Dr. Chaffoo's Hair Restoration Surgery
As the founder and director of La Jolla Skin and its Hair Surgery Center, Dr. Richard Chaffoo has performed hair restoration surgery since the 1980s. After decades as the surgeon, he took the step of becoming the patient by turning to his elite team for hair transplant surgery.
The Hair Surgery Center at La Jolla Skin is unique as it is one of a select few hair restoration centers in the U.S. operated under the direction of a triple board-certified plastic surgeon and a board-certified dermatologist. To experience this level of personalized care in hair restoration surgery, request a consultation with Dr. Chaffoo in San Diego County or call (858) 623-6333.
When you meet Dr. Chaffoo, you'd never guess he once had concerns about his hair. Therefore, it's natural to wonder why he decided to have hair restoration surgery. "I kind of backed into it," he says. "One day I was relaxing at home with my twin girls, when one of them used my smartphone to take a picture of the back of my head." He was surprised when his 12-year-old daughter innocently announced, "Look Daddy, you have a bald spot!"
"Being bald didn't fit with the image I had of myself."
"From that day on, I couldn't stop thinking about it. I couldn't help feeling older and at the same time thinking that I'm not that person," says Dr. Chaffoo. "Being bald didn't fit with the image I had of myself." After decades of performing hair restoration surgery on others, Dr. Chaffoo experienced the same range of emotions many patients had shared with him. Each time he passed a mirror, his bald spot was the first thing he noticed. "It really affected my confidence," he recalls.
Not Your Father's Hair Surgery
As an experienced plastic surgeon and hair replacement specialist, Dr. Chaffoo knew that hair surgery was the best way to return his hair to normal. "I didn't want to look different; I just wanted to get back what I had lost," he explains. Technology had advanced since the days of hair plugs and surgical methods that required stitches. Since 2008, Dr. Chaffoo had performed many hair restorations using the advanced NeoGraft® system; time and again he witnessed the easy recovery and natural-looking results his patients received.
"I didn't want to look different; I just wanted to get back what I had lost."
From Surgeon to Patient
In 2012, Dr. Chaffoo decided it was time to solve his hair loss problem and have his team perform his hair restoration using NeoGraft. When asked whether he was concerned about not being able to perform the surgery himself, Dr. Chaffoo answers, "A hair procedure is not performed by just one person. The hair restoration team is every bit as important as the plastic surgeon. I selected every member of my team. I trained each one of them. I work with them. So, I had complete confidence in their abilities."
Dr. Chaffoo likens his practice to an orchestra. He views himself as the conductor, who directs the performance. In terms of hair surgery, he constructs the surgical plan by designing the hairline - right down to the angle of each tiny grouping of hairs. He thinks of his team members as his musicians; each accomplished in their individual roles. "To do hair surgery right," he explains, "each member of the team must be exceptional."
The day of surgery, the Hair Surgery Center at La Jolla Skin patients receive Valium to encourage relaxation, and the scalp is numbed with local anesthetic in the donor and recipient areas. The Center is specifically designed for the comfort of the patient and the efficiency of the surgical team. By limiting the schedule to only one patient a day, the environment is calm and peaceful; the patient is constantly attended to; and the technicians are focused the entire time. Dr. Chaffoo as patient, benefited from this attention to detail.
"For me the procedure was easier than having my teeth cleaned."
"It took a few hours," recalls Dr. Chaffoo, "and most of the time I was relaxing face-down on a comfortable table that had an opening for my face. I could get up and walk around, eat, or use the restroom whenever I needed to. The experience was actually quite pleasant."
Dr. Chaffoo went home after the procedure and wore a bandage around his head overnight. "I had very little discomfort and took only one pain pill the night of my procedure," he says. "I was back in the O.R. the next morning." For the first few days, he needed to follow simple and manageable hair care instructions. Recovery was very easy.
Once his grafts grew in, Dr. Chaffoo's confidence was restored. He credits his natural-looking results to his own aesthetic eye and experience as "conductor" and the skill of his exceptional team. "It's definitely difficult to tell I've had hair surgery," he says. "We place the grafts into tiny holes created with a needle. The scalp actually contracts around each graft as it heals, so it's virtually undetectable."
"I'm very happy I did it. I definitely feel a difference in my self-confidence."
Advice for Others
Dr. Chaffoo recommends that others considering hair surgery focus on choosing a practice carefully. "It's an important decision because the results are permanent, and constantly on display" he says. "Make sure they care about your results as much as you do and are able to deliver quality."
Still not sure? Find out whether hair transplant surgery is right for you.