M1A1Age: 49 | Bald Class: Email Me Two hair transplants, one for 1210 Fu's with Bosley and Dr Edwin S Epstein and the second with SMG and Dr. Ron Shapiro
My Hair Loss StoryMy Surgical Experience with Dr. Ron Shapiro-The Good
My wife and I met with the Doc and Matt Zupan on Monday, 09/14/2009 in the late afternoon. It is important to note that I have been speaking with Matt about this procedure for the last two years-unfortunately, I had to delay the procedure last year due to the severe inflammation of the folliculitis from my previous Bosley HT. Now back to the consultation, the consultation was very thorough and detailed. It lasted a good two and a half hours. It started with Matt taking plenty of pictures of me in his office against their infamous wall. The Doc diagnosed my hair loss pattern as a DUPA, meaning that I was a diffuse thinner through out my entire scalp area. The doc also told me I had a below average donor with 40-50 anagen FU’s per sq/cm which amounts to 4-5000 anagen fu’s available for harvesting in my donor area. The doc was able to be very specific about this issue because he used a special camera on my scalp that was able to provide significant magnification of my donor area… As he also looked at my recipient area he noticed that the remaining hairs were very strong hairs with an existing fu count of 15-20 per sq/cm. He even remarked I had good laxity in my donor area-I guess two months of stretching exercises at 30 minutes a day will do that for you…. In addition, I was also coming to the end of a long battle with folliculitis from my first HT, as mentioned earlier, a 1210 supposedly fu strip procedure that took place about two years ago with Bosley. In this instance the Doc was able to communicate with my dermatologist to formulate a plan of attack that has greatly improved my folliculitis condition…
I will discuss the differences between the Bosley and the SMG procedures in more detail during the later part of this write up. To give the doc more detailed information about my medical history, I brought my Bosley Medical records for his review. It was apparent that being on Porpecia for the last 10 years has done a good job for me with minimal side effects. And at age 40, the propecia has given me good coverage. As I sat and listened to the Doc, it was clear that he was looking out for my best interest. It wasn’t just the fact that he asked questions, but the way he asked the questions…Everything I read about the Doc on the forums are true…On a side note, I have always been very cautious about information on the hair forums…Back to the Doc, again, as we spent more time discussing this surgery, the same key driver kept arising from our conversation, he truly cares about my well being and that I achieve a good result. I felt that he would improve my situation and do no harm to me…We discussed the risks and rewards of this procedure and he told me that I would not get a wow transformation, but I will have a nice improvement, or as Matt said, “A nice bump up.” What was also important was the fact that Matt said we could keep ahead of my hair loss…
The Morning of the Day of the Surgery.
My wife and I met with the Doc for about thirty minutes the next morning and we discussed harvesting the grafts from the same scar area, distribution of the grafts, achieving a target density of about 40 to 45 fu’s in the hairline area. And more importantly, to place the grafts in antibiotics, thus reducing the possible inflammation of the folliculitis during the surgery. Furthermore, we discussed tactical short and strategic long-term planning concerning the folliculitis as it related to the regimen of the prescribed medication. In the end of our morning meeting, the Doc told me that I was a complex case but that he felt good about helping me and I should be good to go for about the next 10 years. As Dr. Ron Shapiro said this to me, I knew I was in good hands and I was ready for my surgery.
I was prepped for the surgery by being given two pills and subsequent shots in my forehead area along with my forehead being massaged with a vibrating machine. Right before this, I was introduced to the rest of the surgical team of techs. The team seemed professional, courteous, and more importantly I sensed a strong sense of cohesion that gave me comfort. Next, I was asked to lay on my stomach and was given a back massage. Soon afterwards the Doc started cutting the strip and I did not feel a thing. Moreover, it felt like he was excising my strip for quite a while. No rush job here… During the surgery, at least from my recollection, he spent the vast majority of the time with me making sure things were going smoothly. Before I knew it, we broke for lunch and the Doc broke for lunch too. After the doc made the incisions, I think Janna and the techs started planting the grafts. It was interesting to hear them read out the graft counts and also rotate during the graft planting as not to get to tired…I next recall watching or attempting to watch The Last Samurai and eating some cheese cake. I think it was somebody’s birthday. Some time later my wife came in the surgery room and saw the Doc finish up the last part of my surgery. He made another strip incision to excise more grafts and I believe he and Janna wrapped things up with placing the last set of grafts. I can recall that during the surgery, I went to the bathroom and also saw some of my grafts under the microscope-that was cool…The Doc and Janna said the surgery went well and that I was a minor bleeder. As I looked at the results of the surgery. I was stunned at how minimally invasive it was… The placement of the grafts and the healing properties of my scalp were just amazing. My wife was also amazed at how great my scalp looked too…It didn’t look purple like my last procedure from Bosley…
The details of the surgery are as follow according to Janna, The strip width and length - 1cm by 30.5cm. You had the double layer sutures with tricho closure - one absorbable suture on the inside and nylon suture on the outside, which will have to be removed 10-14 days post op. Since doc had to go back in to get more grafts by extending your donor, you have three knots. A good portion of your grafts were distributed to your left part side - going back just past your central core. In addition, the Doc most likely used .7mm custom cut blades for the singles, .8mm for 2's and .9mm for 3 & 4 hair grafts. Those are the average sizes but he'll alter by .05mm bigger or smaller depending on the size of the grafts.
Your graft/hair count:
Total grafts: 1289 = 2195 Total hairs
The Bosley & SMG Comparison-The Bad.
Let’s see where to start, my doctor during the Bosley HT procedure was Dr. Edwin S Epstein, he was the doctor who originally recommended that I start taking propecia 10 years ago at age 28 and also informed me that I was too young for an HT procedure. I was perfectly fine with this and moved on. Fast forward to two years ago-age 38, during this consultation for this procedure I met with his salesman, a Wilson Kite, we took some pre-op pictures, I then met with Dr Edwin Epstein and he informed me that I would need two passes to achieve the level of density I desired per the pictures he showed me in his portfolio of patients with like type hair characteristics. As we concluded the meeting Mr. Kite informed me that instead of paying $8-9.00 per graft-due to the fact that I was a client of the doctor before he became affiliated with Bosley, my cost would be reduced to $6.00 per graft.
The doctor would transplant 800 fu’s in the hairline area and 400 fu’s in my part area per the Bosley diagram chart. The whole consultation lasted about 40 minutes. He diagnosed me as a Norwood Type V-VI. During this meeting, I was never told about shock loss, donor management, average density in my donor area, long term planning and possible infection complications of the surgery. Now that I look back on this meeting, full disclosure was not present as it was a SALES PITCH all the way… The consultation felt very rushed and as I walked out they wanted me to set a tentative date on their calendar, which I did. I read the Bosley marketing material, watched their DVD and thought that this would be a simple procedure, plus I indirectly knew the Doctor before he became affiliated with Bosley.
The day of the surgery, before anything was to commence, they required full payment and I needed to sign some release forms. As I was waiting to get my debit card approved, I could here the techs arguing about filling out their paperwork for travel expenses. I though this odd and it did not make me feel comfortable. Before the surgery started I believe I was given some medication and placed under anesthesia and than the doctor started cutting out my strip-this went very quickly. I could feel the strip being cut, but very little pain. Than the doctor started making incisions in my scalp and I could feel the little pricks and suddenly I felt the blood come down my face, I was told that this was normal and before I knew it the doctor left the surgery room…Than the techs started implanting the fu’s and I could tell something was not right, they sounded as if they had never worked with each other before. The surgery was complete at about 5:30 to 6:00 p.m… I was given post op instructions along with my wife, and to my wife’s dismay my scalp looked horrid. That night I received a call from the doctor and asked to see how I was doing. I told him I felt fine.
Details of the surgery per the Bosley Medical records, I received supposedly 1210 FU's broken down as follows, 332-1's, 774 1&2's, and 104 1-4's. The HT doc placed 800 in my hairline and 400 in my part. To insert the graphs in the recipient area, he used a chisel of 0.9, 1.1, and 1.2. Furthermore, he used a tricho closure and it actually looks pretty good. I The length and width of the strip is 14cm by 1.1 cm. Now here is the interesting part, from my personal observation how is it that Bosley was able to excise almost as many grafts as Shapiro Medical Group was with a significantly shorter strip???
The next day I came in for a shampoo. Once that was complete, I wanted to see the doctor to discuss the severe shock loss form the surgery and I was told he could not see me. In addition, they did not take any post op pictures of my surgical procedure???
Fast forward to the 6 month post op, things seemed fine and the doctor said I should see a dermatologist about the follicultis that was starting to form; the meeting lasted 10 to 15 minutes.
Next came the 12 month follow-up with me and my wife and the doctor seemed immediately displeased. He did not seem happy with the results. More importantly, he did not even want to take any post op pictures of me… As I started to discuss the next procedure with him he told me I was no longer a good candidate for the next procedure. To say I was stunned by his statement is an understatement of galactic proportions… This was completely different than what he told me in our initial session concerning this procedure. In addition, he also told me that some of the grafts could have fallen out due to warm weather??? The whole meeting lasted about an hour and I was made to feel as if the questions that I was asking of him were somehow a waste of his time. And that was the end of my Bosley experience. To this day I still get calls and emails from their marketing department informing me of discounts on any future procedures that I might need.
Based on my own personal experience thus far, the comparison between the Shapiro Medical Group & Bosley, or more importantly Dr Ron Shapiro & Dr Edwin S Epstein is like comparing a, well, actually, the comparison is so one sided in favor of SMG & Dr. Ron Shapiro that I am at a loss for words…It is important to note, that I did not get butchered during this procedure with Dr. Edwin S. Epstein and that Dr. Ron Shapiro commented on how great the scar looked. However, when you take into consideration all of the factors and add that to the fact that the cost of the surgery was half of what the Bosley procedure cost, the value proposition, or more importantly, the experience was so much more favorable towards Shapiro Medical, that the comparison versus Bosley is UNQUANTIFIYABLE… It is important to note that this is my personal experience and not a general blanket statement…Furthermore, I was not in any way influenced by anyone in any manner to make these statements. Therefore, again, based on my personal experience I would not recommend Bosley and Dr. Edwin S Epstein to anyone-ever…
Now back to the good part, from the older gentleman I met, to Jenna, Jennifer, and Wendy, who did a great job of shampooing my hair and making sure that the grafts were seated firmly- to the tech who gave me the pills before the surgery started and the other members of the SMG team, the pride you displayed in your work, truly showed… In addition, the professionalism, the sincere care for my well being, and just the ethical conduct displayed by the Doc and the staff at SMG was excellent.
As someone who runs a practice and is a fiduciary that is responsible for their client’s wealth and their families well being coupled with tens of millions of dollars, I can say unequivocally it was a pleasure being under the care of Dr. Ron Shapiro. He is a practitioner who is a credit to the Hair Transplant industry…
Shifting gears, for those of you who are married, I would suggest that you bring your wife with you to Minneapolis. What a great city… For me, it was great to have my wife with me as I could not have done this with out her…On a side note, I would highly recommend the Hotel Sofitel and staying in one of their suites. As we stayed in Minneapolis for about a week, the 1000 or so square feet in their suite provided us with ample room to feel comfortable and relaxed. By the way, their room service is awesome. Moreover, on the last day of our stay, I was flipping the channels and saw the Tyra Banks show, [Never watch this show] they were talking about people who were performing plastic surgery on themselves, just as I was about to flip the channel, I recognized a patient of the Doc’s who was a plastic surgeon, and his hair transplant under those harsh studio lights looked great…What a coincidence. Furthermore, as we were leaving the airport and going through the security with TSA, I had a letter from Shapiro Medical stating that I just went through surgery and if I have to remove my hat, to do so in private area. As I gave this letter to the TSA agent, he slowly bent down and whispered to me, “did you have your hair transplant with Shapiro, I said yes, he smiled at me and passed me right through.” LOL…I kid you not, these last two stories are true…
In closing, I understand I have a very long way to go to judge the final results of my hair transplant surgery and that there are multiple variables at play concerning the complexities of my case and it is only appropriate to hold out my final judgment until the end result…However, this was a great start… Matt Zupan asked me to let him know if I thought the experience with Shapiro Medical is all it is acclaimed to be, “Matt, it is and more…” I’ve met a lot of doctors and there are very few of them who I would call doc, Dr. Ron Shapiro is now one of those doctors who I would call Doc- and in my book, he epitomizes every sense of the word “DOC…”
How has my hair loss affected me?
In being honest with myself, it has made me somewhat more self-aware of my hair loss.
What hair loss treatments have worked best for me?
Am I happy with my hair transplant experience and the results?
Great start-awaiting the results
What hair loss treatments would I recommend?
Propecia per discussion with your family doctor.
My general advice and suggestions.
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