FUT 5397 Grafts with Dr. John Diep - Los Gatos, CA

This is a very belated review of my experience of...

This is a very belated review of my experience of FUT surgery with Dr. Diep. But better late than never, I guess. This is based on notes I took right after the surgery. I was age 56 the day of surgery and roughly Norwood 5.5 to 6 pattern.

I did a free in-person consultation with Dr. Diep in December 2014. Fortunately I live only a half hour away from the clinic. Then I made an appointment for April 22 2015. There was about a three and a half month waiting list. I originally thought about getting the FUE procedure. I wasn’t thrilled about the invasiveness of FUT and had never had so many stitches before. But once I realized that for FUE I would need at least two sessions a year apart, I decided that I just wanted to get it over with all at once and get on with my life. So I opted for FUT. I was a bit apprehensive that it might be painful, but if many other people could do it then so could I. (It turned out not to be.) My hair is light color with a little gray, so they told me to dye it dark for the surgery. Not knowing anything about hair dye, I soon discovered that Just For Men Autostop works well and washes out in a month or so.

I arrived at the MHTA clinic at 5:30 AM---by taxi, since you’re not allowed to drive due to the drugs. I took some time to fill out some forms. Then Dr. Diep gave me a few pills to help me relax which included a Valium, though I forget what the others were. Then we discussed where the hairline would be and he took a few "before" pictures. While filling out the forms you get to specify just what sort of pictures you will (and will not) allow and where they might be shown. Then I went into the treatment room which is a big room with a chair in the middle much like a dentist's chair. So you’re on your back for the whole procedure, at various angles as needed. Around the walls are several stations with microscopes where the technicians work on slicing the follicles. I counted seven technicians in my case. If you are a big job like mine then you’re the only patient that day. But for smaller jobs they will handle two in one day. There is a bathroom right off of the treatment room so you don't need to go far for breaks. They had me remove my shirt and shoes and gave me a smock and booties to wear. (So wear a button down shirt rather than a pullover.) The doctor gave me a couple of shots in the arm, telling me what it was, though I don’t remember now. Then I think there were some shots in the scalp for numbing but those were just a pinch; didn't hurt. I quickly I fell asleep and don’t remember anything after that.

It turns out I slept through quite a lot of the whole procedure. I think I woke for a bit at around 11:00AM which by that time the sutures had been finished and probably more. I don't remember the doctor creating the graft sites. Lunch was ordered and I think it was about 1:00 we ate lunch. I was awake for some time while they placed grafts. Then I must have slept some more. I woke for good at 7:00PM. They had also bought food for dinner though I didn't eat it since I wasn't hungry. Towards the end Dr. Diep came in two or three times to check the work. At this time he also gave me a shot for the A-cell treatment which I had opted for. They finished at about 8:30 or 9:00. So I guess one point to take away from this is that even though the procedure can be very long, in my case over 12 hours, it can go by fast when you're not awake for a lot of it. I'm not sure how much total time I spent awake but it felt like not more than four or five hours. Then they gave me all the instructions, medications, and materials I would need for the next week. (You don't need to go to the pharmacy to get any prescriptions filled). I was home by 10:30PM. No pain, but maybe that was because my scalp was still numb. Only a very slight soreness. I was just slightly dizzy from the medications. I actually had no trouble sleeping right through for about seven hours. You have to sleep partly upright at about 45 degrees.

On the day after, I woke at 8:00AM and didn't have any pain at all except maybe very sight soreness if anything. My scalp was numb from the suture line up. So I guess that’s why there wasn’t any pain. I never bothered to take the pain medication they gave me. I went to the clinic where they washed my recipient and donor areas. Actually I did that for the three days after.

Although my initial estimation was 4500 graphs needed, it turned out that there were 5397 which I was happy with. I was originally concerned that I had the scalp laxity to get enough graphs. My hair diameter is pretty thin and so will never be hugely dense, so more graphs was fine.

I just want to add that the entire staff was completely friendly and helpful through the entire procedure, asking me if I needed anything. I can't imagine how they could have done a better job than they did and I felt very comfortable. They are very dedicated to work such long hours. Overall my experience on surgery day and the week after was very positive. A few days after surgery I thought I might have gotten an infection, I called the office and they were very responsive and Dr. Diep gave me a prescription for extra antibiotics. As it turned out I was wrong and I never had any infection.

Update at 7 months

Here are a couple of pictures at 7 months. One shows the hairline in case you are curious about that. In these pictures I actually haven't cut the top hair since the surgery. Although it's long it doesn't seem like 7 months of growth so I assume it's growing slower since my scalp is trying to heal at the same time. But I did cut the back and sides at about 4.5 months after surgery. I just cut it myself using a razor with a 1-inch guard. That's the time I stopped wearing a hat.

Update at 11 months

Here are some more pictures at 11 months. It doesn't look all that different from 7 months. No scar is visible, though I don't usually keep my hair super short. It's not a problem.

I had read somewhere that you should expect about 50% hair growth at 6 months, then something like 80% at 9 or 10 months, etc. But I didn't seem to follow that pattern. First, I didn't have the typical shedding. The hair that was transplanted just stayed in. So by 5 or 6 months I pretty much had it all.

1-Year Followup on May 10, 2016

I went in to Dr. Diep's office for my 1-year followup. The attached pictures were taken by him. My hair looks quite dark in this pictures; maybe it was due to the light in the office.

I mentioned to Dr. Diep that as far as I could tell I never had the shedding phase. The transplanted hair stayed in and started to grow. He attributed that to the A-cell treatment. (Although whether this ever happens to other people I have no idea.) There isn't much else to mention about the followup as everything was fine.
Los Gatos Hair Restoration Surgeon

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
5 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
3 out of 5 stars Wait times
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