Dr. John Cole Botched My Repair Surgeries: I Paid $36,000 with Zero Results.

Wolf Pack

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This is a very rare case though I am pretty sure. Like you have to be seriously unlucky. The majority of cases go through just fine, in the sense the implanted hair WILL grow. It's just a case of density and does it look fully natural, patient desire v expectation. Those are normally the issues.

Compared to other types of surgeries, hair transplants are really not invasive and has good success. Contrary to what some patients may think.

Doesn't faze me.
 

arfy

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He acts like he cares, but he doesn't. You have never had any issues, so his act is plausible. If you had any issues with your procedure, then you would learn he could care less. Cole did the same thing to me, my test session of 500 grafts was changed when he asked me if I would like to double it to 1000 grafts. I'm sitting in the chair, under anesthesia, and he asks me this as I'm undergoing my first repair attempt. This is, to me, a violation of medical ethics. No reputable surgeon worth their salt should ever do this when someone is in that condition. He knew I would agree, and he just doubled his payday.

Furthermore, he was barely involved in the procedure, I barely saw him, his techs were doing most of the extractions and the insertions, he would pop in occasionally to do a few extractions and then leave again. Was present around 15-20% of the time. I think he can take people like yourself, a Norwood 2/3, and make them look great, but he cannot repair anyone, and if you have extensive thinning, you better stay far away from this guy. You will go broke and likely not achieve your goals.

I still remember the final insult, that was him selling me some quackery shampoo and conditioner he recommended for my post-op care, it cost $140.00 for the two small bottles. The guy is a shyster of the first order.

This is a common scam called "upgrading the patient" (upselling) and the doctors even have seminars on how to do this type of manuever, at the annual hair transplant surgeon's convention. I think "upgrading" should be illegal - it creates unreasonable sales pressure on the patient (very few patients will decline an "upgrade" under the pressure of imminent surgery, if the doctor recommends it will help).

Also, patients are usually given Valium before surgery, and the numbing shots also contain stimulants (lidocaine with norepinephrine, which keeps the numbing agent active in your system longer, so the doctor doesn't have to stop as frequently to re-numb you). Plus your adrenaline and nervous energy you get pre-surgery. Patients should NOT be asked to make decisions when they are already medicated! If the doctor made an "honest mistake" during the consultation (example: estimated that a donor strip would yield 1200 grafts, but they got 1500 grafts instead) then the clinic should absorb the costs and transplant the grafts at no extra charge, because they were the ones who made the mistake. But "upgrading" is something different... it allows clinics to lowball patients on their estimate, making the surgery seem cheaper and easier, which makes surgery easier to sell. Once the patient is in the chair and drugged up, the price magically rises. That is outrageous!
 

Wolf Pack

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Yes arfy, that is shocking. Here you have to sign a consent form for any operation which details EVERYTHING. From the exact procedure, to any possible side effects, to expected recovery time. So I am surprised about that, very unethical.
 

swingline747

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This is a common scam called "upgrading the patient" (upselling) and the doctors even have seminars on how to do this type of manuever, at the annual hair transplant surgeon's convention. I think "upgrading" should be illegal - it creates unreasonable sales pressure on the patient (very few patients will decline an "upgrade" under the pressure of imminent surgery, if the doctor recommends it will help).

Also, patients are usually given Valium before surgery, and the numbing shots also contain stimulants (lidocaine with norepinephrine, which keeps the numbing agent active in your system longer, so the doctor doesn't have to stop as frequently to re-numb you). Plus your adrenaline and nervous energy you get pre-surgery. Patients should NOT be asked to make decisions when they are already medicated! If the doctor made an "honest mistake" during the consultation (example: estimated that a donor strip would yield 1200 grafts, but they got 1500 grafts instead) then the clinic should absorb the costs and transplant the grafts at no extra charge, because they were the ones who made the mistake. But "upgrading" is something different... it allows clinics to lowball patients on their estimate, making the surgery seem cheaper and easier, which makes surgery easier to sell. Once the patient is in the chair and drugged up, the price magically rises. That is outrageous!

to me if they are trying to sell you more while extracting then there is something wrong with their initial estimate. If they just say "hey lets take out more cause your donor is great" then thats fine. If theyre trying to charge you they are a scam. Also graft splitting is horrible and unreliable. Any Doctor who would graft split is a hack whos trying to do less work and say theyre charging for more grafts.
 

hellouser

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Believe it or not, Arfy posted this thread on Bald Truth Talk but Winston (mod) locked the thread and put Arfy into moderation mode, which means all of this future posts will be screen and censored by the mods before theyre made live. Here's the link: http://bit.ly/1VdXxvA

Dear Arfy,

Please take the time to refer to our Forum Posting Rules & Terms of Service, specifically under Physician Complaints which I will post here for your convenience.

Physician Complaints

If you are seeking to write a public complaint about a doctor, you will be required to verify your identity and Bald Truth Talk.Com will then notify the doctor so that he/she can respond publicly as well. The thread will allow for the patient to tell their story, the doctor to respond, the patient to reply to the doctor's response and one last response from the doctor if necessary. The thread will then be locked. General commentary from other users will not be allowed.

I have been informed that you are indeed a verified former patient of Dr. Coles so you will not be required to verify your identity with us and your post will remain live. Since the commentary from our users has been reasonable, we will also allow them to remain on the thread as well. However, as per our TOS this thread will be locked until which time Dr. Cole chooses to respond to your complaint and allegations. Due to HIPAA Laws you will have to provide Dr. Cole with whatever is necessary for him to publicly discuss your case.
That's disgusting. Not only is the guy left with a completely butchered scalp but he's also SILENCED when he speaks up? And that response from Winston is shameless. "sorry, your complaint is invalid until dr. cole decides if he wants to respond' is like being stabbed by someone and being told in court by a judge 'sorry, the person who stabbed you can only be considered guilty if he decides to respond to your accusation'.

Pathetic. WHY is this censorship not being openly discussed and CONDEMNED by everyone in the hair loss community? I though we're supposed to support each other, collaborate and work together for a common goal and now you've got Spencer Kobren's henchmen doing the exact opposite? WHY????
 

swingline747

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Believe it or not, Arfy posted this thread on Bald Truth Talk but Winston (mod) locked the thread and put Arfy into moderation mode, which means all of this future posts will be screen and censored by the mods before theyre made live. Here's the link: http://bit.ly/1VdXxvA

That's disgusting. Not only is the guy left with a completely butchered scalp but he's also SILENCED when he speaks up? And that response from Winston is shameless. "sorry, your complaint is invalid until dr. cole decides if he wants to respond' is like being stabbed by someone and being told in court by a judge 'sorry, the person who stabbed you can only be considered guilty if he decides to respond to your accusation'.

Pathetic. WHY is this censorship not being openly discussed and CONDEMNED by everyone in the hair loss community? I though we're supposed to support each other, collaborate and work together for a common goal and now you've got Spencer Kobren's henchmen doing the exact opposite? WHY????

Spencer Korbin is a POS. The bald Truth is a POS. Ask a few hair transplant Doctors about it and watch their faces turn. Its an extortion site, thats it, plain and simple.
As far as I know as well HIPPA laws would have nothing to do with this situation. If that was the case NO ONE would ever be able to write online reviews!

Everyone should openly just boycott TBT.com
 

LeBronJames

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Well thats the problem Swingline. No matter what the problem is, no one will ever collectively stand up and fight against them. The newbies have better things to do, and the long-time users care too much about their reputation.

And sadly, there will be more people to suffer, just like Arfy.
 

hellouser

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Spencer Korbin is a POS. The bald Truth is a POS. Ask a few hair transplant Doctors about it and watch their faces turn. Its an extortion site, thats it, plain and simple.
As far as I know as well HIPPA laws would have nothing to do with this situation. If that was the case NO ONE would ever be able to write online reviews!

Everyone should openly just boycott TBT.com

I really wish everyone would ditch BTT and just sign up here on HairLossTalk.com and continue the open scientific discussions. BTT's censorship is a slap to the face of the hair loss community. Even Desmond and I are in moderation mode, hence why we're not that active there anymore.
 

hellouser

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Yeah this is the best site.
One question though. Why is P.H.G censored on this forum? Just curious.

Don't know, ask the mods. Although their response should be made public (we need everything to be open and fair)
 

arfy

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I'm really disappointed that they are censoring my posts at BTT.com. I posted a completely reasonable reply to Dr. Cole, and they flagged it and never posted it. So now Dr Cole is having a conversation with himself there about BHT, and trying to sound like he is really careful about warning guys about BHT, and how he never recommended BHT. Except he did!

If you believe the things Dr Cole says, then BHT is a procedure that began as "not experimental" ("we have never considered the use of BHT to be experimental") but somehow BHT became more experimental as time went by. Usually with legitimate science, things happen the other way around (procedures start out as experimental, and become less experimental over time). Dr Cole has never established a consistent track record of success with BHT procedures which would justify the large sessions he did on me and numerous other desperate repair patients. If a procedure is a failure, the doctors should stop offering it immediately. But that's not what happened.

There's an old joke where the punchline is "Lady, we already established that you're a prostitute -- now we're just haggling over the price". Dr Cole already agreed that I deserved a refund, but when the time came to pay, he tried to lowball me on the refund with an insulting $3,000 opening offer, and he would require a non-disclosure agreement which would prevent me from talking about my experience. That was totally unacceptable.

In doing research on Dr Cole using the forum archives here, I came across a thread which should explain a lot about what kind of person Dr Cole is, using the words of Dr Cole's former employees Steve Gillen (Gillenator), Dr ******** (formerly a trainee of Dr Cole) and Dr Cole himself. There are also many other interesting posts on this forum about Dr Cole from former employee "hairtech".

"I don't have anything personal against Dr. Cole, I JUST DON'T TRUST HIM, PERIOD."

“uncontrollable explosive temper”

"For me, I would never have anything to do with a hair transplant surgeon who has such a controversial reputation for conflict with others including colleages, continual drama and explosive tempers that some want to market off as passion. Give me a break!"

Steve Gillen (Gillenator)

http://www.hairlosstalk.com/interact/showthread.php/21724-Dr-Cole-in-1-Month

That thread is full of drama and negative accusations, but you can get an idea of what type of person Dr Cole is. When you've been around the forums for many years, like myself, you'll notice that drama and negative controversies seem to follow Dr Cole wherever he goes. If you want to devote your time to reading a 6 page "sh__storm" thread, then most of the "guest" posts are from Gillenator (you can confirm this when he's quoted - his original screen name is in the quote) although there's another "guest" named Jay who argues with Gillenator. A lot of bickering back & forth, but Steve Gillen worked for Dr Cole for many years as a patient advisor, and has worked in the industry for decades, and generally knows how the business works.

In another thread, Steve Gillen describes how Dr Cole was banned from another forum for (allegedly) using employees to write positive reviews, using the IP address of the clinic!

"Several years ago in early 2003, maybe six months or so after Dr. Cole was working the forums for business, there was the same thing discovered at the ********************* forum. That is, multiple covert posters coming from the same IP address in Cole's office. I read the posts and the accusations and suddenly Dr. Cole disappears from that forum. Do you guys remember that? And it was not ForHair (Dr. Cole's full time internet promoter) because his IP address from Atlanta was completely different. Dr. Cole has not participated in that HTN forum since that incident."
Steve Gillen
http://www.hairlosstalk.com/interact/showthread.php/24649-DO-NOT-USE-AHI-in-jacksonville-Fl/page2

Steve Gillen must have deleted his account here (so his posts show up as "guest" but since everyone is referring to him as "Gil" then it's obviously him.

I'm doing in-depth research on Dr Cole now, and there is a LOT of negative crap about him on the internet.
 

hellouser

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^GREAT follow up.

Also, don't forget that he LIES about regeneration claims. Dr. Claire Higgins, one of Dr. Colin Jahoda's students (one of the worlds top researchers) recently had a presentation done where she touched on follicles being cut horizontally with the potential of regeneration.

Here's the video,

[video=youtube;hNRanJ7FhtY]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNRanJ7FhtY[/video]

Pay attention to the 12:42 mark, at this point she talks about the hair follicle being able to REGENERATE! CONFIRMED!! But....... it regenerates SMALLER, which means a smaller hair fibre, which would explain Dr. Gho's pathetic results where all the hair comes out so thin and whispy, but that's assuming he even cuts the follicle PROPERLY (afaik he cuts vertically) as Dr. Claire Higgins mentions (horizontally). So we can finally put regeneration to rest: it's a dead end UNLESS you apply some other agents to regenerate fully (fgf-9 or something else) but if you want that, then you'll need to once again go through the MISERABLE experience of getting FDA approvals for trials, wait 15 years for whatever reason and then release the treatment, assuming there even is a solution to that problem. So basically, REGENERATION IS A DEAD END, and Dr. Cole and Dr. Gho have both lied/exaggerated about their results.

Now here's the problem with regeneration specifically with Dr. Cole;

He extracts the ENTIRE follicle and packs the empty hole with ACELL where the follicle used to be. Yeah, FAT CHANCE anything is going to regenerate there. This guy is a fraud... sponsored by Spencer Kobren!


Here's Dr. Cole lying about regeneration;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khVm4wSpzjo
 

F2005

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I really wish everyone would ditch BTT and just sign up here on HairLossTalk.com and continue the open scientific discussions. BTT's censorship is a slap to the face of the hair loss community. Even Desmond and I are in moderation mode, hence why we're not that active there anymore.

Are you guys really in moderation mode?? That is utterly sickening. Hellouser, you are a dedicated and valued poster. And Desmond has much more knowledge (and is much more trustworthy) than any of these hair transplant surgeons. I really love Desmond, and I wish he would come on here. I was on BTT for a while but eventually got fed up and joined here.

I used to have different feelings about BTT but now I really believe it to be just a vehicle to promote the status quo and for hair transplant surgeons to hock their wares. All they really talk about is hair transplantation, despite the fact that it is not even close to being a mainstream solution for most hair loss sufferers. I mean, one the hair transplant advisors actually commented on what a "great job" an hair transplant surgeon did on a guy. This recipient now had some hair in the front but he still had a large bald spot in the back!! I mean, come on, this result would not even come close to being a viable solution for most hair loss sufferers!!
 

LeBronJames

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Are you guys really in moderation mode?? That is utterly sickening. Hellouser, you are a dedicated and valued poster. And Desmond has much more knowledge (and is much more trustworthy) than any of these hair transplant surgeons. I really love Desmond, and I wish he would come on here. I was on BTT for a while but eventually got fed up and joined here.

I used to have different feelings about BTT but now I really believe it to be just a vehicle to promote the status quo and for hair transplant surgeons to hock their wares. All they really talk about is hair transplantation, despite the fact that it is not even close to being a mainstream solution for most hair loss sufferers. I mean, one the hair transplant advisors actually commented on what a "great job" an hair transplant surgeon did on a guy. This recipient now had some hair in the front but he still had a large bald spot in the back!! I mean, come on, this result would not even come close to being a viable solution for most hair loss sufferers!!
I'm nowhere near a valued poster as Hellouser and Desmond are, but I also got put into moderation mode, simply because I asked Winston why Arfy's thread was locked.
 

4thojab

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This is a really sad story. I am young, doing my research now and this definitely is a huge worry.

Really sorry to hear your struggle!
 

hellouser

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I'm nowhere near a valued poster as Hellouser and Desmond are, but I also got put into moderation mode, simply because I asked Winston why Arfy's thread was locked.

LOL, typical winston. I'd love to see someone call in to the Bald Truth show and GRILL Spencer on the forums bullshit policies and censorship.
 

Notcoolanymore

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Would love for you to do it.
 

I.D WALKER

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I'm sure BTT screens it's callers before Kobren agrees to take them. Those of us who have seen his show know who his small band of regulars are who predictably call in, ( that is whenever he get's around to airing a show). It might be mildly amusing if not for the fact that Androgenetic Alopecia is not funny at all.

I have not listened to the show for over a year now. I just could no longer tolerate his flagrant sanctimony. I liked Specks better and was hoping he'ld eventually "steal the show", but the last I heard he's now a salesman for one of BTT's celebrated "special interests" groups. How the mighty fall.
For the true sufferers' sake I hope BTT changes (for better).
 

GCHR

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I have tons of Cole dirt...

I am a former employee. I knew that his past would creep up to him. My own personal experience with him as an employee was pretty bad which included him suing me and vice versa. But I also know Arfy. I'm hairtech.
 
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