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My experience in Istanbul with Dr. Ozlem Bicer


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I had a great experience with Dr Ozlem Bicer in Istanbul. I did a lot of research on different clinics and watched a lot of YouTube videos before I contacted her office. Turkey has the reputation of offering hair transplants for great prices, but with that, a lot of shady operations have flooded the market with unqualified "transplant shops" where the doctor is barely involved and the techs are not qualified to perform the procedure. They also schedule several clients per day and follow up care is non-existant. 
Being wary of that, I was confident in choosing Dr Bicer based on the information I found online and from corresponding with her staff. Dr Bicer only takes one client per day and she performs most of the procedure (the most important parts). When I went (August 31st, 2020), she was taking a client every other day due to Covid, so the staff could thoroughly disinfect the office and operation room between procedures. That added to my confidence that I'd found a good doctor.
The facilities and staff were all very professional--the clinic was spotless and the entire operation was efficient and everyone was incredibly friendly.
The first part of the process is determining the hairline which Dr Bicer did with my input. They then shaved my head and performed the only part of the procedure that caused any type of pain--the anesthetic, but it really wasn't that bad at all. Just like every other operation or visiting the dentist, it was a series of shots and punches that felt like a rubber band being snapped on my head. A few minutes later, they tested all areas to ensure that the anesthetic covered the full harvest area. Additional shots were placed where needed.
Along with Dr Bicer, the techs that assisted her have 20 years of experience with hair transplants, so I felt extremely confident that I was in good hands.
The next part was to extract the grafts, which was done by Dr Bicer and her two techs--I had over 3000 grafts taken, so they took turns with the extraction process. They used a "first in, first out" process with extraction and re-installation of the grafts to ensure that they spent as little time as possible being stored in the solution.
The next part was the most important, and was done entirely by Dr Bicer--she made the 3000 incisions in the top of my head. It's really important to get this right as there are only so many grafts available, and the large area must be re-planted with grafts in such a way as to look natural. It was a very detailed process, so Dr Bicer had the techs install the grafts during the final phase. She was available throughout and checked in often to ensure that everything was going okay. I never felt any pain whatsoever during the entire three phases of the procedure and ended up listening to a couple of podcasts during the last part.
It was a long process--nearly ten hours total, but it went by quickly and they provided a quick lunch break in the middle. It was a great feeling to be the only client in the clinic and to have so many people (six in all) completely focused on my procedure.  Something like that in the States is pretty much unheard of, and the cost of such services would be way out of my price range. The total cost for me was US$4500. They requested a $500 deposit to hold the appointment slot for me, and I paid the balance on the day of the procedure.
I was given several pills to take over the following five days, as well as lotion, shampoo, and a hat that would be safe to wear a couple days later. I left the office with bandages on the back of my head and returned the next morning to have those removed--at that point I could start wearing the hat.
I was on my way home from working in Iraq, so I was able to spend ten days in Istanbul to have the procedure done in the beginning, then relax and recover for a week before I flew home to the US. Staying that long wasn't necessary, but I had the time and also wanted to get some dental work done as well since it's so much cheaper than in the States. Dr Bicer actually called her dentist for me and was able to get me an appointment a couple of days later.  I saved thousands of dollars with my dental work, as well as probably $10-15k with the hair transplant procedure, so I feel like my ten days in Istanbul were an excellent investment in my health and appearance. I've done a lot of traveling (50+ countries over all seven continents), so I had no hesitation at all with entrusting my health to someone overseas. My parents and I were in Istanbul in 2012,and my dad unfortunately slipped on some wet tiles and broke his ankle.  He was admittedly very nervous to get it set in Istanbul but both he and his doctor back home were very happy with the way the doctor performed the operation. As long as you do your research and find reputable care, Istanbul is an excellent place to get medical care.
I went back to Dr Bicer's office one last time to get my head shampooed--I had done it myself for the previous two days, but they offered me a cleaning and I was headed back that way anyway for two follow up dentist appointments.  The clinic is on the Asian side of Istanbul, so be aware of that when making plans for accommodations. They offer help with securing reservations at the Sheraton Hotel across the street (as well as airport transfers), but I'm a frugal traveler and got a cheap place about a 5-minute taxi ride away.
Overall, I am extremely happy with how everything turned out. I'm glad I spent the time to do the research and find a great doctor--this isn't the kind of operation that you want to take chances on...spend the going rate for the procedure and don't try to get a cheap deal with an inferior clinic. Five stars for Dr Bicer and her team, I may be back to see her again as my brother is interested in a transplant as well.

 

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Thanks for sharing, happy growing 🙌🏼

I do not provide medical advice, recommendations, all responses are my opinion.

My Hair Transplant Journey

Melvin- Associate Publisher and Forum Moderator for the Hair Transplant Network, the Coalition Hair Loss Learning Center, and the Hair Loss Q&A Blog.

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Doron Harati - Hair transplet offical international representor of HDC (Cyprus), Darling Buds (India), HT procedures are done by MD Doctors with Microscope FUE.

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