G'day lads, thought i would give back to the community that taught me a lot and pushed me to a final decision to go ahead and get a hair transplant. I have loosely wrote up something, it is pretty long but should be a good read for you. I am going to share what i have learnt and my thoughts towards hairloss and of course a review of my experience at ASMED and in doing that hopefully help you guys as there is so so much information out there regarding hair transplants and it can become bit overwhelming who to believe because at the end of the day you are going to base your decision on people you have never met's advice and opinions on certain doctors and clinics and you have to decide who is being real and who is not and lucky for you this forum is as real as it gets as you can't be trusting clinics that have 1000s of 5 star 1 comment reviews when they are not all real reviews unlike what is being posted on here.
So a little backstory to me, i am only 21 so i may be one of the youngest people i have seen on these forums who has gone and got this procedure done and for the record i do not want any negativity from people telling me i am was wrong getting it done so early. The bare truth is i either lived the next few years of my life creeping to a worse and worse state of mind and forever looking forward to a day where i can forget about my hairloss or as i did simply act on it in its early stages and beat the wrath of emotions and insecurities that came with losing my hair even more than what i had. So, i think i started losing my hair around 18 and it wasn't until i was about 19 i had accepted i was losing my hair as the whole year prior i was in complete denial as 50-100 hairs were coming out of my head everyday in the shower and i simply could not accept i was going bald at such a young age. As you do you start researching and you come across the big 3 (minoxidil, finasteride, nizoral) and i began with minoxidil and had some pretty darn good results from it going from very thin recided hair to 5 months later thickening up my hair quite significantly. Next, i implemented fin and noticed a hault to my hairloss at about the 3 month mark of using it and this lasted me about a year until it seems my hair loss got even more aggressive and my crown has begun to thin which i am now working on a solution for. One might be i was using generic propecia and now using the real stuff (prosper) which was given to me in a years supply free of charge by ASMED which will hopefully be the trick in halting my hairloss again. And for nizoral or any shampoo similar to it i was not using until a month or two ago as i had long hair tied up so it was hard to keep it clean and i later found out once i got my head shaved for the transplant i had some pretty bad dermatitis so that may also of been contributing to the hairloss but i am now taking good care of my scalp and keeping it healthy. With all the positives from using minox and fin i unfortunately started using them to late into my hairloss journey and my hairline had recided to a point where i was not at all happy with. I spent every living day outside my house with a hat on since i finnished school and being an outgoing active person it was seriously restricting myself from being myself. Luckily in doing this (always wearing a hat) no-one knew about my reciding hairline though they had their suspicions but never saw it so getting this procedure done before that day came was essential and i managed to pull it off.
After 2 years of hat wearing and feeling insecure i started looking into hair transplants and was originally skeptical going to turkey to get it done and instead wanted to find somewhere here in Australia but as many countries like the UK and USA htp's are over priced but here in aus the quality is also not as good as the rest of the world so over time i slowly started getting more comfortable with the idea of going to istanbul to get it done. That was when i came across this forum and saw many good reviews of people going to istanbul and getting it done and the service provided by these clinics with airport pickup and drop off aswell as accommodation all included in the final price which i liked the idea of. Next was to find a clinic / dr i felt comfortable going with as being the kind of person i am and being friends with the kind of people i am friends with, there was no room for error in getting a below par transplant so i after lots of research i went with ASMED.
Why ASMED? Dr Erodgen has many many years of experience and up until a year or two ago had a impeccable successful record with not a single bad review in site until about a year ago where some people have been talking down the clinics new move into a bigger and better facility and there thoughts that now he focuses on quantity over quality and they feel there results are a response of this and don't worry i will come back to this. Anyway, after compiling my list of ;clinics to pick asmed came out on top. I thought that the doctor, staff and website were all very professional looking and that with an array of good reviews (minus a few poor ones) made me feel safe going with this clinic. NOTE: for the record i personally believe hair transplants at the end of the day are the flip of a coin. not in the sense its a 50/50 chance you with get a good result but rather even if both the clinic and patient do everything right even then there are still things that can go wrong it seems so you never have a 100% chance at success with this procedure so always keep that in mind.
I will run you through the process at ASMED and my experiences with the process.
The Before: You apply online with photos and you will be assigned a co ordinator who speaks your language and is someone who you can ask questions and they will do the initial analysis of you getting basic information from you such as age, amount of hairloss, are you using fin? etc etc. If you tick the right box's she will then pass your photos and conversation onto Dr Erodgen himself who will review your situation and let you know whether you are suitable or not. For me this is a big tick as it shows he does not need the business and would rather instead make sure he can make a real difference in doing what he does best and give you the hair transplant that will accommodate for you now and also consider your future hairloss and what comes with that instead of what happened to me in 5ish consolations beforehand where i felt like they were selling me a product trying to rush me into a htp and trying to give me the cheapest price. Pricing is also something worth noting at ASMED as he is not cheap like the rest of Istanbul infact he is one of the most expensive dr's in all of Turkey but in comparison still cheap charging 2.5 euro per graft opposed to USA where the average is around 5 Euro per graft. And also for me my co ordinator was Suzana big shout out to her as she was wonderful always letting me know what the next step was and always comforting me and even though i knew this was her job i quickly forgot that once i got to the clinic and we started to just get along well and it really does make you feel a lot more relaxed knowing you have someone you can speak to through every step of pre, during & post the procedure.
The During: So once a date is conformed and your funds are sorted you are next to make a 1000 euro deposit and to begin booking your flights, i originally didn't think much of flying to Istanbul but living in Australia flying to Istanbul is the other side of the world where including the 5 hour stopover in Bangkok it took me 24 hours to get to Istanbul and i will be honest i was very doubtful of myself the entire trip there as here i am at 21 year old not travelling alone before flying all the way to Istanbul to get this procedure done. However, once arriving at ASMED my doubts quickly disappeared. once arriving at the airport with a total of 1.5 hours sleep i was picked up by the ASMED driver and taken to the facility which was very modern and nice and is just under a year old and is apparently same design just an upgrade from there old facility. Also I'm not sure if it is a turkish thing and women are just good looking there but the staff at ASMED were all damn fine and always had a smile on there face. When you arrive you are taken to your room (thats if you are staying in the ASMED rooms) which was nice, no complaints there. Next your coordinator will come up and meet you in the eating area where patients who were being operated on that day were sitting in their ASMED uniforms all with shaved heads and drawn on hairlines which was bit strange when i first saw it but got use to it pretty quickly. Next, your coordinator will run you through the day and ask some more questions and get you to fill out some medical forms. Next, bloodwork is checked along with some other things. Next, you are sent to a waiting room where all patients that are being operated on the next day with you wait to see the dr himself for a final consultation before the money is handed over. It began with 3 patients but ended up with a total of 6 people waiting to see the dr which was abit alarming as 3 i was happy with and i believed they could manage 3 patients being operated on at once but 6 seemed like to much and i was bit worried. However, i am going to say now the team is very professional and they would not operate on 6 if they could not handle it and for those that don't understand how it is possible Dr Erodgen has employed surgeon who do the the taking out of the grafts and organising them aswell as the placement of grafts the DR himself simply does the most important part where the most error's occur this being the slits and incisions for where the grafts will be placed so if you view it like this he does only 1 step (the main one) of 3 steps so he truely can operate on 6 patients on 1 day so don't let that alarm you.
Initial consultation: After waiting for what was quite awhile for the dr to Finnish surgery patients for today i was called upto his room where we shook hands had a small talk about where i was from and if i plan to taken fin long term etc etc then he stared assessing my donor area and grafts in general. I am going to just quickly say i was sure i was going to have a weak donor area. my hair doesn't go far down my neck nor does it go close to my ears and overall my head is small so that all adds up to a very limited amount of sq cm's for potential safe zone donor area to be used and i was almost certain he was going to asses it and tell me i have very limited options and i could barely accommodate for 1 single procedure and i had almost accepted this only to be told i had a donor area of around 8000 grafts which blew me away, by no means is this a crazy amount but it is average amount which i was very happy with meaning i have 5000ish grafts for future hairloss which is such a comforting feeling. So, for blokes who are worried about their donor zone not being suitable rest easy because you will be fine as the hair compacted in that area is just very dense. For how the dr. can just look at my donor and estimate its capacity without equipment was bit confusing but he is an expert so i trusted him and so have 1000s of patients before me. He next told me my hair density and hair thickness saying that my hair is quite thin so we would need about 48(i think) hairs per square cm and couple other things also telling me i had a pretty bad case of dermatitis (dandruff) which would need to be treated before tomorrow. He next asked what i wanted and i said my hairline lowered so he got a marker and started drawing a rough hairline and there were i think 2 other dr.s / surgeons that i think gave second opinions on his work and helped with the drawing of the hairline. I sat in a chair and he would draw some, step back look at my face, draw some more until he asked me to look in the mirror and ask what i thought. He said we can do it more aggressive if you would like and i said yes so he drew it again and i was happy with it. It then seemed like my consultation was over and i understand they are on a tight schedule but it all moved pretty fast and i almost forgot to tell him i wanted my temple points done so he drew those up aswell and told me it will be 300 grafts for each temple point and 3000 for the hairline coming to a total of 3600 grafts. I then shook his hand again and we then went to the finance room to pay. I'm going to be straight up and mine costed 3600 x 2.5euro (per graft) came to a total of 9000euro - 500ish euro for flight reimbursement cost so about 8500 euro total which was paid in full cash and they have a CASH only payment, quick note on that it is not as scary as it seems just have all the cash on you in a pouch around your waist for the flight there and you will be fine and also you can bring 10, 000euro into the country without question so it is not a problem. After payment you are taken to the barber place where you head is shaved by the nice turkish women as suspected my dermatitis was pretty bad and treated there with some stuff which got rid of it over night. Next you are taken to the photo room where your photos are taken of all angles and then taken to a high tech machine that slowly asses each square cm of hair on your head and measures its density and all of the single, double, multi grafts and it is here you can't truely see how dense your donor area is as it is all conveyed on a screen infront of you. Next you are taken to the next room where your rough drawn on hairline is finalised and this was interesting. You are sat in a chair with no joke about 10 ASMED staff in the room also being surgeon dr.s etc and also dr Erodgen and he begins drawing and the other dr.s are giving their opinions on what he is doing and it is like watching a master painter in his element. dr Erodgen is in the zone and draws and edits and asses some things and is all done with free hand no machines to draw a symmetrical hairline that everyone in the room agrees on for you to then view it in the mirror while they all look at you and await your response. I was happy with mine but if i wasn't i would of been bit nervous to go in there and tell them to do it again hahaha i don't know this part was abit strange but done very professionally. Again another hand shake with the Dr and all his staff gave me a smile as i left the room and the next patient went in there after me. I believe that was all for the first initial day and the rest of the day consisted of going up to the food area eat some dinner while talking to the patients that got operated on the day with their bandaged heads and catching up on some much needed sleep. For the other patients at the clinic its a strange thing having people from all over the world in my case people from Switzerland, Norway, New Zealand, Spain and me from Australia but its strange because you all have something in common and this is a common insecurity one this is big enough to make you come to this clinic from all over the world and get it done so that gives you all something to talk about and makes the experience a lot more comfortable as i ended up speaking with a lot of the boys there those 2 days about all my personal stuff on hairloss that i honestly haven't told anyone before so that was actually a good part just speaking with the other blokes during my stay.
Surgery Day: early start with breakfast at 6am and surgery at 7;00 sharp, i was told to take antibiotics and a zanex that was given to me when i woke up. I was surprisingly not that nervous as after the first day i knew i was in good hands and i didn't let any nerves get the better of me and i walked into the surgery room with a smile and met all my surgeos that would be doing the procedure on me aswell as your coordinator right by your side running everything by you before it happens. I was given an iPad and told to sit in a chair with my chin sitting in the holder thing to sit my head in a fixed position so they could extract the grafts from the back of my head. First the local anestheisa injections which are very over rated, the pain was certainly bearable about a 6 or 7 out of 10 as far as pain goes and they did a total of like 10-15 injections all over the back of my head. After this is done they then get what felt like a pin and started poking the back off my head asking if i felt it and simply if i did they would inject more until i didn't, so it began... i put on a Joe rogan podcast and tried to forget there are sharp objects being pushed through the back of my head and i tried to not look into the reflection of the iPad as a couple times i saw a little to much blood that began making me feel uncomfortable but all in all this first step of 3 was fine and my only concern was the position you are put in with your neck down is extremely uncomfortable and i remember after about 20 minutes i was like sheit i don't know how much longer i can do this so i started counting down minute by minute in some pretty unbearable pain to only find out i wasn't even halfway through the extraction procedure, But as you do you man up and push through it and eventually it is done. Next you are bandaged up at the back of your head and given a 5minute lunch break were me and the other patient both talked about how much our necks hurt after that first part haha but so far so good for me atleast. Next you are taken back to your operating room for the long session where dr Erdogen himself does the incisions and slits for the rest of the surgeon to place the grafts into.This is obviously important as this is where the hairline is designed it shape, desity etc. Now for this part, man i got knocked the fuck out and i don't remember a single thing only faintly remembering seeing Dr Erodgens face for a brief second before i closed my eyes. it begins and they sedate you with something (morphine maybe, i might be wrong on that and they do tell you before they do it) and very quickly you feel like your having abit to much fun and then as i said i got sent straight through space and woke up who knows how many hours later to a real painful rubbing sensation on the front of my head. I was super startled as i forgot where i was and what was happening and i was in some pretty serious pain as the front area that was operated on was being washed and the surges were rubbing it was pretty unbearable. In my head for some reason i thought something had gone wrong and i woke up from a coma or something and i was pretty stressed. But quickly i calmed down and started grasping was was going on and relaxed again and took my headphones out and asked my corridnator what was going on and she said they are almost finished they have 100 grafts left and then its over and i was like holy shit i slept through the entire procedure, epic. The last 15 mins was yeah pretty painful and i asked for more injections to numb the pain but they said its not recommended as they would be finished soon so i just pushed through the pain and dealt with it until it was done. And that was that, all over. A serious blur but i would of way prefered that over being awake the entire procedure as i later found out other patients were. i then slowly got up and was taken to a sitting room of some sort. It was at this time i started feeling really cold and started shivering so i was given a blanket and after about 10 minutes i was back to normal-ish and actually felt pretty good considering what i just went through, later other patients came into the room some looking bit worse off than me as one was sweating pretty bad and looking pretty light headed. Next Dr. Erodgen came in and assessed the final work off all the implanted grafts by the surgeons and gave the thumbs up and this was the last time we saw him. Now we were put under a laser machine to help with the recover process and taken back to the photo room for a photo of all angles of our now pretty disgusting head. And i think that was it, we were told the rules of sleep with a neck pillow and some other stuff on medication we will need to take for the next few days and all went up had dinner and i went to bed and actually had a good night sleep before my first wash tomorrow morning and flight home tomorrow arvo.
After: i think it was a 7:30am post op wash back in the barber room. Here you are shown how you are going to wash your hair for the next 10ish days and they do it for you here and you are given all the products needed with labels on them aswel as a usb stick with all photos of before and after aswell as other details from your stay. A barber actually came in and cut some of the boys hairs who did a partial shave and fixed it up to hide the transplanted area. And that was it i said goodbye to the ASMED staff and thanked them and also hugged my co ordinator and said goodbye and i went to my room to wait a couple hours for my pickup to the airport. Can honestly say i was kinda sad to leave which makes no sense as this procedure should be somewhat a traumatic experience and something you just want to get it over and done with but i don't know i didn't feel that way at all, rather i couldn't believe it was over and how smooth sailing the entire thing was. I next started looking in the mirror and tried to figure out how the fek i was going to cover this up on my way home and we were given a bucket hat to wear which i put on. I then went to the airport bit stressed about having to take the hat off even though i don't know anyone and would never see them again. Also it was pretty funny how many people at the airport had just undergone a hair transplant and were on their way home. Unfortaunly for them they were not wearing hats and i counted a total of 13 people from entering to leaving the airport who had undergone a FUE procedure. Now for my little hiccup that almost everyone seems to get atleast once, mine was when i was wearing this hat. I placed it loosely on my head and throughout the day it got tighter and tighter and since i just had surgery the day before the grafts were leaking and causing the hat to stick to my recipient area and i had this hat on for about 5 hours until i sat down on the plane (note ASMED advised me to take the hate off every 45 mins i believe to allow my head to breathe, but i couldn't pull myself to do it) and couldn't put my headphones in so i tried to lift the hat and i felt all the grafts sticking to it and holding it down. My face instantly went red and i started stressing and i was like what the fuck is wrong with me i have just blown a 9000euro procedure cause i was to scared for random people i have never met to see my head. I was sure when i was to take the hat off i would see hundreds of grafts attached to the hat and this was at the start of my 10 hour flight... i then sat in my chair over thinking this and stressing out until i finally got the balls to go to the aeroplane bathroom and slowly shift the hat from side to side to take it off. annnnndd, thank the lord no damage was done with all grafts intact and everything still looking the same. From here on out i wore it so so loosely on my head sitting on on my back of my head and barly on the front and made sure to take it off every 45 mins for a breather as this would further not give grafts the chance to stick to that hat even if that was possible which i later thought it probably was not... why? well these hairs are planted pretty deeply and firmly into your head and loose hat shouldn't be able to pull them out. However, keep this in mind that you will need to take it off from time to time and how i did this was if it was dark on the plane or at the airport i would go to a gate where no-one was and take it off for bit. Now, my ride home was a very eventful 26 hours, my swelling started once i got to the airport initially just in my forehead, and by the time i got to the stopover i had gone down my face into my eyebrows and unevenly spread across my lower forehead and i remember when i looked in the mirror for the first time on the plane i literally started laughing at my own face as i couldn't believe how fucked i looked. I was one of the unlucky few who got bad swelling and i can't stress enough how ugly it can make you look. I remember saying i should take a photo so people can know what your talking about but i didn't ever want to see this face again nor post it somewhere for people to see so here are some links so you get an idea what you can look like, i seriously looked like some sort of star wars alien and this further made me not want to take my hat off so i was caught in this problem off worrying I'm damaging grafts and taking it off only to have hundreds of people look at me. https://www.google.com.au/search?q=elephant+mans+head&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjnxuTL4pXjAhVW63MBHY4kAwsQ_AUIECgB&biw=1285&bih=649#imgrc=Oy7S58xqNEIQ4M:
Progressively the swelling got worse and peaked by the time i got to Bangkok customs (i am staying in bangkok for 3 months studying before i go back home) here i stood infront of a camera sunnies and hat off feeling like the first alien to ever try get into Thailand and the customs people had some questions for me like, why am i coming into Thailand where is my proof of study etc but after some time i made it in and finally got to my room and relaxed. i quickly took my meds did my post op wash for the day and finally let my transplanted hair breathe.
Overall: My experience at ASMED was 10/10 i cannot fault any part of the procedure and you get what you pay for. By no means is 9000euro cheap especially for me at 21years old trying to study a uni degree and pay this off over the next few years of my life But as i said you really do feel you get your money's worth as everything was done very well and at the end of the day if your going to go get this done and your hairloss means this much to you which it does if your getting it done in the first place you want that piece of mind knowing you have given yourself the best chance possible. My thoughts on my hairline writing this 3 days after the procedure is i love it i think it looks great and compliments my face and finally makes it all symmetrical which is what you want from a procedure like this. In saying that i like what i see but this is only the early stages, i will judge the final result after 12 months and hopefully it is similar to this density wise and there are NO double or more grafts placed in the hairline, that is what i am most stressed about and that is the work of the surgeon who picks and places the grafts in the already pre slit incisions done my Dr Erodgen so i can only hope they have done a good job. I can honestly say i am going to do pretty much everything known to man to compliment this hair transplant and give these hairs every chance possible to grow so me as an example can be a good one, good clinic, good patient (doing everything right) and we will see the final result because as stated sometimes things just don't go your way and your body won't accept all the grafts or whatever. Below are some photos of before during and after and a quick note i don't want any negativity unless it is constructive... please just be respectful and understand i am going through a stressful couple of months ahead and negative comments can plant bad idea's in post transplant patients heads and that is the last thing i need. Would like to know your thoughts on the hairline and ill post a couple swelling photos and i will make sure answer any questions you guys have. In regards to how often i will post, I'm planning monthly till month 6 then 3 monthly or maybe just 3 monthly in general, i will wait and see the response of this first.