So far so good. Dr Tu?rul Maral and his team are...
So far so good. Dr Tu?rul Maral and his team are excellent and highly experienced. Am 9 days post-op so nothing much to show or tell that's not consistent with all the other reviews on here at this stage. Will post more as things progress.
Red crusts were all washed out by day 7. Some redness still in donor and recipient areas but that's to be expected for a while and am now applying Aloe Vera Gel which helps. Preparing to start some massaging during hair washing tomorrow.
Pics below are prior to procedure and at 8 days post. Obviously still a long way to go, wearing a hat etc. but hopeful of a good outcome after 6-12 months and will post regular progress updates here.
3 weeks today post-op at Maral Clinic
When I decided to embark on this FUE HT journey my biggest concern was not around pain, cost or traveling to a strange country - but more how I would look after surgery and how long it would take to look 'normal' again. I have my own business and meet clients in the City, so this was my major worry. So for the past 3 weeks I've been wearing the fedora hat that Maral Clinic provides when you leave, both outside and in the office, which people seem to have gotten used to now!
So here I am at 21 days post op. The redness is still there but if that stopped it actually looks like I have a hairline of sorts. Biggest progress is the donor areas back and sides of head. The hair has regrown very quickly there and it's actually quite difficult to see I've had anything done there, which is far better than I had anticipated at only 3 weeks.
29 days / 1 month post-op progress
So here I am at exactly 4 weeks post-op from Maral Clinic. Not much has changed since last week's update except the soreness at the back and sides donor area has almost completely gone and I'm getting some sensation returning to the crown area.
I'll be glad when the redness goes as that's the most obvious clue to having had something done. The hair at the back and sides has regrown over the donor areas so that's a bonus.
Week 5 / 36 days post-op
Not sure if anyone reads these updates so this is more of a personal progress blog to self for the record.
Not much changed from 7 days ago. Scalp redness is gradually going but I don't appear to be shedding the grafted hairs yet, maybe that's yet to happen but I read somewhere on here that some people don't shed the grafted hair and it just keeps growing without being lost first. We will see. I have recommenced applying Minoxidil 5% daily like I did before the op. I also gave myself a light trim with scissors over the top today as it all seems to be growing at odd rates and looking like a stray dog. That's partly due to the earlier frontal grafts I had decades ago and which have just kept on growing as normal apparently unaffected by the recent HT. I thought these earlier HT grafts would be obliterated by the micro FUE ones but seems not so.
There is actually more hair over the crown than these pics show. My hair is very light blonde / going white so to the touch it feels like there's stubble cover all over but the pics show less than I can feel to the touch. I might try putting some hair color on to see if that makes a difference. Docs on here in one of the Q&A threads are saying that color can be applied after 3-4 weeks so will maybe give that a try.
I think its also time to bid farewell to the famous Maral Clinic black hat :) This is the Michael Jackson style black fedora they give you for free when you leave for the airport. I've worn it continuously when in public since getting home but I think I now look 'normal' enough (not that I ever did) to go bare in public so to speak.
7 weeks post-op pics
I've been making weekly updates, so here I am at week 7 post-op.
I've been going around hat-less for about a week and no-one has seemed to notice. Even relatives I've met. I decided to put some color on to see if the growing hair would look thinker. I'm light blonde going gray so I chose a darker blonde hair dye. It came out ginger. Doh. Oh well. Still not sure whether the expected shock loss has started occurring yet or if that's still to come. No real evidence of hairs falling so not sure. Time drags on very slowly when you are waiting for results. Roll on summer when hopefully growth will start to pick up.
9 weeks today progress - post-op from Maral Clinic
10 Apr 2016
2 months post
9 weeks post-op today, brief progress update.
Scalp redness continues to diminish. Thickness of hair at back and sides seems to be back to like it was before the op. Still no evidence of shedding, I've heard in some cases the hair does not shed but just keeps going.
I am now definitely in the 'ugly duckling' phase where the front hairline has a kind of Fozzie Bear look. I've been going about my normal business, public transport, work and social and so far no-one has said anything, stared or pointed at me as far as I'm aware.
I've been using the 5% minoxidyl liquid spray again for the last month. Decided not to resume the Propecia pills again, as I'm hoping the growth will happen without it and I don't like taking meds if I can avoid them.
Looking closely at my before pics and the ones today, I think I have reached a point where I have more coverage today than I had prior to the HT procedure. Fingers crossed that in another couple of months the hair will really start to thicken up, but I'm already starting to see the benefits today.
Three and a half months post op pics
21 May 2016
3 months post
14 weeks post op from Maral Istanbul pics. Still not sure if I had and shedding yet or whether that's still to happen. It feels thicker to the touch than the crown pics show, so happy with progress so far. I've not experienced anyone staring at my head so presume I'm looking remarkably 'normal' now!
So if it doesn't all suddenly shed out I have fingers crossed it will all start thickening-up in a month or two time.
4 months / 16 weeks pic
13 Jun 2016
4 months post
Only managed to take one pic last week, but herewith. All looks to be going well so far and some people I met last week who I hadn't seen for a year or two commented on the apparent transformation. So I'm happy with the results so far!
6 Month Post-Op pics
Ok - I am exactly 6 months post-op today (7th Feb 16) from Maral clinic Istanbul.
I am very happy with the transformation so far and hoping the crown thickens a bit more over the next few months. Any redness or itching disappeared months ago and I no longer take any special efforts. Just ordinary shampoo, conditioner, daily minoxidil 5% spray (which I was using for 5 years before anyway) and a bit of color as I've gone grey - as you can see in the 'before' pics taken by Maral prior to shaving the head.
Maral advised pre-op I was a grade 5 or 6 - which sometimes requires a 2nd HT. Immediately post-op he said a lot of the (4000) grafts contained 3 or more follicles and coverage was good, so probably wouldn't need a 2nd op.
One or two people I see only occasionally have remarked on the positive transformation but cannot identify what it is (and I don't tell - unless close friends!). Only one so far correctly spotted that it was more hair, but he is suffering hair loss too so probably more acutely aware and 'hair-watching' like the rest of us! I haven't had a haircut for a couple of months to see if I could grow some top length, but I now feel like a complete scruff so am going for a #3 sides and not much off the top today.
Just another tip re the operation itself:
Maral is more than happy to send you the pre and post-op photos he takes. He usually asks for consent to use the (face-pixilated) photos to show future prospective patients on their website etc. I was happy to agree to this. The photos include the actual grafts harvested prior to insertion in the recipient channels they cut to receive them. A bit gory I know, so don't scroll to end pic if easily upset by hospital blood stuff. Each square gauze pad holds 250 harvested grafts. They normally place 4 of these in a sterile plastic petri dish. So you can see here there are 4 petri dishes each containing 4 gauze pads of grafts. So, 4x 250 x 4 dishes = 4000 grafts. You can see these yourself on the surgery trolley / table between the harvesting and implanting sessions (they usually feed you in between and give you a chance to sit instead of lying in one position - both of which are welcome). So this is how you know exactly how many grafts you got.
Having reached my 6 month milestone I will post updates less frequently as I'm not sure if anyone reads these. But wishing all of you on 'the journey' a successful quiff, lock, mane, mop, thatch, shock, tumble, head, barnet, wave, crowning glory - or any other hairy adjective to describe the results you seek!
6 Month Post-Op pics
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Pre-Op pics Jan/Feb 2016
Photos taken 1 month before op, pre head shave at Maral clinic, and harvested grafts
8 Months Update
Greetings fellow hair watchers.
Here I am at 8 months and 2 days post-op and pics. I am very happy with the growth and appearance. My confidence is improved and still getting used to my own reflection in the mirror each morning, as I haven't had hair like this since I was at school!
I haven't had a hair cut for over two and a half months just to see if I can grow a wave at the front.
I've not had any special care regime apart from what I was doing before the op, e.g.
Minoxidil 5% twice a day, Aragan Oil shampoo daily, Conditioner twice weekly, Color once a month (light brown, as I'm now completely gray).
I reckon there's still some thickening of the hair to come, so looking forward to seeing some of that happening over the next 4 months.
9 Month Update
17 Nov 2016
9 months post
The optimist in me has finally crawled out from under the nightmare of recent political shocks and decided to post a more lighthearted and topical view of the hair situation this month. I'm about 10 days late posting this month, past my 9 months post-op anniversary.
So here, just flown in on Hairforce One...
10 months update and photos
12 Dec 2016
10 months post
Season's greetings hairwatchers. Am a few days late with this month's update but better late than never I guess. I think the growth has begun to 'top-out' now I'm coming up to a year post-op but still happy with the results even if nothing more happens. I have left it more than 6 or 7 weeks without a haircut and am beginning to look like an out-of-work artist; so I went to the local Kurdish barbers halfway through these pics today. (You can tell where I'm as gray as a badger at the sides post trim)
Though I previously combed my hair straight back all my life (ref 'before' pic in January), Dr Maral advised combing it sideways which I have been doing since it has grown post-op. Something to do with with making the roots stronger or something like that; but he didn't say whether I should go left or right. So I alternate the parting to the left or right several times a week just for fun and to see which side works best. As always no-one seems to notice or comment anyway, so wondering what to do next to elicit a reaction from anyone lol.
Here's hoping all my fellow Istanbul post-op buddies on here are progressing nicely and all those considering undergoing make the right choice in this coming new year. A cool yule and happy new year to y'all - HF
Back of head requested pics
12 Dec 2016
10 months post
Rear head pics as requested by Aussie Bee
11 Months Post-Op Update
9 Jan 2017
11 months post
Greetings fellow hair-watchers.
Just a brief update and quick pics as work is very busy right now. This weekend was my 11 months post-op FUE milestone and things are still progressing well.
I'm guessing that any further thickening growth should be 'topping-out' soon, as 12 months is generally when +95% of the improvement has occurred, as a rule-of-thumb.
I'm still experimenting with brushing to the left or right and here I seem to have achieved a sort of Elvis thang. Makes a change from Trump I guess; but just don't step on my blue suede shoes :)
No special hair routine apart from shampoo lightly daily, followed by Minoxidil 5% spray and a few drops of Moroccan Argan oil combed through, with just a tiny amount of conditioning wax to combat the hair dryness.
Happy new year to all and hairiest best wishes to all fellow FUE alumni !
1 Year Today - Post-Op Update
Happy Hairiversary to Me!
Well hairwatchers I can't believe it but finally a whole 365 days has passed to this very day of my FUE op in Istanbul - 7th February 2016. Wishing my life away at my age may seem odd, but I think many of us post-HT guys are doing this to some degree - well certainly the first 6 or 8 months anyway; hoping that time flies faster while we anxiously await to see some results.
I could not be happier with the final outcome. By 'final' I mean the generally-accepted wisdom that >95% of maximum growth will have occurred at 12 months post-op, so I'm not expecting nor crying out for more growth. I now have a better hairline than I can ever remember having, and more thickness than I possibly imagined when I made that crazy spur-of-the-moment decision a year ago to book the HT op and fly to Turkey. I remember feeling very anxious and alone, as my op got bounced until the following day, wandering around Istanbul and wondering what the hell I'd let myself in for. As it happens I know now that I made the right decision for me. My choice of destination and clinic were largely down to luck, plus the timely and informative replies I received from Maral - versus all the other clinics I contacted. This is because I didn't get to hear about the RealSelf site until leaving Istanbul - so I was especially fortunate to have made the right choice yet without having read all of the great advice and support I subsequently found on here...
Starting off as a Norwood 6/7 - as advised by Dr Maral from the photos I sent - I was fully anticipating needing a 2nd FUE session after a year or so. But given the excellent results I have gotten from the first op I really can't see the point unless futher hair loss happens later on.
During my final consultation immediately after the FUE op, Dr Maral advised combing the hair across-ways once it had grown, whereas I had always combed it straight back previously. Well what there was of it anyway. What I am unsure of is should it be brushed to the left or the right, or slightly forward floppy Hugh Grant style or whatever. So I keep changing it each day and sometimes during the day - just to confuse the nits - and my staff ;-) My latest pics below demonstrate some of this creative combing bouffantery..
I'm only going to the barbers about every 6 to 8 weeks and mainly just for the sides letting the top grow as much as possible - just clipping any split ends. Light brown color applied once a month and only left on for half the time stated on the box.
Cosmetically there is another spin-off benefit to my new 'high hair'. I'm only 5ft 9 tall, for which I blame my short-arsed parents. But I think the new barnet adds a good couple of inches to my perceived height. Well I like to think so anyway..
Here's hoping all friends and acquaintances on here who have either had the FUE HT or are planning to, that y'all get the hair and happiness you desire.
Emergency Haircut Needed!
At 13.5 months post-op and my barnet seems to have exploded skyward, so I need to find a barber today and get it back under control.
I was invited to someone's leaving drinks last night with a crowd of strangers I'd never met. Always a nightmare. Their colleague and my friend who invited me told them "if I'm late arriving - look out for a man with a lot of hair wandering around".
So forget the whole wearing a carnation or a red scarf thing. I'm "the man with a lot of hair" to spot lol! Never thought I'd be described with that characteristic :) Better update the passport photo proto :-/ Call 911-SNIPSNIP - now!!