I had started visiting this site since the end of 2002. I have included my story that was just sent to the clinic I had hair transplant from.I requested my before and after pictures and consent form, in which I am sure they will give me a hard time.
I will be knocking on the doors around the clinic and will be holding a sign that says ’ “I was butchered by the Cole Clinic”
The transplants were with Chris Cole of Emeryville Ontario. Also has a clinic in London, On and looks like even in Toronto. So not be confused with John Cole in the States.
It has been a secret for 21 years. Its long, but I really hope people read it
Kathryn and Dr Cole,
I am requesting my before and after pictures and the consent form to be forwarded to my email account. Because I need to send these documents to some surgeons and as well to post these pictures online. I will also structure some questions in a separate email that need to be addressed. Or we can just consult in person.
As you can see it has now been 21 years and I still have the mini and micro grafts from your Clinic. But with continuous donor pain and the donor hair falling out, there is not much I can do. Sadly, a technology that was invented in 1982, was sold to me as the latest technology in the hair transplant industry. A state of the art, advanced technology that you continue to market today. Or At least today, from your website, you still have same before and after pictures of clients from the mid 90’s, would tell me that you do.
Because of these complications my quest to at least fix some of the mess you created, only started in the last 4 years. I have been consulting online with several surgeons to fix the hair transplants. But because of my experiences with your clinic I have become very cautious and skeptical in my approach to at least repair some of the mostly irreversible damage.
I have explained my dilemma with permanent pain in the donor region that has resulted in donor loss and no recipient hair growth. Because of these experiences, I requested to only have my plugs recycled, to create a softer, more natural hair line. And maybe use some hair in the Norwood 7 zone. Though there is hair loss in that region. No pain though. You did say “I don’t think it’s possible that your donor hair can fall out from the surgery, if anything I think it would cause the hair above the scars to fall out.” “Don’t you think?” that is what you said Chris.
Along with submitting pictures of my hair to several surgeons, the response I receive is that I require between 1500 to 2500 grafts, depending on how low I want my hairline. (I will forward some of the emails).
Those opinions in the last 4 years only reflects an opinion based on pictures. I think another surgery would be catastrophic and would likely cause further trauma, no growth and further donor loss.
Throughout the years I have explained several times my experiences with my surgery on hair loss forums. But no one can relate to my experiences. I was hoping with research and consulting, that maybe, there was something that could be done to prevent further loss. The only other surgeons I saw prior to seeing Dr. Gupta was in early 2003. I first saw Dr. Seager in Toronto. Well at least I spoke with his consultant and the surgeon that works or worked for him.
He said, “Dr. Cole only wanted your money and only made things worse”. “But I bet in a night Club, no one would know you had a hair transplant”. “Maybe we can help in another 4-5 years”. He has never heard of anyone losing donor hair in consequence of a hair transplant. At that point in time I already knew you only wanted my money. I also saw few dermatologists in Toronto that offered no solutions to my problem.
I then saw Dr Jones who is aware of your hair transplants that can potentially cause permanent donor loss. He says it’s because of the type of scalpel you use. As you probably recall Chris, you pretended to be baffled of my donor loss and so you contacted Dr Jones to hear what he has to say about my donor loss. Of course, you knew why my donor hair was falling out from the surgery.
He thought he could potentially graft body hair into my donor area in 10 or so years from the time I saw him in 2003. Although, Jones thought I should be more concerned about my hairline. He said, “You must be self-conscious about your hair line” and “that’s not a real transplant”” A hair transplant should look natural”. Anyhow he is not a surgeon I will seek out for any repair work.
Miraculously, I still have donor hair. I think the donor hair loss has slowed down or maybe even stopped falling out in the last 5 years. I lost most of the nape in two years’ time. This occurred right after the final surgery.
Though I still feel the cutting knife, a burning pain, a feeling like I was punched in the back of my head and sometimes a stinging pain like piece of the suture was left in my scalp. If I apply pressure with my finger on the occipital bone, there is a shocking pain. I like to wash my hair with cold water. I feel that the cold water provides me with some temporary relief of the pain. Fortunately, the pain is not constant.
I will be posting this email online. So, I would still like to summarize my experiences with your Clinic and explain some of the hardships you created for me.
In high school I was losing my hair at 17, maybe 16. Not only was I receding but I was losing hair in the crown and even behind the area you transplanted into. I reacted to my hair loss by shaving my head right down to the scalp. I was the only kid in school with a completely shaved head. Students, teachers and parents were always reminding me that I was losing my hair. I guess it got to me and I dropped out of school in my final semester in 1996 and completed high school through correspondence.
Shortly after seeing your T.V adds, “The Cole Clinic exceeding expectations, making hair loss a thing of the past”.
I started saving and sacrificing for the next one and half years. I literally put my life on hold. I grew my hair out, thinking that I needed my hair to be at certain length for surgery. Since I started thinning out, it was either shaved to the scalp or long.
I was still 19, when I called you from a payphone on my lunch break from working in a tobacco barn.
Then when I met you Chris, you looked at my hair and said “Maybe, you should wait, I don’t know if your losing your hair”. I responded by parting my then greasy hair and said, “look I’m thinning, and I have a high hairline”.
Seeing the hair fall out was stressful. So, I would wash my hair daily, but I only shampooed once a week. I couldn’t help but look at the hair in my hands, same reason I don’t sleep on a white pillow sheet and why I shaved my head.
So, after giving you a more visual prospective of my hair, somehow you were then able to help. Your response to my hair loss was, “you have me convinced that your losing your hair, I can help”.
You even left me puzzled at that time. Yeah, Chris, you can’t help if I only have a mature hair line and no degree of baldness, but you can help with a hair transplant if I have been balding since I was 17.I guess that is all part of the mini and micro grafting sells training.
You then told me what can be accomplished with surgery. You were committed to lowering my hair line by at least 5mm. Though, no mention about grafting into the temples, which I just assumed you would.
There was never any hairline drawn out with a marker or such. You simply used your finger to show me where my new hair line could be.
And the plan to graft into my crown at 19. At some point during our consultation, facing me, you asked if I knew if I was losing any hair in the back of my head. This was asked with ought even inspecting my donor hair. I thought it was particularly unusual to be asking a 19-year kid. Just moments before you weren’t sure if I had male pattern baldness.
Propecia was only prescribed because I asked if there was something I could do slow down my hair loss.
Moving on to the day of surgery. After paying the $6200 or so dollars I was presented with a consent form. I was basically asked to sign my life over.
Some things that caught my attention was “Complication, complete loss of donor hair”. Dr. Cole, your answer was something like ‘’ For some people, donor hair is not always DHT resistant, some of it or even all of it falls out with age”.” I have only seen one person that has no donor hair”. I am transferring hair, some of it grows back, not all of it, the donor hair will not be noticeably thinner from surgery.
Another thing that made me wary, was unnatural growth, your reply was” “It could grow in curly”. Even then I was thinking why doesn’t the consent form say; the transplanted hair can grow in curly and what do you say to someone with curly hair? But I didn’t question you. Again, I was too shy, and I gave you too much respect.
As well the disclaimer states a risk of no growth and or poor growth, you assured me, the hair will grow. In the event the hair didn’t grow, you would offer free surgery and or refund my money.
I also had concerns about the scar. I was told I would have one scar and any subsequent procedures; the same scar would be cut into. I didn’t even ask how long and wide the scar would be. Unfortunately, I had to find that out through surgery.
The consent form also said permanent Inflammation. Didn’t even ask. while at 19, I don’t even think I knew what it was. I certainly didn’t know that inflammation causes hair loss.
Going back to what could be accomplished in a single surgery. You told me you can only perform a maximum of 1,000 grafts per procedure.
At some point before surgery I asked if 800 grafts would be enough, considering I have minimal hair loss and comparing with only pictures of patients from a brochure who are bald and who only had between one and two surgeries with a maximum of 1000 grafts per surgery.
According to what you said Dr. Cole, anything above 1000 grafts, heightens the risk of complications of the surgery. Don’t remember what words were used. But you didn’t elaborate of these potential risks. So, you were only willing to perform maximum of 1000 grafts per procedure.
Your response to the 800 grafts was “I was just going to say that”, you don’t need that many grafts”. You’re going to have a lot of new hair”, you may never need another hair transplant again”.
So, we proceed with 800 grafts. There were 500 grafts in the hairline and 300 grafts in the crown at 19. There was no plan. No calculations were made to determine my donor capacity, how many grafts I would have per square centimeter, no estimation of how many hair transplants I could have per my donor density. And the hairs per graft were never calculated.
After the hair transplant was completed, as I was leaving the clinic, you said behind my back “You might want to go over the hairline again”. I don’t recall how I reacted to your suggestion, since before the surgery, 800 grafts were more than enough. To make things even worse my hairline was never lowered to what you had promised. It was lowered by 1mm or so. So, you pretty much unsuccessfully lowered my hair to where it was 6 months ago.
If you had lowered my hairline and transplanted into my temples, I think you knew I probably would have learned my lesson after one transplant. I probably would have had people staring at my doll’s hair. So, what you ended up doing was grafting into my existing hair line and crown in which I had virtually no hair loss.
Here I was at 19 years of age. No education, no career, no vehicle, no credit. I was making $6.50-$7.50 per hour. I was charged $7.00 per graft. That was 1.5 hours of your precious time. The other 2.5 hours was time invested by his technicians.
After the first transplant, I moved to London, On with a friend. I never told him and or anyone I had a hair transplant. My friend was present to witness my new hair grow. Never had any suspicion. I am sure he would have noticed new hair if you had lowered my hairline. After the hair transplant, I became apprehensive of the hair transplant affecting my donor hair.
So, I called your clinic and we spoke in person at your former clinic near the downtown core of London.
Dr. Cole, you again assured me that the hair transplant could not cause my donor hair to fall out. You said, Chris, “If I was to lose any donor hair, it wasn’t because of the hair transplant” “The hair transplant cannot cause my donor hair to fall out”.
As naïve and shy as I was, I accepted your word. My initial intentions were to change the consent form and add that the transplant can’t cause donor hair to fall out. And I hate myself for that. How could I have trusted your word, when you told me that I would be fine with 800 grafts.
Over a year later disappointed in the density of the first hair transplant, I booked another procedure. I never expressed my displeasure of the outcome of first procedure. Again, I was too shy and embarrassed. We covered the hairline again with 800 grafts. This time there was very little growth, to no growth. Because of the poor results I was already looking at a third transplant at 23.
I think already at this point, I was shampooing my hair everyday to add some volume, otherwise you can see my entire scalp in the area that was transplanted into.
I remember in the year 2000, after two hair transplants, some girl takes of my hat in the bar and laughs at my hair.
All my scalp was exposed in the area you had transplanted into! while before the first hair transplant I virtually had no thinning hair.
In the final hair transplant, I didn’t have access to a vehicle. So, I had to hitchhike over 100km to your clinic. I was late about 10 mins. I remember you were pretty upset and that you told me I was messing up your day. I felt bad. I certainly hadn’t planned on hitchhiking but ended up not having access to a vehicle. I didn’t want to cancel and mess up your day. I made a commitment to the Cole Clinic. But now after my experiences, how I was treated. I can say, I never received the “Cole Commitment” in return.
After you claiming I was messing up your day. I remember, thinking what I am doing here. When I can I move on with my life. Go to school, having a girlfriend and just have fun like any other kid in there early 20’s. Maybe, I was just being selfish and inconsiderate of your precious time. Because I know that after your done cutting my head open and your technicians take over, you’re in another room performing another surgery.
Anyhow, Here I was two-three months into my 23 birthday and having a third hair transplant. Three hair transplants in 3 and half years.
I remember saying to you Chris, “Doctor Cole,” the Propecia isn’t work". Your reply was “I am sure it’s working; you just don’t know it’s working” Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Three hair transplants in 3 and half years.
I think now what you were trying to say is, that it doesn’t seem like it’s working because the mini and micro grafts are spaced to far apart, so I am grafting on top of your native hair, causing your existing hair to fall out.
And again, during our consultation and before surgery, you didn’t even inspect my donor hair. I wonder why that is Dr. Cole. You probably wouldn’t have liked what you would see.
We still carried on with the third hair transplant.
Now, after this final hair transplant was completed as I was leaving the Clinic. Dr. Cole you said behind my back “It’s a good thing your own Propecia, in a few years from now, you might start seeing your transplanted hairs fall out”, I guess it will look alright”. Right behind my back! I didn’t turn around. I never said anything.
Chris, going back to what you said when I first met you at 19. You had asked if I knew if I were losing my donor hair, you must have said to yourself “You will, when I get done with you”. That’s the only way I could interpret those unsettling comments, that were made behind my back; and other then, I have no use for you anymore. I pretty much exhausted your donor hair at 23 and made 25,000 dollars in less then 4 hours of my time.
Is that supposed to be the Cole Commitment?
I made a lot of sacrifices that took an incredible amount of discipline. I thought of this as an investment, that would help improve my life. I was making between $6.50-10 per hour. Back then this was enough for a down payment on an average home in my area and yours.
I was charged $7.00 per graft for a poor man’s transplant and I didn’t get anything but three scars, permanent pain, replaced native hair with what appears to be dolls hair, a nearly depleted donor hair, three Christmas cards and maybe a total of 500 grafts that grew in the hairline out of a total 2000 or so grafts.
After that final transplant I felt a tremendous amount of pain. Even with the pain killers I was provided I had a hard time sleeping for over a month. And that was with a refill of pain killers.
My donor hair started falling out, particularly my nape. A lot of the nape hair was gone within two years. Regardless of what you duped me into signing, a portion of the hair in the back of the head is called the nape and is not used for surgery and that fell out from your surgery.
That’s almost like someone punching you in the mouth and your lips swell up, and that person says, “well it’s not from me punching you, it must be an allergic reaction”. It was not some coincidence that it fell out right after surgery.
There was absolutely no growth of the transplanted hairs. There must have been some trauma to my scalp after the first hair transplant that prevented the second and third transplant from growing. I was told that having more than 1000 grafts in a session imposed further risks. No, I am sure that is just a scam to extort more money out of your customers. The risk is having multiple surgeries, especially in a short period of time.
To add insult to injury I still received a Christmas card with a picture of the staff, with the title “I hope everything is growing well”.
In 2001, after three transplants, I am still hearing balding comments, because nothing grew.
I could remember another found memory of the Cole Clinic. A couple of months after that final hair transplant, my Propecia went through the wash machine. I didn’t have any money and I asked if you could spot me something like $80.00 dollars or so. In the kindness of your heart you agreed to lend me that money.
When I didn’t pay you on the day, I said I would. You personally called my place. My mother handed me the phone and said its “Dr Cole, apparently you owe him money for a prescription”. She didn’t know I had hair transplant and didn’t ask about the prescription. No discretion. It’s all about Dr. Chris “Narcissist” Cole and his feelings.
In mid to late 2002. This was over a year since the last failed hair transplant. All my scalp was exposed in the area you transplanted into. I was still determined to find a solution.
While I was waiting to get a haircut at the local barber shop. keep in mind I was at the barber shop thinking I had only one scar, as I was told I would have. And after a haircut they show the back of the head. I could see only one scar, that was from the center, that appeared around 6 inches long. I thought the remainder of the scar was less detectable. As in not by how short my hair style is, but just less invasive, thinner, maybe a red line.
Anyhow while waiting for my haircut I picked up a magazine. In this magazine I see a nonsurgical alternative to hair restoration. Two months later I take out a $12,000 loan. The plan was to use the money for college to become a paramedic and to use $3500 dollars or so for the procedure. I was working full time at a call center and was going to continue working part time while attending college. I was volunteering and was accepted to the program in Chatham
I flew to Philadelphia for the non- surgical procedure. Keep in mind I didn’t know at that time I was scammed by your Clinic. Just very disappointed in the lack of any results. I guess I didn’t want to hurt your feelings and just didn’t say anything.
Moving back on with this new scam. They had me sit in a chair, then someone came from behind and glued this hideous toupee on. Left the room, locked the door and there was only an exit door for me to leave.
It wasn’t on straight; it was like carpet like material with hair. There was plastic like material protruding from my forehead. Other than the back and sides, I must have had the worlds thickest head of hair. They provided me with a customer service number and contact number in Toronto.
So, naturally I had to quit my job and live of the loan. I called the place in Toronto that was a company that sold hair systems. They wanted me to wait three weeks for the carpet to losing up.
Drove to Toronto after three weeks and then this was when I discovered that I had three very prominent scars from ear to ear. They shaved off the rug. But because of the scars I opted not to completely shave my head.
Before having this young girl, shave my head, the owner says, “We are not at all affiliated with this company. They just know who we are “Your only 24, I would never sell you a hair system, you should maybe get a hair transplant”.
After the girl shaved the rug of my head the owner wrote out two postdated $50.00 receipts for adjustments to the rug. As I was leaving, he says “hold on, where do you think you are going, that will be $100.
I paid $100 for the worst hair cut ever. I drove over 8 hours for a haircut that I could have done myself with my own personal shaver. They didn’t tell me they were going to shave of, they just wanted to scam me out of $100 dollars.
At 24, that was last the last haircut I have ever had in my life. I have been cutting my hair ever since. Holly!! if only I would have none about having the three scars, I wouldn’t have been in that a barber shop to begin with.
I never told anyone about my vacation in Philadelphia. I saw the Liberty Bell, so it wasn’t a complete loss.
Around 2 months later I started using the internet. This might have been at the end of 2002. I came across a forum that a lawyer put together that was duped by this company. This lawyer was putting together a class action lawsuit against this company. I say company because I don’t even remember the name of the company. And I don’t really care. They got me! There are worse things in life that could happen. Like having multiple hair transplants at The Cole Clinic- “exceeding expectations”- I like that Slogan
Chris, if you weren’t all talk and were able to successfully give me a hair transplant, I would never had responded to this second scam. If you would have said, I can’t help you, you have to much hair and you’re too young. I would have gone back to shaving my head with my personal shaver.
To think after 21 years, I could have had one legitimate hair transplant and I probably would have been fine until I was at 50 years old.
Now back to my donor loss. In the beginning of 2003, I saw two dermatologists in Toronto. Asking why is my donor hair is falling out? I was tested for iron deficiency. Everything was fine. Anyhow, I eventually knew it was from the surgery.
I then consulted with Dr. Jones and Seager. At this point I wasn’t looking for confirmation. I was looking to see if there was anything that could be done to prevent further loss.
After meeting with Dr. Jones. He said “you can have Chris call me and I will tell him that it was unethical to give you a hair transplant to a 19-year-old, he should be returning your money and the donor loss is caused by his surgery.
I went to the Cole Clinic with tears in my eyes.You reacted to what I said, by making a sad face, the face a parent makes when their child doesn’t get their way. I want to throw up just writing this. You are truly disgusting.
Then you said "if I would have known you had problems, I would never would have giving you a hair transplant. “I feel bad, I really thought I was helping.”
But you are the problem Chris. but in a sense, you might be right. I am just too nice of a person. I was very disappointed in the results, so I went back and back for more surgery. It was like here is another $6,000 dollars, Oh Please Dr. Cole you think you could give me bangs. Do you think you can get the hair to grow? I hope I am not asking for too much. I guess I just didn’t want to hurt your feelings. I showed you too much respect and then you insult me and blame your mistakes on me
“If you knew I had problems”. Do you mean to say at the very least you would have been honest what I was signing? Would you have giving the consent form during our consultation?
You even went as far as to contact my family doctor and pretended to be concerned about my wellbeing. You even told me that I can stop by the clinic at any time to talk about my so- called problems.
I would imagine that invitation is only extended providing that I don’t hurt your feelings and pretend that the transplanted hairs grew and that I am pulling out my donor hair.
At some point you wrote me a prescription for a steroid cream for scalp inflammation. But I NEVER TOLD YOU I HAD INFLAMMATION. I want to make this clear.
I NEVER TOLD YOU THAT I FELT A BURING PAIN OR ANY PAIN FOR THAT MATTER.
You spoke to soon. Because you knew by the damage you made with the donor loss, I had scalp inflammation. You knew that nothing was going to grow since there was no growth in the second hair transplant. You probably knew after the first procedure that the second transplant would have been a disaster.
And when I said that nothing grew, without hesitation, not even looking at my hair. You said " no it all grew in, I can see why you would think that, it’s because you opted for a lower hairline.
That must be the most condescending and idiotic thing I have ever heard. I know what 2000 grafts looks like. I know what hair looks like. There certainly wouldn’t be any scalp exposed. You knew nothing grew and your rehearsed reply would suggest you were not expecting anything to grow. I could count the hairs. I don’t even want to bother.
As well, when I said afterwards, the hairline doesn’t look natural. And were just talking the design. Because no hair was grafted into the temples.
Your reply was. “Well it’s not my fault, you should have waited”.
What does that even mean? I have now been waiting 21 years. You mean I should have seen a skilled surgeon? I am not even trying to insult you. But again, everything is my fault.
I asked for a full refund. I continued to maintain my composure and I was still respectful. But you continued to belittle and insult me. Then you tell me you want to contact Dr. Jones first to see what he has to say.
So, you spoke to Jones and called me back. This is what you said. I can pretty much quote you word for word, because it was shocking, and it has never left my memory.
So, you called me and said. “I called Dr. Jones. "I still think the donor loss is from traction alopecia, if you seek help, I am sure the hair will grow back. “But I guess, it could be from the surgery”. “If it is, that’s a first time that has ever happened. “But you did sign a consent form”. “Besides I did too good of a job, it turned out better then what I thought it would.” “I thought you were going to end with a gap”. All I can do is cut you a deal on another transplant”.
I was just starting out in life. You are absolutely revolting. I didn’t think a doctor could be that sick and disgusting. I think you had 8 years of experience at that point in time. There certainly was a lot foreshadowing in those three in a half year that would suggest that this was going to happen. Again, I was just too trusting. I always felt that there was something sinister about you Dr. Cole.
Just so creepy and disingenuous. I can’t believe I let this happen.
Chris Cole became a millionaire selling a very cheap technology that was invented 1982 and he still needed money from a teenage kid. You basically told me that you don’t care if I take my own life, that’s 3.5 hours out of my time.
“The Cole Clinic Exceeding Expectations” Were my expectations to high?
Here is some steroid cream. Good Luck.
Then afterwards, I repeatedly called the clinic demanding for a refund. Your secretary or mouthpiece kept regurgitating,
Dr. Cole is a perfectionist. Dr. Cole is world leader in hair transplant surgery. The quality is to good, we can’t refund your money. She hangs up. And I call back. She regurgitates the same lies.
You call the police on me. So, at that point that’s how my parents found out. Other than some people staring at my plugs, I never told anyone.
Shortly afterwards, I suppose from the stress from these scams in just four short years. I started grinding down my four front teeth. The upper right and left center teeth became worn down eventually to half its original.
Losing donor hair, my teeth and a 12,000-dollar loan, no job. Living of the remaining loan, Used that money for basic living expenses. Dutasteride came out at this time. It was $550 for a three-month supply. As well I was taking Propecia, Minoxidil and many supplements. It was roughly $400 per month in hair treatments.
I was spending that much money in hair treatments only because I was obviously in some serious trouble with what you did to my head. Going back to shaving my head was out of the question.
After making payments for over three years, rent, loans etc. etc.
Every pay cheque was gone the day I was paid. Couldn’t make payments anymore. Lost my credit and loss my job. Company relocated. Considering I had no education I didn’t have many choices but to work at a call centers and listen to people moan and complaint about nonsense. Because of these experiences, mostly due to lack of money, I have literally lived in complete isolation for my years. Which is brutal.
Again, email me my before and the pictures and consent form. So, I can post this email with the pictures online. And I will send out separate email with questions.
Or we can consult in person.