Long time lurker; My very first post here with the intent to share and contribute based on my upcoming surgery in India with Darling buds and most importantly “ My results “ in the next few months.
I feel morally obligated to contribute at least something back to this community that offers : A worldwide network of HT experts, reputed Senior members sharing invaluable info, Top rated HT surgeons positioning their point of views and most importantly "real patients sharing real stories".
Male in mid-thirties from Canada; NW 3 - Less/More. Past 6 years were dark and depressing. Living in a fool’s paradise; using Toppik daily assuming everything’s fine but somewhere at a deeper level; it continuously bothered me. Finally in 2019; I made the big decision to get a HT.
This website is the main reason as to why I was able to solidify on my research, move ahead with a concrete decision and was able to find one of the best doctor (just being positive here) as per my checklist/strict criteria.
Special thanks to the Creator of this website – Kudos to the brain that kicked off this humanitarian initiative as it continues to educate millions of potential patients like myself.
Why Darling Buds India (I guess they changed the name to 5 Rivers Hospital )
This piece takes forever to decide especially for someone like me who spends gazillions of hours on the Internet/YouTube/Forums. I was always skeptical about giving my Head to someone to be operated; so consulted with many Canadian, American, European, Indian and Turkish clinics.
Many reputed names like Dr. Rahal ( Known as the hairline king from Canada), Dr Acar ( Cosmedica Turkey), Dr. Erdogan ( Turkey), Aestimed ( Turkey), LA Hair ( USA), Qunomedical ( Belgium & German clinics), Dr. Cinik ( Turkey) and the list goes on…………………………………………….
but None fitted my checklist in it's entirety reflecting 8 Key deciding factors that was prepared after extensive research for years 🙄 :
1. Max cost under 10,000 CAD ( 7500 USD ) for 3500-4000 Grafts to be able to achieve maximum density in my case. YES, I decided to find the best treatment within this range. IMHO, paying this much should suffice in getting you a world class, still affordable HT in today’s age with advanced Technologies, Globalization, the power of internet and competitive market.
It's costing me around 9000 CAD ( including some expensive flight tickets) with Dr. Bhatti which seems adequate for the reputation he has or rather a steal ( not sure - will tell later)
If budget wasn’t a constraint, I would’ve booked Dr. Rahal ( Canada ) who is local to me OR Dr. Baubac ( Alvi Armani USA) more importantly to save myself from the hassle of flying 20 hours one way, then drive to a different city, book a hotel for a week, apply for a visa, Take few weeks of vacation from work etc.
Dr Rahal charges 8 CAD per FUE, most other clinics would cost the same in N. America for FUE Treatment.
It’s costing me around 2.40 CAD with Dr. Bhatti ( includes all international/ Local flights, Visa, Hotel, Food, Cab etc.). If you compare Dr Bhatti's fee with his peers who fall in the same reputed arena of global doctors, I think most would sign this off as a great offering for hair loss patients globally.
Eugenix quoted around 4 CAD per graft but it was for DHI method. They produced some great results lately and they are the inventors of DHI which is now adapted globally; goes to show that they are researchers also - very impressive.
As of 2019, I think Dr. Bhatti and Eugenix should be compared as top players if India is the selected destination for your HT Journey ( My comparison below)
I almost finalized Eugenix over Dr. Bhatti but then based on my research, took a U Turn :
Eugenix positive aspects:
1. Biggest is DHI - OUT/IN grafts within minutes. Definitely better method as compared to Traditional FUE . I could only find positives so far, no negatives on DHI. It's hard to logically beat DHI method with traditional FUE; so no doctor should even try it IMO. I wish Dr Bhatti would offer DHI to his patients by now ☹
2. Clinics are located in major cities like Delhi and Mumbai. No need to drive / fly again from major airport all the way to Chandigarh.
Eugenix Negative aspects:
1. Some patients mentioned that they were taken for a ride. Eugenix Docs prey on foreign nationals; after or during mid surgery – Dr. Bansal asked for 500 more grafts payment as required and payment must be done during the middle of the operation ( insane); also no breakdown/reasoning was provided in the end.
On the contrary, Darling buds has returned some fee to few patients to their surprise which is a classy act of ethical business in my opinion (hard to find)
2. Eugenix costs are almost double than Darling buds( quite expensive for many) but anyways DHI is more costlier than traditional FUE globally and if results are better with more graft survival rate, most patients wouldn't mind paying more.
3. Eugenix is run in a satellite office format, more than one location and hard to get a hold of prime doctors - Dr. Sethi and Dr. Bansal where as Dr. Bhatti provides a peace of mind with one location, one clinic, one doctor who is also the owner of that entire facility with 15 good staff members well trained under him in a peaceful non polluted city near a hill station.
#3 was a critical factor in my decision to go with Dr. Bhatti
In short, I would’ve loved DHI for best results but I settled with FUE for now
Note: Out of thousands, This site recommends ONLY 2 surgeons from Turkey, 7 surgeons from India and 1 from Canada ( I was surprised to see only Dr. Rahal in the list, yes Hasson is there but they're again advocates of FUT ), so HRN really helped me short list 10 surgeons before making the final call
2. ONLY FUE for ME – My heart said a Big “No“ to a linear scar; doesn’t matter if some Doctors persuade you with somewhat genuine reasoning's to avoid FUE such as :
FUE provides Less density, FUT offers more grafts and saves Donor area as untouched for future sessions, FUE is a blind process etc.
Dr. Feller and Dr. Soni ( Medispa India) seems like the two biggest advocates of FUT over FUE and I agree with some of their explanations as it sounds logical.
Dr. Soni really pushed me to sign up with FUT and said his scar technique is different. Promised that he will close it in a way where almost no scarring is visible . It was tough buying into that argument, additionally recent negative reviews about him and I finally decided to brush him aside at that point.
3. Doctor MUST perform the operation (No technicians) – I could only find someone as reputed as Dr. Bhatti who performs 80% of the procedures that includes Hair trimming (to feel your hair ), Anesthesia, FUE Extractions with motorized punch and Incisions.
In Turkey where I was almost sold at one point, all operations are run by Technicians. Not a Plastic surgeon, no educational background/ competency level ( it's scary as they're known as the butchers of HT industry)
I wish Dr. Bhatti would implant the grafts too ( not his nurses) for extra cost but I guess it will be a tedious job for a busy surgeon to sit for another 4 hours or so .......
Am I asking for too much
4. World class facility matching North American standards : with Heart rate monitoring, proper blood tests, blood pressure check up, spotless , Face coverings during entire operation and sterile environment.
5. Super microscopes and Magnifiers is a must ( Most Turkish clinics operate with naked eyes, when I asked they tried to sell me bull *&**** )
This is extremely important during all 4 phases of operation :
Extraction – To make sure proper gaps are left in between grafts in the donor area and get the right angle before using the punch.
Sorting – To count how many pure singles, doubles, triples and quads ( if any ) are collected.
Incisions – To ensure least collateral damage, magnifier will show 6 x scalp surface so during incisions, holes are made at the right angle, depth and only on bald scalp areas ( not where you've some fine hairs). This should also minimize some shock loss in the post op phase.
Implantation - Imperative to only use pure singles / baby soft hairs in the very first few rows of hairline and Temples. If by mistake, they implant doubles – it will give a pluggy look and I would rate that transplant as 50% failed right then and there. If during implant, nurses grab a multi - haired graft, at least microscopes will allow them to revisit to find a pure single graft and then insert it in the right spot. Joe Tillman's video is quite helpful : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MeQ4ZvEHb7Y
6. Doctor should have a solid reputation on major forums, hair restoration network, should be well read, traveled, have some global exposure, recommended by Bald-truth, Spex and many other HT mentors like Joe Tillman. Dr. Bhatti checks all those boxes.
Yes – there are some mixed opinions about him (and every other Top HT surgeon out there) but perfection is impossible to achieve; so I decided to just look at the bigger picture and go for it.
7. Detailed info, pre op care, post op care, regular contacts and supporting your patients in their hours of greatest needs is of utmost importance. Its well know that Dr. Bhatti, Shera ( his rep) , California would contact their ex. Patients regarding some concerns, would stand by them and not disappear. This was impressive.
8. Patient advisor should be genuine, honest and straightforward – So far, Shera has been awesome, friendly and taking care of all my minor/ major concerns. Always reachable, quick responses and a real time patient who has experienced the same Doctor few years ago first hand. In the long run, it helps to have a contact like him for small chats if need be.
I will continue to share my Journey with Darling buds and also, highlight If any red flags are there.
So far, I’m just one naive internet researcher in this field who talks based on theories and hypothetical situations, I don’t have any practical experiences yet.
Assuming I've made a good decision by choosing this clinic (over others) and trying to keep a positive mindset hoping I will be in good hands is the only thing I can do now.
One Sr. Member said it wisely – “For Dr. Bhatti and his staff ( or other clinics) 18th March will be just another day with another patient like thousands came before and will come after, but for a patient who’s been researching on this constantly day/night, it’s a big life event and 18th is one of the most important day of his life after which either he could regain his lost confidence or could loose it forever “ After all, handing off your head to someone for the entire day isn’t one easy decision
I’ve seen members here supporting each other against doctors if results aren’t satisfactory. That speaks volumes and the main reason as to why I joined here to gain support from my so called “Anonymous hair restoration family”
Dr. Bhatti's hairlines were talked about – not too dense? Any suggestions? Should I revisit this with him ? I don't want a sparse hairline but Not sure if this was an old issue (one -off)
Also, I’ve not met Dr Bhatti for any F2F consulting yet or a video consultation, plan is to meet him a day before my procedure. So far, Shera is my driving force.
I’m hoping for a life changing experience (like many others), regain my lost confidence and I always say “ Hope “ is something that brings us to these Doctor’s doorsteps.
Yes finance and reviews are important aspects but we all hope to be treated in the best possible way during our special treatment day. A little daunting for me to fly all the way, get operated in a surgical room, holes in my head but I’m collecting all the courage in this world to get this done. Shera is helping like one true Samaritan
If some of you are able to read this completely, my apologies for such a long note but this is the only forum where I am able to write everything anonymously and vent out if need be.
My Journey to be continued……………………………………………………………………………………............................................