HT with Dr John Diep, 5,100 Grafts - Los Gatos, CA

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47 year old Indian male, smoker, toker, and...

47 year old Indian male, smoker, toker, and drinker. Going for my FUT with Dr Diep in 2 days. So excited but nervous. I decided to share my story just as others have that gave me the information, and courage to come this far. I'm grateful to all of you who posted your experiences, even up to a year or more.

OK, so I considered doing this in India (as I'm Indian) but wasn't born there, so I would be just as much a visitor as if I went to Turkey or Belgium. I much prefer to travel within USA, and in fact found that there were good surgeons in CA alone! I consulted with Dr Parsa Mohebi in Hollywood, Dr Sheldon Kabaker in Oakland, and also Dr Diep. Dr Kabaker wouldn't consider doing more than 2500 grafts as let's face it, he doesn't need to work long hours any more.

I'll probably get some flack for this, but it honestly has been a roller coaster journey in terms of whether I want to go through with this or not. Maybe I should just shave my head; maybe wear a cap whenever I go out; maybe a toupee; maybe something else. I'm averse to pain so that factored in quite a bit (Dr Diep said FUT would be best considering the number of grafts I needed, and pain would only be about 30% less with FUE. Nevertheless, he convinced me FUT would be best. I do agree).

I am supposed to be at the clinic at 5:30am. I'm told it will prob last till 10pm. I'm a bit worried at how much it may hurt - I have read here that it's not so bad or unnoticeable even! I'm still worried post op, but that's another story!

I don't live a healthy lifestyle. I don't exercise, I smoke, I drink (beer only), and my diet isn't great. I'm 5' 7", 120lbs. I've had to quit smoking cold turkey and it's been awful, but it's something I've tried to do all my life and never managed. However, I want to give my procedure the best chance of success, so I have extra motivation to stop smoking. It's only been 5 long days so far... I have to quit drinking tea as of today (no caffeine) - I NEED tea :( Ha, it only gets worse alcohol (I'm telling you, this better be worth it all lol). On the plus side, I have had my scalp massaged for the last 2 weeks - I only realized I was supposed to do this when I finally decided to read the packet of information they gave me when I first booked my op. Apparently I should have started as soon as I'd made my reservation.

Speaking experience with Dr Diep for the consult was great. No complaints. He showed me other patients with similar hair and race, drew on my scalp to show me what he could do, checked for elasticity, and declared I was a good candidate. He was booked 3 months out even though he works 6 days a week! I paid my $1,000 deposit and have been waiting for this day since!

I'm sorry I've rambled but as I haven't been through the procedure yet, I don't have that much to share, other than my "before" pictures. Feel free to ask , comment or share!

It's Wednesday now...

OK so I got to the clinic on Monday at 5:30am. Receptionist was on time. I sat in the waiting room for about 1/2 an hour and filled out some forms. She took me in, made me change into surgical gown and booties. Took my BP and vitals.

Dr Diep got there around 6:30am and took me to his office for a consult, drew my hairline and asked if I had any questions. I was given some meds (3 valium, 2 Xanax, antibiotics, and Tylenol). Then I was taken to the operating room where I was given 2 injections (sedatives).

After that I don't really recall much, including having lunch!! I was awake for the last half of the procedure, and talking, etc. I guess I was moving around too much when talking so they kept asking me not to move! Very difficult!

The procedure finished around 8pm I think. I was able to walk unassisted. Came home and took some of the meds they gave me and went to sleep. I slept reclined 45 degrees and with a neck pillow. There was still a lot of blood everywhere, which is to be expected.

The next day I didn't feel too bad at all. I slept most of the day due to the meds. I had to go for a hairwash at the clinic. I should say, the lady could have been a bit nicer in terms of explaining and patiently answering my questions to my mom (my caregiver).

Today is the 2nd day after surgery and I'm feeling much better. Had my hairwash again and this time it was a different lady and she was GREAT! Dr Diep also popped in to see how I was doing. He answered any questions I had as said he'd do a detailed checkup wen I go to have my sutures removed in a week.

All in all, I was expecting to be dying of pain (I have a VERY low tolerance for pain!). I'm pleasantly surprised that I don't have pain or discomfort. The only pain I have is the sutures - where they begin and where they end. Other than that, it's just a dull ache sometimes. My face is swollen but not like some of the pics I've seen.

I'm really pleased and excited at the upcoming year...

Please let me know if you have any questions or comments. I couldn't have done this without this community's support.

I guess no ones interested in my updated lol, so I'll stop.

Good luck to everyone who is going thru this. This is a great community but due to lack of interest in my experience, I'll discontinue my updates.


Apologies are in order...

OK so I initially thought no one was interested in my experience as I saw numerous comments and questions on other reviews. I need to eat humble pie and apologize for thinking I was alone in this. I also realize people don't post unless they have questions or comments. For all the rich advice and reviews I've read, I guess I need to keep up my reviews even if I think no one is reading (I have a crazy demanding job and making time to write reviews is almost impossible, but I promise to endeavor, idk how but I will :)

In all honesty the reasons I decided to write my review are:
1) I'd read reviews on Dr Diep that concerned me (that's he's inaccessible, doesn't care about patients once the procedure is over, etc);
2) I'm a toker and couldn't find any reviews that addressed it in any way...
3) to help anyone else who is in a similar situation to mine (crazy job, no time for anything, need info at my fingertips, etc).

I was going to post my review on hairrestorationnetwork as that's where I'd done most of my initial research, but McAfee advised it was not a safe site!

#1 - I found Dr Diep to be most accommodating and accessible. Normally they wash your hair at the surgery for 3 days post op, but I asked if I could come for an extra day and Dr Diep said no problem. I also had a question for him and he popped in while I was getting my hair washed. So in my case, I have not had any issues, and believe me, I've called the office at least twice a day for the first week with various questions or concerns and Kaycee and Huong never made me feel I was a bother.

#2 - this ones a bit more sensitive lol. I love my 420. It helps me relax due to my job, helps with my appetite (I'm only 120 lbs!!), and helps with pain from a blown disc in my lower back (I despise opiates which is what my doc prescribes!). I recall mentioning the words "medical mj" while I was in the chair but I don't recall if there was shock and horror on their faces or not lol.

This was the one issue that put me in a tizzy. How will I sleep; eat more; deal with pain, etc?? Thing is, this procedure was more important than anything and if I was spending this kind of $$, I really ought to give it the best chance of success. I stopped mixing with tobacco one week before my procedure and instead took up vaping (not the same!!). Tobacco constricts blood vessels but mj dilates so I thought it'd be fine. I also bought some CBD chews (it's the nonphsychoactive ingredient that Big Pharma is trying to harness). Bottom line, CBD chews, as well as vaping made my sutures "leak". I always felt some wetness (blood or discharge) afterwards, so I stopped! If there was an emoji shedding tears, I'd use it! I guess I'm going to have to give it a few months before I dare try again. I'm definitely giving up tobacco for good. Can't wait for my first beer...don't know when though! If anyone has specific questions, please dm me.

Today is Day 8 and I'm having my sutures out this afternoon. Today was the first time I put my head under the shower and tried to wash off the dried blood but I wasn't successful and didn't want to scrub or rub so I guess they'll either help me do it at the clinic or send me home and ask to me try again. I am nervous about it tbh.

I've been sleeping in a pretty much upright position all week using a neck pillow. There would be blood or discharge every night when my head rubbed against the pillows. I used to take the prescribed Dramadol or Vicodin for the first few nights but it blocked up my system. The antibiotics had the opposite effect so it's not been pleasant (don't eat too much papaya to help lol).

All in all, I am thoroughly pleased with Dr Diep. There must be a reason he's booked out 3 months even though he works 6 days a week! I hope I am one of his success stories...

I'll let you know how it went today!

Sutures removed!! Yay!

So yesterday I had my sutures out. Before going there I had to wash my hair under the shower for the first time - soak my head for 20 mins and clean off the scabs, etc. I followed the instructions exactly as they had told me. My head even came out in white pimples from the waterlogged recipient area, which did dry out and disappear. I was so excited on my way to the doc.

Sadly, my donor area, and some of the recipient area were infected!!!!! I was devastated to hear that. This is despite the fact I had my hair washed at the clinic 4 days and 3 days by my mom at home. The donor area was very scabby and it was so bloody painful to get the sutures out. It was one of the worst moments in my life.

Dr Diep checked me out after the sutures were out and confirmed it was a pretty bad infection in the donor area, as well as a little bit in the recipient area (crown). He assured me they would take care of me and prescribed stronger antibiotics in pill form, as well as a stronger cream. He asked me to come back to the clinic every day for the rest of the week to have my hair washed, treated and to be seen by him each day so he can check on the progress. He gave me an antibiotic pill right away (it was afternoon). I got the cream later that evening and applied it as best as we could at home. I spent a very uncomfortable and painful night. All evening my head bled and oozed (eew), and I must admit, this grown man shed a few tears of pain and disappointment.

What the infection means is that the scar will be bigger (wider?), and some of the grafts in the crown won't take. Of course, I am terribly disappointed, but he kinda made me feel better saying they can get rid of the scar in a year (I'm not sure I want to go thru this again), or they can do an FUE to transplant on the scar.

It seems I'm one of the rare cases that got an infection. Doc said I have very low immunity - I have to agree as I've had problems in the past getting sick easily. I believe stopping smoking only a week before didn't help. Also I was going thru some personal stuff that has really stressed me out. So folks...give yourselves the best chance and don't be like me - if you smoke or are prone to illness, do something about it WELL in advance of a procedure like this. Also, use the stronger antibiotic cream Mupirocin 2% for a couple of days if you really want to be sure of it I guess.

Anyway, went back today and they really washed my hair carefully and applied the stronger cream. They noticed a couple of stiches still needed to be taken out so they took care of it. My head was tender, sore and hurting like hell but the antibiotic pills and cream really seem to help - I've had no bleeding or oozing today (just a lot of pain). Doc said the infection was alreadt receding.

I'm sure I will be getting better in leaps and bounds but my excitement has turned to trepidation as to how everything will turn out. there is still crusting on the top of my head which Dr Diep said they would help me get rid of, but the priority right now was the infection. I'm afraid that all this has been for naught (I'm praying not!!). On the upside, I got to take a week off work which I could never have done otherwise LOL.

I will post some pics as soon as my head looks a bit better. Sorry to all the folks rooting for me - I feel I've let you all down!!

I couldn't have asked for better care and progress!!

So maybe I was a bit premature in thinking the worst. My infection wasn't bad at all, and has in fact cleared up. Turns out my caregiver (aka Mom!) was storing the sponge to wash my hair in a less than ideal place! However things are MUCH better and the care and attention I received from Dr Diep and his staff has been far above and beyond what they needed to do for me. Every time I called the doc outside of business hours, he returned my calls promptly, listened to my concerns, and was patient , even when I called him at 7:30am on his only day off!! I can't say enough good things about Dr Diep and am so happy for the aftercare I have received - he does have a vested and genuine interest in his patients. I was afraid they'd kick me out and tell me to be on my way after a few days, but they have consistently inquired and checked up on me every step of the way. I am a million times better and well on the way to having a fabulous mane - watch out Fabio LOL!! Can't wait for the coming months. I feel this has been such a roller coaster and I'm so glad I chose this doc over the others I checked out! Stay tuned!
Los Gatos Hair Restoration Surgeon

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