56 Year-old North American Living in Abu Dhabi - Transest Clinic - Istanbul, TR

You know, it's hard enough doing your school...

You know, it's hard enough doing your school homework when you're growing up. You know full well that you are never going to use that calculus you had to learn (unless you grow up to be a mathematical engineer), and who really cares to learn detailed battle plans for every war that was ever fought in the world... But when deciding on a FUE clinic in a foreign country, now that’s a different thing altogether.

When you start doing your homework and researching doctors and clinics in Istanbul, Turkey who perform FUE hair transplants, you tend to pay a little more attention, and try to look past some reviews which provide NO before or after pictures, and spit venom from the beginning. I mean, you really want to find a good situation, clinic and doctor before you let anyone make 4,000 new holes in your head that can scare your kids half to death. So, seeing that I just had my FUE surgery yesterday, I thought that I would start to write a beginning to end journey over the next year. YES, it takes a year to see the full results, so anyone that says that they are not happy after 3 weeks to 3 months was definitely given too many pokes with a sharp needle to the top of your head during the procedure.

So, let's begin. After about a month of research, I chose TRANSEST HAIR TRANSPLANT CLINIC after talking with a few of my associates and reading reviews on this site as well as others I could find online. I am 56 years old, and I live in Abu Dhabi, UAE so Turkey was only about 4-5 hours away with only a 2-hour time difference. Turkey has recently starting getting to the top of many lists when discussing medical tourism, and hair transplants using FUE in Turkey offer one of the best values for your money. I had a FUT procedure done in 2002 in New York City, when GOOD hair transplants were really in their infancy. I can't remember how many grafts I got then (the number 1,000-1,500 stands out) but I still have the scar in the back of my head to prove that I really did get it. I had been losing my hair slowly since about 30 years old, so at 43, I thought it was time to augment the follicle situation. Most of the grafts from that operation were transplanted in the front and top of my hairline, to fill in density, and I still had some coverage on the crown of my head, and besides, that would have cost lots more, so I went for the front coverage. After about a year, I was very happy with the results, and again waited for technology and costs to catch up with reality and my pocketbook. I figured I would need another operation in the future when the rest of my "born with" hair finally gave up the ghost, and unfortunately, I was right. The bare crown of my head became larger every year, and I believe what I still have up front is the transplanted hair from 2002. So I am here to tell you that it does survive and thrive over time.

When I choose the TRANSEST Clinic, I booked my flight from Abu Dhabi with miles that I had on account, and chose the month of March to visit for the operation. The clinic pays for 2 nights at the Midmar Hotel, which is about a 5 or 10-minute drive from the Ataturk Airport, Istanbul. I had been in constant contact with over the previous month with Aytaç, the scheduling coordinator, who handed over his duties to Dr. Ahmed Altan about a week before I was due to arrive. I’m not sure if Aytaç is on holiday or if they had a change in HR personnel, but it was nice to be in contact with the doctor who would be overseeing the operation. Since I arrived on Sunday for a Monday operation, the normal driver and clinic had their day off, so I found a taxi and arrived at the Midmar Hotel in about 5 minutes, and 20 Turkish Lira (which is about 6-7 Euro). On Monday morning, Mustafa the driver picked me up at 8:45 am and drove me to the clinic which is a short drive away.

I met with Dr. Altan and he went over the procedure, what was to be expected, how long it would take for final results (12 months) and answered any questions that I had. After taking my payment of EUR 1590 (cash, no charge), he led me into the operation room where they took a vile of blood for analysis, and had me change to a hospital gown to wear over my jeans. I was led to the table that I would be inhabiting for the rest of the day, and the dreaded “stick-your-head-with-many-needles” that is so often talked about here on this site. I knew what to expect from my previous stint, so it really wasn’t that bad – come on people – SUCK IT UP and endure the short procedure for a lifetime of new hair. The technician administering the injections was a complete pro with needles (she also took my blood), and the injection experience was not that bad at all. You could have banged me in any part of my head with a pan after the injections and I wouldn’t have felt anything. The whole procedure was absolutely painless. If you are scared of needles or could have bad dreams in the future, I guess you will have to get a toupee instead. ?

The whole procedure took almost 9 hours, and I was finished at 6:00 pm that night. Like my experience in New York City 14 years previously, the technicians that work with Dr. Altan do about 2/3 of the work, changing shifts about once or twice when extracting the hair follicles from the donor area (Stage #1) and then again when putting the grafts in the new channels where they will be transplanted (Stage #3). Dr. Altan did the entire Stage #2, where he opened the 4,000 channels in the recipient sites on my head. After I was finished, the technicians heavily bandaged my donor area and cleaned the entire scalp the best they could without disturbing the newly transplanted hair. I then met again with Dr. Altan in his office, and we went over which pills I would be taking for the next few days, when I would use the pain pills (if needed), and gave me a large bottle of special shampoo to be used starting in about a weeks’ time. The transplanted grafts need about 7-10 days of as little rubbing or touching to ensure a good solid transplant – same advice that I received from my first operation.

The driver then took me back to the hotel, and I ordered room service, since I didn’t want to put off any diners with the bandages and raw donor and recipient sites on my head. The hotel has a great kitchen and the customer service here is fantastic. So far, I have had the Chicken Schnitzel and the Caesar Salad with grilled chicken – both highly recommended.

The next morning after eating at the breakfast buffet that comes when staying at the hotel, the driver picked me up at 10:15 am for my last appointment with Dr. Altan. He asked how my night went and if I had any concerns or pain. Fortunately, I did not, and do not, have any pain from the operation. I slept sitting up in bed at about a 45-degree angle, so that none of the recipient area of my head was touching a pillow or anything else. Sleep came rather easily, so again, no problems. He was careful when removing the heavy bandaging covering the donor area, and cleaned the area with an antiseptic lotion. He asked again if I had any questions or concerns, and made sure that I had all his contact information (email, whatsapp, etc.) so that I could contact him at any time if I had any concerns. I was given a black elastic headband to wear just below the recipient areas for 2 days, to try to keep any swelling down that might travel down from my scalp to my face. I briefly met Dr. Ayse Ozturk (the plastic surgeon at the clinic) who had a quick look at Dr. Altan’s work and gave it a high passing grade. (See, there you go. School and homework never end, no matter how old you get.) Another one of the surgeons took a picture in the hallway on my way out with Dr. Altan and myself, and the driver then took me back to the hotel for the day. I will be staying another 2 days here in Istanbul at the Midmar to relax and take it easy, so that the surgery can heal a little bit more without having to get on a plane and travel 5 hours back to the Abu Dhabi desert.

So in conclusion for my first report, the TRANSEST CLINIC was a great choice, very professional, friendly and really, really good at what they do. The doctors and technicians were wonderful, and I couldn’t have had a more enjoyable experience considering all the old and new holes that are now in my head. I will update with post-operation pictures once my initial review is accepted to the site. CHEERS!

Post-op day #1 after FUE operation - Monday March 7, 2016

Post operation pictures are now posted showing both a front and rear view with the bandages applied. I have no pain whatsoever, but I have some pain pills just in case it gets sore a little later in the evening. Everyone will experience different pain or possible discomfort, but fortunately I seem to heal quickly.

Tuesday March 8, 2016. Day after surgery and bandages removed

The morning after surgery, I was picked up by the driver and taken to the Transest Clinic to have my bandages removed and was given a tight black headband to wear for the next 2 days. Some people experience swelling in the face as swelling can gather in the head below the surgery area, so all the clinics try to play a little prevent-defense and keep the swelling from traveling down toward the eyes. I have not yet had any swelling whatsoever and I am trying to keep the itching to a minimum by keeping my entire scalp moist with water that I use from a spray bottle (my form of prevent-defense).

March 18, 2018 - 10 days post surgery TRANSEST CLINIC

10 days post operation for 4,000 grafts at Transest Clinic. Redness from surgery has almost disappeared and scabs have mostly fallen off. Healing well with no pain or headaches.
Dr. Ahmed Altan

Very professional, knowledgeable, friendly and approachable. Dr. Altan wants to make sure every one of your concerns are met and questions answered.

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
5 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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