My experience with Dr. Epstein was extremely positive. But, I’ve read of far too many horror stories from other guys, so I Thought I might be able to keep people from making the wrong choices. There are so many stories out there of people who look like they’ve been butchered, and one thing I’m sure of is that the surgeons make all the difference in the world.
When you get started, as I said before, do your Homework!!!!! Losing your hair is a major bummer, but compared to having to deal with a hairpiece or getting cornrows like some of the people out there, it probabaly isn’t even so bad!
The hair piece, in my opinion, was the worst thing ever. Before I finally had my hair transplant, I wore one, and regretted every day of it. Talk about paranoia. That and the hassle and it never looked right and I had to have it redone so often… and, well, it just sucked!
So finally I decided to go for it and look into getting a hair transplant… and I REALLY did some serious research — or at least started to. I went everywhere on the Internet and after what seemed like forever, I narrowed my list to about 5 guys who are considered the very best.
The second one I saw was Dr. Epstein.
The third one I saw… well, let’s just say I didn’t bother with the third, fourth, or fifth one! Jeff was it as far as I was concerned BUT I didn’t take that decision lightly. I looked at all the photographs of his patients, called about twenty of them, met a few in person, and really liked the fact that he is a facial plastic surgeon who really deals with everything above the neck rather than just the hair. I’ve seen pics where guys’ hairlines just didn’t look right on their face, but Epstein’s looked amazing. Don’t believe me? Check out these…
Again, DO YOUR HOMEWORK!!!!! The best guys out there are ‘peer reviewed’ by other doctors – like Dr. Epstein – and they have hospital privileges – have many strong before and after photos. – and are part of a respected hair transplant association (e.g. the IAHRS)
Okay, so a little history. Basically here’s what happened in my case.
I first looked into a transplant 5-6 years ago with another doctor. I couldn’t believe the photos he showed me. The results were the old mini-graft method and looked pluggy, thin and terrible. Plus, it looked like it would cost $20,000+. Thank goodness I walked out of that office. Unfortunately, it seems like a lot of guys DIDN’T walk out of the office back then… and they’re regretting it now!
Then, about a year ago, I heard about Follicular Unit Transplants, and I started looking into it. I did a tremendous amount of research, and was horrified at the results many people say they had gotten with early HT methods, and at how many people said they were either messed up by quacks or screwed over by the big chains.
Some stories showed lots of success though. Each of these seemed to have one thing in common – they all did their homework, and didn’t just go somewhere convenient or on a whim. Guys like Jotronic, and Futzy are great for sharing their stories and photos. Ask, and I’m sure they’ll tell you they put a lot of effort into it.
Anyhow, I did the same. Again, I narrowed my choices down to five doctors who were: MD medical doctors, peer reviewed (meaning other doctors keep an eye on each other), had hospital privileges, had many strong before and after photos and were part of the IAHRS (International Alliance of Hair Restoration Surgeons), or other respectable association.
After evaluating tons of photos, looking at reviews, devouring a bunch of great websites, and seeing doctors’ literature, I settled on who seemed to be the best doctor for me – Jeffrey Epstein out of Miami, FL. He turned out to be an excellent decision.
Dr. Epstein was not only super-qualified, but was actually pretty cool too. His staff was great as well. They were kind and accommodating during the surgery, brought in lunch, and one of the girls even offered to take me to my hotel on the way home.
I was almost completely bald on top (Norwood 6) and had a ‘mega-session’ of about 2,200 FU’s I was initially worried about the donor scar. But 6 months later it’s nearly invisible when I lift my hair to try to find it. I think that’s another benefit of choosing the right doctor. Dr. Epstein’s background was facial plastic surgery — I didn’t want a horror scar like I had heard about from others, and I got virtually none from him.
Okay, by now you probably know to do your homework!
The surgery was honestly easier than a dentist visit (he used a special ‘wand’ numbing device, and a valium and an Ambien sleeping pill). I only felt maybe 3-4 moderate needle sticks and that was it for the whole thing – slept through most of it.
Recovery was just as easy. Dr. Epstein recommended a few preventative things that seemed to help with swelling, healing, and appearance; Vitamin C regularly up to and through the surgery, Bromalin (a pineapple extract at any GNC) for a few days before, plus a gym-headband around the forehead and Prednezone (sp?) for 3 days after. He also said to use Rogaine after 10 and up to 50 days to promote quick new-hair growth. And, to cover any scabbing by using Toppik (a hair fiber covering-agent).
Get your Dr.’s advice on these, but I didn’t have so much as puffy eyes, and my new hair grew in quickly. It was a looong 3-4 month wait before most of the hair fell out, then started to regrow. BUT, after 5 months into it – I threw out my @!*%^!*&#^ hairpiece for good. I really grew to hate that thing. Again, I had a lot of bald to cover, and could have gotten away with the one procedure. But, I decided on a second surgery, by Dr. Epstein of course, and I just had 2,170 more units done on August 7. From the looks of it, I’m going have the appearance of a normal head of hair for the first time in 20 years – UN-Friggin-believable. How can you beat that!!! Stay tuned and I’ll update things as they get even better!!!!!
One question I get a lot from people on the web:
Am I happy with the results?
I am freaking out at this point!!!
Originally, I was completely bald on the top front and crown – a norwood 6. I had my first surgery on February 3, 2003 with about 2,200 follicular units. By late July, I was very pleased with the results. The new hair was only about 1 inch long, and completely natural. So much so, that I burned my old hair pieces. But because there was such an extensive area to cover, and my donor hair was pretty thin, I just had a second 2,170 unit operation on August, 8.
Would I recommend a transplant with Dr. Epstein?
Finally, to be a little more serious, the main thing I love is tat I was finally able to burn that damned hairpiece. I now feel 100% natural and the paranoia and trouble associated with a piece is completely gone. I cannot describe what a relief it is.
In terms of price I was surprised. My first one was about $6,500 for 2,200 FU and the second was the same. Even as a Norwood 6, I could have gotten by with just the one, but was lucky enough to be able to afford the second surgery.
Considering the hair pieces probably cost me $7-9,000 over the past 8 years or so and that cost would continue indefinitely, I think the expense is fine since it’s there for a lifetime.
My ultimate recommendation for Dr. Epstein was the fact that I had my second surgery with him… and now I look great!