My Hair Transplant Experience with ASMED
After several months browsing on this and similar forums, receiving lots of helpful advice, I thought I would give back a little by sharing my experience. What follows is a summary of my recent time at ASMED.
Throughout my childhood, I had enjoyed a thick head of hair that I could style to my preference. Unfortunately for me, upon reaching adulthood, my hairline began to recede quite rapidly from the age of 18-22 and my forehead grew ever larger. At first I was able to mask it, but inevitably, nature took its cause and I had to accept I was balding at a young age.
With this acceptance came some research into what I could do to fight back the baldness, whereby I began to take Finnasteride 1mg per day soon after turning 23. I did notice that the receding slowed somewhat and the remainder of my hair around the scalp remained thick, so I have been on the medication ever since. However, my front forelock did seem to continue to thin and my hairline was still too high. I couldn't style my hair in any appreciable way and I was looking older than my years, so I looked at what else I could do.
Soon after turning 24, I began to take the idea of a hair transplant more seriously. Once the new year of 2018 arrived, I decided enough was enough and that this is the option I would take, ideally some time this year. After months of research into the pros and cons of the procedure, the importance of stabilizing the hair loss first, the recovery time, the financial implications, likelihood of future operations etc., I sent some pictures off to various clinics. The multitude of positive results and experiences I had seen from ASMED online, as well as the hairline design I received from their response over email, meant that in March 2018 I booked my transplant with the clinic for October that year.
Arrival and Pre-Op
So, after 6 months of anticipation, I departed the UK for Istanbul. I landed late Sunday night and was picked up from the airport and taken to the Radisson Blu Hotel and went straight to sleep.
The following day I was taken to the clinic for screening and for my appointment with Dr Erdogan to discuss my expectations and establish the plan for the procedure. I must say, throughout the whole process, the army of staff at the clinic, from drivers to co-coordinators to nurses were great; super efficient and more than happy help with any questions or concerns that I had.
The first day at the clinic probably lasted about 3 to 4 hours, but the whole thing was a blur as I was led from room to room having photos taken, various medical checks done and then finally led upstairs for my consultation with Erdogan. One point worth noting is that your time with the man is limited as he is evidently very busy with the other patients in the clinic, of which there were three others having surgery on the same day as me. Obviously it would be ideal to have more time with him and to pick his brains some more, but from reading previous reviews I had expected this so was fine with how it transpired.
During the consultation, Erdogan asked my expectations and I told him I would like my hairline to be lowered, ideally with the addition of temple points and for the frontal third to be thicker to allow me to style my hair. He assessed my donor area and he described it as 'superb' and that I was a 'very good' candidate for the surgery, so I began to have a feeling of cautious optimism for the procedure. He drew the initial hairline which was pretty much exactly what I wanted. I was reluctant to make any alterations anyway as the man has decades of experience and I trusted that he and his team would ultimately know what was best for me. He said he could lower the hairline slightly if I wanted to when he drew his final line later that day, to which I agreed. He calculated that 3200 grafts would be required. (The final number extracted turned out to be 3274). I also mentioned I had been on finasteride with satisfactory results, but to my surprise he said it is unlikely that I would need to continue with the medication after the procedure. Nonetheless, I accepted the years worth of Proscar that Esen provided which I will still take.
After sorting payment, having my head shaved and waiting for a while, I was taken into the photo room for the final hairline design. At this point, Erdogan drew the final hairline and various members of his team enter the room and scrutinize the design and how it suits your face from every possible angle. After one or two of his assistants made a couple of suggestions in Turkish, he made some minor alterations and asked me to look in the mirror. I nodded my approval as I thought it was bang on. With that, Erdogan shook my hand, said 'see you tomorrow' and left the room with his team. I was taken back to the hotel and told to keep the line as clear as possible as there would be no time to redraw it tomorrow.
Over breakfast in the hotel I chatted to a couple of the patients that would be having the procedure that day, then we were picked up, promptly as ever by the driver and taken to the clinic. After changing, having my head re-shaved and being introduced to the technicians, who my patient coordinator Esen advised had been specially selected to suit my particular hair characteristics, the extraction phase began. Being sat up for several hours was not particularly comfortable, but the team and anesthetist are on hand to provide extra medication if required. With about an hour to go of the extractions, Erdogan came to perform the incisions, which lasted about 45 mins, and then the last hour of extractions were completed.
After a light lunch and a 30 minute break, the grafts were implanted by the technicians. For both the incision and implanting phases, you are lay down; I ended up falling asleep for the majority of this final stage so it flew by, but it probably lasted about four hours. The whole process was relatively painless. The worst part is the initial anesthetic injections, but even those I would just describe as just a minor stinging sensation.
So, after months of anticipation, followed by approximately 8 hours of surgery, it was finally over and I was led, feeling slightly dizzy but mightily relieved, into another room for a last check from the main technician as well as a final inspection by Erdogan.
I was glad to be able to get back to the hotel for a much needed sleep.
Post-Op, First (and second) wash, flight home
Around lunchtime the following day the driver took me to the clinic with another patient and I had my first wash. The sensation if very bizarre as they rub your numb recipient with shampoo, and I was quite surprised with the pressure they could apply at this early stage without any ill effects. Another patient coordinator, Nico was assigned to me for this day and he explained the site looked clean. Unfortunately though, I had quite substantial swelling and it was really starting to take hold at this stage, particularly on my forehead,
The post-op photos were taken, and I was given numerous items to take home, including medication, lotion, shampoo, stats pages, various bits of aftercare information and some Turkish delights as a gift. Nico was very informative as to how it should all be used and answered any questions that I had.
I was flying home the next day but I had a pretty poor sleep that night due to the discomfort in my donor. The following morning, I had time for another wash at the clinic before my flight home, which I watched extra closely as I knew I would be doing it myself from tomorrow onward. With that, I said my goodbye and was dropped off at the airport. By this time, despite diligent use of the ice pack the previous day, my head was basically a football and the swelling had reached its peak, particularly around my eyes, so I received a few second glances at the airport and on the plane. I just hid behind my sunglasses and did my best not to give any children who happened to look my way nightmares.
The whole experience at ASMED was top quality and very professional. The coordinators are still on hand via WhatsApp for me to provide updates and to answer any questions or concerns I may have. Right now I am back in the UK and on day 3. My face is still swollen as expected, but the swelling has sunk to just below my eyes. I performed my first wash, donor is still uncomfortable and recipient still red but obviously very early days. Just got to sit tight now and see how it goes...
I will try and update with more pictures around day 10. If anyone has any questions feel free to ask away.
Grafts Extracted: 3274
Total Grafts: 9,300
Thickness: 60 microns
Pre - Op photos:
Post - Op photos:
(with upper facial swelling)