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Absolute Hair Clinic. Dr. Ratchathorn Panchaprateep. 4650 grafts. February 2024


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I want to start by thanking all the members of this forum who have posted their experiences and results with various doctors and clinics around the world. When I started researching, I had no idea where to go, what doctors were producing consistently good results, which clinics were reputable, or any of the finer details that everyone should investigate before choosing a doctor that best fits their individual needs. This forum truly opened my eyes to the good, the bad, and the ugly sides of the hair transplant industry.

That being said, my name is Bryan. I am a 50-year-old male and I started losing my hair in my late 20s. I was able to hide it fairly well until my late 30s which is when I decided it was best to start shaving my head with clippers. As you all know, losing your hair can be quite a blow to one's confidence, and watching it slowly thin over more than two decades made me feel helpless. From October 2020 to July 2023 I took Finasteride and was using topical minoxidil, but due to my extensive hair loss, the results were minimal so I stopped using both and decided to try an iRestore professional. Around the six-month mark, I noticed some of the hairs in the very front of my hairline were getting thicker and the growth I obtained from medical therapy was holding up. I take really good care of myself, and I honestly don't mind being only 5'7” but being bald on top of being under 5' 9" can present challenges when trying to attract a partner, so late last year I decided it was time to do something that would improve the quality of my life at every level. 

I'm sure you are all aware of what happens when you type "hair transplant" on Google. The search results heavily lean towards the hair transplant capital of the world, Istanbul, Turkey. I had no idea there were so many clinics there and it was overwhelming sifting through all the websites, looking at photos, reading reviews, finding your price point, and the many other topics that come up when you venture down the hair transplant rabbit hole. After several months of doing research and homework daily, I submitted photos to 20-30 clinics in Turkey, India, Brazil, and several other countries to have my case evaluated.  I found a clinic near me in Tijuana, Mexico I initially chose to do my FUE procedure. I went back and forth with their salesperson a few times, sent a deposit to guarantee my surgery, and I was ready to rock. Then I made what I feel is the most important decision of this process when I asked the salesperson to send a lot of photos showing the results so I could evaluate their surgeons’ results. Now I know we are all unique and many factors contribute to the outcome of an FUE procedure (hair thickness, the quality of the donor area, etc.), but I wanted to make sure I picked the doctor I felt performed consistently well across the board. When he emailed me the photos, my heart dropped. Compared to the photos I saw on their website, the results in these photos were not at all what I expected. Since I had already made a $500 deposit I felt somewhat committed, but in my heart, I realized I made a mistake. Not knowing what to do, I asked for my deposit back, and they were very understanding and immediately began to start the process of returning my deposit via wire transfer.

After that, I was back to square one, and I began searching for a doctor on Google again. I don't remember what led me to Reddit, but I came across a good thread and it had a link to this forum. Once I got here, I began scouring through many testimonials and am so grateful for everyone's contributions. After lots of reading, I ended up at the recommended doctors page where I submitted photos to several doctors (even the ones I couldn't afford) to compare their evaluations and get a sense of who was being honest with me. Almost all the clinics in Turkey and most of the ones in India told me I would only need one surgery, and that they would extract the "maximum" number of grafts necessary to cover my entire head at a flat rate. All the reputable doctors told me I would need two surgeries, so I quickly learned who was being straightforward with me and who was trying to sell me the dream.

Without a doubt, the most valuable lesson I learned at this forum is that it's better to save your money and choose a doctor who consistently does quality work and is involved in the entire process, instead of going with a large clinic where the technicians are doing most of the work. I was so close to going that route and after reading some of the posts in this forum realized that was not a good idea if I wanted to obtain the best results possible. I'm not saying that some of the clinics in Turkey and elsewhere that crank out a ton of transplants every day don't ever produce quality results, but from what I have seen on this forum when you choose a "hair mill" you are rolling the dice.

After I received feedback from several doctors in the recommended forum, I felt The Absolute Hair Clinic in Bangkok produced some very impressive results at a very fair price and decided to move forward and book the procedure. To be 100% honest when I clicked the "consult" button in the "forum recommended surgeons" section of the HRN website I thought I was contacting Dr. Laorantong directly because his photo is right above the consult button (and bold type in the email header), but after a few emails realized I was corresponding with what I thought was a liaison, assistant, or the person who books the procedures. I take full responsibility for not paying attention because looking back at the emails it clearly says MD on Dr. Ratchathorn Panchaprateep's signature at the bottom of each email. I’m not implying any negative connotations. I am just letting everyone know the consultation inbox is shared between both doctors. We exchanged several emails, and she told me right away I would need two surgeries. The first would be around 4,000 grafts and would focus on the front and mid-scalp, and the second would be around 2,000 grafts for the crown region. After looking at many flights and trying to avoid a long layover, I found a decent price, and the procedure was set for February 3rd.

The first leg of my flight to Thailand was not ideal. There was a little girl in the row in front of me, and she would randomly scream, waking me up from a dead sleep several times despite my noise-canceling headphones. Aside from that, Asiana Airlines treated me very well, had excellent attendants, and went above and beyond to meet my dietary needs.  My itinerary said the connecting flight would land in Bangkok at 1:20 am on the 3rd so I figured I would get maybe 6 hours of sleep before I had to report to the clinic at 8:30 for my procedure, but unfortunately, the arrival time was incorrect. I didn't land until after 4:30 am. The misprint on my itinerary is Asiana Airlines' fault, but next time I'll double-check the arrival times to avoid this situation from happening again.

By the time I landed, went through customs, and realized the time, I got a cab as quickly as possible. The ride from the airport to the Cascade Hotel (A great hotel and only 700 m from the clinic) is about 40 minutes from BKK and the cost of the cab fare was around 600 Thai Bot. I checked in, went to my room, quickly unpacked, jumped in the shower to wash my head with Betadine, and went to bed. I had to be at the clinic at 830 so I requested a 745 wake-up call.

I rolled out of bed after very little sleep, got dressed, walked to the clinic, checked in, and sat in the waiting room. Normally a patient would go to the clinic the day before the procedure and there would be a pre-op consultation, but due to the flight I booked that wasn’t possible. I do not recommend going into a surgical procedure without consulting the doctor first.

One of the nurses brought me upstairs and sat me in a chair to take several photographs from the top and sides at various angles. After that I was taken to another room and put in the barber chair, they shaved my hair with clippers, and the doctor walked in. As I mentioned before, I thought I was booking my procedure with Dr. Laorantong but when Dr. Panchaprateep walked in and introduced herself, I smiled and thought “Ok. This is my surgeon. I didn’t fly 8,400 miles for nothing. Let’s do this!”. She made me feel comfortable right away, explained the procedure, and began outlining my hairline with a permanent marker. Due to the extensive nature of my hair loss, we both agreed to follow my natural hairline and all the homework I did beforehand led me to the conclusion that lowering my hairline was not conducive to a favorable outcome. 

Next, I was moved to the operating room, and her team was all set up and ready to go. They laid me on a table face downward and began administering Novocain injections. Most of the testimonials I read about other clinics said this part of the procedure was very painful, but they have a needle that administers low doses in short fast punches to the scalp (kind of like a lancet that's used to prick your finger) and I barely felt it. Once the general area was numb, they administered more injections with a normal needle and put what I believe to be a stencil over the donor area.

The extraction part began minutes after the anesthetic had numbed my scalp and it was an intense experience. The music helped pass the time and after several hours it was done and time for a lunch break. Dr. Panchaprateep was kind enough to ask me what I wanted for lunch and bought me some delicious vegan Thai food. After lunch, I went back into the operating room for the second part of the procedure. I was on my back in a reclined position, and a sleeping mask was laid over my eyes to dampen the overhead surgical LED lamps. Dr. Panchaprateep made all the incisions for the grafts, designed the entire hairline, and implanted all the grafts with one other trusted assistant. I was tired but managed to stay awake for part of this process. At one point I must have passed out from exhaustion because I woke up to the sound of a male nurse, but my memory is a little foggy as I was in and out of consciousness during the rest of the procedure. There wasn’t a lot of excessive talking in the operating room. In my mind that is a major plus and an indicator that everybody knows their job and is focused on the task at hand. Because there was no pre-op consultation Dr. Panchaprateep made a professional and unspoken judgment call on the spot to extract more grafts which I am grateful for because optimal results come down to a combination of technique, artistry, and density (number of grafts per sq cm). I will make sure I consult her the day before the next procedure.

After the grafts were in place and the procedure was done, I was taken to a room for Laser Light Therapy. The machine was large with an overhead arm attached to a large LED hood. To give you a comparison, a normal LLLT helmet (like my iRestore pro) puts out about 2500 mW, and their machine around 20-30,000 mW. I was face down for about ten minutes (maybe longer. I was running on fumes at this point) and then turned over on my back for another ten minutes. When that was done, I was brought back to the room where I was prepped before the surgery and one of her team members carefully bandaged my head and gently placed a cotton black do-rag over my head that was tied in the back.

I felt pretty good on my walk back to the hotel. They gave me painkillers, a few valiums, prednisone for swelling, and antibiotics. I’m not a fan of pharmaceuticals so I only took the antibiotics to prevent any possible infection or Septicemia.

I’m a side sleeper so sleeping on my back at a 45-degree angle was rough and I didn’t sleep much that night. The next three days I went in to have my head washed, photographs taken, additional LLT sessions, and to have my bandage changed. I was only in Bangkok for five days, but I believe they offer LLT at no additional cost if you are there longer.

It was a whirlwind of a trip, took me a while to recover, and I was so happy when I was able to sleep normally again. The grafts seem to be filling in nicely before the inevitable fallout from shock loss. Most of the pain in the donor area has gone away. I still feel some numbness in the frontal area which I know will subside with time. In addition to taking Finasteride and oral minoxidil every day, I will be using my iRestore Pro helmet every other day for 25 minutes to aid in the growth of the transplanted hairs and produce the best possible results. I’ll post some photos occasionally, to show my progress and get feedback from the members and moderators of the forum. Below are the photos I submitted to the clinic for evaluation and the one sent back to me with Dr. Panchapratee's notes.

 

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  • Administrators

Looks excellent, clean work. Excited to follow your progress man 🙌 

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I’m a paid admin for Hair Transplant Network. I do not receive any compensation from any clinic. My comments are not medical advice.

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  • Moderators

Looking good. Thanks for posting. Please keep us updated as you progress.

 

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Al

Forum Moderator

(formerly BeHappy)

I am a forum moderator for hairrestorationnetwork.com. I am not a Dr. and I do not work for any particular Dr. My opinions are my own and may not reflect the opinions of other moderators or the owner of this site. I am also a hair transplant patient and repair patient. You can view some of my repair journey here.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • Regular Member

Very nice and informative post! Will you post regular updates here? I am booked with her later this year and following your journey with great interest.

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  • Al - Moderator changed the title to Absolute Hair Clinic. Dr. Ratchathorn Panchaprateep. 4650 grafts. February 2024
  • Moderators
7 hours ago, BryInThe619 said:

I accidentally put the wrong year in the title. It was February 2024 :)

No problem. I fixed the title for you. 

Al

Forum Moderator

(formerly BeHappy)

I am a forum moderator for hairrestorationnetwork.com. I am not a Dr. and I do not work for any particular Dr. My opinions are my own and may not reflect the opinions of other moderators or the owner of this site. I am also a hair transplant patient and repair patient. You can view some of my repair journey here.

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