So finally wrapped up my marathon 2 day 5025 graft HT surgery at ASMED. I will attempt to deep dive on few topics that are perhaps not covered by other posts, and/or were particularly important to me. Enough has been already said about Pick-ups and transfers, so I will ignore that part. Day 0 (consultation) began with few tests (blood work), taking photographs (both wet and dry hair) and finally after an hour (or two), it was time to meet the man himself, Dr. Koray Erdogan. He has an excellent sense of humor and was able to put me at ease with his smile and demeanor. He examined my wet hair photographs and told my 2 prior surgeries in India (one with Dr. Madhu and other with Dr. Bhatti) were pretty much wasted. I sheepishly admitted he was right, especially when looking at the wet hair photos. He said my hair quality now resembled 1500 grafts, in spite of taking in 4000+ grafts over 2 surgeries with eminent "hair restoration network" recommended surgeons in India. This was like a punch to the gut and I immediately started regretting my 2 earlier decisions. Since my donor area was depleted, he said he might be only able to extract 4500 grafts as opposed to the originally quoted 5000 grafts. This was the second bad news I had received in less than 2 mins (not the best way to start my 3rd HT journey). Dr Koray said I need about 9600 grafts to ideally cover my bald spot, which obviously would not be possible. We discussed my expectations, and I said I want sufficient coverage in the front and top section, and would be ok if the back of my head / crown was left untouched. He agreed and said that would be his recommendation as well. We also had a discussion on finasteride and he strongly suggested that I continue finax for another 1 year to get good results. I am somewhat sensitive to finax, so I argued that I would perhaps want to continue for few more months (already 3 months in), but definitely not a year. Dr Koray said most of the side effects are psychological, which I definitely didn’t agree to. I also had a separate conversation with 5 other patients on this topic at the dinner table, and surprisingly 4 of them had the same side effects as me. It was good to know that I was not alone in this misery. 3 out of the 4 patients said they will continue with finasteride for a year given the sizeable investment they are making in the HT, but one patient said a "working manhood" is more important to him than his hair. While I am not as sensitive to the side effects as this gentleman, I would also like to stop the medication as soon as possible. I am also planning to start a family soon and doctor suggested I get a sperm count test done and check if there are any negative effects (as I am already on the pill for 3 months now). If not, he suggested I continue with finasteride for a year, but if there are sperm count issues, we can have a follow up discussion to address this problem. My head was then shaved and the doctor examined it again. This was the first time in my adult life that I was completely bald, and this look definitely didn’t not suit my facial structure (not sure if this more physiological than visual aesthetics). I am clearly no Jason Statham who can pull off a bald look. Dr. Koray said my density was more than he expected so he would try and push for 5000 grafts - finally some good news. Dr. Koray then drew a hairline and it honestly exceeded my expectations. I said yes to it on the first go, and he finalized it using a permanent marker. I then went down the finance department to make the payments. I also opted for tricopigmentation treatment to hide my FUT scar, which was another 500 euro. I had a feeling of trepidation when I handed more than my month’s salary in cash for this surgery, but at the end of journey, given the army of people Dr. Koray employs to keep this facility running, and absolutely top notch equipment available at his facility, you realize that no expense has been spared and it definitely a worthwhile investment. I was also hesitant to bring $15k cash to turkey, but it seems to be fairly normal. In fact, when I tried to declare this amount at customs, I was told it was not needed. Day 1 of surgery started with breakfast at 6 30 am. My coordinator Artun met me at 7 am and took me to the shaving room to have my head shaved again. I was then taken to the OT room and strapped in for the surgery. There is an option of watching movies on an iPad but I was too tense to do this. The most painful part of the procedure is definitely the anesthetic injections. They hurt like hell, but once the donor area is numb, there is just a slight pricking sensation when extracting the grafts. A team of 2 technicians start extracting the grafts that takes about 2- 3 hours for approximately 2500 grafts. There is a real time count of the grafts by another technician and you can view the progress on a giant LCD screen in the front. Once my extractions were complete, Dr. Umut, the anesthesiologist gave me another around of anesthetic medication through an IV, and that knocked me out for rest of the surgery. When I woke up at 3.30 pm my surgery was almost complete. I slept through the incisions which I guess is a good thing. The hairline and frontal area were covered on day 1. I was then taken downstairs and bandaged up for the night. Had dinner in the cafeteria, spoke to other patients and called it an early night. Day 2 was fairly similar, but was relatively longer when compared to day 1. Started my day again at 6 30 am, but my surgery only ended at 6 30 pm. Also, was not knocked out by the anesthetic medicine this time, so it seemed a lot longer than day 1. The technician said day 2 is a bit longer as the angle of grafts change for the vertex , which makes it more time consuming. Similar to day 1, I was bandaged up and taken to dinner directly. I was already famished by this marathon 10 hour surgery. Day 3 After 2 days of back to back surgeries, day 3 was a relatively easy. There is hair wash at 9 am, followed my post op walk through with the coordinator (not the doctor) and post op pics are taken in the studio. My fut scar tricopigmentation was scheduled at 5 30 pm. I was surprised to learn that this involves anesthetic needles again. They numb the scar and ink this area, similar to a tattoo. It is relatively short procedure, and is wrapped up in under 30 mins. I had extremely high expectations for this treatment, and was hoping the scar would completely vanish. To be fair to the clinic, the result was exactly as shown on their website and emails, but I have seen results at other clinics in which the scar entirely vanishes away even when the head is completely shaved. The trico treatment helps the scar fade away, but the band is clearly visible. I am hoping it gets better as the area heals and my donor hair starts to grow. My expectation is that the scar is completely invisible after few days. Unsure if this will happen, but will keep the group posted on the results. I left the clinic the next day early morning for my 12 day vacation. Hoping my head heals well enough so that I can resume my normal personal and professional life in the new year. I am not planning to tell anyone about the HT, which is going to be very challenging. I was using toppik to cover my thinning head and will not use it for next few months as my grafts heal. Also given the fut scar not sure how short I can cut my hair. Don’t know how to explain the sudden and massive hair loss - forum members any recommendations will be appreciated. Praying I don’t have massive hair shedding over the next few weeks. Few other thoughts on the clinic and the HT journey, and my list of pros and cons. The main reason I chose Dr Koray was his reputation for shockingly high graft count. While in my humble opinion it works out great for someone like me who needs all the grafts he can get, there are few other patients who barely have receding hairlines, yet get 2500-3500 grafts densely packed in the hairline and temples. Many surgeons do not opt for this tactic and prefer relatively conservative approach. Each method has its own merits and demerits and it is important for the patient to do the homework before finalizing on the surgeon. Also, while Dr Koray has a cult like stature in this field, note that most of the work will be done by the technicians. If you want a doctor to be extremely hands on, do detailed consultations and personally perform extractions and incisions, this is not the place for you. There are other doctors in Turkey and elsewhere who follow this approach, but Dr. Koray is not one of them. He has almost "industrialized" this process and there are at least 7 operating theatres at his new clinic. I have counted at 15+ patients at the dinner table - note this includes day 0,1, & 2. While this might be concerning for some, in my opinion, if done correctly, may be a good thing. The technicians do the same thing day in day out for a living, and with the volume and throughput comes quality. I did not come across a single patient whose result was anything short of spectacular. I also noticed few other patients from other cheap hospitals at the airport, and one can clearly tell that these clinics will produce subpar results. Also, with scale comes flexibility. There are other clinics who may be at par with Dr Erdogan, but they have a 1-2 year long waiting list. Many patients prefer doing surgery sooner rather than later as they have more control over their schedules in near future. As one of the patients explained his dilemma to me, it is like choosing between a Ferrari and a Lamborghini, both are great options, but with Dr. Erdogan, you can drive your car much sooner. Also, I would recommend to meet and mingle with fellow patients. Every day I tried to meet and interact with my other patients to know more about their HT journeys. It is a fairly diverse set of people from all over the world, and all have interesting stories to tell. And one final note - the clinic is absolutely top notch, but at the end of the day, it is a clinic. If you are staying for more days before or after the surgery, I would suggest you stay at the Radisson Blu (or some other touristy area). The Radisson blu is a short 2 min walk to the new clinic, making it very accessible. There is no real need to stay in the clinic post/pre-surgery. Hoping this was useful. If you have any feedback or comments, it would be much appreciated. I will keep posting photos at regular intervals to keep everyone updated of my progress. That’s it for now...
whizkid started following 3rd HT with Koray Ergodan- 1st HT with Madhu, 2nd with Bhatii
Planning to do my 3rd HT with Dr. Koray Erdogan mid December (dates booked) . My 1st HT 2750 grafts (FUT) was with Dr Madhu in 2013, 2nd HT 1500 grafts (FUE) was with Dr Bhatti in 2015. Both were unshaven and hence the relatively low graft count. As you can see from the attached pics, my hair loss has deteriorated a lot over the past few years. I hide it well using concealers like Toppik, but am hoping for a permanent solution. Dr Bhatti mentioned he could extract only 1500-2000 grafts for the next HT, so started reviewing doctors who could potentially provide a higher graft count. As I was exploring different options last year and this year, 2 doctors were at the top of my list. First was Dr Hasson /Wong for FUT, and second was Dr Erdogan for FUE. I had an in person consultation with H&W representative in Americas, and he said the doctor could extract upto 5000-5500 grafts over 2 sessions (equal split) 6-12 months apart. The first H&W FUT surgery will yield only 2200-2500 grafts due to the scar tissue from the first FUT from Dr Madhu. The second HT would mostly be a FUE. While I was happy with the graft count, splitting the surgery into 2 wasn't ideal. The second option was Dr Erdogan, who is well known for his extremely high graft count. I was pleasantly surprised (shocked?) by his high graft quote of 5000 grafts. I was also extremely impressed with his results. I know there are few threads that cast doubts over his results, but the overwhelming body of work that is extremely impressive is difficult to ignore. Looking forward to my HT in 2 weeks. Will update the forum with my experiences and results. If anyone has any feedback, comments, tips or questions, please do let me know. Fingers crossed !!!
Welcome to our Hair Restoration Social Community and enhanced discussion forum. Feel free to customize your profile by sharing your story, creating blogs, sharing your treatment regimen, presenting your hair restoration photos, and uploading videos. You can also join groups and interact with other members via public chat and instant message those you add to your friends.
Feel free to ask questions and interact with our members on our new and improved hair loss discussion forum.
If there's anything I can do to help or make things easier for you, don't hesitate to send me a private message or post on my wall.
All the Best,
David (TakingThePlunge) – Forum Co-Moderator and Editorial Assistant of the Hair Transplant Network, the Hair Loss Learning Center, the Hair Loss Q&A Blog, and the new Hair Restoration Social Network and Discussion Forum