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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by CHB88 View Post
    Yeah I attempted to contact his office and we'll see. I'm not sure why the pitting looked so bad yesterday but today seemed to be a bit better. Perhaps there was some inflammation that made it look worse. I can mostly notice if from a certain angle but it is definitely there.

    Unfortunately it seems that Dr. Cole does mostly surgical repair which I'm not sure I want right now. I just want my skin smoothness and colour back. I can try to deal with shaving every day since I plan to do that anyways.
    Unfortunately, you can't reverse surgery without surgical repair. You can probably get some marginal amount of improvements with a bunch of laser treatments, skin resurfacing, etc, but you probably aren't going to be happy. I have nothing to gain by advocating surgical repair except to try and spare you some of the months of anxiety I lived through and the many hours of research I conducted.

  2. #22
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    Instead of waiting for an e-mail I called Dr. Cole's office and they were very professional. Hope the doctor thinks there is a chance for a seamless result. I'll keep the thread updated.

  3. #23
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    Ryan, do you have any pics you could share?

  4. #24
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    So I've done a bit more research and I think laser/electrolysis + fraxel/Active FX + Vbeam might be the best way for me to go. I haven't contacted Dr. Cole to follow up but his pricing is very high for what will result in a lot of down time and results that I'm not sure are much better.

    Hopefully I can target the grafted hairs to kill and then use laser resurfacing to smooth out the texture. Not sure if I need something like Vbeam to even out color since I do tend to get red, but I think this may be due to irritation as my recipient scalp is still kind of sore, scaly and flaky ever since.

    Can anyone offer advice on combining these treatments? I will probably be calling a dermatologist tomorrow to get some more info.

  5. #25
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    CHB88, I recall a guy on a forum at another website who had some grafts removed surgically and others removed with laser. He wrote that, in retrspect, he wished he had them all removed by laser. Just google hair loss help forum.

    You could go to that other website and run a search in the "Hair transplant repair" section about laser removal and surgical graft removal. There are a lot of old posts in that section.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by CHB88 View Post
    Ryan, do you have any pics you could share?
    I'd be happy to share some photos after a bit more time passes. I am just over a month out and still have some pink, slightly blotchy skin. I have been told to wait three months to see the close-to-final result, but the first procedure healed up pretty nicely by about month 2.

  7. #27
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    My apologies Ryan, I'm not familiar with your story but I assume you had surgical repair. Can you elaborate? I hope it goes well for you but I think I'm ruling that out for now due to cost and downtime. It would still be helpful to hear your experience though.

    I don't mean to be negative but I've seen some pics of patients on other forums and the surgical results were kind of scary. One guy had a similar case to mine and his surgical repair took a year to look remotely okay but you can still see a faint outline of what appears to be a horseshoe scar on his exposed hairline.

    Don'tDoIt, I think I've seen the post you're referring to and I think it was the doctor that was disappointed he didn't try laser first. I think he was pretty happy with the end result either way.

    Can anyone help distinguish between fraxel, active fx, erbium, CO2 treatments? I've been seeing laser names all over the place but I have no idea what the differences are.

  8. #28
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    Sigh, at the end of all this it depresses me that I spent and will be spending so much money to learn a lesson that I should have known from the beginning.
    I hope this doesn't derail my own topic but I feel the urge to let out my frustrations. I hope this post can serve as a word of caution to everyone who is starting to look at getting a HT. A lot of this has been said before and I'm sure many people have great success stories, however the following is what stands out from my own experience so be aware of my angle:


    1. Photos and even videos can lie.
    Take a grain of salt when looking at patient before/after pics that you see on the Internet. These are usually best case scenarios with ideal candidates attributes (lots of grafts, good laxity, moderate to minimal hair loss). From what I have seen, this is especially true for scarring.
    Even good HTs can look bad in the right lighting which is a risk you need to be aware of. You should see a mature HT result in person before you commit.

    2. DO NOT RUSH. Make yourself wait a year or more if you can help it.
    Everyone needs to properly assess their balding pattern realistically. Unless you are older and your hair loss has stablized for a good amount of time you should not assume it will stay that way. I would go as far as to advise to plan for NW7 territory if you are looking for any decent number of grafts.
    I though I was stable in the back... wrong. I knew I wasn't but beig overly hopeful I tricked myself into believing it.

    3. Try shaving your head.
    You should shave your head and let it grow back at least once before diving into the HT game. It is distressing at first but you might find that you actually like it. I advise to let your hair grow back as it is not always obvious that you are balding until regrowth (like me).
    Conversly you can progressively shave your head down one setting at a time to examine yourself. If you have time, go in for a miniaturization mapping.

    4. Try the meds for a year to see if they work.
    Assuming you are okay with possible side effects, this can buy you time between HTs. Don't assume it will work and don't assume you will regrow hair.
    I was duped into thinking I had a 90% chance of finasteride stopping my hair loss. Its been a year since I started and it has been shedding faster than ever. It also did nothing for my hairline (as it rarely does) and I did not want to try anything stronger. You can also try minoxidil but the time commitment is too much of a hassle for me and most results didn't seem promising.

    5. Psychological preparation is required and will be tested.
    Having gone through this experience once I would definitely never want to go through with it again. The social stigma, the constant worry about how your hair looks, worrying about the room lighting, sun, rain, wind... it has been maddening.

    Worse yet is noticing other people's HTs, especially the bad ones which gets you to thinking if you will end up like that. Also, having people staring at your hair knowing something is a bit off. Constantly analyzing everyone's hairline hoping that yours is comparable but knowing that it isn't.
    Are you prepared to deal with these thoughts? Do you have a history of depression? If you aren't sure you need to rethink.

    When I started to shed heavily I realized that I was living a lie. I was constantly obsessed with how to fix it. I almost went in for another session which could have locked me into HTs for life. Having 'only' 1000 FUE, I am probably on the brink of no return, even I don't know that yet.

    6. Side effects are very possible.
    Pitting, ridging, hypo/hyperpigmentation, increased blood flow causing redness, scarring, scar stretching, lack of growth, poorly arranged hair, dandruff, itching, infection, pimples... don't assume you aren't at risk.
    My recipient zone constantly itches after a year and my skin is all scaly trying to grow over the grafts. Not pleasant to deal with every day.

    7. NOTHING is undetectable. A HT will never be close to your natural hair.
    Someone out there will know what you did. Even in ideal cases the effect is only an illusion which of course takes time and effort to maintain. Having said that I think I could have kept it up if there was enough to keep up, but it isn't working out that way.
    Again this is true for scarring. Certainly for strip, and even my 1000 FUE scars are definitely noticable. They will always be waiting for you if one day need to shave down.

    8. Hair loss is LIKELY to continue.
    Even with HTs, meds, a solid game plan and plenty of grafts you will probably need to fix your hair again at some point. Meds that work can suddenly stop working.
    It exhausts me to even think about going through with this again. You would definitely need to be optimistic about the procedure and financially and emotionally ready.
    Would you rather have a down payment for a house or hair? Would you rather have a new car? Would you rather have a retirement plan? Before you answer you should know that you asked the wrong question.

    The real question is, would you rather have ____ or the ILLUSION of hair?

    9. Hair is nice but confidence is better.
    This is coming from a guy who's main confidence booster was hair. It was what made me feel like I was good looking and accepted. I now realize that I could have still been confident without hair. The only difference was that I had the option of growing it back.
    Even with my thinning hairline I was still able to attract girls, have fun and get attention by BEING a fun person. You'll eventually need to endure a bald joke here and there but you can't let ignorance bother you.
    Even I used to look down on baldness but now I realize those guys that wore it proudly had way more confidence than me.
    Its hard to believe but you don't NEED a HT to be attractive.


    10. Be informed.
    I wish I had the information I have now as it would have prevented my from making arguably the biggest mistake of my life. To put it into perspective, this is after more than a year of focused research trying to find a way to diffuse a time bomb. I would say that before you commit you should be dedicated and well-informed enough to lead a Q&A session for HTs.


    If I hadn't been so vulnerable and naive I wouldn't have spent the last year depressed and reclusive... and I still look like I have a full head of hair!
    The worst part is that I actually liked how I looked with a shaved head and now its ruined with scarring all over the place.
    Although I myself am pulling off an illusion right now, I only have a few months left at best before I will be exposed. Hopefully this message will find its way to people that can learn from my mistakes.

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by CHB88 View Post
    My apologies Ryan, I'm not familiar with your story but I assume you had surgical repair. Can you elaborate? I hope it goes well for you but I think I'm ruling that out for now due to cost and downtime. It would still be helpful to hear your experience though.

    I don't mean to be negative but I've seen some pics of patients on other forums and the surgical results were kind of scary. One guy had a similar case to mine and his surgical repair took a year to look remotely okay but you can still see a faint outline of what appears to be a horseshoe scar on his exposed hairline.
    My story is that I freaked out at 20 and got a couple of HT's with MHR (about 800 minis and micros into my hairline). Then I went on Propecia and maintained the hair of a 12-year-old boy into my 30's, thinking I had the problem solved. The meds actually regrew my childhood hairline around the grafts so you couldn't tell I had a HT. Earlier this year, due to an illness, I had to stop taking all meds, including Propecia and I knew it was a matter of time before the grafts started showing.

    I went and saw every doc with a big name and the opinions about what to do fell into a few different categories:

    1) Transplant more hair camouflage the grafts. I didn't want to do this because once the native hair started receding a bit, the larger grafts just looked bad. Also, I don't know how long it will be before I can start taking meds again and I didn't want to get more HT's without being able to slow down the loss.

    2) Excise the hairline and place more grafts around the scar. I was against this for the same reasons as above, plus the thought of it freaked me out. Most docs said this was unnecessary anyway.

    3) Get laser removal and fraxel on the skin. I decided against this as well based on the advice of all the doctors who do a lot of repair work. The reasoning is that if there is underlying scar tissue, the laser will not remove it. It then becomes more difficult to go in a remove it afterward. Maybe this is less of an issue with FU's than with minis and micros. Also, I was told to expect at least a year of treatments before the grafts would stop growing. The little FUE punches generally heal up pretty well and remove the scar tissue which minimizes pitting and ridging.

    4) FUE them out. I was told that the was the best option for achieving smooth skin and that the white scars are generally minimal or nonexistent on the hairline in people with my skintone. This is the route I chose.

    I went to Dr. Feller for the first round and he took out about 200 of the largest grafts (I had some as large at SIX, but most were 1's, 2's, and 3's). After about 2 months, most of the pinkness was gone and the skin looked pretty good (undetectable but I still had a lot of grafts). Although I thought Dr. Feller did a fine job, I decided to continue the process with Dr. Cole because he seems to be more familiar with this specific procedure, has done more FUE, and was willing to take more of them out at one time.

    So about 5 weeks ago, Dr. Cole took out around 400 more grafts via FUE and also used PRP and Acell to help promote skin healing. At 5 weeks, I would say that the result is pretty good - still a little pink and blotchy. The same thing occurred when Dr. Feller worked on me and things started looking really good around the 7 or 8 week mark. Dr. Cole also re-implanted some of the grafts back into my scars and those seem to be healing fine. It has become apparent over the last couple of weeks that there are still about 200 grafts that need to be removed so I will probably have one more small procedure in another 6 - 8 weeks, assuming this continues to heal correctly.

    As far as cost and downtime go, it is a bit pricey but I am going to have to live with the result forever, so I want to get it right. Dr. Cole is very expensive compared with other doctors, but I am really convinced that he is the best at these repair cases. However, I would certainly recommend Feller, Shapiro, or several other docs would probably do a good job for less money. The downtime is negligible. I had very little discomfort and was able to return to normal activity the next day. It was NOTHING like having a hair transplant.

    I hope this helps. I definitely sympathize with your situation but I don't believe it's hopeless. I have seen (in person and online) and spoken to on the phone several patients of Dr. Cole's and Dr. Epstein in Florida and their results were nothing short of miraculous. One of Dr. Cole's patients had over 2,000 grafts placed very low on his forehead and he claims it now looks like it never happened.

  10. #30
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    That's quite a story Ryan, thanks for sharing your experiences. I wish you the best in your recovery.

    A few questions I'm curious about:

    - What was your main skin issue? Pitting, ridging, etc? I'm not familiar with problems with older style grafts.
    - What size FUE punch was used to remove the grafts?
    - Why weren't all the grafts removed at once?
    - How did the suturing work? I don't know how it would be able to close such small wounds.
    - What is your skin tone like?
    - Do you have any lingering pinkness/redness from the initial procedure?
    Was it comparable to your original HT?
    - When you say there is no downtime I assume this is comparable to FUE donor healing?
    In which case you're right it only took a few weeks to normalize, however having multiple procedures increases the downtime significantly.
    - How did you explain your repair to coworkers/friends?
    - Can you ballpark the cost of the removals?

    It will be interesting to see how the Acell/PRP treated sites heal compared to the non-treated sites.

    I have to say the biggest concern is the scarring for me. If there really was hardly any evidence then I would go for it. Right now my biggest problem is pitting... it seems very mild but I'm not sure without shaving down and looking at it on a macro level.

    I think my skin might be smooth enough to not need to excise the grafts. I wouldn't mind going in for several laserings over the course of the year if I knew my skin tone and texture would be okay.

    Have you considered laser after your removal?

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