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FUE by HLC Ankara | 4261 Grafts | Nov 7, 2020


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In mid-October, I reached out to HLC about available dates. They said they had an opening in 2.5 weeks! I knew the pandemic was getting tricky, but I verified that travel US to Turkey was quite easy, no quarantining at all. So I locked in the dates and booked my flight to Ankara.

The clinic is nice, multiple floors as I believe other cosmetic procedures are offered in the building. They sat me in the chair in front of a wall-sized mirror. Dr. Ozgur is leading the hairline design, but all the doctors participate. There were 6 people behind me very engaged in the hair design, very collaborative. We agreed to lower the hairline to where some native hairs still are (I usually shave them down), you can see in the pics. We didn't want to go too aggressive with closing the temples, but we settled on something youthful but still age appropriate. I'm 49. This took a good 15-20 minutes and the line was drawn/redrawn many times. I've heard stories of hairlines being drawn and done within minutes.

I then had my hair shaved and they sat me back in the chair. Now they drew my donor area and the line between the hairline area and mid/front-section. Based on this they take some measurements. Originally I was quoted 2,500 - 3,000 grafts. But the numbers don't lie and I ended up with 4,260. You can see below the two zones. The front would be dense packed to 50 grafts/cm2. The front/mid-scalp area would be 40/cm2, which is denser than most people get back there, normally people get 30/cm2. This was much a much bigger procedure than I had planned for, but after talking to the doctors I'm happy I did it this way.

This was a 2-day affair. Here's a breakdown of the extractions:

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HLC is one of the clinic where only doctors work on your hair. They have technicians assist, of course, but the incisions are all doctors. If you don't know how HLC does it, they collaborate on the work. During the chair sit down, they determine the 2 doctors that will work on you. One in the morning session and the other for the afternoon. For me, I had 4 doctors touch my head over the 2 days (1 doc was only there for about an hour, so he barely counts). One of the doctors from the first day was reassigned to another patient because that involved beard hair, his specialty.

It is a business so I was moved through the process without any wasted time. Day starts at 8am. Left day one around 7:30pm, day 2 around 6:30pm. Day one is longer because of the sit down and hairline design. Basically, it goes like this...
breakfast > surgery > 15 minute break > surgery > lunch > surgery > 15 minute break > surgery > wrap up head and go 

Overall my experience was quite positive. I have full confidence in the doctors and support team. I took advantage of the free apartment for 3 nights, which is a little cool because other patients are there and it was nice talking to them about their journey. There were 4 of us in the apartment, which is directly across the street from the clinic. I stayed an extra 6 days to heal. Didn't do a lot of sightseeing, but I did eat dinner at Salt Bae's restaurant! (way over priced and not worth it, but it was neat)

Cost is 2.5 Euro/graft, which came to about $12k USD. Flight and hotel for extra days not included.

I'll update monthly.

 

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Edited by MachoVato
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Work looks great, thanks for sharing. I like how all of the doctors join in on the hairline design, and how they perform the surgery without direct involvement of technicians.

Can you share a bit about your hair loss history? Is this your first hair transplant? Are you on any medication and if so for how long and how effective has it been?

6 hours ago, MachoVato said:

Originally I was quoted 2,500 - 3,000 grafts. But the numbers don't lie and I ended up with 4,260. You can see below the two zones. The front would be dense packed to 50 grafts/cm2. The front/mid-scalp area would be 40/cm2, which is denser than most people get back there, normally people get 30/cm2. This was much a much bigger procedure than I had planned for, but after talking to the doctors I'm happy I did it this way.

Can you expand on this some more? Why did you decide to increase to 4200?

Also it looks like the front was bald, so 50 grafts/cm2 makes sense, but the area behind it that was planned for 40 grafts/cm2 seems like it already had at least somewhere around 20 grafts/cm2 of existing hair? Does that mean they transplanted around your existing grafts, and that area would now have at least ~60 grafts/cm2 of hair? I would like to understand that better.

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17 hours ago, giegnosiganoe said:

Can you share a bit about your hair loss history? Is this your first hair transplant? Are you on any medication and if so for how long and how effective has it been?

First hair transplant. Started losing hair maybe 15-20 years ago. I've been taking finasteride and minoxidil for about 8 years now. It's slowed it down but didn't stop it. 

17 hours ago, giegnosiganoe said:

Can you expand on this some more? Why did you decide to increase to 4200?

Also it looks like the front was bald, so 50 grafts/cm2 makes sense, but the area behind it that was planned for 40 grafts/cm2 seems like it already had at least somewhere around 20 grafts/cm2 of existing hair? Does that mean they transplanted around your existing grafts, and that area would now have at least ~60 grafts/cm2 of hair? I would like to understand that better.

All I cared about was the location of the hairline and density in mid area. I was pleased that the doctor drew my hairline as low as where my native hair was. I expected him to draw it higher, which may be why the online estimate was lower. Once we drew the hairline, we looked at the extent of my thinning in the mid area. We agreed not to worry about the crown at this point, but let's get good coverage everywhere else. 

He said he could get 40/cm2 in the mid section. I asked why not 30. The idea here is that my native hair may continue to thin out, so the plan was to future-proof it. Yes, it should be around 60/cm2 this time next year. But over time the density is expected to drop.

I didn't care about the graph count or the extra cost. If he said we could do the crown for an extra 1000, I would have done it. I mean, I'm already getting the surgery, let's do it! 🤣

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5 minutes ago, giegnosiganoe said:

Thanks for the context. One other thing, do you have any more pics of your donor pre-op? It's hard to tell what it looked like from these pics. Any idea how many grafts you have left?

Here's a couple pics of my donor. The doctor said I had A+ donor and that I had 9000 - 9500 grafts available. So we used up half in this procedure.

before-back.thumb.jpg.d323453cbabcd8cd0bd14af4ba155447.jpg

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10 minutes ago, MachoVato said:

Here's a couple pics of my donor. The doctor said I had A+ donor and that I had 9000 - 9500 grafts available. So we used up half in this procedure.

before-back.thumb.jpg.d323453cbabcd8cd0bd14af4ba155447.jpg

Damn you have donor for days, great quality hair too. Given those characteristics, I can’t see this being anything other than a homerun.

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On 11/14/2020 at 2:31 PM, MachoVato said:

hair-count.thumb.png.bc9d469db7ba376d338e22c8c8d23c91.png

One last thing - when you write multiple, it means 3 or 4 hair grafts? But you assumed 3 hair graft. So your average was probably higher? I guess HLC just doesn't differentiate between 3+ hairs when grouping?

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1 minute ago, giegnosiganoe said:

One last thing - when you write multiple, it means 3 or 4 hair grafts? But you assumed 3 hair graft. So your average was probably higher? I guess HLC just doesn't differentiate between 3+ hairs when grouping?

That's exactly right. HLC only counts "multiples" which is 3 hairs and up. So yeah, it's certainly higher than 2.27 hairs per graft.

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