Fue Hair Transplant - My Story (so Far)

pete_love

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Hi all

Way back in 2011 I created an account here to ask about hair restoration products like minoxidil, finasteride, Nizoral etc as I knew I was beginning the horrible process of going bald.

Eventually around a year later I decided that, when the time came, I'd opt for an hair transplant. Until then, I decided to go with Toppik fibers as although I was thinning literally everywhere, I maintained a coverage that allowed me to pull off a good look with the fibers. All was well until this year, after 5 years of gradual loss, the Toppik was on its last legs and despite my best efforts, it was starting to look a little noticeable, especially in the corners. The decision was mate, it was time for the FUE.

Not being made of money, I couldn't afford the £9500 quoted to me by local clinics where I live. My budget was, at a maximum, around a third of that, so I decided to look abroad. After a lot of research, I decided to go with Clinicana, a company based in Istanbul, Turkey.

Communication with them was conducted via Whataspp, and weirdly enough, Snapchat. I didn't mind this as via written comms there is no language/accent barrier. Snapchat was purely to allow them to send me videos and pictures of live procedures, and to give me a virtual tour of their private hospital, which looked great.

Obviously the discussion with them over the treatment and number of grafts was based purely on estimates via pictures I had sent them and the surgeon believed he could get around 4000 from me, which was great. The price was set, the dates agreed, and it was then just a waiting game until I got on the plane. Between those dates, there was a bombing at the airport in Istanbul, then the failed military coup... but I assure you I would've walked through fire to get to that hospital, so it didn't put me off. And during my stay, there were no issues at all.

Once I arrived and was put up in a 5 star hotel (fully inclusive) I was given some more info about the procedure and had a good nights rest. The next day, they took me in, shaved me head and agreed a hairline suitable for me. The procedure then began.

After the grafts had been removed, the surgeon beamed at me and explained merrily that they had managed to extract 5300, which is a massive amount. I was obviously very happy, and in Turkey, this doesn't affect the price. You pay what you were quoted, irrespective of grafts obtained.

Let me tell you this - to anyone thinking about FUE, I'm not going to lie. It was a horrible 7 hours of my life. It was uncomfortable, it was physically and mentally exhausting. The local anesthetic is agony when its pumped in to your skull, and you still get some discomfort afterwards. I lost quite a lot of blood, and felt like sh!t for a few days after. I was far too confident that I'd be up and back to normal the next day, but that certainly was not to be. My face swelled like a balloon, I got two black eyes as a consequence. I think I was definitely worse case scenario, as most reviews and stories I have read show that people don't normally go through all that. But irrespective, it was worth it, and so far, I am very happy with the results.

I've attached some pictures of various stages so far. I am now 10 days post-op, there is no swelling left, no pain, the scabs and blood and dead skin have been washed away.

The only concern I have is for my donor area. I'm worried they may have over-harvested. 10 days post-op and it is still very obviously thin compared to the parts of the back of my head that weren't touched. However, this may be normal considering the large amount of grafts. Does anyone know?

The pictures show my head a few weeks before the op, without any Toppik in. Then there's me pre-op after it has been shaved and the hairline drawn. The picture with the bandages is around an hour after I had been sent home from the hospital. The following two are 3 days post op. The side-on picture is day 8, just prior to the first proper wash. The final 1 is from today, 10 days post-op after my first proper wash and removal of scabs, skin etc.

I'll be sure to post more in time, and answer any other questions.

Cheers.
 

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Roberto_72

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Well done! Keep us posted!
 

Illusions

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How much would you say everything costs in total with the flights and accommodation as well? It is very expensive in the UK like you said so I'd also consider going to another country to have a transplant some time down the road.
 

pete_love

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It was ridiculously cheap.

The cost included:

The operation with maximum required grafts
3 nights accommodation at the 5* Ritz Carlton (4* Available for a reduced price) with breakfast
All medication, shampoo and moisturiser, neck pillow, hat, and a bottle of Haarex (look it up, its a multi-vitamin spray)
Aftercare via whatsapp/skype

£1815 (this price fluctuates with the exchange rate. It increased a bit for me after Brexit. They keep the price in Euros constant which I think was 2000EUR.

The flights were £305 return, and I spent about £80 on room service dinners and tips. Total cost was £2200.

I won't know for certain for another 6 months, but right now this is an absolute bargain. The implanted hair is still here and is growing. I'm still waiting on the dreaded shed/shock loss but I am full recovered and everyone in work is telling me it looks great. It's the best decision I've ever made.

Any more questions, I'd be happy to help.

Cheers
 

centurie

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Donor are does look abit thin, but hey i would rather have it fun down there than up top. Also im sure when you grow your hair out it wont be noticeable. Keep us updated :)
 

pete_love

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2 week update guys...

It's starting to grow in, very thick and strong. I'm reallY surprised as I was expecting the shedding to have started by now, but it's there's not even a hint of this happening.

Still extremely happy with the result, I'm going for my first haircut today (back and sides only!)

Still bracing myself for shedding and I'll update on here if it does. I've read in to it that 5/10% of patients experience no shedding at all, so fingers crossed I'm one of the lucky ones.
 

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pete_love

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Density is great, especially around the hairline which they packed pretty tight. Looking forward to it growing, its nearly at a length now where I can start styling. I'll post another pic once I get to 4 weeks (its my 3 week anniversary tomorrow).. but so far, still so good.
 

follicle2001

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I wonder if it is not so much growing as the scalp around it is less swollen now. It would be amazing if you didn't have a shed. Don't get me wrong-I hope you do not go through a shed, but you probably will. You will also likely have shockloss in donor and recipient zone, especially with such a large surgery. Keep us posted!
 

pete_love

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Hey guys

Posted an update to this but has been deleted due to issues with the forum so trying again now.

I'm nearly 7 Weeks in, the shedding has started but it's not as bad as feared. I managed to catch it early with my old trusty toppik and it looks great, so everyone actually thinks they see an improvement!

Donor area is almost completely back to normal, still a little thin but I attribute that to shock loss and I'm confident it'll come back through.

I've posted a couple of pictures how its looking now. The lighting in the photographs actually make it look worse than it actually is. Looking at my hair with the naked eye it does look thicker than it does in these photos, but I don't care as the toppik sorts that out anyway. I've included a picture with the toppik in so you can see just how well it works. The fact I've kept the hairline irrespective of shedding means I get a really convincing natural look with the fibers.

So, 7 weeks in, 2 grand down, but still feeling really happy. Will update again soon and answer any questions in the meantime.
 

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br1

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Impressive results. Congratulations, hope it continue to improve.

question: Are you on meds? finasteride/dutasteride ?
 

pete_love

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Thanks. I'm just waiting for the 6 month mark until the real progress begins, but I'm already enjoying the difference it's made.

No meds for me, which is probably the reason I ended up getting FUE. I was on finasteride for about 6 months a few years back, got horrible sides.

I take biotin supplements. Thats about it.
 
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cyrusthegreat@hotmail.com

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Looking good, Pete. Looking forward to future updates.

Did your hair transplant Doctor suggest you use minoxidil at all to boost density potential after 6 months? One of my coworkers who had a hair transplant some time ago mentioned something to that effect.
 

pete_love

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Cheers Cyrus.

I aim to give at least a monthly picture update, but I know not a lot changes between month 2-6, so we'll see how it goes. I literally cannot wait until Jan/Feb when the real growth starts.

Its funny - my surgeon seemed quite irritated when I asked him about other methods of "upkeep". I asked him about when it was safe to start using Toppik, and also, I had about 7 months supply of minoxidil left (I said on a previous reply I only took Biotin, which is true, I'm currently off the minoxidil) - anyway he brushed these questions off with a simple "you won't need it".

I got the impression that this was an artist upset about someone questioning his work. I am losing my crown, albeit at a slow rate, but its on it's way and I started usuing minoxidil only around March this year to try and further slow the loss or improve it. I wanted to start re-applying to the crown, but the surgeon basically told me not to bother.

Now at this stage I am thinking this is the one disadvantage about going abroad for this type of thing. It's the communication/ethical barrier. Is he telling me not to use minoxidil because he misunderstands, and thinks I want to use it on the hairline? (I don't). Or does he have a vested interest? He knew I was balding at the back, and said he'd take me back in a year to fill it in with more FUE. Does he want me to abandon the minoxidil so he gets more business? I know a lot of Turkish people, all great guys, but they always have one eye on your money.

I read countless articles and Q&A's stating that minoxidil is typically started again 14 days post-surgery. One of my friends got a transplant here in the UK at the start of the year, and took minoxidil and was of course fine.

I do plan on taking it again, but I will do this AFTER the proper growth has started, as I say, around 5/6 months post-op.

Why?

Well, I haven't shedded much, and I think that's because I have been very careful with taking my Biotin supplements, followed the strict 4 week post-op advice of no alcohol, smoking, fun or gym. And I take Biotin Shampoo and nizoral a couple times a week, and use a special hair moisturiser. I know from experience that starting minoxidil will cause me to shed, and I'm worried if I start now, it will have a negative impact on the new hair I have sitting on my head. Not wanting to take ANY risks, and the fact my crown will likely look the same in 6 months, I've decided it's better to wait.

Hope this helps.

Pete
 

pete_love

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11 week update guys.

Wow, the shedding has stopped, and it was pretty minimal. The donor area has cleared up and appears to be back to normal.

A lot of the new hair is now growing, I'm just waiting on the density coming through.

Still wearing toppik, although I'm needing less and less. I'm wearing it more to ensure a consistent look now now than anything.

I've attached some updated pictures. The last 2 are with toppik in, the rest are from just out the shower.

Cheers
 

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pete_love

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Last post messed up a bit. Side on without toppik, then two with it on.
 

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