Dr. Gabel’s compassion and artistry is second to none.

Balding so soon?

When I was a senior in high school, I had another student ask me if I was balding. He was right. I couldn’t even grow in facial hair yet, but I was going bald. I recognize I am not unique in this regard, but it was emotionally very difficult for me.

By my early 20s, frontal recession was rather progressed and the crown area was heavily thinning out. I wore my hair super short for some years and thought about shaving it all off, but I wanted the “frame” to my face that hair provided. Also, I didn’t believe I had the right head shape to shave it all off.  Since I had been aspiring to be a model and an actor, I had enrolled in school for this, and believed my thinning hair was a blocking point. I also felt like it was impacting my dating.

I didn’t want to accept that this was it, so in my mid 20s I started using topical Minoxidil, along with a special shampoo, scalp cleanser, fortifying conditioner, and hair revitalizing vitamins – all twice a day. This combination definitely worked. My hair began notably filling back in and the shedding seemed to stop altogether. But, after a few years, the seemingly constant attention to my hair that was required wore on me.

Permanent Cure?

I believed that hair restoration surgery was the permanent cure and that I could then abandon this bothersome hair care regimen while having thick natural-looking hair, I met with a New Jersey doctor that I researched online, and who had performed hair restoration surgery on a famous professional sport player. I watched the interview of the sport player and watched a talk show interview of the doctor. In addition I watched an interview of a young father and heard about his happiness with the surgery results. After this I requested and reviewed an extensive list of referrals from the NJ doctor. The NJ doctor told me that I would need 2-3 surgeries to obtain the full look I ultimately wanted. I decided to move forward.

The NJ doctor informed me that I couldn’t use Minoxidil immediately following surgery, and that I should take Finasteride orally instead. I had researched Finasteride some before, but I was opposed to it due to potential side effects. However, I decided to comply with using Finasteride while I was having surgery, with a resolution to myself that I would disuse it once the surgeries were all over.

Hair Transplant

The surgeries utilized the strip technique. The first surgery seemed to further fill in (beyond what Minoxidil and my prior hair care regimen had accomplished) some spots that were still thin. The second and third surgeries, each roughly at the year mark, didn’t initially seem to change anything in my hair density or hairline (it was explained that the surgeries were merely keeping up pace with what I was shedding, but I question now if the transplanted hair knocked out my original surviving hair). Around surgery three I started getting periodic comments from friends, family, and on dates of: “did you dye your hair?” and “did you get a hair transplant?”

devastated and confused

I was devastated and confused about the obviousness as I was trying to get out of the hole of losing my hair but instead dug a new and deeper hole of somehow having fake-looking hair. I felt like I simply needed to stay committed to more surgery, and my NJ doctor supported this and I wanted to trust that the NJ doctor was right. When the staples came out after the fourth surgery, despite sticking to the NJ doctor’s recommended timing for healing, my head partially opened up. The NJ doctor performed emergency surgery and I was stitched back up. After this situation, I really started questioning my faith in the NJ doctor.

I finally recognized that my new hairline looked fake, because of the spaced out, darker, and thicker hairs that had been transplanted. After closely observing the stretched out fourth scar line as it tried to heal, and in so doing I also took far greater notice of the other three haphazard scar lines that were supposed to all be virtually invisible. I had wanted to believe I was doing the right thing. But, in retrospect, I was wishing I would have tried shaving my head some years ago instead of ever starting surgery. I knew there was no going back now. Shaving at this point would have exposed the obviousness of the scar lines, but my hair in the back at least still partially covered that when carefully combed and placed.

More Research

I researched other doctors, and visited what I felt must be 2 of the best hair restoration doctors in the US, based out of New York City. I separately met with both of these coalition doctors, but they refused to perform surgery. They were both fascinated with the extensive scarring in the back of my head. The one doctor called it “railroad tracks.” They explained that I should have never had 4 separate scar lines created. Each scar line should have been hidden within the previous scar line. The front hairline also utilized multiple 2, 3, and 4 follicular unit hairs placed at a very fake vertical angle. This use of multiple follicular unit hairs in my hairline by my NJ doctor specifically went against what my NJ doctor had previously told me.

After being studied and extensively photographed, but then declined for surgery by the NYC doctors, I felt like a freak. I was told to considerably increase the daily dosage of Finasteride I was still taking, and to begin reusing Minoxidil in at least the evenings. But, renewed use of Minoxidil did not bring back the original hairs in my hairline, and the scarring in the back remained unimproved. I couldn’t ever go swimming because my wet hair dramatically highlighted the scarring. And, I began to seriously question the potential of side effects from the increased dosage of Finasteride. Out of desperation, I visited one of the NYC doctors 2 additional times over the years to request surgery, but he continued to decline.

West Coast is the Best Coast

I decided to research top-rated doctors outside of the east coast and found Dr. Gabel. He too was appalled at the work that had been previously done by the NJ doctor and made extensive photographic documentation of my situation. But, he did not refuse to perform surgery. I have now had two surgeries with Dr. Gabel to help partially correct the previous damage.

I understand I had one of the worst hair restoration malpractice cases that Dr. Gabel has seen. Dr. Gabel has removed some of the scarring in the back of my head. He has also removed some of the multiple 2, 3, and 4 follicular unit hairs from my frontal hairline and placed them either further back or reutilized them to add coverage to the strip scar lines. Single follicular unit hairs have now been blended in the front at a more natural angle to soften the hairline. While more surgery is still needed with Dr. Gabel, what has already been done is leaps and bounds from where I had been. I only wish I would have started working with Dr. Gabel from the beginning. His compassion and artistry is second to none.

Pros and cons

Furthermore, Dr. Gabel helps educate you on all your options, only suggesting surgery after you have thoroughly discussed everything else. He goes through the very detailed pros and cons of each option, and you are required to read and sign documentation on this before proceeding with any plan, surgical or otherwise. Dr. Gabel is honest and straightforward about results/expectations. He will address all your questions and concerns and help you make a fully educated decision.

Correcting Mistakes

While I can wish the past would have played out differently, I can at least take comfort in knowing that I am now finally moving in a positive direction. Dr. Gabel is step-by-step correcting the NJ doctor’s mistakes, and in so doing, giving me a piece of my life back that I thought I had permanently lost.

Skill, attention to detail, terrific staff, generosity

Dr. Gabel’s team is extraordinary

This is my second hair transplant, and my experience is vastly different than the first one. Firstly, Dr. Gabel’s team is extraordinary. I was fascinated by how each member focused on their particular part of the preparation process, and the dedication that each person obviously had, with regard to their role. The process was long, and they were attentive and patient for the many hours. Dr. Gabel himself is a perfectionist; he is personally engaged in the entire process; Dr. Gabel does not just instruct people and then check back at the end of the day. He also is keen on doing the extra things, the little things, that make the job more likely to have a very successful result. That goes for the team as well: there is much more care regarding protocols during the surgery than anything that I experienced before. The overall atmosphere is one of excellence, but it is also humane. Dr. Gabel’s staff is well-treated and respected, but they are also “on task.” This is a rather rare combination, and it is a testament to the kind of quality that Dr. Gabel is establishing as the bar of his practice. This is only the day after my procedure; my final response will of course have to wait for the result as it begins to show up. But all signs point toward the positive. I have been extremely impressed with all that has transpired in this experience.

A Gabel Center Endorsement

A Gabel Center Endorsement

I highly recommend Dr. Gabel to perform your hair transplant surgery. My research and experience confirms he is an excellent surgeon, and I believe he is as fine a selection as you can make to perform your transplant procedure.

I recently had him perform a fourth transplant procedure for me, and now I understand why Dr. Gabel is held in such high esteem by his patients and the industry. My first three procedures were performed by another surgeon, and though I was pleased with my end hair results, the recent experience I had with Dr. Gabel was better, and clearly done with unmatched care.

My experience also established everyone in the Gabel Center supporting my process and procedure was also highly engaged, knowledgeable, and diligent. The entire staff made sure I understood what was happening throughout the process to ensure sure my procedure was comfortable and well done.

Perhaps the most important to reason I am pleased with my decision to use Dr. Gabel, was that that I trust his skills and competency. For example, during both our consultation and the surgery, and again based on my previous experience with another surgeon, I quickly knew that he fully grasps and values what he does.

I also observe that he won’t take unnecessary risks to simply do a surgery. For instance, I believe that if he does not think it will be ideal for you to have a surgery, he won’t do it. I know this ethical approach was really a big deal to my selection process, so I want to finalize it for you here.

So, if you are considering a hair transplant and it’s doable for you, I recommend you have Dr. Gabel perform it for you. Best to you in all.

Dr. Gabel – A True Professional

Dr.Gabel is such the professional.  He preforms quite remarkable work, and I can’t say enough about him. His credentials are very impressive.  After a couple of consults around the Portland area it was quite evident that this was the only place I felt comfortable going to. The team he has assembled work together flawlessly, and they go out of their way to make you feel at home while your there.  I can’t say enough about my experience, and I wouldn’t go any place else.

From the first consult to post-op follow up, Dr.Gabel is there for you.

Gabel Hair Restoration – Best in America

After exhaustive research on Hair forums looking for HT surgeon in the NW one name kept coming up. Which was Dr. Gabel. Not only came up as the best reviewed in the NW but one of the best in America. Kind of a nice living in the NW. Apparently Portland has more than just good craft beer. His prices  were very reasonable and actually a better price than what I expected. I was never pressured into any procedure. Just a very professional consultation. I later had a procedure done which was very pleasant. I had no complaints at all. The Dr. was involved with the whole time. He has a great team of techs that he works with that have years of experience. Ya I’ll give them 5 stars.

Seattle Hair Restoration

Dr Gabel is not only an incredible doctor but a caring, honest person.

I have had four previous hair surgeries by other doctors over a 20 year period. For this surgery I researched all the top hair restoration doctors and location was not a limiting factor. I had a consultation with Dr Gabel in his Seattle office and he listened  to my history, what I wanted to achieve and honestly told me what approach should be taken based on my previous surgeries for the best result.
The day of surgery Dr Gabel met with my wife and I for an hour to discuss the strategy.  My wife was impressed that he wanted her to be comfortable with the procedure and address any concerns (my wife is a hair stylist of 25 years).
During the procedure the staff were so attentive and we joked around , I almost forgot I was in surgery. Also I was included in every aspect of the procedure. For instance I was shown all the grafts in the dishes once the extraction was finished. I would like to add Dr Gabel placed every graft and was meticulous in placement. After all the grafts were placed Dr Gabel and the staff took great care in cleaning the areas and making everything as clean as possible for fast healing.

The next day we went back to the office so Dr Gabel could check the area to make sure everything was in order. Dr Gabel spent quite awhile with us to go over post-op procedures and stressed if I had any questions or concerns to call him anytime. This is by far the best experience I have had with a hair replacement surgery and I know the result will be wonderful. I’d like to give a special thanks to Aileen (medical assistant to Dr Gabel), you are the best!!!

Oregon Hair Restoration Recommendation for Dr. Gabel and the Gabel Center

Doctor Gabel and his staff are outstanding. I went to interview Dr. Gabel for hair restoration and was both relieved and excited to find such great experience in this part of Oregon. I was in an accident several years ago. I have had other facial surgeries to correct the disastrous effects resulting from the injury including incision lines on my forehead and noticeable incision lines within my hairline. I wanted to have hair transplants to cover the scars.

The day came and we reviewed that part of the scalp area and process for surgery, and as planned throughout the day, Doctor Gabel and his staff worked diligently on the donor site and the hair implants. It takes about 5 months for the implants to grow; I wore a baseball hat for several weeks.

But wow, you should see my head of natural hair now, all grafted from the back of my head with almost no scarring nor incision line. The area grafted is now fully grown out and I am no longer concerned about the once visible incision lines from the injury. Plus, I have an additional natural looking hairline in front due to Doctor Gabel’s technique of scattering grafts in a more natural format.

In closing, I would highly recommend Doctor Gabel and his trained staff for all of your visual and esthetic concerns with hair-recovery, his natural looking permanent method using your hair grafts which work!!


Patient from Seattle, Washington

 “you have indeed changed my life!”

This patient from Seattle had 5074 grafts placed by Dr. Gabel.  He choose Dr. Gabel for his outstanding reputation and consistent top-notch results.

“I couldn’t be more pleased with how things have gone.  I know it sounds cliche but you have indeed changed my life!  Appreciate too that you managed my expectations in the beginning.  The fantastic results are the icing on the cake.”

44 year old male from Washington

I had my hair transplant procedure 11/3/14 with Dr. Steve Gabel at his Portland hair transplant center. I could almost copy and paste the great reviews that his other hair restoration patient’s posted. I still feel I should share my feelings. I had a consultation about six weeks earlier. I did a lot of reading for several years. I was never really depressed with my balding, I just got sick and tired of covering up my head. I just was at a place in my life where everything was taken care of and I was happy. The only thing I wasn’t pleased with was my appearance for the last several years. I felt very comfortable with the decision to go ahead and have it done. I wish I did it a few years earlier. I generally don’t procrastinate on anything. I finally got the nerve up to just do it. I was never pressured in any way to have a certain amount of work done.

We started at 6:30 in the morning. When I arrived we went over some paperwork, chose a lunch from a menu, and went over my recent medication history which took about 15 minutes. The Dr. changed my antibiotics due to the fact I had some reactions to certain other forms in the past. This is a sign of a good md I might add. I had most forms filled out before I arrived. Dr. Gabel, his assistant and I agreed on a hair line that would work for me. I also requested we put as many grafts as we could do at this juncture. I’m sure the Dr. appreciated this. It lets him complete his “work” so to speak.

Dr. Gabel had a quick meeting with his team to go over the plan that we established for my hair transplant, and I was in the chair by 7:30. I believe he had five technicians working if I’m not mistaken. First thing they asked me was what type of music I would like to listen to during the procedure. I chose 80’s “Hair band” rock. I was attached to a vital sign machine. The shaving and local anesthesia was given. Just felt like little pin pricks, not bad at all. BTW I have never had any type of medical procedure in the past. Dr. Gabel cut the strip out pretty quick, and had it over to his technicians to start preparing the graphs. He sewed me up started prepping my head for the recipient grafts. Dr. Gabel was very specific how many, and where he put the slits. Pretty quiet during this period so he could give it his full concentration. I would say this lasted until about 11:00. We finally finished with the cuts and moved to graft placement.
Let me state that if I had to sit in a chair for 12 hours, I would like it to be with Dr. Gabel and his team. Dr. Gabel has a sense of humor that mirrors mine. He gives it out to his team, and they give it right back to him. Makes the time go by fast when you are having some fun in the chair.

I would guess we placed 500 grafts by about 1:00 and broke for lunch. I had a nice lunch of pho’ from the local restaurant. Kind of hit the spot. I stretched my legs and brushed my teeth and we went back to work.

The next 5 hours were just placing grafts. Dr. Gabel is engaged the whole time when we are doing the procedure. He has a few veteran placement techs helping, but is right there placing them at the same time. Perhaps not that common with some clinics. He predicted about 4000 grafts would be harvested. We ended up with 3972. I would say that was darn close. I would say about 6:30 I was cleaned up, and some post op instructions were given for the evening in the hotel. I took some pictures and took care of some paperwork. My wife was called and we left for the hotel. We left around 7:00 approx.

The next day they accommodated me with a early appointment. They did a cleaning and gave me some instructions for post op care. Dr. Gabel took a look and gave his blessing. This took about a hour in all.

Overall I would recommend Dr. Gabel and his team to anyone. I know that I am just a week into my journey but I feel very comfortable from what I experienced, and the duplicate reviews others have given. Thank you for the pleasant experience Dr. and your team. I gave him the approval to post any pictures up he feels like. These helped me to make my decision, and I would like to help future hair transplant researchers.

Hair transplant from a Vancouver Washington patient

I just had surgery last week, so it is far too early for before and after pictures. Although I am confident that the results will be great, this posting is simply information on my procedure and the process at the Gabel Center

First, I am transgender. This posed no issue for Dr. Gabel or the staff, and everybody was very kind. In fact, they were interested in learning more about the transitioning process so that they could make future clients as comfortable as possible

The process started by having a one-on-one consultation with Dr. Gabel at his Portland hair transplant office about 6 weeks before the surgery (he was booked out about 6 weeks). The consultation was comfortable and comprehensive with no embarrassment. The office manager provided a written estimate which is based on the number of grafts that are anticipated to be implanted, and as she has 8+ years of experience with Dr. Gabel she was more than capable of answering questions related to the financial side. We then scheduled a surgery date and I made a security deposit to hold the date.

On the day of surgery, I arrived at 6:30am to find several people busy preparing for the day. We spent about 2 hours signing paperwork (e.g., informed consent), finalizing the hairline design, taking photographs and taking medication (e.g., valium). Surgery began around 8:30am and vitals are monitored throughout the day to ensure safety.

My job was simple — don’t move! This sounds easy, but when you are in a chair for 10 or so hours it is difficult to not adjust your position, cough, scratch an itch… If it is necessary to move, you need to give Dr. Gabel and his team a heads up so that they can stop working before you adjust.

The donor site was harvested quickly and efficiently — I would guess that this was done by about 9:30am. The entire team immediately started processing the donor tissue and turning it into 1-, 2- and 3-hair follicular units suitable for implantation. Once a few samples were available, Dr. Gabel performed a few test incisions to check the size of the incision vs. my specific hair follicles, and after making a few minor adjustments to his instruments he was happy that the incision size was appropriate.

For the next hour or so, Dr. Gabel proceeded to make tiny incisions over the entire graft area making sure that (1) he had high density and (2) that the alignment was appropriate so that the hair has a natural orientation. Nothing difficult or painful, but it was very odd listening to all the tiny incisions being made.

While Dr. Gabel is busy making the incisions, the team is busy preparing the grafts. I was surprised to see that it took 7 people working constantly under a microscope for about 8 hours each to prepare all the grafts.

After the incisions were made, the implantations begin. I have heard that many transplant surgeons delegate the implantations to their assistants, but Dr. Gabel was involved from the beginning to the end. He placed grafts during the entire process and performed quality control by monitoring the graft quality being produced by each team member. To be clear, Dr. Gabel’s key assistants also help place the grafts (one of whom has been doing this for almost 15 years!), but this is necessary when so many grafts are needed.

We took a quick 30 minute lunch break around 12:30 where the staff provided a very nice meal from a local restaurant (you order this during the paperwork phase). The food was good and there were plenty of options to support pretty much any dietary restrictions.

It takes a long time to implant more than 3,000 grafts, so it was a long day in the chair. That being said, the staff was not only efficient but also downright pleasant. We talked about anything and everything which made the day go by much faster than it could have. Plus they have decent music from Pandora or you can listen to your own CDs, etc.

I was so impressed with the entire staff that I am going to bring in lunch for them in the near future. First time I’ve ever “tipped” a medical group!

So, hopefully this provides some useful information for people considering Dr. Gabel. I realize that the proof is in the pudding (or in this case in the hair line), but I will say that in my experience you tend to get good results when the team actually enjoys their jobs and cares about the results.