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!