FUE Transplant at Transest Clinic (4,050 Grafts) Istanbul, TR

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Hello, 4 months ago I flew from California to...

Hello, 4 months ago I flew from California to Istanbul to have an FUE transplant on June 2nd 2015. I paid just under $2,000 US which included the procedure, transportation to and from the airport and the hotel. It cost me a just a little bit more because I stayed 2 days longer than required. Normally it's a 2 night stay and I stayed 4 nights because I wanted to get there a day early and leave a day later. The flight was not included and I bought that myself. I don't regret staying longer because I didn't want to be rushed and it was a long flight.

I was 40 years old at the time (41 now). I knew a couple of guys who used Transest and got great results. There are several good low cost clinics in Turkey if you don't mind technicians doing most of the work. Somehow I got lucky as Dr. Ayse Ozturk worked on me for about 2 hours. Dr. Ibraheem worked on me for about 6 hours. The whole procedure took around 8 hours and 2 technicians assisted the doctors as well. I don't know if this is normal or if some patients get most of the work done by technicians but it seemed as if the doctors at Transest had a major role to play (at least for me).

Everything was discussed ahead of time with their coordinator Mr. Aytac (pronounced I-Touch) over email and Whatsapp messenger. I sent him pictures and asked him several questions. He was always good to respond in a timely manner.

A nice gentleman (Transest driver) picked me up from Ataturk airport in Istanbul and took me to "Midmar Hotel" which is one of the hotels Transest uses for their patients. It's a decent hotel. I'd say 2.5 to 3 stars. Clean, plenty of tv channels (a handful of English speaking channels) and decent food with free breakfast. WiFi internet was free at the hotel as well and I typically got around 1.5mbps speed. Nothing great but very usable. Luckily one of the front desk gentleman spoke excellent English and he said he had lived in New York for several years. I spoke with him several times and he was quite helpful.

The day of my procedure I was picked up by the same Transest Driver. The clinic is only about a 5 minute drive from the hotel. Mr. Aytac spoke with me for a while and collected the money. He took some "before" pictures and he had Dr. Ozturk look at my head. She doesn't speak English but Mr. Aytac was there to translate. She inspected my hair and my head and put together a game plan. I was then escorted to another room where a very pretty young lady drew a couple small vials of blood. They used the lab next door to test for HIV, hepatitis and something else I don't remember. Within 15 minutes or so the blood work came back negative and I was ready to go. The rest of the blood would be used for PRP treatment at the end of my procedure. They shaved my head and had me wear a hospital gown.

I laid down on a high end looking table that resembled a flexible massage table. The anesthetic injections to the skull (maybe 15 or so of them) hurt. Anyone who says they only sting a little is lying! I have a pretty high pain tolerance and they hurt like hell. I would say after the first 5-6 the pain did lessen a bit. Your head starts going numb and the last few are very tolerable. I really thought they might use some numbing cream or something on my head first but NO.

Once they start extracting hair you don't feel pain. You feel some pressure of them pulling but its very minor. The strange part was being able to hear the hair follicles being ripped out. It's sort of like hearing a faint sound of velcro being pulled open. Terrified yet haha? Don't be, I just like being detailed in my description.

about 4 hours into the procedure they stop. You go into a small room and are fed a meal. I got chicken, rice and potatoes with this sort of soup. It was very tasty and I was able to eat even though I didn't think I would be with what I had just gone through. After about a 30 minute break you go right back on the table.

The doctors and techs work tirelessly. I was so impressed with their work ethic. Every 45 minutes or so you are told to turn. You turn on your left side, your right side and face down. There is an opening in the table to put your face into and they use plenty of rolled up clean towels to make you comfortable. When it's all over you are bandaged up and given instructions on how to sleep and take your antibiotics and pain pills which they provide. Their driver takes you back to the hotel.

The next day you eat breakfast at the hotel and their driver picks you up again and takes you back to the clinic. Bandages are removed and your head is inspected and an iodine type of thing is tapped against the sides and back of your head. It burns a little but nothing major.

The scabs fell off and about 11 days and I started buzzing my whole head with a #1 clip after 30 days. I hated how patchy it started looking after a month so I just started cutting it all off. I know they say not to use clippers on the top but I did anyway. I started growing it at about the 12 week mark. Its been less than 18 weeks so far.

At 4 months

Long way to go but I see lots of little hairs breaking out of the skin.

5 month post-op update

There's a lot of tiny little thin hairs on top I can see that are just breaking through the skin. I see them when I take a pic and zoom in real close. Those will grow in over the next few months and I'll update this thread as I go. Here's some 5 month pics I just took. There is nothing in my hair (no product).

5 months post-op

5 months post-op

6 months post op

6 months post op

7 Months Post-op

Here are some pics just out of the shower with wet hair at 7 months. Hair is wet/damp with nothing but water in it.

7 month post op with hair fiber

Someone asked me if I could post pics with some sort of hair thickening product so they'd have an idea how their hair would look at this point with product in it so I've sprinkled a little bit of hair fibers into my hair. I almost never use fibers anymore but since they asked I added a couple pics. If you're not familiar with hair fiber just search "Toppik" online.

Another 7 month pic

Still a bit sparse on top but definitely improving.

8 Month Update

Here are some 8 month pics I just took. I really feel that part of my progress is due to Finasteride. I cut up the generic 5mg tablet into quarters and take 1 quarter on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. It's a low dose to avoid possible side effects but it's enough to reduce DHT drastically (blood work can prove it). I'm supposed to be at about 75-85% at this point. My hair isn't perfect but I think it's a huge improvement over how it looked before. I'm very happy with my progress. Tell me what you think.

10 Month post-op update

So while the first 4-5 months seemed to take an eternity the last few months have flown by. Work and other obligations have kept me busy. I skipped the 9 month update but I'm doing a 10 month update. I specifically took pics under bright light to show that there is a small area where I can still see the scalp though only under bright light and nobody else seems to notice it. I can use a little sprinkle of hair fibers like Toppik to cover it want to but again I'm the only one who seems to see it.

I give about 70% of the credit of my transplant to the fine team at Transest clinic but I give the rest of the credit to Finasteride (generic Propecia). I have been using it 3x a week since about 2 weeks after my procedure.

This procedure has greatly improved my self confidence. I was ok with shaving my head if I had to (I've done it before) but I know I look better with hair. I can't thank the realself members enough for guiding me through this journey. I hope you find my update helpful.

12 Months Post Op

This will be my last update. My hair seems to have thickened a tiny bit since my last update but I haven't noticed much more than that. It's a bit wavy compared to before the procedure but I don't mind. Is it perfect....no but the improvement is clearly visible. The transplant has restored my confidence quite a bit.

Thanks to everyone who took the plunge before me for their write ups, help and advice. This has been a turbulent adventure but I'm glad I did it. I wish you all the best with your hair journeys!

The doctors don't speak English at Transest but Mr. Aytac is there to translate for them and his English is almost perfect. I felt comfortable (though nervous) about the whole thing but now that my hair is starting to grow at the 4 month mark I'm feeling much better.

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
4 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
4 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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