Firstly I am not one to normally contribute to forums like this, but as a few of these forums were an invaluable source of information to me that helped me make my decision regarding my hair transplant procedure I think I owe it to ‘give something back’ and write about my experience, which may in turn help anyone in making their decision down the line.
A little about me…
Im 33 years old and from the UK and have suffered with hair loss from a very young age. I have naturally thin hair anyway, and noticed in my late teens that my hairline was starting to recede heavily. As a result at 19 (back in 2004) I opted to have a hair transplant with a company in Athens, Greece, fronted by a chap named Malcolm Mendhelson (sp?) using the choi procedure… long story short I was young and stupid, the procedure was beyond terrible (hairs implanted without care for directionality, sparse, terrible job). I was also absolutely butchered with my scar site at the back of my head, the extent of which only became apparent years later when I had to cut my hair short due to further balding.
One quick note on Propecia… I know this is a contentious topic, particularly for many forums like this, but I shall speak my experience and do not wish to debate it further with the defenders of the drug, to each their own. I was advised to start taking it after my first procedure and did so religiously for 7 years, and it worked like a charm, no further balding and a nice head of hair, and no noticeable side effects except (with hindsight) needing to piss a thousand times a day. Unfortunately at the end of 2012 I started developing issues that very much worsened after stopping the drug, and it absolutely decimated my endocrine system and damn near killed me. Although I am doing very well now, I had a horrendous couple of years, and some sexual symptoms persist to this day. Propecia as a result was very much not an option for me going forward.
As a result, since 2013 my hair has been falling out at a rapid rate, and I used toppik to compensate this, which worked really well initially but as things progressed my head got to the point there was more toppik than hair and it started looking more and more obvious. As a result, I had a decision to make.
Following research on here, and speaking to some other people I know who had opted to have procedures, one of the handful of names that kept appearing near the top of lists was Dr Feriduni in Belgium and the pictures of his work I saw online were great, so I decided to make contact.
Due to my hair transplant history, Dr Feriduni advised I first attend the clinic for a consultation so that a realistic and accurate assessment could be made regarding what my options were, and I am really glad I did this. He measured and gave me an idea of the number of grafts I have in the donor area, assessed the previous work I had done and give me an idea on my options.
Following this, I decided to schedule my procedure, which would include the removal of the previous implanted hairline, and the repair of the previous scar to make it much less noticeable and also an FUE procedure to give a new hairline and most of the front part of the head. He stated he expected the yield from the procedure to be around 2800 grafts.
One thing to note about Dr Feriduni is he seemed from the outset to have a great deal of integrity. There was never any sales pitch and he was clear from the outset that I would need multiple procedures to achieve a full head of hair but explained with this option that it would look natural following procedure number 1 that I have just suffered hair loss at the back of the head and that a short hair style would look good. He was also up front and honest about the limitations there would be as a result of me having finer hair so that I had totally realistic expectations. He also advised regarding hairline placement and stated that he was doing so with my individual case in mind, as it is important that there is enough donor hair for the area of my head to achieve a good long term result. He stated that he could do a much lower hairline now but it would likely be regrettable in the long term, and I am very happy with the hairline placement he suggested with hindsight.
The procedure itself took place just over 4 months after my consultation as from what I understand the practice is very busy and there is a bit of a waiting list. I was happy to wait however and found this a little reassuring, knowing there was high demand for his services.
The staff at the clinic were incredibly friendly and accommodating and the procedure itself ran like clockwork. I had read that most of the staff working at the clinic with Dr Feriduni had been there for many years, and this showed, as it all ran like a finely tuned machine.
I was also pretty amazed that they managed to get far above my expected yield, having also taken transplanted hairs from the area where the scar repair took place and also the re-using the transplanted hairline and they actually managed to do considerably more than they anticipated and achieved 4,740 grafts from the one procdure! From my limited knowledge and the reading I have done, this seemed very good for an FUE procedure. The Doctor also stated that he was incredibly happy with result and expects there to be a very good outcome post procedure.
I am now three weeks post operation and have also been very impressed with the post op care. Everything I needed was provided with very clear instructions and I could contact the clinic for an immediate response at pretty much any time, not that I needed to do so too much aside from having some queries with hyperaesthesia, which was quite uncomfortable for me up to around 10 days post op. I expected this, as I have sensitive skin. The scar they repaired is healing well too and already looks far less prominent than it was previously, which I am ecstatic about.
A huge help with the post op care was an app I was provided with to download on my smartphone called ‘HairTransplant.app’, which alongside the documentation gave you clear information on what you should be doing post op, and what restrictions you should follow in your post op care. It updates daily and also gives you timed updates throughout the day regarding taking medications and supplements, applying lotions, etc. as well as letting you know when you can resume certain things such as sleeping freely on your back, sporting and sexual activities, etc. This was an absolute godsend, particularly in the early post op days where there were a lot of instructions and a lot of stuff to take in, and it also had a very useful FAQ section with means to contact the clinic should you have any concerns or issues. I could recommend this more to anyone for their post op care.
Three weeks post op and everything is healing nicely, quite a bit of my recipient area hair has started to fall out as expected and I am entering the ugly duckling stage, but very optimistic to see the results and see how things progress. I was incredibly happy with how things looked before the transplanted hair began to shed so I am very excited for the final result.
To summarise, I was incredibly happy with my choice of the clinic and cant speak highly of the professionalism and care of the staff, and particularly their honesty given I was stung with a terrible procedure back in my earlier days when I was young and stupid. I would absolutely make the same call again and will very likely be having a second procedure with the clinic in the future to achieve a full head of hair. The post op care is also taken very seriously by the clinic and the Hair Transplant App they provided me with was absolutely invaluable.
The only drawbacks were the travelling (but I was more than happy to do so given I knew I would have to in order to get the best results, and Hassellt was easy to get to by train from Brussells Airport and a cheap flight from London), and although I don’t wish to get into the cost of my procedure as I find financial matters to be personal, there would certainly be cheaper options out there from other places. I strongly believe that you get what you pay for though in this instance, and to me given that I was able to afford it then it was a no brainer as my hair is something that will be with me for the rest of my life (and the fact I am vain like a lot who find themselves on this forum :) ) I considered it a great investment.
I am not great with forums but will try to upload some pictures as I know lots on here (myself included when I was researching things) want to see these more than anything, and I will also try to upload some progress pictures too if I remember as time goes on. Again, I am not the most switched on in remembering to check these things, but should you have any questions then go right ahead and I shall do my best to answer. Hope this helps some of you :)