Where else I looked

Throughout my follicular journey I researched almost every major hair transplant clinic to find a doctor who would offer me three things:

1. Lower and straighten out my hairline
2. Build out my temporal peaks
3. Do it at a competitive rate

Here’s what I found over two and half years:

Bosley, Washington, DC office:
January 6, 2012
Price: $10,000 for 800-1000 grafts/strip with 21% interest rates

My long and winding follicular journey started with Bosley and I have to say I wasn’t impressed.

At no point during my 15-minute consultation by a former Bosley patient did I ever speak with a physician and it didn’t help when I found Bosley Medical Violations.com when I researched the company.

One thing I did like, however, was the magnifying camera during my consultation that proved my frontal hairline was miniaturizing, thus identifying the problem. Otherwise I walked away feeling if I didn’t have surgery the next day at Bosley, I would be completely bald.

Bosley and other large hair transplant chains charge a lot of money per graft but give patients so little of them creating a situation where patients chase results in the form of numerous surgeries. Consultations are basically high pressure sales pitches that try to take advantage of people who are in a fragile emotional state and are willing to do anything to stop their hair loss.

Large hair transplant chains spend millions of dollars in advertising and to make up those ad dollars, their clinics have several surgeries a day with the same doctor and staff running from room to room.

Bosley may have a great business model, but it’s bad for the patient.

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Recognize this guy from those late-night Bosley commercials? This is Brandon Fillinger, a former senior hair counselor who did my consultation at Bosley in Washington, DC. Fillinger had an 1800-graft strip procedure at my age and told me that he takes Propecia once a day every day, Rogaine twice a day every day, and uses a laser comb. With all of those treatments AND a hair transplant his results make him look like he’s still going bald. 

Dr. Alan Bauman, Palm Beach, Fla.:
May 2012
$100 just for an application

I found out about Dr. Bauman’s practice through NBC’s Follicle Five special that aired in 2005 as well as Greg Benson’s video series about his FUE NeoGraft procedure that aired in 2010.

After talking with Dr. Bauman’s consultant who wanted me to deposit $100 just to fill out paperwork, I felt this practice was already too expensive. One thing I learned fast in the hair transplant industry is that the price of your procedure is not only based on the number of grafts but also the surgeon operating on you. With big names like Dr. Bauman, you’ll certainly get great work but you’ll pay a lot more money for the doctor’s brand name and reputation. 

psThis is Paul Silva who had a 1,900 graft FUT procedure with Dr. Alan Bauman in 2004 at age 38 and was featured on NBC’s Follicle Five special that aired in 2005. Silva’s surgery cost $10,000 and was paid by NBC. Silva later had a second surgery but footed the bill himself. For how many grafts that were moved, Silva is another person who could have benefitted from a full strip procedure with Dr. Huebner.

gbThis is Greg Benson before and 9 months post-op from his third hair transplant procedure, his second with Dr. Alan Bauman. Benson’s first hair transplant in 1999 moved 1600 grafts via FUT and he later had 3,378 grafts moved via FUE in 2009 and then had another FUE procedure in 2010. Looking at his before and after pictures, notice how thin his hair looks. For how many surgeries he had, he could have had much greater density through two full strip procedures.

Dr. Paul Cotterill, Toronto, Canada: 
May 2012

I found out about Dr. Paul Cotterill’s practice through his patient Mark who documented his experience via Mark’s Hair Blog.

Although Mark did an excellent job documenting his experience and had similar hair loss to me, I didn’t like the hairline Dr. Cotterill drew for him. One thing I found throughout my follicular journey is that there are some surgeons who will do temporal peak work and square off your hairline and there are those who will adamantly refuse to do it. Cotterill made it a point to say, “the hairline you had when you were 15 may be nice, but it won’t look natural as you get older.” This is probably because he lacks the skill to properly do it.

What really annoyed me with numerous practices I researched was how I was told that my desired hairline wouldn’t look natural. Why would you bother getting a hair transplant if your results will make you look like you’re still going bald? There is an abundance of men 40 and older who have virtually square hairlines and no recession, and you want to tell me they don’t look natural?

The fact that I would have to travel internationally and not get my desired hairline, I never seriously pursued this practice, but at least Mark did a fine job documenting what the whole experience would be like.

mark finalThis is Mark from Mark’s Hair Blog during his consultation and 9 months post-op who had a 1,900-graft FUT procedure through Dr. Paul Cotterill in 2008 when Mark was 35 years old. Dr. Cotterill didn’t do a bad job, but I felt that Mark could’ve had a better hairline drawn that would have addressed his temporal peaks. Mark later admitted that he started thinning in his crown and began taking Propecia. He hasn’t updated his blog in several years, so I’m not sure what his hair looks like now or if he ever had another procedure.

Dr. Michael Markou and John Satino, Laser Scalp Clinic and Hair Restoration Clearwater, FLClearwater, Fla.:

August 2012
$4200 for 2500 to 3000 hairs/strip, $1200 for PRP

Thankfully I got to speak with someone who would be operating on me, but Satino and Dr. Markou’s practice wouldn’t give me my desired hairline.

During my consult with Satino, he pulled out three different hairs from various spots on my scalp and under a dirty microscope, showed me how the hairs in my receding hairline were covered in DHT and less tear-drop shaped. Their practice’s claim to fame is the CO2 laser, but from what I hear, using a laser to implant the hair grafts cauterizes the recipient site which leads to lower graft-survival and longer healing times.

This is where I discovered platelet rich plasma (PRP) therapy that uses your own blood to thicken balding areas of the scalp but unfortunately it wouldn’t bring down my hairline and the jury is still out on whether PRP therapy works well in thickening your existing hair.


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This is Russell Gibson who has an auto-immune disorder called alopecia areata where the white blood cells attack the hair follicles, leaving bald patches all over the scalp. In 2009, he had platelet rich plasma (PRP) therapy where the platelets in his red blood cells were injected into his scalp, similar to how stem cells work, and within three months began growing his hair back. Russell’s condition is much different from regular male pattern baldness so the jury is still out on whether PRP therapy can thicken your existing hair.  

Dr. Ken Williams, Irvine Institute of Medicine and Cosmetic Surgery, Irvine, Ca.:
January 2013
$12,600 for 1,800 grafts/FUE Neograft, $5400 for strip, PRP free

Dr. Ken Williams’ practice was the first practice I saw that offered the NeoGraft FUE procedure as well as the first where I had my consultation with the surgeon himself. Leery of a long, linear scar, I really liked what I saw from this practice until I saw how absurdly expensive the FUE method was.

This practice didn’t offer any financial assistance and the idea of flying cross country and paying out of pocket for lodging in addition to my surgery made this a non-starter.

Dr. Williams is also a well known surgeon and for the popular ones, you pay not just for the procedure but also for the name of who is doing the surgery. I saw a lot of wonderful things about Dr. Williams’ practice and there’s no doubt he would do a great job, but it was just way too expensive.

Dr. John Cole, Cole Hair Transplant Group Atlanta, Ga. :
April 2013
$12,200 to $14,400 for 1500 to 1800 grafts

Dr. Cole’s practice was recommended to me by Dr. Williams if I wanted to stay on the East Coast.

I liked the fact that this practice offers seasonal specials in price per graft and financial assistance, but the consultant straight up told me that that many patients have had to pay hidden fees that they were not told about when they signed up for assistance through MedStar.

Dr. Cole can certainly do some great work, but in the end it was too expensive.

Dr. Jerry E. Cooley, Carolina Dermatology, Charlotte, NC:
April 2013

$9,000 to $13,500 for 2000 to 3500 grafts, $1500 for PRP therapy

Like Dr. Cotterill’s practice, I found out about Dr. Cooley through his patient Hans Moore’s YouTube channel where he did an outstanding job documenting his surgery.

Overall, Dr. Cooley’s consultant Lollie Russo was very knowledgeable and persuaded me to take finasteride on a split schedule which I have followed since February 2014, but this practice was too expensive including out-of-pocket travel costs (although not as far to Dr. Williams).

Dr. Cooley would do a great job but I didn’t think it’d be worth $12,800 before travel costs. Once again, you’re paying for the name.

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This is Hans Moore who at 43 years old had a 1,000 graft FUT procedure through Dr. Jerry Cooley in 2011. Moore admitted that he didn’t get everything he wanted in one surgery as he had noticeable bald spots behind his frontal hairline from previous cosmetic surgeries. The hairline drawn on him is exactly what I wanted, but several surgeons like Dr. Paul Cotterill in Toronto, Canada, and Dr. Michael Markou in Clearwater, Fla., would say it doesn’t look natural. Why would you bother getting a hair transplant if your results will make you look like you’re still balding?

Dr. Steven H. Parker, Parker Medical Group, Bethesda, Md.
January 2013
$6,000 for 1,500 grafts via FUE NeoGraft

Up until I talked to Dr. Huebner’s patient adviser Josh Engoren in December 2013, I planned to have surgery with Dr. Parker via the NeoGraft in January 2014.

There were several things I liked such as the fact that I initially spoke with Dr. Parker and his lead technician Ron Kirk, it was super close to where I live in Washington, DC, and the NeoGraft would help me heal faster without leaving me a huge linear scar.

Throughout my research the results I liked the most came from practices such as Dr. Matthew Huebner and Dr.s Victor Hasson and Jerry Wong but I never found those types of results through the FUE. I kept comparing the results I liked the most from the strip method and thought that I could get the same results with the NeoGraft.

Unfortunately a relatively new hair transplant practice with a physician who has not been in the industry for very long and a low-yield procedure is not recipe for success, so I decided to keep looking.

lfng

This is a hairline drawn by Ron Kirk, the lead technician at Dr. Steven Parker’s practice in Bethesda, MD in July 2013. Kirk did a good job of straightening out my hairline but didn’t build out my temporal peaks. His justification for this was that it would look strange if the surrounding areas behind the peaks thin out. I wanted to have surgery at this practice in January 2014 but the more I learned about the FUE NeoGraft being a low-yield procedure, I decided to look elsewhere.  

Dr.s Victor Hasson and Jerry Wong, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
January 2014
$11,500 to $13,000 for 2500-3000 grafts

Hasson and Wong’s practice was one of the first I saw that focused on “dense-packing” of adding more follicular units to add density without creating a pluggy, doll’s head look.

I really liked the results from this practice, in particular this unidentified patient whose hair loss was a bit more severe than mine but his results are exactly what I am going for.

Unfortunately when you dense-pack and charge by the graft, it gets very expensive. Add in travel costs all the way out to Vancouver from Washington, DC, and this was a non-starter.

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This unidentified patient from Hasson and Wong really jazzed me about this practice and I absolutely loved his results with 2,642 grafts via FUT. The hairline drawn on him straightens out his hairline and builds out his temporal peaks which is exactly what I wanted. Unfortunately when you have a practice that focuses on dense-packing and charges by the graft, the price becomes prohibitive.

Dr. Bennett Yang, Washington Medical Hair Clinic, Rockville, Md.:
April 2014

$6,900 for 2300 grafts

My last stop, I met with both patient adviser Patrick Reynolds and Dr. Yang during my consultation. I was happy to see that they would do my desired hairline, but at this point I had researched this whole topic ad nauseum and was ready to make a move.

I picked Dr. Matthew Huebner because I felt he could move the most amount of hair in one surgery and correctly do my temporal peaks. Not long after my first procedure with Dr. Huebner, he created his own practice called Natural Transplants.

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This hairline was drawn by Dr. Bennet Yang in Rockville, Md. 

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