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3332 FUE Grafts - Dr. Ron Shapiro & Dr. Josephitis (SMG)


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Journey & Decision

  • After thorough research, I decided to pull the trigger and get a HT at Shapiro Medical Group with Ron Shapiro and Dr. Josephitis/Dr. Joe.
  • SMG spent many hours over the phone with me and answered all my questions. I emailed Ron Shapiro directly and Matt Zupan (Patient Educator), and they always addressed all of my concerns/follow-ups. Matt called me very frequently to check up on me and has pretty much become a friend at this point.
  • The front office staff, Matt Zupan (Patient Educator), and everyone involved wanted to make sure that I had the best care. They did not care about making money or getting the "sale" as they honestly wanted what was best for me. They even recommended other great clinics if I decided not to go through with SMG.
  • SMG was the only clinic out of the 5 places I contacted who actually walked me through the concept of donor supply, how to look at the future for when my hair loss progresses and what I can do to prevent more hair loss (medication, exercise, etc.) They have a concept to not blow your entire "wad" with a mega session and see how the first procedure goes to ensure you can make revisions later on and assess where you are. This approach makes perfect sense and gives the patient more donor supply to fine tune their hair in the future.
  • I originally booked with Dr. Diep but decided to back out due to a lot of recent negative reviews and concerns about his ethics. Please review my other thread here and post here about the situation.
  • I want to give a major shout out to aaron1234 for coaching me through the whole process and recommending me to go through SMG/Ron Shapiro. This is the best decision I have ever made and I would not have gotten this far without him. Aaron, thank you for everything, I owe you. Also, notable mention to jimcraig152 for giving me some solid advice regarding my surgeon decision.

Shapiro Medical Group (SMG) Review

  • This clinic is hands down one of the most professional clinics I have been to. It was an amazing experience and I felt right at home at SMG.
  • The staff/technicians/doctors are so genuine, caring, and love what they do. Ron Shapiro took his time with me to explain the process and decisions behind the HT and hairline. The staff and technicians were very friendly and we got along well. They introduced themselves and wanted to know more about me. They cared about my personal life, we joked/laughed together and we were all just having a great time during the procedure. This made everything so much easier. Oh, and everyone is super organized which is a huge plus.
  • The office itself is super clean and everyone followed COVID procedures to a t. Great atmosphere and I felt 150% comfortable being there.

Pre-Surgery Appointment

  • Mattt Zupan (Sales Consultant) took my before photos in their studio.
  • Pamela (receptionist) took my food order for the procedure day.
  • I got to meet with Dr. Ron Shapiro and go over our game plan. He let me ask as many questions as I wanted and was very patient with me. He also showed me many photos going over this donor supply philosophy and why he likes his conservative approach versus mega sessions.

Before Photos
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Surgery Day 1

  • Got in at 7:30 AM and was greeted by Pamela (receptionist).
  • Dr. Josephitis/Dr. Joe greeted me and had me change into their provided shirt. He asked if I had breakfast and I had not. He immediately got me some breakfast/energy bars and apple juice so that I was not hungry.
  • Dr. Joe cut my hair (in their barber room) short enough, but left enough hair so that Dr. Shapiro could see how to properly blend my grafts with my hair loss appropriately.
  • Went into the surgery room and my vitals were taken. Everyone introduced themselves and I hit it off with the staff immediately. They got me blankets, water and let me pick out a movie on the Apple TV.
  • The technician (Vicky) numbed my head so we could make the incisions. They used massagers/vibrator on my face to distract me.
  • Ron Shapiro came out and began to make the incisions on my head. He did roughly 2000 incisions. Hole sizes were predominantly meant for 2s and 3s. Some 1s for hairline. Ron took his time and did not rush the incisions which was awesome to see. He did them with intent and purpose.
  • I got numbed in the back of my head for extractions and received a back massage + face massage for a distraction. SCORE!
  • Dr. Josephitis came in to perform my extractions and got roughly 1620 Grafts from the middle section of the back of my head: 674 3's | 782 2's | 164 1's
  • Dr. Ron came back out with the technicians and supervised for a bit while they began to implant the grafts. He also made some additional incisions for 1's that Dr. Joe extracted
  • PS: Lunch was amazing!

Lunch Break Photos

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End of Day 1 Surgery Photos

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Surgery Day 2

  • Front staff fed me again, provided blankets, movies, etc.
  • Technicians numbed me again for procedure
  • Dr. Ron made an additional 1000 incisions in anticipation of harvesting a total of 3000 grafts. Ron took his time and did not rush the incisions.
  • Dr. Joe finished my extractions on the sides of my head and was able to extract a total of 1600/1700 grafts and exceeded my expectations. Dr. Ron and I were pleasantly surprised here. This surpassed our planned 3,000 graft count and hit 3332.
  • Dr. Ron came back and added more incisions to cover the new grafts. He finished my hairline and advised his technicians on where to place the 1s, 2s and 3s.
  • EDIT: Ron injected 5cc's of exosomes into my scalp which are derived from stem cells. This is supposed to be better than PRP and has major benefits from a single session. SMG has seen great results with hair growth from this treatment, and I decided to give it a shot. This exosomes were diluted to 10ccs and injected all over my scalp. You can learn more about exosomes here.

End of Day 2 Surgery Photos
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FINAL GRAFT INFORMATION

  • COMING SOON

Summary

  • All in all, I am super IMPRESSED by the professionalism at SMG. Ron Shapiro did all the incisions in the recipient area while Dr. Joe (Very experienced surgeon) did all the extractions.
  • Dr. Ron supervised and helped the technicians with the implantation. Ron came to the surgery room frequently when the techs were implanting and always made sure I was taken care of. Always took his time to re-asses the hairline and make sure it looked good.
  • Dr Ron & Joe took their time to ensure that the incisions made sense and that the extractions were super clean and spread out.
  • Dr Ron & Joe answered all my questions during the procedure as well and you can tell they are both super passionate about what they do. I got thorough answers and learned a lot in the surgery room.
  • The staff was super friendly and we talked about our lives, kids, family, interests and etc. Made the experience really fun.
  • I would definitely recommend everyone who is looking for a US surgeon to go to SMG as this is a world-class clinic which provided an experience I will never forget. They made my first Hair Transplant an amazing experience and I look forward to returning if I am going to get another procedure. I left the clinic thrilled and ready for my next steps in life.
  • The final graft count is as follows:

    • 1’s - 663
    • 2’s - 1912
    • 3’s - 757
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Sometimes we forget that hair loss is a medical condition. A patient seeking surgical hair restoration is in need of medical care. Never should a patient feel like they are being put on an assembly line. Brings a tear to my eye to hear how well you were taken care. This should be the standard, not a serendipitous discovery by hair loss sufferers. Kudos to SMG and their staff. Well done 🙌.

Been awaiting your results from your procedure and it is plain to see, you made an excellent choice. The frontal grafts are randomly placed. The hairline has the necessary micro irregularities and no tricks were employed to achieve a non-linear appearing hairline. That is, a straight line was not punched and zig zags were not dangled in front to break up an artificial looking linear hairline. Grafts also appear well packed and random throughout the recipient area. As for the temple points, not as dense which is also how temples should be and also randomly placed. Towards the back and edges of your recipient area, grafts are packed with less density so that grafts fade in with your natural hair. These subtleties can easily be skipped, and when they are, it shows in the results. We can't see angular or directional growth yet, but since you described that your surgeon took time to ensure angles were placed carefully, no doubt once they fully grow out and mature, you will have a nature-made result. Naturalness being the primary goal of any hair transplant is well checked in this regard.

I remember you originally wanted FUT. That you went with FUE is looking to be a great decision. I see no linear excision patterns. I see no harvesting of too many grafts from too small of an area. Every square inch looks to have had the same amount of grafts pulled from them. Still looks like you have quite a bit of supply left too. Also, the punch used looks to be small. I am guessing .8mm or less. EDIT: And for 3332 grafts, Shapiro and Josephitis didn't even venture anywhere close to non-DHT resilient zones. This is why one would pay more for FUE. I am thinking in 2 weeks once the scabs are out and the shorn donor area grows back in a bit, your donor will look like this:

LikeAVirgin.jpeg.7630358c4c251f7108fa121c3aa9aee9.jpeg

Congrats man. And thanks for keeping us in the loop. #smgftw

Edited by jimcraig152
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So happy for you, @hybonix!  What a great write-up, this forum owes you!  👏 You did it right by going to SMG/Dr. Shapiro for your first procedure, something I wish I did.  Rest well these next few nights, propping your head up with pillows.  I never sleep well after a transplant, I just wake up every hour or so and saline spray the recipient region.

It looks like you are fortunate enough to have held on to your crown somewhat so stay on Fin if you can.  I know you just started it, so you might even see a boost in your crown in a year as well which would be icing on the cake.  Keep in mind that fair skinned, red-heads like us tend to stay pink longer post-op, but it does eventually settle down.  It took me almost 6 months after my first surgery for the redness to completely go away.

Be prepared mentally for that shed in a couple weeks and the ugly duckling stage, but around months 3-5 things will start happening.  Waiting for growth will test your patience, but it’ll come.  I will say that organic aloe vera really felt good on my donor area for the first month after my FUE, I still use it now on occasion.  Welcome to the club, enjoy the ride, and keep us all posted! 😎

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Dr. G: 1,000 grafts (FUT) 2008

Dr. Paul Shapiro: 2,348 grafts (FUT) 2009 ~ 1,999 grafts (FUT) 2011 ~ 300 grafts (Scar Reduction) 2013

Dr. Konior: 771 grafts (FUT) 2015 ~ 558 grafts (FUT) 2017 ~ 1,124 grafts (FUE) 2020

My Hair Transplant Journey with Shapiro Medical Group

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2 hours ago, MagnificentAl said:

Sorry if I missed this, but was the price close to what you would have paid with your initial option ?

Good luck!

Diep was the same price as SMG, except, his would have been FUT. Diep's FUE was much more expensive than SMG.

Edited by hybonix
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Fantastic write up man 👏🏼 
You chose an excellent surgeon and team, we haven’t had a review in a while, so their work has been somewhat under appreciated, but I have no doubt you’ll achieve an excellent result and showcase their skill 🙌🏼 

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I do not provide medical advice, recommendations, all responses are my opinion.

My Hair Transplant Journey

Melvin- Associate Publisher and Forum Moderator for the Hair Transplant Network, the Coalition Hair Loss Learning Center, and the Hair Loss Q&A Blog.

Follow our Social Media Instagram @thehairtransplantnetwork FacebookPintrest, Linkedin and YouTube.

 

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1 hour ago, HairLostYears said:

Expound on this discussion, please? (particularly the exercise part)

Amazing write-up so far!

Thank you for the feedback! Exercising was more of a tidbit (not a huge discussion point) in that being healthy by exercising, eating right (proper vitamins, nutrients), and reduced stress will lead to less gray hair or thinning. SMG really focused on the medication though for preventing hair loss with propecia and rogaine. They helped me get a prescription when other doctors did not, so that was nice.

Day 1 Update:

  • Spraying my head with ATP every 30 minutes and keeping it moist.
  • Using ice packs on forehead to reduce swelling
  • No real pain or issues
  • Performed my first hair wash which was a little scary but very easy once I started
  • The team at SMG has already followed up with me to ensure I made it home safely and answer any questions that I had.

Photos Before Wash:FotoJet.thumb.png.bdbf693dc075336798f2e4b84ff49193.png

Photo After Wash:

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I will be moving this to a monthly update, as a weekly or bi-weekly is too aggressive. However, I just wanted to show one day post-op photos so the forums can see the donor and recipient sites.

I look forward to updating this on a regular cadence and please let me know if you guys have any questions. Happy growing!

Edited by hybonix
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Amazing how well the donor has started heal just after a day.  Within a week you won't notice the donor anymore. 

Dr. G: 1,000 grafts (FUT) 2008

Dr. Paul Shapiro: 2,348 grafts (FUT) 2009 ~ 1,999 grafts (FUT) 2011 ~ 300 grafts (Scar Reduction) 2013

Dr. Konior: 771 grafts (FUT) 2015 ~ 558 grafts (FUT) 2017 ~ 1,124 grafts (FUE) 2020

My Hair Transplant Journey with Shapiro Medical Group

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Grafts are looking good, but I noticed something a tad alarming with one graft. It looks like one graft is wanting to “pop” out and is sticking out about a .5 - 1mm versus the other ones. It’s still attached but looks loose. I also notice a little tiny red dot underneath the graft. Am I losing this graft? Not a big deal as things happen, but curious on your thoughts here:

D6E07C32-137A-4908-902C-41F95E9F10EE.thumb.jpeg.38e8a18b42f428775a7baf560f94e317.jpeg

Edited by hybonix
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Mini-Update

The final graft count is as follows:

  • 1’s - 663
  • 2’s - 1912
  • 3’s - 757

I had a ton of twos! Wow, more 2s/3s than 1s. Hopefully this will reflect well in the end result. :D It already feels weird to have hair on the top of my head. On the 11th day and 60% of the scabs are gone at this point.

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On 11/3/2020 at 11:20 PM, hybonix said:

Grafts are looking good, but I noticed something a tad alarming with one graft. It looks like one graft is wanting to “pop” out and is sticking out about a .5 - 1mm versus the other ones. It’s still attached but looks loose. I also notice a little tiny red dot underneath the graft. Am I losing this graft? Not a big deal as things happen, but curious on your thoughts here:

D6E07C32-137A-4908-902C-41F95E9F10EE.thumb.jpeg.38e8a18b42f428775a7baf560f94e317.jpeg

Did you see blood after it popped out? If it popped out, you may have lost the graft. It’s no big deal, this video may be helpful for you. 

 

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I do not provide medical advice, recommendations, all responses are my opinion.

My Hair Transplant Journey

Melvin- Associate Publisher and Forum Moderator for the Hair Transplant Network, the Coalition Hair Loss Learning Center, and the Hair Loss Q&A Blog.

Follow our Social Media Instagram @thehairtransplantnetwork FacebookPintrest, Linkedin and YouTube.

 

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14 hours ago, Melvin-Moderator said:

Did you see blood after it popped out? If it popped out, you may have lost the graft. It’s no big deal, this video may be helpful for you. 

 

Amazing video. Thank you so much Melvin. Honestly, I think it may have survived as I still see the same graft in that spot. It was not bleeding and none of my grafts bled at all throughout this whole process. On day 6 I did slightly bump my head but it was light and no blood. I think I’m good and I’m just working all my scabs out now! Look forward to posting my one month update in a little less than 3 weeks!

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Looking good! I actually went to Dr. Deip ( updates here ) around the same time and with similar pictures post-op of the recipient area (I did fut for donor).   Very excited for updates.

 

Would it be possible to let us know what was the timeline was when contacting office to setting  up an appointment for the pre-surgery, and then surgey?  Thanks!

Edited by js2020
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  • 2 weeks later...

Month 1 Update (11/29/20)

  • Ugly duckling phase has hit me hard. I noticed the shed happening only 2 - 3 weeks after the transplant. Week 4 now, and it's pretty rough
  • Donor hair looks okay, but definitely weaker than what I am used to
  • All scabs came off around Day 11. I would periodically rub my head throughout the day with the pads of my fingers and just watch all the scabs come right off
  • Got a long road ahead of me, but I am not obsessing over my hair and just living life. Although, I seriously need a haircut to even out the patchiness. lol.

1600190235_Month1.thumb.jpg.82330fdeb2e10f5c4a6c4b91bdf00e21.jpg

Edited by hybonix
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