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?

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.

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.

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!

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!

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?

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!

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!

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.
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
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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?
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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
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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 :)
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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! :)
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Thanks so much for posting your story HairlineBlues! I am seriously considering booking my surgery with a surgeon here in Australia. If I do indeed go through with booking this procedure I'll PM you to get all your tips and suggestions. Very nervous but excited too! Your results are amazing and you look great :)
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It would be wonderful if you would. :)
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Thx u HB for sharing it means a lot to those who are seriously considering to have the procedure but afraid to do so because of possible scar or other complications.
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Sydneysteph please please please let me know if you have it done in Australia! I did ring Dr Nettle a few years ago but just not confident in seeing an Australia doctor as i don't think he does enough of this procedure to be great at it! Are you sure he was trained by Dr kabaker? As when I asked kabaker if he knew of any doctors who do this op in Australia he said he didn't :/
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hello70 absolutely will let you know! A bit nervous to do a post and track my journey but reading everyone else's experiences has helped a lot so do want to do the same for others, especially for this 'unknown' surgery. Hmmm... he did say he had been trained by Dr Kabaker so I can only go on his word? He has it on his website though so that is exposing him quite a bit if it isn't true, plus he talked about him in my consult. 99% sure I will get it done - January looking likely. He has performed 41 of these surgeries and I like the results he's managed to perform, he says it is becoming more and more common procedure. Have you checked out their gallery? Let me know if you have any other questions! :)
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If you feel comfortable are you able to private message me a photo of your forehead? Maybe dr kabaker forgets who he trained! ;) Dr nettle is also very pricey , I think over 10 grand? But if you were to travel to the states then flights and accomm plus surgery adds up anyway . I think karbaker quoted me around $7500 or less . Cant remember the exact price but hes cheaper than other doctors , i think the reason was because he doesnt have a massive fancy clinic with hundreds of staff so he can afford to keep the procedure at a good price :) Cant wait for you to Have it done and if i like the results then i will definitly have a consult with nettle only problem is that im in melbourne . P.s. Unfortunatly i cant afford to have to op with anyone as yet . Its killing me!
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Yeah absolutely will PM you a pic of my forehead no worries :) It is a 7 finger forehead and 9.5cm... I always cover it well wearing bangs but am very much like you - I fear the wind and rain (ruins the work I do to get my fringe perfect!) plus I live by the beach and am a water baby so always feel self conscious with my hair slicked back... thank goodness for hats! Yep it is very expensive, not going to lie. Dr Nettle charges $7000 but need to remember this doesn't cover anesthetist fees or operating theatre. I'm getting rhinoplasty at the same time too and will get some money back from medicare and private health insurance - only for rhinoplasty though, not hairline. I've saved hard for this and have had my doubts as so much money but it's bothered me so much that I want to be able to live my life and not have to be so self conscious. Will get a pic over to you in the next couple of days!
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Heyy, how have you been so far? Is the scar still visible?
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the scar in the front is healing so well but the side of the head is annoying me =/
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I would be too scared to go to a hairstylist for a haircut at this point I'll probly give it another month. If you do make sure your hairstylist is aware of your recent surgery:)
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lol yes I'm trying but I'm so overdue for a summer haircut. I haven't gone yet and trying to go today and yes, I will definitely let him know about the surgery. I'm very close w my hairstylist and honestly, he's probably one one of the only people who understands my pain with my forehead pre-op. I would always just flop in his chair and complain about the cowlick and high forehead combo that I was plagued with so I'm excited to see him today! :D
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That's great! Can't wait to see your new hairdo:)
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thanks but I only cut it slightly. When I went in to the hair salon and got my first delicate wash outside, the hairstylist (even though I've been to him a million times) was really concerned about the scar so he only minimally combed the hair out because there was some dry scabbing on the side of the scar and when some of the dry pus (gross/tmi..sorry) came out, he freaked out and said ok, we'll just cut the hair and cold dry it. So we did not use heat and I ended up cutting my hair about 4.5 inches so it's still medium length. I want to color it lighter but am not comfortable doing so just yet because the side scar is all of a sudden a problem so I am waiting on my doctor to let me know what to do. In a way, I wish I can have him examine my head just to make sure because now I am concerned but maybe I am just overthinking?
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Do you use concealer for the scar or is it not necessary? Good to read your happy with it!
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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.
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Hmm! Now you got me thinking ;) your hairline /forehead look great! Glad that stumbled on your review. Thanks for sharing your experience.
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thank you and happy to share!
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You look great girl!! How do you feel now? Did anyone notice any changes?
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hi V! Thanks so much for always asking, you are so sweet :D I feel great and today was another hair band-less day :D No one noticed at all lol.
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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
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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
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