SAN FRANCISCO – Dr. Peter Panagotacos has been performing hair transplants for more than 40 years, during which time he’s gained prominence as a leading authority in his field. Still, even with all his accomplishments, he continues to find fulfillment in the smallest of places. “I get great satisfaction from simple gestures of gratitude from my patients, whether it’s a Christmas card or an out-of-the-blue phone call,” he says. “I worked very hard to get to the top of my field, and I teach around the world, but the thing that keeps me going is the patient who says, ‘Thank you very much, you changed my life.’”
When Peter first entered medical school in the 1960s, the hair replacement industry was still in its infancy. “It was so new that there weren’t any formal training programs in place for dermatology students to learn how to do hair transplants,” he explains. “Fortunately, I had the advantage of working with a fellow who was one of the first people in the United States to perform a hair transplant in the late ’50s.” Following graduation, Peter set up his dermatology practice in San Francisco, where he decided to include hair transplantation as one of his services. It wasn’t long before he was doing more hair transplants than anybody else in San Francisco. Today, Dr. Panagotacos’ patients continue to benefit from his extensive expertise.
A lifetime resident of the City by the Bay, Peter is a San Franciscan in the fullest sense of the word. “This is my home town—I live on the same block I grew up on,” he says. “I was here when San Francisco was still a place where everybody knew each other. It was a completely different atmosphere.” While the setting has since changed, Peter continues to enjoy the things that make San Francisco one of the finest cities in the country. “San Francisco has all the benefits of a large small town, yet it’s still a world-class city. I travel all over the world, but I’m always happy to come home.”
Outside of his profession, Peter enjoys a variety of interests and pastimes, from showing his fleet of vintage Triumph Mayflower cars to retailing his own line of olive oil. One of his principal pursuits is traveling, to which he devotes an average of two months each year. “Some of my more memorable excursions have been a dinosaur dig in Mongolia, where I found a fossilized dinosaur egg, and a two-month trip that began in Uzbekistan and ended in China,” he says. “However, the most exciting place I’ve been by far is the Congo, where I spent some time living among a Pygmy tribe in the early ’70s.”
When asked the first thing he would do if he could retire tomorrow, Peter says he would continue to share the benefits of hair transplantation in one way or another. “I’m always being invited to teach at locations throughout the world, so even if I didn’t come to work in my office, I would probably be teaching and performing hair transplantation somewhere else.”