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bullitnut

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  1. Thanks Bill, cheers Spex. Quick update i'm just over a month post op now, everythings healed well, had my staples out at the local NHS drop in centre now its the waiting game grrr......will post piccies in a few weeks
  2. So guys here we go, Hair transplant repair part 3 with Dr Ron Shapiro of Shapiro Medical Group *Important, this account of stage three may be quite lengthy to read so feel free to skip straight to the surgery part if you wish. I personally like to go into as much detail as possible however because there are thousands of people out there in similar situations I have found myself in over the years. People everywhere around the world these days can find themselves needing quality work and repairs from different clinics, due to the very nature of this industry. There will no doubt be people who don't feel the need to read such extensive accounts, and I understand this completely, but in my opinion the more information you are armed with prior to making a decision about your Hair transplant surgery, the more of a good thing ultimately. This is why I always treat my write ups more like a personal diary and try to include as much information as I can remember. Hopefully this will benefit any reader who’s going through or about to go through something similar. This is NOT an advertisement for a particular clinic, it’s simply a very detailed account of my OWN experience with one of the best clinics available. The beauty of Internet forums and online blogs these days is that they enable people like myself to share their own experiences with others, and from these types of sites hopefully some people will benefit, and possibly find the right answers to their own hair loss and restoration problems. So before commencing with the write up I would like to personally thank all the Forum owners for making these sites possible, they have helped me come a long way, and sometimes with all the negative issues that can surround these types of sites we can forget their primary objectives, which is simply to HELP. I booked my flights again using Travel supermarket.com as they always seem to come up with some very reasonable rates, i like this site in the UK as you get the option of picking the exact flights you require from the list of results shown by their search engine. Other useful travel sites in the UK i find are sites like Expedia.co.uk, which in my opinion are also very reasonable. An alternative though would be to go straight to the Airline providers own website and book that way. The reason i use Travel supermarket is i like to find specific flights by Delta/KLM Airlines that fly regularly from my local Airport (Leeds/Bradford). I like flights that have only a one stop at Amsterdam airport, as it's extremely easy to navigate and hard to make a mistake finding where to go. The first flight is normally a KLM city hopper which takes approx 50 Min's to arrive in Amsterdam and if you pick the flights well the lay over time in Amsterdam can be very short, before getting onto the larger Delta Airline plane to Minneapolis St Paul Airport. When you arrive in Amsterdam be prepared for some questions from customs security regarding your trip to the US. This is nothing at all to worry about, it's all very routine and my advice is to tell the truth about your trip. They are not at all interested in why you are going really unless you pose a security risk so please don't feel any need to panic at all. I took a letter i obtained from Shapiro Medical stating i was going to the US for a Hair Restoration procedure. They were very cool with it and the whole thing lasted around a minute. One word of advice here though, is make sure you have applied for your customs waiver online and printed the form off as they may ask to see it at this point. They will also want to see your E ticket/Itinerary at this point too, so it’s always a good idea to print a few off just in case you miss place one along the way. After the initial questions which everyone has, you proceed through to security customs, this is just like every other airport and you go through a scanner etc. This process takes around ten seconds and you are done. You can then proceed to a waiting area ready to board your flight to the US. The flights with Delta are great, they have inboard entertainment either in the headrests or on large screens throughout the plane. The staff on board are usually American which goes to say they are always extremely courteous, helpful and friendly and constantly come round with refreshments the whole flight. Another word of advice is to make sure you take a pen with you for this flight as once onboard everyone has to fill in a small customs form and it can be hard to ask someone to borrow one if they don't speak your language. The flight to Minneapolis St Paul took around nine hours, but wasn't so bad due to having entertainment and meals on board. Throughout the whole journey they played four quality new release films in total which helped pass the time and almost filled the whole duration of the flight. Another tip with Delta, is if you go on their very own website prior to your trip you have the opportunity to upgrade your economy seat to an economy comfort seat for a small fee. This option gives you a little more leg room and the seats recline a little further. If you wish to purchase these upgraded seats i would however do it as soon as possible as they sell up fairly quick and i could only upgrade mine for the return flight. Once you land in the US everyone is required to go through BORDER CONTROL, as this is the first point of entry to the UNITED STATES. This is a breeze and only takes a few minutes. Theres nothing too it, you simply get asked the purpose of your visit (Tell the truth, again the letter from SMG helped) and they take a look at your passport, ask to see your printed ESTA application and take your finger prints and that's it! All in all the whole procedure of getting from the UK to the US is incredibly easy and nothing at all to worry about, not even for an inexperienced flyer. Its harder in my opinion to navigate yourself around a large UK city than to travel thousands of miles to another country. It's such a shame more and more people don't realise just how simple the whole thing actually is. Once you go through the BORDER CONTROL area the next room is baggage reclaim where you reclaim your belongings from the baggage rollers. You then pass through some double doors and out into the Arrivals area. PLEASE NOTE:- Most of the local hotels have a free shuttle bus service to the airport which run fairly regularly. If you are stopping at the LA QUINTA INNS & SUITES as i did your required to call them when you have picked up your baggage to arrange a free pickup. Phone: 952-830-1300. To find the free shuttle pick up points just go straight forward once you have picked up your baggage and it's sign posted to the Hotel Shuttle Pick up area. Next to the Shuttle area is a Taxi firm too that could take you to the Airport in the unlikely event of a problem, or if you don't want to wait for the Hotel Shuttle, these charge approx $35. Another important note:- If you are stopping at LA QUINTA make sure you get on the Bloomington West , American BLVD shuttle as LA QUINTA have two hotels in the region, so don't get on the wrong one please, they are easy to distinguish apart as the hotel names are on the sides of the vans. The hotel looks huge from outside, kind of like a skyscraper, and i have added a picture so you know you are at the right one. If you are stopping at The Country Inn and Suites hotel they have their own shuttle bus too, and this hotel is situated to the rear of the Hotel LA QUINTA. I have added a photo taken from my hotel room window at the rear of LA QUINTA so you can see just how close they are to each other. HOTEL LA QUINTA COUNTRY INN AND SUITES BEHIND LA QUINTA The day before my surgery I took a free shuttle arranged by the hotel up to SMG to meet the gang, and to say my hello's and have my post op photos taken. As soon as I walked through the door it was like i had never been away, i was greeted with warmth and respect from the receptionist who telephoned Janna to inform her i had arrived. The entire population of people I have met who live in this part of the world have got to be the friendliest, well mannered and incredibly nice people on the planet. In all honesty it's hard to explain, but their whole demeanor is a million miles away from the harsh sometimes rude nature of a lot of the UK public. I am not specifically running the UK population down, as I am proud to be from England it's my home, but until you meet someone face to face over there, you will be simply amazed as to just how super cool they all are. We as a nation in general could learn a lot from them in my humble opinion. Janna quickly came out to greet me and was just as I remembered, charming, warm, very friendly and easy to talk to, any slight nerves I had about the upcoming procedure just seemed to melt away at this point. We proceeded to the photo room where she took some pre op pictures from various angles against the blue back drop you see on all the SMG patient posts. She then uploaded them onto a PC and offered me a drink, we had a little chat about my expectations and goals for the upcoming procedure the next day. Dr Ron then came in and said "hi", we had a brief chat, shook hands and spoke about my plans for the morning, he was just as I remembered too, very sweet, very well spoken, friendly and helpful. We agreed to have a more detailed chat the next morning, as he was very busy that day in Surgery and he likes to give his patients his complete attention which was cool and very professional. Minneapolis has some incredible restaurants and that afternoon after leaving Shapiro Medical Group I visited a local Italian Restaurant in Bloomington, fairly close to my hotel called the “Olive Garden”. The food was fantastic, I had chicken smothered with mozzarella cheese and a nice soup, with bread sticks that were just to die for. Below is a picture of the restaurant which if you are in town I wholeheartedly recommend. My hotel, the Hotel La Quinta has many great features, but being what i call a food junkie my favourite was it’s own room service that is run by an outside firm called American Pie. It's a pizza firm and they deliver directly to your hotel room should you decide not to go out for food. I remember using them frequently on my last trip to Shapiro and become quite addicted to their “TIMBERWOLF” grilled chicken sandwich. Their delivery service is very prompt and their delivery hours are very good too:- Mon.-Thurs. 10am-3am *Fri. 10am-3.30am*Sat. 11am-3.30am*Sun. 11am-3am Useful tip though for out of the country patients* on the phone it states to dial 9+ the number on the Room service guide, this isn't strictly correct as you need to actually dial 9, then the area code which is 1 followed by the room service telephone number, this was a little confusing at first for myself being a non US resident. Below is a picture of their menu. The hotel La Quinta serves complimentary breakfasts that comprise of a Continental style breakfast Featuring Make your own Waffles, these are served daily between 6-9am Mon-Fri and 7-10am Sat-Sun. La Quinta also has lots of vending machines serving cold drinks on various floors throughout, and has complimentary coffee machines in your room, as well as a hairdryer, an ironing board and all the basic requirements of a good modern facility. Depending on the room you book it may also boast a microwave and fridge like mine did. There is also free WI FI in your room which has high speed Internet access, this really came in handy for talking to the family back home via Skype. There was also a good quality flat screen 32 inch TV with a great selection of channels to be watched. Below is a list of many of the Hotel Services:- The hotel has a fantastic Transportation schedule with regular trips to and from the Mall of America and the Airport, and they were more than happy to drop me off at Shapiro Medical Group on the way to either of these on request by phoning the front desk. Below is a timetable of their Transport schedule:- Overall the hotel La Quinta is a very clean, comfortable, reasonably priced and well equipped friendly hotel that even boast’s a nice swimming pool downstairs, it has staff that bend over backwards to accommodate your every request, which is nice when you are visiting a foreign country and could be suffering from nerves about your upcoming procedure. There are other hotels that you could actually stop at if visiting Shapiro Medical Group and the majority of them are very close to each other and within walking distance to the clinic. Below are a few other local Hotels. The Country Inn and Suites being one of them which I stopped at the first time I visited SMG. You can actually see this hotel from my bedroom window in the La Quinta as it’s situated to the rear of the hotel La Quinta as the photo taken from my bedroom window shows below. Day of the Surgery with Dr Ron Shapiro at Shapiro Medical Group I arrived at the clinic at approx 8.00am and was greeted by the receptionist who gave me some forms to read and complete, she then gave me a lunch time menu and let me choose what I would like for my lunch, to which I decided upon an Hawaiian pizza. No sooner had I chose my lunch Janna arrived and greeted me with her warm smile and endearing personality, she led me into the surgery room where I was given a surgery jacket/smock to change into and was greeted by a few more of the friendly staff, who all went out of their way to make me feel at ease and comfortable. Around 5 mins later Dr Ron himself arrived and immediately began to address my concerns and desires from the surgery, we chatted in depth and he asked what exactly it was I personally was hoping to achieve this time around. We chatted for quite a while about what concerned me the most, and the main topic was whether I personally wanted to address the crown a little more or concentrate solely on the frontal area with the possibility of maybe adding a little density through the middle donor permitting. I already had an idea of what I wanted and ran this by Dr Ron, I told him that my main concern was the large size of my forehead and that more than anything I would like to mainly concentrate on strengthening the hairline a little with a plan to hopefully lower it slightly. I figured my plan should hopefully reduce the look of my large forehead a bit as this bothered me. I wanted to keep my options sensible and realistic, after all I am a repair patient and have unfortunately got fine hair characteristics and a fairly depleted donor due to my previous surgeries before SMG. So the final plan we came up with was to lower the hairline slightly keeping it real and without opting for a very youthful low hairline. I have always had realistic expectations as to what could be done in my case and thought the plan sounded great. I loved the naturalness of my old hairline, it’s just I felt i would prefer it a little lower and full looking to enable a little more options regarding styling mainly and to hopefully frame my face slightly better. Dr Ron mentioned that I was 38yrs old, so we had to design a hairline that would take into account the future and still look natural in years to come, he also explained that I only had a limited amount of donor left to play with via the Strip method with a possibility of maybe FUE later down the line. So there we have it the main plan was to address the hairline this time, which I was thrilled about. We also discussed the crown/vertex a little and I told him that after my last surgery I could now get away convincingly with using a little concealer to hide the loss back there. I explained that as it was mainly out of my field of vision, meaning that I don’t have to see it every day in the mirror I was more than happy to use concealer on that area, but I asked that if there was a small amount of grafts left over after the hairline work could we maybe add them to the crown, just so the Toppix/Nanogen has a little more to adhere to. I have to stress here that Dr Ron really listens to your plans, ideas and goals and tries very hard to work out a plan that works mutually well, both for the patient and for what can be achieved realistically with the future taken into consideration which I admire him immensely for. After we agreed on the plan Dr Ron introduced me to another Hair Transplant physician who was visiting SMG that day to observe and learn from Shapiro Medical Groups techniques and protocols, He explained he only had a small clinic and was very interested in watching and learning from Dr Ron at work. I don’t recall his name but he was the sweetest of guys and seemed knowledgeable, and very polite and eager to ask questions at available opportunities. Dr Ron then started to draw the hairline we could hopefully mutually agree on before we commenced surgery, this took a while as he kept looking at it from various angles and was very thorough making sure it looked good and natural from all sides, he showed the visiting physician his design, who seemed suitably impressed from Dr Ron’s plans. After he had finished the design he thought looked good he passed me a hand held mirror so I could have a look and decide if it’s what we both had in mind, I have to say his proposed hairline was way better than I could have imagined and I quickly started to get very excited and quite emotional at this point. For anyone who hasn't actually met Dr Ron it’s hard to explain just how sincere and nice a guy he is, I have read posts from many different patients over the years saying he is a top guy, but to be honest that’s nice, but it really does not do him justice in my opinion as it’s almost like his sole purpose in life is to make others happy. He cares more than any other physician I have ever met, and it’s not hard to see why he has so much respect from his peers and friends alike. When I had finished looking at the new hairline in the mirror I was given my medication of Valium, an antibiotic and something else that’s slipped my mind ready for the day’s surgery. I was offered an ice cold glass of water to wash the pills down and then asked politely to lay flat, face down on a chair that looked rather like a dentist’s chair. My head was now laying at the top face down on a head rest and there were two red straps underneath to hold onto. I was told by Dr Ron that they were going to use something called Vitrase@ which is a drug used to increase donor laxity in tight donor regions, in my case this was due to having previous surgeries. Next came the fun bit, one of the Tech’s who I was jokingly asked not to mention their name for fear of me embarrassing him came in with a clever back massaging device and began to massage my back. This was a great relaxing feeling and was primarily done to relax the patient whilst the donor area was numbed and extracted. They used a special vibrating type device with needles to numb the head around the strip extraction area and they numbed the forehead area as well. I have to state here that at no point what so ever was there any notable pain, there was the odd feeling of like a scratch, but nothing at all more noticeable than a trip to the dentist, in fact it to be honest it was way less painful than a trip to a dentist. After I was numbed up the strip was extracted and I was told that they had got a decent size strip, although I will have to add strip details later when i speak with Janna. I was then turned over and sat up in a slightly reclined position and asked if I was comfy ready for the excisions to begin. Before Dr Ron Started the incisions one of the technicians asked me if I would like to watch a movie on the big screen TV they have on the wall in front of you, I replied "no not at the moment" and explained "I was just happy to listen to the radio". Dr Ron was then accompanied again by the visiting Hair Transplant Physician who watched Dr Ron do all of the incisions, he seemed suitably impressed by Dr Ron’s work and technique and asked several questions and was eager to learn. All of the time Dr Ron was very attentive to me and kept asking if I was ok and to let him know immediately if I felt any pain or discomfort whatsoever. The incisions took up until just after noon with every one being counted by a bleeping device. I was told I had around 1800 grafts which was great, so Dr Ron did at a guess around 1500 incisions at the hairline, leaving some to touch up later and some to add to the crown. At lunch time I had a visit to the rest room and my lunch was wheeled in on a trolley which was my lovely pizza. I was also offered a soda by Janna who said my hairline was going to look great. After lunch Janna came in and asked if I was ready for a movie yet I said yes and picked out a comedy. I was then given some more meds and the numbing medication was topped up so the placement could begin, this was done initially by Janna, Tom, and two more lovely female tech’s i believe who have been there a long time at SMG, I know this as I remember them from both my previous surgeries and how polite and caring they all were. The placing was done in shifts by the techs, and the slivering, microscope work was done by some lovely female technicians against the window area, I might add these technicians were also very caring and kept enquiring as to my welfare and making sure i was doing well. SMG is like a well oiled machine, everyone seems to have their place and they all seem to know exactly what to do, and when to do it, it’s rare to see such great organisation in a workforce today and was a joy to behold. Everyone seemed so happy in their work and they had great values and pride in what they were doing. You could see that they all had a genuine compassion for the patient and loved the fact that they were helping people get their lives back together. Halfway through the afternoon Dr Paul came in and had a little chat with me, he was charming and witty just like a remembered from before, he joked that I had gone to the weaker Shapiro brother this time teasing Dr Ron, and was telling me he had had a female patient that day. They both are lovely guys and are both gifted at what they do which is why in my opinion they make the perfect team at Shapiro Medical Group. Matt Zupan also popped by to say hello mid afternoon which was good, as he’s another top guy with a wealth of hair transplant information and a wicked sense of humuor. When the hairline work was done I was invited to have a look in the hand held mirror, and was absolutely blown away, it looked awesome!, and again like my previous surgeries, and being the soft hearted person I am I could feel myself getting a little emotional. To those none hair loss sufferers this may sound silly or kind of stupid or even vain or petty, but when you have experienced negativity in your life for so long due to this awful predicament, it’s like a huge weight being lifted off your shoulders when something finally gets done about it. After another rest room visit Janna, Tom and the other techs began planting in the crown area, it was so relaxing just sat there without any pain or discomfort watching TV I almost dropped asleep on numerous occasions. Dr Ron was never far from the surgery room the whole time and came in frequently to see how things were progressing. When the crown work was finished Dr Ron came in and along with Janna, Tom and another lovely female tech they tweaked the hairline just a little to make sure that everything was absolutely spot on. When the surgery was finishing up they put on a very informative DVD showing post operative instructions which contained very precise easy to follow instructions. They also gave me a copy of this DVD and a post operative bag with written post op instructions, contact numbers, some Graftcyte spray, a pillow protector and some post op meds for pain and swelling. In the post op bag there was also a staple removal kit too which is something I have never seen before because on my previous surgeries I had sutures, I will take this to my local NHS walking centre to get the staples removed at around 10-14 days post op. When the surgery was finished I collected my belongings and changed back into my own zip up top. *Please note that it has to be a zip up, or button up top so it doesn’t get pulled over your head and damage any grafts. I was just about ready to go back to the hotel when I went to put on my own baseball type cap as before, but Janna showed me a type of cap that SMG patients sometimes prefer to wear straight after surgery, It was light to feel, black in color and looked almost like a bandana that tied at the back. I was asked if I would prefer one of these to return to the hotel in and agreed as it was very comfortable. After saying my goodbyes for the evening and receiving warm wishes from everyone there I returned to the hotel using the free shuttle bus that was arranged by the lovely Janna earlier. The first night when I returned to my hotel I was expecting some pain, simply because I have read from other patients on the forums over the years that staples can be hard to sleep on and are generally more painful than sutures. Personally however I found this not to be the case. The first few hours after returning to my hotel I did have some minor discomfort, but found it went away very quickly after taking a couple of pain killers from the post op kit I was given. In the post op Kit I was given was a blue solution in a plastic spray bottle called Graftcyte Spray, i was advised this was to be sprayed at half hourly intervals to promote good graft healing, and I personally remember from my last visit this stuff works wanders at promoting good healing. When you arrive back at your hotel you are given a pillow protector in your post op kit, this is simply there to use in order to stop any possible slight donor site blood seeping onto the hotel pillows etc. . The following day I returned to SMG for a hair wash, this is always a good idea if you are in town long enough in my opinion. Once my hair was washed I thanked everyone and bid them all farewell. I decided to walk back to my hotel, as it was a lovely day and being only 6mins from the hotel by foot it’s not 100% necessary to depend on the shuttle at all times. I filmed my walk just to give you an impression of the distance between SMG and hotel LA QUINTA. You will have to excuse the bumpiness of the video as it was taken by a small digital camera and not a video camera, that and the fact I stopped to admire a squirrel halfway haha. Over the next few days I spent some quality time exploring the area and if you are going to visit MINNEAPOLIS then it’s simply a must to take a trip to the Mall Of America, the place is huge with many exciting attractions which include:- Nickelodeon Land, The Amazing Mirror Maze, superb restaurants, lots of fantastic retail shops, which all stay open late and are perfect for gifts for the family. There is also a Sea Life Centre downstairs and from what the shuttle driver was telling me they are going to extend it considerably over the next few years. I hope the good readers of this forum take this write up the right way, which simply is a very detailed account of my fantastic experience with Shapiro Medical Group. I hope it comes across well and shows the fondness I have for the people at SMG, and the local area. I have nothing to gain in anyway by doing this, I wasn't asked to do this, and have never even been approached to do this, no deals have ever been made for any exchanges of services or anything like that. I certainly don’t work for any hair loss related company at all, I have no ulterior motive whatsoever for doing this other than the knowledge and personal satisfaction that i get myself from knowing some people who are in a similar situation to myself can go there without all the unesessary worry accompanied with the travelling to far away places. I realise this could be misconstrued as some sort of a sales gimic, god knows there are enough spammers on the forums these days, but the truth of the matter is i have spent thousands of hours on the various forums, over numerous years and have always believed in being honest and giving credit where credits due. Anyone who knows me or has spoke to me via Skype or Telephone, or even someone who has just read my posts will surely be able to see that if i feel what i believe to be a good result from any other clinic, then i will say so. I really hope in doing this it illiminates some of the stigma attached with hair loss and having a hair restoration procedure. God bless you all and thanks for reading.
  3. seen this on a few forums.....and got to add again awesome result bravo!!
  4. congratulations dude any pics yet? warm wishes bn
  5. trust me dude a crappy HT is way worse than being bald LOL. good idea in principal but the NHS just isnt in the same league in anything imo compared with other countries
  6. yeah LMAO cant see me getting a divorce though dude as our lass is an angel and has stood by me through thick and thin (so to speak)
  7. hey pb hows it going? yeah my donor seems to be holding up ok....Dr Paul says i have around 1000-1300 strip left and im not sure after that whether ill have any left for FUE will have to see good to hear from ya bro thanks for the comments:) ps nice avatar LMAO
  8. LMAO that was meant to be a wink.... but hey it was early in the morning when i posted it so probably half asleep. The healings going fine mate...no scabs as yet in the recepient area just a few at the scar but they are going so its all good
  9. yeah good advice id wait until around 15 days or so too
  10. ive tried to add pictures but the forum wont let me add any... so heres a link to another forum that ive seen linked to on here many times before. click to see my latest pics http://www.hairrestorationnetwork.com/eve/...995&page=11 or http://www.baldtruthtalk.com/showthread.ph...13055#post13055
  11. Here's the story of part two of my hair transplant repair with Shapiro Medical Group. I flew from my local UK airport, which is Leeds and Bradford, my flights were generously payed for by Spencer Kobren(Thanyou). For other potential UK patients the airline i chose was KLM/DELTA AIRLINES, both because they were the cheapest and also because i used them last time and liked the little tv gizmos they have incorporated into their headrests. The flight was a one stop flight which connected in Amsterdam, i was dreading customs there and had visions of them asking silly questions. However the customs at Amsterdam were more interested in looking for things unto wards with their scanning booths, rather than asking questions about why you were going to the states in the first place, so it was over in seconds and nothing at all to worry about. Once on the plane you have to fill in a little green visa waiver slip, similar to the online ESTA application you have to make prior to visiting the US.(so make sure you take a pen). The flights went very quickly and i enjoyed the choice of movies and slept for a while too, even the on flight meal was nice (choice of pasta or chicken). When you arrive in Minnesota you have to go through border control which is also a breeze, they just look at your filled in green slip, take finger prints, and ask a few questions about your visit...no pressure or embarrassing questions which is a piece of cake, and is only for their security. I stayed in the hotel La Quinta to which there is a free shuttle from the airport, this runs 24hrs on the hour which is handy(Be careful you get on the right one though as there are 2 hotel La Quintas in Bloomington). The driver was a great guy, although he thought he was a bit of a comedian and told the poorest jokes known to man lol. Once i arrived at the hotel i was blown away at the sheer size of the thing, as last time i stopped at the Country Inn and Suites, which in itself is a beautiful hotel with great facilities, but imo not as good as La Quinta. The hotels shuttle is also willing to take you to the clinic, but on a nice day i would advise a nice stroll over as its only a 4min walk if that from SMG. The hotel is also situated very close to an arrray of food establishments and a nice sports bar called Majors. The room was very comfortable and had all the amenities you would expect from a good hotel, it was extremely clean and the staff were very friendly, polite and didn't ask any questions at all regarding ht's. The hotel also had a nice breakfast area that was open at reasonable times and served a great breakfast, it also had a wifi, a fitness suite and swimming pool...not that i used them as i'm exercise phobic lol. Another great feature of the hotel was that the room service was all delivered and served by a local pizza takeaway firm called American Pie, which was both very tasty, efficient and reasonably priced. The tv in the room was large and had a great choice of channels and the bed was very comfortable.I had a coffee machine, a fridge and microwave. The room was impeccable ,and had plenty of vending machines on most floors with snacks and cold beverages. The day before my surgery i got the free shuttle up to SMG (which to be honest was a little lazy as its only a few minute walk) where i met Janna again. I remember thinking she hadn't changed at all and was still as friendly and charming as the last time i met. We had a chat then took some photos of my hair in her office, which included some of my donor closure. She then invited Matt Zupan to come in and have a look, i had a chat with him and he too was a very nice guy, extremely easygoing and great to talk to just as i had remembered. He also wanted to take a few pictures, so i went into his office and had a nice chat about how i felt about my result from stage one, and the procedure i was going to have..the guy is a fountain of knowledge regarding HT'S. I was then offered a drink and invited to talk to Dr Ron about my situation,we spoke about how i felt about the results from stage one. I explained to him that i was delighted and felt that the initial goal of creating a natural look had been more than accomplished. He asked me what my main concerns were this time and what exactly i hoped to achieve from the next surgery. He also examined my hair and was pleased with the outcome, he really is a lovely, warm caring, compassionate and easy to talk to guy. We had a chat about my goals and i said my primary objective was to strengthen the hairline a little, and to add a little density to the mid core. I also said i was not too worried about the crown area. He was fine about this and he said he only wanted to do what was best for me so that i could be happy, and what would make me the most comfortable. That night i went back to the hotel i had a lengthy look in the mirror, i thought long and hard about what i wanted, and about what i had said to Dr Ron. After staring at my my reflection in the mirror i thought ,that my crown showed quite a bit more than i liked, and as i am a repair case then maybe i could regret not having hair at the crown later. I decided that if i could get a light coverage at the crown(vertex)..just enough for some concealer like Nanogen, Toppix or Demmatch to work with i would be much happier. And in the future if did have a little donor left i could maybe address the hairline a little then. Not that there is anything wrong with the hairline..its totally natural i just wanted to maybe lower it a very small amount. I want to stress its very important to know your exact goals before your surgery, providing they are realistic of course and even though i changed my mind late in the day im glad i did. The morning of the surgery i arrived at 8am and was greeted by Janna and Dr Paul who i had only met breifly on my last visit. He invited me into his office and showed me the pictures that were taken the previous day...i was shocked and in awe. It's not until you see the before and after pictures side by side in front of you that you realise just how far you have come, as growth kind of just creeps upon you without you realising it after a while. Dr Paul examined my head but noticed that unfortunately my laxity wasn't as great as we would have liked. He put this down to the fact that i had had 3 previous surgeries. He then explained to me he would probably be able to get around 1000-1500 grafts, as apposed to the 2000 we had initially hoped for. I wasn't phased by this, as i knew he was right my laxity wasn't great i could feel it was tight from doing the scalp exercises in the build up to the surgery, so in all fairness i was kind of expecting this kind of figure anyway, and was more than happy with the amount estimated. He also said he could remove the small part of my Norton Scar that was left over from the first pass. So after talking with Dr Paul i decided the plan of attack was to mainly address the crown area as priority, and to put a small amount in the hairline just to add a small extra amount of density. Dr Paul then drew his work areas on my scalp and showed me with the mirror what he was planning to do and asked if this is what i meant and we agreed on a plan. His concern right from the word go was to make sure i was 100% happy and comfortable with what was going to be done, he spent quite a lengthy time explaining his intentions, he was a good listener and i think my plan was a good one. I was happy i had changed my mind about the crown area, but i felt kind of bad, as just the day before i told Dr Ron i was going to leave the crown alone, and concentrate on the frontal third....there was no pressure to have work done in these areas it was simply my choice but as i looked at myself that night i knew i was making a mistake. Lots of guys are happy with no crown and density up front, but because i have no hair in the crown except for some unsightly plugs,i couldn't even conceal it with a little Nanogen or Toppik. So a light coverage would help in that department, and as i said earlier i could always add a little more to the hairline down the line in the future donor permitting. After the plan was arranged Dr Paul took me into his procedure room, which was impeccably clean and very modern looking with the most amazing view out of the window of a lake. All the staff said hi and i remembered them from last year, they were all so friendly and well mannered and straight away any nerves i did have just vanished right out the door. Del was there telling his usual jokes( nice guy) and they all seemed in a fantastic mood....a very happy workforce:) Tom came by and said hello too even though he was working on another patient. Dr Paul started by giving me some med's for pain and to help me relax, he explained he had experience in pain management and at no time did he want me to feel pain. If i did he wanted me to let him know straight away, he then gave me what i believe was called a nerve block injection along the donor scar area, which wasn't painful at all just a little uncomfortable, but no worse than the dentist. After that he moved around to the front and used the vibrating tool, i remembered this from last time, it was used to administer the anaesthetic. This really is a cool device as the feeling of the vibration totally overides the feeling of the injections going in at the same time, which is in my mind ingenious. When my head was numb he turned me over, and i laid face down on the chair with my head in a kind of groove, a bit like a travel cushion. He began to remove the strip and was asking all the time making sure i couldn't feel anything. This was a very cool part of the procedure as you could here what they were doing but you just couldn't feel anything and i nearly fell asleep a few times i was so relaxed. Dr Paul confirmed again at this point my laxity was very tight and he gave me the strip sizes (to which i can't recall i'm sure Janna will remember for me). He used sutures rather than staples for the closure. After the strip was removed i was sat back up and asked if i was comfortable, so he could make incisions. He began doing this, it was pain free and all the time i could hear a crunch when he made an incision and i also could hear him counting as he went along. All the time he was working on me he was explaining every step in detail, he was always asking if i could feel any pain. He was very attentive and caring and knew just how to make you feel at ease( must be a family trait as Dr Ron was great like that too last year). Around midday we broke for lunch and i was escorted to the bathroom by a tech called DEL, who i might add has a wicked sense of humour which is great. He waited for me outside to make sure i was ok then i went for lunch. It was chinese....let me tell you folks if your from the UK and like chinese food then you will love US chinese food it was simply awesome!! After lunch Dr Paul checked my scalp to see if i could still feel anything just to make sure the numbness was still there. Just around the front i could slightly feel where it had worn off,so he injected some more numbing med's before we began again, he made all the incisions himself and left around 200 spare for tweaking afterwoods. I believe the totall graft count was around 1350 or close to that amount,(will get the exact amount of Janna) with the majority going in the crown. Doctor Paul then told his experienced techs which grafts to place, and in which areas of my scalp and they began placing in pairs, with the The doc returning very frequently to keep an eye on me...again i want to stress he was very attentive. When most of the grafts were placed it was decided that the remaining 200 or so would be placed near the hairline. Janna began placing these too along with another lovely female tech they all make you feel totally at ease. Tom hairtech also came in again to say hi, even though he was working on another patient which was cool as hes a great guy. In fact they all are, the whole SMG team are not only like a well oiled machine like ive said before, but they are like a large extended family and i feel like ive made some great friends. All the time the procedure was happening i was offered drinks on a regular basis, and i even got to watch one of my favourite movies which was cool. They have an extensive collection of movies or you can listen to music to make your whole procedure more comfortable. During my lunch break i remember mentioning to Del one of the techs that everyone was so nice and friendly, he replied "yeah they are all great i love them all like my family"...i thought wow! that's one happy workforce. After a few hours in the chair it starts to get uncomfortable on the old behind lo,l and i was brought a pillow to sit on by a female tech which was great, and thoroughly appreciated... Imo apart from the obvious skill and technique's involved, the little things set a good clinic apart from a Great one too. Towards the end of the procedure i got to watch a post operative instructions video, which was different as i didn't see that last year, this was both very professional and helped a lot. They included a copy in my post op instructions bag along with detailed instruction's too. All in all a very relaxing day, at times i was so relaxed i could have fallen asleep. I am ecstatic and over the moon with the outcome, both Dr Paul and Dr Ron are sensational doctors, they are both very highly skilled and i am just so happy i got the chance and the privilege to have them both work on me. That night i slept great, they give you pillow protectors and pain meds along with graftcyte spray in you aftercare kit. And i had a pain free nights sleep. The following day i went back to SMG for a shampoo, they again showed me how to do this properly which was cool. They also went through the emergency contact numbers with me and asked if i had any questions. They reassured me that if i had any questions or problems no matter how minor i thought they were, to get in touch...this shows true compassion for the patients welfare and i was impressed by this. Whilst in Minnesota it would be a real shame if you didn't get to visit some of the attractions and tourist destinations. The food there is fantastic and the Mall Of America is simply mind blowing, with loads of things to do. There is a large funfair type world in the centre called Nickelodeon universe, and its great to eat lunch in their food courts watching the loop the loop rollercoasters whizz by. To sum up ive loved my experiences at SMG, i adore the staff and am equally happy with both the surgeries i have received from both Doctors. The support staff like Janna and Tom are simply amazing and the techs are both delightful, skilled, lighthearted and very professional. If you live in the UK and are worried about going to the US for surgery the simple answer is don't be its a breeze. everything is so straight forward right from the flights, customs, directions to the actual surgery itself. The only one problem i encountered the whole time i was there was that living in Yorkshire in the UK lol, i must have sounded like an alien to some of the US folk, as i kept getting asked to repeat myself by people. but hey people here in the UK don't understand us Yorkshire puddings most of the time anyway. I will off course keep you all updated with my results as they grow in like before, and look forward to sharing my experience with you great forum guys. One last note whilst i was a SMG i got to meet former patients who were coming in for ypdated photos, and i was amazed to say the least as their results were incredible. Warm wishes as ever bullitnut. Before i end this, i would like to say a huge thankyou to the whole SMG team for what they have done for me, i realise you guys know just how much it means to someone who has been butchered in the past. But still Thankyou all so much simply for caring, you have all excessed my expectations. God Bless every one of you!!
  12. hi chewbacca, ive had 3 ht's and am going back soon for my fourth with Smg. The first too were with a crappy UK clinic though. Do you have any pics to post bro would be good to get some idea of whats needed. regards and warm wishes bullit ps talk about a long time lurker lol, you joined 2 and a half yrs back and only one post haha where ya been dude i agree with ian regarding the proscar.....would be a good idea to get on it
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