Richard...... First things first, Dr Charles is a very good. If you decide to go ahead and get past the shaved head aspect of the procedure, your results will be great. As for Spex saying FUE can't be done without shaving down....that is not entirely true. Dr Cole does a version of the FUE procedure that allows the patient to leave their hair long. It is called C2G:
"Patient’s who do their homework prior to a hair transplant procedure know that strip procedures offer few benefits over CIT®. The only true benefit up until recently has been the capacity to keep one’s hair longer with the strip procedure. CIT® on the other hand required patients to shave their heads in order to perform a larger procedure. For some this required careful planning so that they could shave their head and migrate back into their usual lifestyle. Shaving the head can make the patient nervous because it can result in a drastic change in one’s appearance.
For some, this simple factor became the driving force behind their decision to undergo a strip procedure rather than take advantage of the less invasive CIT®.
Not anymore. The new C2G technique allows the patient to keep their hair at their normal hair style during and following the CIT® technique. Now patients can have the best of both worlds. They no longer have to put up with the pain and the strip scar associated with strip procedures and they can still maintain their normal hair style."
... The procedure obviously takes more time and the cost per FUE is a bit more but if your goal is to not shave your hair it's worth looking into. As for me, my hair is short and I have a job where I can use a surgical cap daily so I can get away with the shaved cut for a month.
.....hope that helps.