Dr Ziering is behind many of the advances in modern hair restoration technology. In particular, he is known for the ‘Ziering whorl’, a way of recreating your scalps’ crown and hairline in the most natural way possible. He also developed a new type of chilled stereo microscope, in which the follicular units (hair follicles) could be comfortably separated into individual units by his trained technicians, whilst also keeping the skin tissue cool and healthier. Many other microscopes generate a lot of heat and can damage skin tissue. Since there are a finite number of hairs you can take from the back of your head, you want to ensure each one is transplanted successfully, and not damaged by the microscope or the technician.
There are a number of Ziering locations throughout Europe and the United States, each location having a team trained personally by Dr Ziering. However, I wanted to meet the pioneer himself in Hollywood California, and had decided at that point to place my future happiness in his hands.
My initial consultation took place at one of his offices roughly a mile from my house, ironically in a town called Holywood. Everything was explained in detail and photographs were taken to go on my medical record. I already knew about the technology and was keen to go ahead with the treatment, so 10th May 2012 was confirmed.
I had to travel to Los Angeles, and the Ziering staff could not have been more helpful in guiding me through everything, from advice about the procedure, to helping me arrange where to stay. I stayed on Sunset Boulevard, around a mile from the medical centre. It was a lively place and central to everywhere from Beverly Hills to Downtown LA.
My first day was spent chilling out and adjusting to the time difference. LA is eight hours behind the UK. So whilst I had been flying for 13 hours, my local arrival time was only 6 hours later than I had left the UK. My body was telling me it was 5AM!
LA is exactly what it looks like in the movies. The noise, cars, the friendly people, and the Sheriff’s Police car – It’s all here!
The following day was the day of my procedure. I got up at 6AM and got showered and ready. Since I was only a mile from the medical centre, I decided to walk. My appointment was at 7:30AM and as soon as I walked in the door, Dr Ziering came over and welcomed me. He was a cool guy, not what you might expect a surgeon to be like. The atmosphere was very relaxed and, unlike a hospital, there was a really nice smell in the air like essential oils.
While I was filling in my consent form, one by one, the friendly staff arrived for work and said hello. Everyone was very pleasant and friendly. They’re a great team. Between 20 and 30 people work in the surgery, each with their own speciality.
We got off to a start with some pre-op photos. This would give Dr Ziering and me a reference point of how my hair ‘used’ to look. There were about 20 photos in total. Once the photos were out of the way, it was time for Dr Ziering to design how the hairs would be placed to maximise the value of the procedure.
Dr Zeiring started to draw out some shapes on my scalp, designing how my hairline would look and how my crown hairs would be placed to ensure the procedure was perfect. Once we both agreed, it was time for the anaesthesia. The needle was barely painful, not unlike when a dentist uses a needle to anesthetise your gum.
I needed a lot of hair transplanted, and I had agreed upon the strip method of harvesting, to gain the most hair. A section of my hair was taped up at the back of my head and a section of skin removed. This was then stitched up. I didn’t feel a thing.
Meanwhile, a lot of microscopes were brought into the room and at least five staff were separating this donor skin into individual follicles. They allowed me to have a look through the microscope and it was fascinating! The staff were dividing the units into individual groups of follicles which contained one, two, three and four hairs, so they could be grafted into the correct places for the most natural looking result.
Dr Ziering then prepared the graft sites. Again, I couldn’t feel a thing, but the sites are where the individual units would be placed. While this was happening, I had control of the TV remote and was able to choose my favourite movies or programmes on the TV. I had some snacks too. In fact, Dr Ziering spent a lot of the time cracking jokes and asking my advice on how he should wear his designer stubble. It’s a very relaxed process!
After we all had lunch, the team began the process of inserting the grafts into the graft sites. This was probably the most time consuming part of the process, but given that there were 3418 grafts to implant, it helps put the amount of work required into perspective!
The grafts are not just simply inserted, they are each inserted in a particular direction so as to maximise the result of the procedure. This can take some time, but it’s vital for a successful outcome.
After the grafts were inserted, the procedure was over. Dr Ziering inspected each graft and was happy with the result. One of the nurses cleaned the area and I was given plenty of post-operative advice. Additionally, I was given a kit which would help speed up the healing process, as well as some antibiotics, painkillers and anti-inflammatory tablets to prevent infection and help prevent swelling (not that I had any swelling).
For the first few days, I was told to sleep using three pillows and a ‘wrap around neck pillow’, which was provided. This would help minimise swelling by keeping my head above my heart. This was probably the most discomfort I had during the whole process.
I was invited back the next day for a scalp ‘clean-up’ which basically removed all traces of the procedure. There was a 20 minute laser treatment to speed up the healing process and then my hair was shampooed.
I had a brief final chat with Dr Ziering and his colleague Jason, before getting a taxi back to my hotel.
I began this blog by saying “It was the day I had been waiting over eight years for”, and I’m delighted that I did it.
The results will be most evident in around 9 months as that’s how long it takes new hair to grow some length. The whole process took around 10 relaxing hours. That was less time than it took to fly to Los Angeles! However as I mentioned earlier, Ziering also has practices around Europe and the UK.
Would I recommend a transplant from someone like Dr Ziering? Of course I would! If you add up the cost of all the treatments, drugs and concealers, plus the human cost of reduced self-esteem, withdrawl, feeling that you look old, and the usual jibes from friends and family, in my opinion it’s absolutely worth it!
Further information about Dr Ziering can be found at: http://www.hairtransplantziering.co.uk/