They said it would likely be 1800-2000 grafts, but would give a more accurate estimate on in-person consultation. I originally planned to get the procedure done in the summer of 2021, as that is when I graduate from nursing school and get married. However, I realized how ridiculous I would look at my first job in the hospital, and decided summer of 2020 would be better. As such, I realized travelling out of country wouldn't be an option. 

The second place I reached out to was Dr. Baubac, also from Joe Tillman's list. I hadn't found these forums yet. Short story made even shorter, it was a bad experience, and after two or three emails it was a no-go.

The third place I reached out to was Dr. Sharon Keene. She was more in my price range, and had a lot of experience. I had a phone consultation with her where she quoted me at 1200 grafts. I was also dead set on FUE at this time, as I didn't want the linear scar. I don't know why, but I didn't feel comfortable going with her. I think going with your gut and only selecting a surgeon that you are 100% comfortable with is crucial.

At this point, I was starting to get a little burned out on Joe Tillman's list of preferred surgeons and wanted to branch out to see what else was out there. I watched a lot of youtube videos, and found David DiMuzio's channel. The person on his channel, Steve Cook, made some compelling arguments surrounding FUT. The real gamechanger for me was stumbling on Feller & Bloxham's youtube channel, specifically the FUT scar search. After watching a few of those, I watched every other video they posted about FUT, what to look for in a surgeon, and what an ethical doctor is like. I considered going to New York, but seeing as at this point, approximately mid to late March, was when covid was going crazy in New York, I didn't reach out to them for consultation. Instead, I decided to do my own surgeon search, independent from coalitions. I googled surgeons in Oregon, my home state. Dr. Gabel popped up, and so did a lot of his posts from this forum.

I read every post and blog about Dr. Gabel, and I saw how active he was in this forum still. What set Dr. Gabel apart for me was that he posts all of his own work here. He doesn't have a consultant. Sending out an email and getting a personal response from Dr. Gabel was astounding. I didn't even get to talk to Dr. Baubac at all. I scheduled a consultation, and he actually made it a web-cam consultation, and he spent a full hour with me. This contrasts to the 15 minute phone conversation I had with Dr. Keene before she quoted me 1200 grafts based on 9 pictures I sent her. Dr. Gabel recommended I get FUE based on the haircut I preferred, but I said I would like to get FUT. He didn't weigh in with his opinion until I made the case for FUT vs. FUE. He somehow projects a balance of calm confidence and humility, and he was incredibly forthright about his approach to hair restoration. He asks poignant, pointed questions designed to get actual information about what you want. As a forth year nursing student, I can recognize a good surgeon. This spoke volumes to me. I knew right after that consultation I would be having my surgery with him. He recommended 2400 grafts, and based on my level of hairloss, I knew that's what I needed.

I sent out one email to Dr. Gabel regarding a theory I had on microneedling and hair surgery, in that microneedling can cause angiogenesis, which I thought would help with graft survivability. He responded within the day and asked for the scholarly articles I had read to prompt this idea, which also was crazy to me. I ended up not microneedling, because I read another article that proved wound healing isn't really improved by an increase of angiogenesis, but his response was still impressive to me and deserves mention.

The day of the surgery, July 29th, I saw Dr. Gabel for the first time in person. I was incredibly nervous. I don't know how many of you are reading this that haven't had the procedure, but let me just say, the anxiety catches you off guard the morning of. His technician greeted me (I don't know if saying the names of the technicians is kosher so I'm going to avoid it) and she was awesome. Dr. Gabel came into the room, and his attitude is contagious. He pushes positivity into his immediate environment. He loves what he does and is passionate about it, and it shows. He took one look at me, pushed up my hair, and tied off my forelock, and said, "This is the problem area." Photo below of what I'm talking about. I had no idea the hairloss was so isolated. 

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The procedure went by very quickly and was virtually painless. Having a pretty good background in surgical procedure, I can say confidently that their set up is well thought out and efficient. They have adequate staffing, everyone wants to be there, and they do their job well. The final hairline was basically the one above, but done with skin safe sharpie with variations in the line, of course. I have some photos from this morning, 1 day post op, and will update in a week or so. Resized_20200730_093213.jpg.8239f135e9656849805413aeecd74606.jpgResized_20200730_093215.jpg.15964aa0e6569f3bd16c8f1a515c59db.jpg

Final graft breakdown was 2,325. 212 singles, 955 doubles, 870 triples, and 288 quads. One thing to note is mid-procedure, Dr. Gabel said I absolutely made the right decision to go FUT, as my grafts were very large and "splayed" near the base, which would have lead to an estimated 50% transection rate, as almost half were triples and quads.

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That looks like very nice refined work. Thank you for posting such a detailed write up. Very interesting read.

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31 minutes ago, JohnAC71 said:

That looks like very nice refined work. Thank you for posting such a detailed write up. Very interesting read.

I agree! Glad you thought so.

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I will be following this with interest! Mainly because your hair loss pattern pre-surgery is so similar to my own that I feel like I'm looking in the mirror, haha. You should be getting your final results around the same time your due to take the NCLEX! Good luck on both fronts!

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What was the cost, why does everyone leave that part out?

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7 minutes ago, Tony k said:

What was the cost, why does everyone leave that part out?

Because what I paid is different than what you or anyone else will pay. It's variable depending on how many grafts you get, FUT vs. FUE, and often changes depending on supply and demand as time goes on. If you're curious about what you would pay, you can get a consultation and a graft estimate.

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Or you could just say what you paid. Doesn’t take a brain surgeon to draw parallels and estimate cost based on similar hair loss

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4 minutes ago, Tony k said:

Or you could just say what you paid. Doesn’t take a brain surgeon to draw parallels and estimate cost based on similar hair loss

Or you could have a little bit of tact and take my polite refusal as an answer to your original question. Obviously I left out price on purpose. Most people do so because it is not something we like to share. If we were in person, it would be considered rude to ask a stranger about price of a major cosmetic surgery. It is still rude in a forum.

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Not rude at all. Hell you showing us pics of your head and that you had a transplant but asking what it costs is intrusive? 
 

You make zero sense. 
 

Or you could just say what the cost was

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Transparency cuts down on the agendas as well. 

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Ok now that we cleared that up.

 

What did it cost you?

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14 minutes ago, Tony k said:

Ok now that we cleared that up.

 

What did it cost you?

What is wrong with you? I said twice I didn't want to share that information. Why can't you take no for an answer? Are you a child? 

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Ok but what was the cost, children call names btw. 

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@ShadowMoon I'm amazed by your results on fin! Wow!  Gabel's work looks clean, and even though it's a pain to have your head shaved it'll definitely pay off in the end.  Also, wise decision to go FUT.  Stay the course and keep us posted!

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13 minutes ago, Tony k said:

Ok but what was the cost, children call names btw. 

Stop acting like a child. If he doesn't want to tell you that's his business. What If I just kept asking you post pictures of your hair? Ok but post pictures of your hair. Do you see how that could be annoying and childish. We all post here on free-will, no one is here to bend to your will. Behave, or you'll be gone. My only warning. 

You can easily submit an online consultation with Dr. Gabel yourself and find out the cost.

https://www.hairtransplantnetwork.com/physician/Oregon/Steven-Gabel/633

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1 minute ago, JohnAC71 said:

Jeez that guy didn’t even last 24 hours 😬

I don't ban people, it's very rare, but he's definitely someone I'm willing to say 

bye.gif

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17 hours ago, Ian. said:

I will be following this with interest! Mainly because your hair loss pattern pre-surgery is so similar to my own that I feel like I'm looking in the mirror, haha. You should be getting your final results around the same time your due to take the NCLEX! Good luck on both fronts!

Are you considering getting a hair transplant? Summer 2021 is going to be a busy one for me, for sure!

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3 hours ago, ShadowMoon said:

Are you considering getting a hair transplant? Summer 2021 is going to be a busy one for me, for sure!

Sort of...but I'll most likely still be in the "considering" stage at least another couple of years. I'm also in nursing and plan on applying for np school next year so I'm trying to sock away as much money as possible for tuition.  

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I’ll be following along with your progress, as well. You chose a great doctor and your post op pics look very good! Clean and refined. Congrats on your procedure!!

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3 hours ago, Ian. said:

Sort of...but I'll most likely still be in the "considering" stage at least another couple of years. I'm also in nursing and plan on applying for np school next year so I'm trying to sock away as much money as possible for tuition.  

Oh yeah, that's a spendy one. They like to milk RNs dry for every step along the way. I basically accepted that I'd be taking out a certain amount in student loans, and I was able to penny pinch enough over the last three years to get a procedure done. 

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1 hour ago, Steeeve said:

I’ll be following along with your progress, as well. You chose a great doctor and your post op pics look very good! Clean and refined. Congrats on your procedure!!

Thanks! Your experience was great to read.

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