ISHRS Conference 2013-San Francisco

This is an ISHRS Conference report from an earlier version of before the site went down and many articles were lost. I was able to find this article in an old backup archive so I am reposting here. A few notes about this writeup. As I read through what I had written two years ago it gives me a chuckle because so much has changed since. I'll be going to the 2015 ISHRS Conference in Chicago so it will be interesting to see whether or not my perceptions are the same or different based on my current position in the industry.

2013 ISHRS Conference - San Francisco

A random photo from my hotel during the 2013 ISHRS Conference in San Francisco
A random photo from my hotel during the 2013 ISHRS Conference in San Francisco

For the first time in a number of years I was able to attend the annual ISHRS conference. This year it was held in San Francisco, California. One thing that people need to understand is that the ISHRS is not a governing or regulating body nor is it an exclusive organization. The ISHRS is an organization that allows for the coming together of hair restoration professionals so they can share ideas and information to help better the field in general. Membership includes a vast array of talents and competencies ranging from excellent to not so excellent. Dr. Jerry Wong was the chairman of the Live Patient Viewing portion of the ISHRS conference. This is where various hair restoration doctors are allowed to showcase one or two results to highlight a specific technique or methodology that they utilize in their practice. He asked me to come along so that he can show my long term results after having so much reconstruction. Unfortunately Dr. Wong broke his ankle the week before the ISHRS conference so I was asked to present his other patients that were invited to come on his behalf. His daughter Shannon Wong, currently a plastic surgery resident, co-­presented with me.

There was a mix of results being shown at the ISHRS conference. Many FUE results were shown, some of which were ARTAS results. There were some eyebrow results shown as well and even a hairline lowering procedure which looked very good. For those of you that may not be aware, a "hairline lowering" procedure is a procedue in which a strip is removed from the forehead so that the scalp can be pulled down and forward, thus physically lowering the hairline. The strip removed is done so just the strip from the donor zone in traditional FUSS surgery. It was interesting to see that the ratio of FUE results presented, vs. those presentations from FUSS, closely mirrored the ratio of FUE discussions vs. FUSS focused discussions scheduled in the event program. After looking at all of the results presented however, I feel that the FUE results did not match the strip results and Dr. Jerry Cooley of Charlotte, North Carolina was the only other attendee that was showing a FUSS result; about 3100 grafts to the crown. The whorl pattern was perfectly recreated and the coverage was fantastic.

Tricopigmentation at The ISHRS Conference

ishrs 2013 san francisco conference
From L-R, Matt Zupan, Dr. Ron Shapiro, Milena Lardi, Joe Tillman, Giorgio Ottolini

Being at the ISHRS conference I was able to assist my friends from Italy at Beauty Medical; Milena Lardi, Giorgio Ottolini and their assistants Stefano and Francesca. They were there to showcase their scalp micropigmentation technique known at “Tricopigmentation”. This is different from traditional SMP in that it is temporary or “semi­-permanent”. Some of you may have read my impressions of Tricopigmentation offered by Beauty Medical vs. permanent SMP and that I, and Hasson & Wong, are so impressed with Tricopigmentation that we have started to offer it at our clinic in Vancouver, BC. The interest shown by the attendees of the ISHRS conference was shocking. To help them with their presentation I had one of our technicians, Carmen, apply Tricopigmentation to my scalp but only one half. She filled in my crown, my donor scar and the top of my scalp on the right side while the left side was left completely untreated. This allowed the full effectiveness of the treatment to be shared much better than had my entire scalp been filled and only a before photo shown for comparison. I presented myself as an example of Tricopigmentation to the attendees of the ISHRS conference that came to the booth. There were a lot of comments about what I had done and how, as one doc put it, it was “ballsy” to do such a thing.

I didn't think it was a big deal since I can just have the other side filled in when I get back, which is what's going to happen in a few days after this article. I'll post images of this soon but needless to say, Tricopigmentation is going to be a lot easier to find in the next several months because there will be a lot of clinics that will be offering it. What was interesting about my time with the Beauty Medical team was how much buzz there was around the booth. I'll admit that part of it was because of me and the fact that I had had tricopigmentation on half of my scalp. I had multiple doctors get a good look then leave only later to come back with a colleague to show them what they had seen on my scalp. People were obviously talking about this evidenced by the multiple return visits by many of the doctors. At one point I felt like a rubber band because I was being pulled one way then another so people could get a good look at my head. I'd be talking to one doctor then I'd feel someone grabbing my shoulder or even my head to turn it up so someone behind me could look at my crown. I have to admit, when you are on display at these ISHRS conferences it appears that many of the doctors forget that they are looking at humans that are alive and breathing and not some dummy or even a cadaver that they can just push, pull or prod at will. On the other hand, how else are they going to see what they want to see? It's a tough life, being a model;)

I also got to meet a lot of doctors that I knew from the internet forums while I was helping my friends. Dr. Wesley came by and we had a short chat about a friendly debate we had been having online about his new Pilofocus technique that he's been working on. He seems to be a nice guy and while I wasn't able to attend his Pilofocus presentation I did hear it was a good. He told me he'd send me a copy of it soon so I can review it for myself. I also met Dr. Steve Gable and Dr. Raymond Konior. These guys were great to speak with. Dr. Gabel was more personable than I expected and I could see he was a very energetic guy. Dr. Konior was more of a laid back personality and we discussed several issues that are concerning to us both. I was then greeted by Dr. Arvind Poswal of India. We took some time to sit and discuss the industry but he also paid me a nice compliment by telling me that he has learned from me how to be honest in presenting his work online. Indeed, he does not use flash photography and he's using high definition video with comb throughs to show the details of his work. He's the kind of guy that is quiet in demeanor but his mind is always working overtime. In other words, he's an intelligent man.

Dr. Ron Shapiro came by several times so it was good to see him again. He knows Milena and Beauty Medical because he started using the tricopigmentation technique in his clinic around the same time that Hasson & Wong did. Dr. Gambino from Italy was there who is always a pleasure to see.

ISHRS Conference
Joe Tillman, Milena Lardi, Dr. Rahal at the 2013 ISHRS Conference in San Francisco.

Dr. Path from Thailand was showing his colleagues my scalp at least twice, Dr. Friedman, Dr. Rahal, Dr. Koray, Dr. Keene, Dr. Ed Epstein; all were present at one time or another. Fast forward to the final night of the ISHRS conference and there was the gala dinner where the awards are handed out. This is the wrap up of the entire event and is when everyone let's their hair down, so to speak. Some of the more notable awards given out were the Golden Follicle Award which went to Dr. John Cole in Atlanta and Dr. Sharon Keene won the Platinum Follicle Award. I was happy for her as she was really surprised and I could tell she was feeling quite emotional for being recognized for her contributions to the field. I feel she deserved the recognition.

I am happy to say that it was a real pleasure to be at this ISHRS conference and my presence acted as a sort of catlyst for the renewal of my enthusiam and interest for the hair restoration field overall. For so long I've been away from these meetings and it is easy to become detached from what the industry overall is doing.

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