Lowering my High Hairline with Dr. Kabaker - Oakland, CA

So, where to begin this review? I've always had a...

So, where to begin this review? I've always had a high forehead and it has bothered me mostly recently. I'm 23 and now that I can afford to, I'm going to opt for this procedure as it is the one plastic surgery that I feel I truly need and not just want. I'm pretty content with my other features but my forehead makes it impossible to style my hair in any way other than bangs and I absolutely hate that.

It looks very unattractive when my hair is up and it's made me extremely self-conscious lately. So, lo and behold, I did a TON of research before booking my surgery for this Monday. I will be flying out from NYC to SF to get the surgery by Dr. Kabaker in Oakland. I consulted with 4 surgeons who do this and who have sufficient before and afters but ultimately am going with Kabaker because of his extensive experience, published articles on the procedure and many happy patients in his before and after gallery.

I want my hairline to be advanced by at least an inch and it's such a wonderful coincidence but Dr. Kabaker happened to be in nyc last week on a business trip and I managed to meet up with him so that he can examine my forehead and scalp for scalp laxity, which is the #1 determining factor to how much a surgeon can advance the scalp without the necessity of an expander. He said he can do 3cm and we'd forego my widow's peak which is totally okay by me bc I don't like the widow's peak in my hairline since it exagherates the cowlick I have to the right.

I'm excited yet still scared as I've never had surgery before. I spoke with a nurse from the team and paid off the balance and now I'm excited to fly out to SF on Sunday.

Has anyone here had this done?
I'm so glad you did lots of research and I hope you get the exact result you want! Are you happy with 3 centimeters as the target removal amount?
Reply
thanks Angie and yes, 3cm would be pretty good though 3.5 to 4cm is a dream
Reply
How exciting! I have been planning this procedure with Dr. Kabaker but am having trouble with a date. As I am headed this very moment to ride jet skis with my husband and sons...and dreading the wet hair flying back in the wind..I am reading your post. Please keep me posted and I woud love to see before and after pics. If we could correspond privately please let me know. Best of luck!
Reply

t minus 48 hours

Flying out to SF tomorrow and I am just so nervous. I am mostly concerned about the sedation part even though I've spoken to the staff on the phone and the nurses assured me I should be fine. Since I'm not going under anesthesia and will instead be getting sedated with propofol and something else, I didn't have to have a pre-op physical or blood tests. I'm extremely anal about this stuff idk why but it would be too late since surgery is already scheduled for monday. The nurse reassured me that I'm young and healthy and should be fine and I also like how dr. kabaker's office provides a nurse to stay with me post-op as I'm going to need that supervision after recovery room and to drive me back to my hotel.

Overall despite being nervous, I'm proud of myself for being so proactive about this procedure and I'm excited to get this done for myself.
I was considering this doctor and was just viewing google maps to check for nearest hotels. I'm contently shocked by the terrible hotel reviews I am reading. EVERY hotel in OAKLAND is a roach motel! I'm reading things about RATS, mice, bedbugs, filthy bedding, disgusting odors, nasty employees, mean hotel owners yelling at guests, thefts, riffraff inside & outside the hotel. Even something several "bed & breakfast" hotels that treat their "adult" guests like wayward teenagers (strict curfew, no visitors,etc.) This is from EVERY hotel in the area, all the way to downtown. I thought "Well , I'll just pay extra per night to stay in a luxury hotel. I'd rather not pay $250-$300/night but I want to be rat/roach/bedbug/riffraff free". When I checked the down town hotels the reviews were just as bad as the rest! I went to street view and my GOD Oakland seems to be a slum, ESPECIALLY across the street from the Marriot. It looks like some disorderly Korean market place, attached to a low-income housing project. Stuff spilling out onto the side walk, street peddlers, and all types of trash on the streets, AND THIS WAS DOWN TOWN! I looked at street view from Dr. Kabacker's address and went a few blocks away and I see nothing but thrift stores, ghetto wig shops, and check cashing places. WTF is going on!? I understand that EVERY city in America has an area of low-income (the ghetto, the hood, the slums)....but the entire damn city? Really!? I guess the rap songs I heard were true. When I stay in a hotel, I want to feel SAFE CLEAN & COMFORTABLE, especially after having SURGERY! *sigh* this REALLY turns me off to even going to this physician. Out of town patients have deal with this crap. Why would he put his practice in this low-income city and not the nicer surrounding cities or BEVERLY HILLS?
Reply
hey girl, I'm definitely going through with him based on his proven experience and aesthetic. I feel you on the hotels but I've always wanted to visit SF, so I will not be staying in Oakland and will instead cab it from SF there for both the surgery and post-op visit. I hope that helps!
Reply
I def think you should consider booking it with Kabaker but booking a vacay in SF since it's gorgeous there and as for deals/pricing, you should look into sites like hotwire to book both the hotel/flight. Cheers.
Reply

T minus 24 hours to a lower hairline

Currently on my flight to SF and using plane wifi to make this journey even more exciting for moi. I'm having a Gingerale at the moment and pondering how I'm proud of myself for finally getting the courage to do this and of course, I just hope the procedure goes smooth. A huge shoutout goes to Joyeux Noel, a realself member on here who messaged me a comprehensive guide about what to do and expect pre and post-op. Thank you so much! The RS community as a whole feels so educational and empowering and makes me feel a lot more at ease because I am over analytical and going for elective surgery feels slightly antithetical to my healthy lifestyle. What's not healthy, however, is the psychological and mental stress that continues w having such a high hairline and being way too self conscious to do the activities that I like. This is how I'm coming to terms with this because I want to do it and feel good about it. I'm going to eat a little and watch Her (finally I've been meaning to catch this movie!) and then hopefully get a bit of sleep and maybe meet up with JoyeuxNoel before the procedure tomorrow. I have to head into the city, check into the hotel and buy some food and medical supplies before the night dawns and stop food before midnight. Excited to go to Dr Kabakers at 800AM tomorrow and get this show on the road. Cheers and will post photos once in my hotel room.

the big day!

I just woke up and it's 4:35 am here and I have not really been able to get any sleep. I'm really nervous but mentally keep trying to tell myself it's going to be okay. The nerves started kicking in yesterday full throttle and now that I'm 3 hours away, I'm so scared. I'll be headed to the surgery center with a RS member (joyeuxnoel) who also had the procedure and she looks absolutely fabulous and has given me so many tips on pre- and post-op instructions based on her experience. I'm still really nervous and haven't had anything to eat after midnight and feel a bit nauseous. I hope I can make it through this surgery totally fine so I can rest in my hotel room later, answer some emails for work and order in some comfort food.

I will be coming back after the operation to my hotel room with one of Dr. Kabaker's nurses so that is definitely reassuring and appreciated. I am still nervous though about the sedation/surgery and want to be positive so that it helps the procedure go smooth and my post-op recovery go smooth as well.

:( I'm not sure what I'm feeling exactly but the fear is because I've never gone under for anything. I have wanted this procedure for so long though and right at this moment, I'm up here looking at Dr's website and looking back at everyone I consulted with and it's reassuring to know I've picked the best person to do this. I'm just in need of good vibes and prayers that all goes well w/ the sedation part as that's the most terrifying --- I don't want to feel anything or have adverse side effects or worse... :(

I'm listening to some de-stressing music on spotify and just keeping my thoughts as positive as possible. Good vibes only and I can't wait to do this for myself (well, technically, the physician is doing it for me and from speaking with him, he's the most qualified to do this based on experience alone and I feel convinced that he also approaches his craft well and holistically).

So that's my sign off before surgery: please send your good thoughts, positive vibes/prayers my way. I'm going to take another shower as that helps me chill out a bit and wash my hair before. I look like I haven't slept but I'm gonna keep my head up and go for this because I've wanted it so bad. I want to ask for anti-nausea medicine as well in my iv if possible bc I feel so queezy.

heading out to doctor's office now!

this is IT. Whooosh. *deep breaths*

Aaaaand, I'm done :)

I'm. In recovery feeling absolutely ecstatic. I will update more later bc I'm a little tired and haven't slept in two days.
Good girl.. Proud of you:) now get some good rest and sleep. You need to heal..
Reply
thank you much :) !!!
Reply
Yay!! Glad you're on the other side. Get some sleep, girl. And report back when you're feeling up to it.
Reply

first day shenanigans

So I've been sleeping all afternoon - hip hip hooray. I went into this surgery pretty scared and anxious and running on no sleep for three days straight pretty much since Friday night. I slept all afternoon post op and now am sitting here catching up on email from work with this elevated people and eating some avocadoes, oranges, chocolate, coconut water and sippin some (just half a cup of coffee) and a nice iced moroccan tea. I've been so hungry and haven't been eating well for the past two days due to being busy and booking this surgery last minute.

So right now I have a giant bandage around my hear and around my chin - it looks like a boxer's cap haha - must find humor in this stuff. When I woke up from my nap and right now, I'm starting to feel pain in my temples and a tighter tightness than before. I've only been in my room but will be even more chill or just plain sedentary for the rest of the night before falling asleep.

I just took my pain meds about an hour ago and feeling tight and uncofortable but I hope it doesn't get worse. I took vitamin c and am eating an orange atm.

As for the surgery, I took an uber from SF to Oakland and super lucky for me, a RS member who can drive for uber picked me up and this put me at ease again (thanks again JoyeuxNoel!). I got to the office early before they opened and filled out some paperwork, consents etc.

Then, I was taken to the back to get some pre-op counseling and clarification from the wonderful Joowon who is head RN in the OR. My main concern was the sedation and she explained everything for me and this helped SO much, you have no idea. Then, Dr. Kabaker came in and so did dr. Sheu who is a fellow with him.

We drew the new hairline and agreed on around 3cm and getting rid of the widow's peak. I don't remember being IV'ed at all. I seriously woke up in the OR in absolute disbelief. It was just an experience I never had before and I didn't remember a thing.

I was then taken to recovery with the nurses and then picked up to come home with another nurse who stayed with me and helped me set up my icing sitiation in the OR and made sure I ordered some food since I was starving. Shortly after she left, I took a giant nap which was disrupted by phone calls but yeah, the pain killer worked very quickly.

I have a post op tomorrow and will then post my before and immediate after. Unfortunately, I wont be able to get the stitches out because they should me removed 7-8 days after so most likely, will get them taken out on Monday in NY by one of Dr. Kabaker's colleagues there.

So that's it for me tonight. Cheers and thank you all for the supportive messages

post-op day one! :)

So I went to Dr. Kabaker today for my post-op appointment and sadness, this is the last time I see him and the staff. I will be flying out the day after tomorrow. Today, I had to hold back tears when the bandage was taken off because I was sooooo happy. It is a most magnificent feeling, I can't even describe. I also did some shopping and ate lunch outside with a scarf tied around my head and then came back to my hotel and am now getting some work done. I took a bath and washed the bottom half of my hair so I can style it when I go out tonight with my friend for dinner. I wont get to wash it fully until tomorrow as per instructions. Here are my before and after photos. If you want to see full face, I would love to exchange the photos with you via PM.

for once in my life, I have a forehead

...and not a fivehead or six head! I used to do this thing where I'd place my hands between my brows and hairline and just sigh at how all my fingers could fit whereas ideally, foreheads are about four fingers (especially on a feminine hairline).

Anywho, now that I'm recovering and being slightly annoyed by the stitches and staples and itch and some tightness, it is marvelous to keep in mind how much this has changed my face. I am astonished, honestly. I've never had any surgery before and I can't fathom the power of surgery to change your face this much. This is amazing! Like I said before, I was very emotional when the bandage was removed and for once, I got to see my face without that extended forehead and now, people can see my eyes, my eyebrows etc without a vacant lot of skin occupying above them.

I'm so thrilled and above all, I am thankful. Thankful to be in a position to get this for myself, thankful for this sporadic trip and emotional roller coaster, thankful for realself for prividing a slew of info on providers and procedures, thankful for the wonder JoyeuxNoel - without meeting you here, I honestly don't know what I would have done and we'll always share a bond through this procedure/site. Thank you for telling me all about your experience, sharing med/surg supplies with me, pillows, and post-op care as well as providing transportation. You are a doll inside out!
wow great results saving for this next yr for sure
Reply
go for it!!! :) Let me know if you have any questions. I will also post some more details and progress.
Reply

can't wait to get the stitches taken out.

So I am scheduled to get stitches and staples taken out and confirmed my appointment today for Monday. The staples are pretty extensive and the stitches are no joke, beautifully stitched. I have a hard time cleaning the wound to the side instead of the one along the hairline simply bc my hair is dark (and I dye it black so it's a pretty pigmented black color) and its so difficult to find the wound that way.

I have been applying antibacterial ointment along the scar and will continue to do do except on Monday, I will wash it out and go see Dr. Kabaker's colleague, Dr. Ende, who will remove the stitches/staples. I can't wait for that and to be able to wear my hair down in either a side part or middle part depending on the necessity. So far the only way this has limited me is feeling pain yesterday when traveling. I was exhausted and had to take pain pills. I also cannot play in a soccer league due to possible head injury so that blows and also can't go to the gym for the next two weeks (wasted membership!) ....but let's keep it real: I am a happy happy girl and Dr. K has made me feel beautiful.

Things I look forward to: properly caring for this scar with antibacterial ointment, sufficient sunscreen to prevent pigmented scarring, eventually being able to walk in to my favorite salon and have my fave stylist be shocked at the new hairline and how he wont have to work with such an unfavorable cowlick any longer, wearing my hair with a middle part hehehhe, wearing my hair in buns, wearing my hair in ponytails when I work out sans a vizor or head band to mask a giant forehead. Throwing away all the headbands/clip in bangs I've bought.

Will post update photos of when the stitches come out Monday!
Can't wait to see after you're all healed! :D
Reply
Likewise!! :D
Reply
It's so nice to be able to see your procedure step by step. I want this procedure in the near future but I'm scared about the scar. Anyway, Congrats and thanks for the detailed posts and I can't wait to read your updates! It looks awesome already!
Reply

Got stitches taken out on Monday

My stitch and staple removal was with Dr. Ende here in NYC who was so kind to remove them for me. I still wear headbands and hats bc I don't want anything to happen to the scar. The fact itself isn't that visible but I'm annoyed at how the stitches left these little red marks which are now scabbing. I ordered medi honey from Amazon and it's taking slightly long to arrive.

update: post-stitch removal

Here are some photos of how i'm coming along. I got the stitches taken out this week. The scar itself is so skinny and imperceptible however, the darn stitches that were taken out on monday now all look like little dots. They're not scars, per se, more like scabs. The scar itself hasn't even scabbed yet lol and it's skinny so I'm very happy w it.

So, I have a question and your honest input: I feel like my forehead should be a little lower. I achieved about ~2 cm of advancement and feel like I could have used 3cm of advancement without having too low of a forehead. Am I just being judgemental too early in the process? The good thing is, of course, I am definitely happy with the lowering and the fact that I have a four finger forehead (meaning only four of my fingers can fit on it) instead of five or more like before so I'm thankful for that. My question is: does it look fine/balanced with my face?
Hi hairline blues, I'm just wondering why you and Dr Kabaker decided on 3cm reduction on forehead initially. If your forehead measured 7cm then a 3cm reduction would have made your forehead just 4cm high which is too short. I'm just curious I think 1.5 to 2cm max is ideal. You look great x
Reply
Thank you and you are right! I think I was just questioning everything bc this is my first surgery but I feel so good and confident hehehhehe
Reply

My hairline is perfect and everything I wanted

So contrary to my thoughts yesterday about being unsure if it should be lower, today was my first day out and about at work without a head band or hat ( I am wearing a hat outside bc it's sunny and hot in NYC and I'm not trying to get a pigmented scar) anywho: BIG STEP!
Do you use concealer for the scar or is it not necessary? Good to read your happy with it!
Reply
hi! I do not use concealer at the moment but I use an spf that is tinted so it does give coverage to those little dots left over from the stitches as well as the scar. It's chemical-free too just in case so it doesn't do anything to the scar.
Reply
Hmm! Now you got me thinking ;) your hairline /forehead look great! Glad that stumbled on your review. Thanks for sharing your experience.
Reply

two week progress

Hi all! An update on the situation here: I am no longer on medication and will return to some moderate exercise this week (heheheh yessss cannot wait and will take it easy)

A couple of things:
-numbness/swelling: some sensation is coming back which is a pleasant surprise! The top of my head is certainly not as swollen and now, I can actually feel a little bit of the sensation towards the back coming again but the front remains numb which is pretty standard for this procedure.
-scar: the scar is really skinny and you cannot see it. It is white and I look forward to continuing to take care of it. I am using medihoney and sometimes, mederma+spf30. As for makeup, I haven't been using any but for my forehead, I am using a tinted chemical free sunscreen by EltaMD. This was recommended to me by joyeuxnoel as well and it's such a great discovery! You can purchase on amazon. It has a bb cream like tint so it works fine for masking the scar site though I wouldn't say it's necessary.
-HAIRSTYLE: I ditched head bands though I still wear hats outdoors to protect my scar against the sun BUT I am now styling my hair in my dream hair style. WOOOOP WOOOP! This has lifted my spirits immensely as my go to method of styling has been a middle part for the past two days. I find it helps conceal the slight ridginess under the scar which is from the internal stitches placed and some of them swell. This covers the temple area strategcally and also happens to be the one hairstyle I always wanted to rock pre-procedure but could never do it ...and look where we are now!??! Ah!!! This truly made me very happy. I tried to do a side bang/side part but it doesn't look as nice as a middle part and requires too much styling. Middle part is effortless and looks great on me. I am so happy :)

Dr. Kabaker emailed me this week to see how I am doing and I'm so happy with how I am progressing. I also asked him if I can get my hair cut/a blowout and he said I am cleared to do so. I will definitely be booking a haircut this week as soon as I'm less busy with work and want to get some nice layers in my hair. I will have my stylist blowout using cold or low heat and very minimal pulling w the brushes in the front part of the head as I'm scared I'm too fresh off surgery and don't want anything stupid to happen. We shall see. Ok, here are some progress photos and like always, happy to answer your comments and messages and it's awesome to read so many of the messages I get from women considering this procedure! Please, go for it!
Hi i can no longer deal with my high forehead im seriously over it . Ive exchanged emails with Dr Karbaker and really want this procedure however i live in australia so doing all this alone is very scary so is there anyone from australia considering this operation? How good would it be to have a travel companion who is having the same surgery :) All ive ever wanted is to leave the house with my hair tied all back off my face. Sick of avoiding the wind, rain and swimming as people will see my whole face , and always late for work trying to get my hair right -so depressing
Reply
I know the feeling. If you are coming all the way from Australia, I'd say bring someone along and enjoy two weeks in the US. If you cannot do that, I personally found nothing wrong with going there to do it by myself and so have others so don't worry. I really think you should go for it though because Dr. Kabaker is the absolute best at this procedure and it's astounding for me to not have to worry about my forehead any more :)
Reply
Hi hello70, I live in Australia and there is a surgeon who performs hairline lowering here and was trained by Dr Karbaker, it's Dr Nettle from Silkwood Medical. I went for a consult with him last week (as well as rhinoplasty) and I seriously think I am going to get it done! So nervous but excited too! My forehead is a whopping 9.5cm so really can't wait to shrink it! I'm thinking of posting my story on RealSelf as there are such limited reviews with this procedure, especially in Australia! :)
Reply

scar progress

hello all! Thanks for all your encouraging messages. An update from moi: I've been wearing my hair middle parted and just using coverFX to conceal the scar. I always use mederma under it and also conceal it w/ an organic SPF and also wear hats everywhere since not wearing one scares me.

I am a bit annoyed with the scar but not the scar on the front of the scalp but instead the one to the side of the head -___- It is hidden by my hair but it's much thicker than the thin visible scar in the front and it has also been super pink (a lot more than before) and I'm freaking out that it might turn to scar tissue which doesn't grow hair? It's upsetting but I am trying to keep calm and make sure that it remains bacterial-free with an antibiotic ointment as well as putting rogaine on the edges of my hair since my hair was already thin there to begin with. I am concerned about it because even though it can be hidden by hair since it's in the side of the head, it is still visible if I brush my hair back or if I pull it back into a pony tail.
Thank you for posting your experience. You look great! Glad you feel great too. One question: do you have itching? A lot of people here with brow lifts say that their head itches a lot. I just wondered if you had this itching since your incision is similar to the brow lift incision. Thank you!
Reply
hi Cindy! yep I did have a bunch of itching especially in the right side of the scar. Itching usually indicates nerve regeneration so it's a good thing because the more it is occurring, the more I regain sensation. It is not September 7th, nearly 3 months post-op and I have regained full sensation in my head :)
Reply
Thanks , Im pretty sure i will have it done next year, need to save up some more for flights and acomm ughh. Why are you having problems with the side scars? Thats a bit of a worry? Any chance of photos of the side scars?
Reply

let's go to the beach beach! super happy :P

So seeing as it is september 7th and I am nearly 3 months post op, I have the following to say: I am so happy I did this! :D

I have been going to the beach but wearing hats except this past labor day, I decided to go in for a swim and it is just so magnificent to able to do this without a care. It's the simple stuff like that which puts huge smiles on my face. Before the surgery, I was way too self conscious of going somewhere like the beach without a head band - same thing can be said for rollercoaster rides etc. I was always conscious that my hairline would make me look like a freak.

There are times where I still look in the mirror and obsess about possibly having asked him to lower it another .75 cm or so, but that is because mentally, I've always been obsessed with lower foreheads since I had such a high one. The best part about what convinced me that this is so much better now is probably the fact that I found a pic pre-op of me using my fingers to measure my forehead - photobooth tells me that was snapped on April 19th and now, a pic of me on september 7th.

The side scar which was inflamed and itching a few weeks ago is no longer doing that and more importantly, I've returned to my same level of fitness activities so I AM A HAPPY CAMPER.

I've received so many messages from you guys which is truly heart warming! I am so excited for those of you who have booked the operation in the upcoming weeks as well as for those who are traveling to get it done and are at the planning stage. Please feel free to ask any questions and I am glad you guys find this review helpful - cheers!
Hi HB hope all is well. I meant to ask you did you ever consider hair grafting or transplant? If so what made you decide to go for hairline lowering surgery instead? Thanks and hope to hear from you soon! Xx
Reply
It looks fantastic girl. You did the right thing. Your confidence will skyrocket. I know :)
Reply
HB thanks so much for posting all of your updates, have been keeping an eye on your recovery and so happy that you are so happy! Your results are fantastic. I am happy to say that I have my surgery booked with Dr Nettle! Really excited :) If anyone from Australia has any questions I am happy to help, a few of you have been PM'ing me, so nice to receive the support. Keep the updates coming HB! :)
Reply
Oakland Facial Plastic Surgeon

he really is a maestro and this is such a specific procedure that he specializes in. Serious hats off to him for developing his techniques and teaching them to his fellows. I respect him loads as a future physician myself.

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
3 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
4 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
Was this review helpful? 5 others found this helpful