Traction Alopecia-2600 FUT Transplant-Los Gatos, CA

Hello All, My name is Vay. As promised I told...

Hello All,
My name is Vay. As promised I told you all I'd write a review on my experience with Dr. Diep out of Los Gatos, CA. I am only 2 days post surgery, and I must admit that I am recovering well. I will break it down in much detail. So if you don't have much time to read, come back later, ok? I'll try to be fast because I know that we all don't like to read too much, though.

1) My hair loss was first alopecia areata that I suffered in boot camp (stress induced). I figured it would grow back. 2) I was yelled at because I had lost so much hair that my hair was uneven, which is out of regulation for the service. Therefore I had to put it in a bun. 3) That tight bun, a hard brush, and perms resulted in my hair being pulled and damaged and the majority of the traction alopecia. The rest was caused from having an unlicensed chick put braids in my hair off and on. 4) I worked a very vigorous schedule while I was in the military. Sometimes 15+ hour days and others I was 6 hours on and 6 hours off, with drills conducted during my "off" hours. So, it wasn't really possible for me to take care of my hair, hence how I didn't realize it had gotten so bad. 5) I got out of the service in June 2012 and cut my hair in August 2012 to go natural. After 3 years, I realized my hair loss was permanent. Also, my dermatologist at the VA told me via a biopsy it was permanent too via scarring alopecia.

I found Dr. Diep 2 years ago via Youtube (Destiny Godley-she has since removed her videos) and thought it would cost too much to have my scalp fixed. So I put it out of my mind. Then, I began contemplating it this Fall and felt it wouldn't hurt to ask. I reached out to him in late October/Early November for my consultation, and got my surgery scheduled on December 29. He made me feel that comfortable and let me know paying was totally possible. There is $1,000 deposit to hold your date, so you don't back out at the last minute and waste the clinic's time or your own resources. They can also accommodate any emergency you may have. Plus, there is a discount that helps with travel, they provide hotel information that are in the area (your expense though), and they buy your lunch on the procedure day.

***Why I did the surgery- I intend to return to the service. This was the last procedure I needed to get me up to par. I had a myomectomy (Please google it) in January 2014, that caused other issues since I couldn't have it done while on active duty. The branches have now relaxed their hair regulations so that those of us with curly hair are not limited to tight buns. I had very uneven hair and was tired of being limited to only two or three hair styles. Plus, I miss serving, I love serving, so yeah.. I wan to return to serving ;) Also, I am starting on my doctorate this year and I will be 30. I intend to be in the best shape of my life, have my dream career, and have full self confidence in my hair.

***Pricing of an FUT hair transplant (HT)~ this depends on YOUR scalp. You can have a larger spot than mine, but it may be cheaper if your hair is less dense. Or you can have a smaller spot than mine, but it may be more expensive if your hair is more dense. Get it? So in short, pricing will vary.

***Day of procedure: The ONLY set back was his receptionist was late, as her alarm did not go off. NO BIG DEAL, we have ALL been there. They had me pick out my lunch for later in the day, gave me my meds, and he recorded a short Youtube video. Dr. Diep is VERY intelligent in this field. They played music, let me watch tv, and everything! The ONLY painful part was the numbing shots, the closer they are to the face/ear the more intense they are; however, I have a high pain tolerance so I didn't cry. I had to have a cut about 6 inches long, but I am in no pain. I have provided two pics of when they did it fresh and when they put the ointment on. There may be a lot of blood, due to them cutting the scalp for FUT (taking a strip from your scalp, suturing the area back together, then taking hairs from the strip and implanting them in the damaged area) procedure. KEEP IN MIND they WILL have to shave your hair in the area they are taking the strip from, it makes it easier to see. It may look like a LOT of hair is being cut, but it really isn't (i.e. see my pic). They may not comb out the cut hair all the way, so don't freak out if you comb your hair and hair comes out, it's just hair that was cut and left on accident. My hair is still the same length. Ok? Now, my procedure was about 12 hours, because I kept moving around and having to use the bathroom (I drank tons of fluid lol). Towards the end, I also became restless as I was laying on my side. Plus, the meds made me a bit antsy. Dr. Diep AND his staff put in my grafts. He had another patient I think and gave us both the same amount of attention and ensured we were comfortable, as did his staff. All of his staff are professional and super nice and personable. Also, they all know how to lighten the mood if you are nervous. I have attached pics so you can see his office and the room of the procedure that I was in, hopefully that helps. Also, I took LOTS of my own pics during the procedure so that I can show you all AND I intend to do a Youtube video. Again, they are very personable and professional, so if you are worried I'd say relax because you are in great hands. Yesterday, December 30, they washed my hair and were shocked that my sutures were "clean" and not bloody. However, I got home and wet my hair. There was some residual blood in my hair that had gotten on my sweater. I used a cup to wet my hair and detangled my hair from the ends to the root then rinsed out the dried blood. Took about 10 minutes. DO NOT use the shower head on your scalp until 10-14 days later, use a cup with lukewarm water. Also, I am taking garlic pills to prevent shock loss and shedding.

***FYI-I began to panic as I read a few reviews. So much to where I almost went with another surgeon. Not to disrespect others, but if you choose to go through with this procedure, YOU must be PATIENT. YOU MUST follow the directions given. You MUST be honest about your healing possibilities and have realistic expectations. If you do not, you will have issues with healing (i.e. infections) and scarring. You may also be disappointed. Again, this is not to disrespect anyone, but to just warn those who are researching. Don't get so wrapped up with what happened to others you forget how YOU may respond. It varies, ok? Anyway, I saw the reviews and scheduled a Skype call with Dr. Diep to keep myself in check, I was ready to back out of the procedure due to anxiety. But, Diep calmed me down! Also, know your family history and genetics in case you encounter cobblestone, keloids, etc. All of this is provided in paperwork that you must sign before you get the procedure done. I may also return to him to have another spot filled in, I just have to wait a year, but it is much smaller than the one picture though! As far as after care, call his cell, if he doesn't answer call the office AND email them and let them know you need an appointment so he can schedule you. He is a surgeon, he has other patients so you must be mindful of that. You get me? Just be patient, and if you don't hear from him within a couple days, call/email the office again... they'll get back to you. If not, then you can go absolutely insane.

***Military~ if you can prove that your hair loss is service connected and either receive disability rating or are in the process of filing for disability rating due to hair loss, the VA will pay for it. Simply speak to your dermatologist.

Alright ya'll I think that's all I got. I hope you all enjoy the pics and that I didn't leave you all confused as hell lol. I am slightly swollen on my right side today, I included the pic; it could get worse but I am fully prepared. I will be uploading pretty often so I can take you all on this journey with me. I'll also check in to answer as many questions as possible. Remember, research, stay calm, and good luck!

Swelling day 3-4.

I'm still a bit swollen, which is normal. I didn't expect it because i tend to bruise. Using coldpacks have helped tremendously. The hair pictured is what was shaved from the donor site that was not detangled. I'm washing my hair as directed with prescribed shampoo, not much pain, still lots of residual blood on my scalp. No grafts lost so far.

Cleansing, Shedding, and Vitamins

I'm just an hour short of 1 week post op. I'm taking tumeric to help prevent infection, garlic to help prevent shock loss, Mane Choice just helps with growth. I'm still using the prescribed shampoo. Today a LOT of crusting came off. Also, it's still beginning to shed a little; I'm told this is normal as the follicles enter the "resting" phase. Anyway, the crusting softened up with the shampoo. It's so gross, but i told you all I'd be transparent with the experience. My incision looks great; hopefully, the hair will fill in closer to the incision. Any questions, I'm here.

Stitches Removal.

Day 9 post hair transplant. So, it was the day my sutures had to be removed. Went to Urgent Care to have that done; dude claimed they were dissolved. The tightness from the stitches were nearly unbearable, so I felt lost. I got home and looked in the mirror, just to check out the area. I used tweezers just to ensure the doctor was right, that the "black or blue" stitches were completely dissolved. Well, the end of my wound had a clear string sticking out. Long story short, THE STITCHES WERE CLEAR and I REMOVED THEM MYSELF. I ENSURED everything was sanitized, the tools and my wound. It was not painful, it actually provided relief and no bleeding. It took about 20 minutes because I balanced the mirror, cut them, and removed them ALONE. I also went over the incision twice to ensure all were removed. I then showered and used the prescribed shampoo and ointment to keep it from any possible infection.

Today is day 21, I'll provide information later. ????

21 Day Update: SHEDDING!!!

HAIR TRANSPLANT UPDATE: 3 weeks post. I'm now experiencing pain as the severed nerves are healing, it sucks. After being allowed to take a hot bath to promote the softening of scabs, the transplanted hair has begun falling out (as expected), as it enters the telogen phase. It seems like all the hairs were shedding but stuck in the crust. It was a very thin layer of scab, since I washed it everyday.
I didn't want it to enter the telogen phase 5 months post surgery lol as garlic prevents shedding and Mane Choice promotes crazy growth, so I stopped taking them. I posted the pic to show a difference, but in each it had already begun shedding. Lastly, my scalp is EXTREMELY dry since I cannot use any hair products (not even oils) until day 30; but, I have to wash it everyday. I was barely able to begin using baby shampoo this week and conditioner (not leave in). This marks the beginning of the "Frustration phase"...which is when we wait for the hair to begin growing back. I'm hoping it grows in as thick as it was transplanted, VERY FEW hairs looked to have a follicle on them. We will see!! ????

P.S. My recipient area is STILL tender in some areas and my donor area is sore a bit. But, the severed nerves hurt most when touched. Hope this helps someone ????

Time flies...

Hi Y'all! I'm a couple days late, but I'm a month out! Here's my scar, you can see MOST of it will be COMPLETELY undetectable. There's about 2 inches that look like a scar, but it may fill in later. I will post my side in the comments, it has shed until the hair fills in again. This is an FUT Transplant.

3 Months And The Waiting Game.

I owe y'all a HAIR TRANSPLANT UPDATE don't I? The 29th of March made 3 months post my FUT hair transplant procedure! Unfortunately, I'm barely starting to see growth! My close loved ones see a difference but I can't really. I'm starting to feel anxious; however, this is NORMAL! Hair will begin thickening and filling in from here on out. The worst part of this journey OVER. Meanwhile, my surgeon (John Diep) has prescribed me 5% Women's Rogaine that I use once daily. 1 bottle is for 2 months, I got 2 bottles but should be golden after just 1. I use the Rogaine and Emu oil. The two pictured are my staples. No vitamins or anything now. I may start this month.

I watch Jasmine Rose on YouTube so I know I'm progressing normally. They say the first 3 months is the hard part... So I'm looking forward and optimistic about the coming months. It's normal to feel like it didn't work right now, but that feeling will fade shortly if all grows well.

Trust the process.

Dr Diep knows what he's doing. I've mostly left my hair alone since surgery- put it in twists or very loose ponytails. Only wear wigs when I must- like 3 times overall. I cannot find my donor area. The hair is short but the scar is too smooth to find now. I'll have someone find it for me next month. As for the recipient area, I keep it clean and wrapped up. I apply the Rogaine and Emu oil at the same time once a day and rub them in thoroughly. I usually apply it at night. I anticipate seeing my growth over the next few months, this is just the beginning.

Time vs Patience.

Just two days into month 5 now! The last month I've been slowly losing my mind as my density hasn't really changed since month 3 or 4. I started thinking I hadn't healed right or the grafts didn't take. I searched several sites and this one... to find that several, if not most, people actually feel this way right now. I saw most surgeons say growth doesn't begin picking up until month 6-9. And full results take between 12-18 months. So... I'm no longer freaking out. Lord knows I can't wait to see some density though!!

My damage came from tight buns, courtesy of the Navy. Perms... Because I knew nothing of the natural hair community until it was too late.
I had kenelog shots for 8 months, to no avail.
Had a biopsy to prove it was scarring alopecia (due to traction).
My surgeon is Dr John Diep of the MHTA Clinic in Los Gatos, CA. I live in AZ.
My surgery was December 29, 2015. It lasted 10 hours. I took 7 days worth of medication but it took 6 weeks to really recover from numbness and tenderness.
I got 2600 grafts for about $11k. (Prices and needed grafts vary on the persons damage and hair thickness. My hair is medium thick and see my damage bruh lol).
The procedure took like 10-12 hours. I was awake but high as hell.
The transplanted hair usually sheds the first month as the follicles enter a telogen (resting) phase. Then the hair regrows. So the first 3-6months are difficult awaiting growth. It takes 12-18 months to see FULL results.
Any questions? Just ask! I'm trying to be transparent about this process to help others ????

Month 6 and anxiety.

I am struggling with anxiety. I keep telling myself that a growth spurt doesn't occur until month 6-9 and that my full results take until month 14-18. I'm scared I won't be able to wear my hair up in a puff/bun. BUT I follow bettermeuk and steph87 (type names in search bar) and see their progress spurted between month 6-10!! So I'm very hopeful, the waiting game is kicking my behind! I have very little patience. Lol. Results vary from person to person. I'm certain my results will get better but waiting seems like forever!!

Overall hair update.

Figured I would share my OTHER hair length and how it lays when blow dried or flat ironed. I'm 6.5 months post op. My hair won't and isn't laying flat due to the incision site hair is about 3 inches and I didn't flat iron that; so, it's puffy/puffy. I have cut my length so it's easier to maintain with the hair growing in. In late summer, I'll be 4 years natural.

My recipient area is doing well. Haven't been looking or paying attention to it besides oiling it (emu or castor) and women's 5% Rogaine application which I do every other day.
Los Gatos Hair Restoration Surgeon

Dr. John Diep was very knowledgeable. He was even patient with me as I had to ask him a million and one questions that the VA wanted to know. At one point I began to get snappy and impatient, due to anxiety/fear, and he and his staff were still patient with me! He is very funny and awesome to just have a conversation with. He provided much insight on how genetics work into traction alopecia (why some get their hair back and why others don't). He is very calm, which lightened the mood.

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
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
Was this review helpful? {{ voteCountOthers + ' other' + (voteCountOthers == 1 ? '' : 's') }} found this helpful