It was about 4 years ago when I first started considering a hair transplant.
I went to see a well known clinic here New York City and decided to wait. The costs where considerable and the majority of reviews were mixed, at best mediocre.
Then about a month ago decided to look into it again. On my Google search realized to my surprise that some of the leading specialists for hair transplants where actually in Turkey.
The costs there were about a third from the United States .
I googled further and settled on Dr. Serdaroglu who's results seemed very natural looking and who's reviews were impressive .
On top of that he is not only a hair specialist but also plastic surgeon.
I called him that same day, a Sunday, on his cell phone in Istanbul and send him 3 photos of my head that afternoon. He advised we settle for 2500 grafts (at a Euro each) and I ask him to set up a appointment for the procedure in two weeks time.
I must admit I was a bit apprehensive about a trip to turkey at the time, but I figured if I stayed away from larger gatherings and took taxis I would be fine.
Turkish Airlines i found out, are excellent with exceptional service, very reasonable (500 for a return ticket) and the long flight actually went by in no time.
I settled in a boutique hotel (the Vault Karakoy, excellent by the way) close to the center since I wanted to use my three days there for as much sightseeing as possible.
Doktor Serdaroglou's Clinic is located in an affluent outskirt of the city, spacious, modern, super clean and state-of-the-art .
He himself is very pleasant, soft-spoken, with a good sense of humor. He was very patient and explained the procedure in detail then listened to all my questions.
The surgery pretty much breaks into two parts.
Two hours of harvesting the grafts one by one with a tiny little 'drill' and another two hours of putting them back in. In the meantime a lunch break.
The initial Anesthesia is not all that comfortable since every square centimeter of the scalp needs to be numbed, similar to a procedure at the dentist.
After that you don't feel anything.
We actually chatted a lot during the procedure, he seemed very genuine and interested in various cultural and political issues, then tow very polite assistants put the harvested graphs back in, in absolute silence.
The harvested area gets bandaged up the implanted area remains open.
I got some painkillers and antibiotics and an extra large baseball cap to put on ( with Dr S.'s logo on it :-) ) and then sent on my way.
The entire adventure took about 6 hours.
I actually went out for dinner that night, without pain, feeling quite normal . The biggest issue was sleeping that first night since you're not allowed to touch the implanted area with any thing. The hair at that point still only lays loosely in the skin and could come out any moment. It's probably best to bring an airplane like neck pillow to stabilize your head for the first night.
I truly had throughout amazing dining experiences the following days, visited museums and shopped around the area of the grand Bazaar.
On the third day I visited Dr. Serdaroglu again to have the wounds cleaned and and he explained what to expect for the following weeks.
My scabs on my head had completely fallen off after 10 days.
Looking back, as odd as this may sound, I had a great time, enjoying my experience in Istanbul and that includes the transplant procedure.
....now of course we will have to wait and see the result, in 3-5 months time.
Mark, NY NY