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34 yo Male, Hair Transplant with Fuecapilar 3,028 grafts Norwood 5

M

MyHT2021

member
Hi All,

Just want to share my experience of my first hair transplant. After years of covering up and concealing my hair loss with a combination of dermmatch and hair fibres I finally decided to take advantage of the current WFH situation and the minimal requirement of social contact and get my hair transplant done now. I've been thinning on the top since the age of about 25 and it has been getting more and more noticeable over the years. I've never taken any medication because the worry of the potential side effects always scared me, throughout the years I've just about managed to conceal my balding areas with the fibres and selecting the appropriate hair style but it's got to the point where it's become more and more noticeable especially when it was windy or raining. Here are the pics of the state of my hair before transplant and without any product usage:

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You can see most of my thinning is in the crown area and is starting to work its way towards the front. Being from the UK I spent a ton of hours on research via online forums and information available on the internet and also read about other peoples experiences, I narrowed down my preferences to a few clinics in Turkey and then I sent these photos to those clinics, and after numerous consultations and messages the one that was most professional with me when it came to responsiveness and general communication was Fuecapilar in Istanbul. After I sent them my photos I received a detailed proposal in response from the doctor on the evaluation of number of grafts they think may be required and other bits of information on general logistics and what will be included in the package, a detailed breakdown on what will happen on each day, etc. The technology they used was called Sapphire FUE.

We agreed a date for the transplant and I sent the consultant my flight details to confirm the surgery date. Everything was done via whatsapp and went very smooth and the consultant who's name was Ahmet was very friendly and communicative throughout the entire process, even when I needed help with logistics on different pick-up points before the surgery as I wanted to do a few days sightseeing beforehand Ahmet was able to arrange for the driver to pick me up from a different part of Istanbul instead of their usual pickup point at no extra cost, so it was really helpful that they could accommodate this request and be flexible. The night before the surgery their driver picked me up and took me to their hotel on the Asian side of Istanbul which was very nice and clean and included a good breakfast, I have no complaints with the accommodation. The morning of the surgery their driver picked me up after breakfast and took me to the clinic which was just a few minutes drive away, upon pulling up to the entrance I received a very friendly welcome from Ahmet who was already waiting for me outside and took me in to meet the rest of the team.
I was the only patient at the clinic on the day and Ahmet was always with me throughout the entire process to translate anything where required and address any concerns I might have. The clinic was super clean and the team were already expecting me and greeted me on my arrival, everything from the handling of paperwork procedures and mannerisms of the team were very professional and I felt at ease. I also met the doctor who was a very friendly guy and consulted me on my desired outcome and did a tricoscope check for the number and quality grafts that can be harvested from the donor area. He then designed and drew lines on where the hairs should go and we agreed on the approach. The doctor would later be opening my hair channels and I was taken to another room with a barbers sink where I got my hair trimmed off and washed. At the same time my blood pressure was checked and I was fitted with an IV line in my arm which they used to draw blood to test for Hep A/Hep B and HIV, and also to draw some blood for the PRP treatment after the surgery. I'd never seen myself without hair before this point so looking in the mirror after this was quite a surprise. I was then given a medical gown to change into and put onto a surgery bed and given the anaesthesia which was the worst part of the entire process and lasted for about 10 minutes of maybe 30 injections all around my head. Eventually once it kicked in I stopped feeling any pain and was then propped up on the bed and given a drink and some snacks to let the anaesthesia have time to settle in.
The team then began to extract the grafts from my donor area and I couldn't feel anything by this point, so I just relaxed and I think I may have even nodded off a few times. The doctor and Ahmet were both just nearby and available at any point if I needed them and would come in every few minutes to check and ask if I was OK. I was always being asked if I felt any pain which I didn't but I imagine they'd have given me some more aesthetic in case I answered yes. Whenever I needed to take a break or use the bathroom one of the technicians always used the wheelchair to transport me to and from the bathroom even though I said I feel fine to walk, but they insisted they were happy to assist me with the wheelchair just to be on the safe side. We then took a break for lunch after the grafts were taken and I was wheelchaired to the lunch room where Ahmet joined me to have lunch together and asked how everything was going and we just chatted in general. Everything was going well at this point and I felt like I am in good hands. My dietary preferences were asked at the start when filling out the paperwork and this was taken into consideration during lunch.

After lunch I was taken back into the surgery room where the doctor asked me how I was feeling and we had a chat whilst he began opening my channels, again I couldn't feel anything as the anaesthesia was still active and I just laid down chatting with the doctor while he was carrying out the work. I was told how I had very healthy donor grafts and should expect good density with my new transplant. The technicians then came in and started implanting the grafts into the channel openings slowly and meticulously. Although their English was more limited they were still able to ask me constantly if I'm ok and whether I feel any pain, and in some positions where I had to tilt my head to one side for them to work through my crown I could see in a reflection that from the expression of concentration in their faces they were super focused and meticulously working through each graft one by one. They also kept spraying my head with saline solution every few minutes to keep the area hydrated. At this time I think I fell asleep for a while but I think the doctor also came in to check everything was going ok. At the end I was woken up as they were injecting the PRP treatment into my scalp and I was told they managed to transplant 3,028 grafts and helped me up and protected my donor area with a bandage which was also wrapped around my head. The team helped me change back out of the gown and into my regular clothes. After the surgery I was taken to another room to allow myself to sit for a few minutes and Ahmet gave me a bag containing a sleeping pillow to use for the first few days after transplant and explained how to sleep and things to do/not to do after the transplant, how to prevent swelling etc. There was also some information in a booklet for me to read which covers everything and also some pads to place on the pillow while I sleep. I was also given some antibiotics to take daily and some painkillers in case I needed them. I was able to ask any questions in case I needed to but everything was already pretty clear. The team then all said bye to me as I was taken downstairs where the driver was waiting and I was driven back to my hotel where I had dinner and rested, I had to sleep with the pillow propped up at a 45 degree angle for the first few days to ensure there is no swelling and enema to the face. I slept well that night. Here are the photos on the same night of the hair transplant.

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On the second day, I was picked up by the driver from the hotel lobby after breakfast and taken back to the clinic where I was given my first hair wash, Ahmet was again already waiting outside and greeted me to take me inside. After the wash they took off the bandages and I was given some medical foam to apply to my hair to help the scabs fall off, and also a shampoo. The donor area was looking good after the bandages were taken off with no big red or bloody areas. I was also given two bottles of saline solution spray to keep the grafts hydrated. Ahmet explained in detail how to use the products and also sent me a video on whatsapp in case I need to view it again. I was given a routine on what to do in the next few days and how to wash the transplant and donor areas, and aim to remove the scabs in the first 10 days. After this, we shook hands and I thanked Ahmet once again and the rest of the team for looking after me so well and was taken back to the driver to be taken back to the hotel. The shampoo and foam are in over 100ml bottles, so to bring them home on a flight remember you will need to check those into hold luggage. After I was dropped back at the hotel I was free to go about my day as normal. Here are the photos after the wash on day 2.

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M

MyHT2021

member
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The rest of the day I just spent the day hanging around Istanbul. I took the two antibiotic pills one daytime and one in the evening, they were Aksef 500mg tablets. I slept with the supplied pillow at a 45 degree angle again.

The next day (2 days after transplant), I was due to fly home in the evening and today I was asked to have a dry day, meaning no washing or foaming of the head. I took some photos at the start of the day to keep a log of how things were progressing. I also took the two antibiotic pills. I was picked up in the evening by the driver and taken to the airport where I flew back to UK the same evening. During the day again I just hung around Istanbul, grabbed some food, shopped a bit, etc. I asked Ahmet on day 2 in terms of travelling whether I should wear something to cover the transplant but was advised it's better not to as this could cause unintentional accidents and it's better to leave the areas open to fresh air. At the airport I also noticed a good few other people with hair transplants flying back to UK so I didn't feel as conscious. Surprisingly even on return back to the UK at the airport arrivals hardly anyone glanced twice even though it was quite obvious I'd just had a hair transplant. Here are the day 2 post op photos.

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Day 3 I was able to be go to work (from home), and I did my first wash myself with the provided lotion and shampoo. Being very gentle not to apply direct showerhead pressure to the scalp and only pouring over gently with a cup. There is a bit more itchiness starting as the scabs are solidifying but spraying the saline solution helps. I took the antibiotics and also started taking finasteride from today at 1.25mg / day (one 5mg proscar tablet cut into 4). The side effects of this was keeping me from taking it early on but I want to give my hair transplant and existing miniaturised hairs the best chance of growth and survival so I am starting off on a low dosage and will see how things go. Also sleeping with the neck pillow, but getting used to it now and it's not too bad. Here are the photos of day 3.

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M

MyHT2021

member
Day 4 again more of the same, donor seems to be healing more now. Did another foam + shampoo + wash and been spraying the saline solution throughout the day. Also took the usual antibiotics and another 1.25mg finasteride tablet. Day 4 photos below.

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M

MyHT2021

member
Day 5 is where I am today, largely the same as previous but looks like the donor area is started to heal more now. Today will also be the last of the prescribed antibiotics pills so from tomorrow there will be no more antibiotics. Still sleeping on the pillow which I've been advised to do for the first week and also regularly keeping the areas sprayed with saline solution. Took the 1.25mg finasteride and no side effects so far...

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Bigmac

Bigmac

Administrator
Staff member
Hi myht2021. Welcome to the forum.
That is a detailed write up on your HT journey. It`s good to hear that everything went well with the travel, surgery and your stay in Istanbul. It is a lovely city to explore.
How much of a hairline did you have left before surgery? They extracted a decent number of grafts but they’ve been spread out over a large area. What are you wanting to achieve? The work looks nice and clean, extraction sites look small with a jagged extraction pattern to break the contrast up with your native hair.
Your healing looks good and on track. You said you’ve just started Proscar on a low dose of 1.25mg per day. That’s higher than the recommended dose of 1mg per day. When people start on a lower dosage, it’s usually something like 0.5mg per day, gradually increasing if no sides.
Spraying with saline really helps with post op healing, it keeps everything looking clean.

Thanks for sharing your story. I’ll looking forward to following your journey.
All the best.
Bm.
 
M

MyHT2021

member
Hey Bigmac,

Thank you for the welcome and for responding to my post. Your observation and feedback on the transplant work carried out and healing progress is certainly assuring! My hairline was thankfully mostly still intact albeit with some miniaturisation and diffuse thinning in between, here's what it looked like before the transplant.

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With the transplant I mostly wanted to achieve more coverage in the crown area which was the most obvious area of concern for me, so me and the doctor agreed that around 2,000 grafts would be used to fill in the crown and partial mid scalp area to achieve decent density in the balding areas. The remaining grafts were to be spread out around the frontal and partial mid scalp area where I still have some hair but suffering from miniaturisation and diffuse thinning, so hopefully starting on finasteride will help keep those native hairs along with the newly transplanted hair in between to achieve an even density. With regards to starting out on 1.25mg dose of finasteride daily, since the 5mg Proscar tablets themselves are pretty tiny already I am able to just about cut them into 4 pieces using a pill cutter which gives me roughly 4 x 1.25mg doses, cutting them any finer would just about turn the tablets to powder. Perhaps not the most scientific approach I know but I am hoping this will be okay, it has only been 3 days since starting and so far no side effects although I appreciate it is still very early on. I may switch to Propecia 1mg pills cut in half and reduce the dosage to 0.5mg at the first sign of any side effect or stop use completely, but time and where my mind state is at that time will tell what my next course of action will be if this happens.

Thanks for following along, happy to keep this thread updated partly as a log of progress for myself and also to help anybody else out there who may be curious and has a similar hair loss situation as mine and wants to see what's achievable. I myself was a forum lurker prior to this and keeping up with other peoples journeys definitely helped me a lot. I'm happy to answer any questions if it helps anyone.
 
Bigmac

Bigmac

Administrator
Staff member
That’s good your hairline was mainly intact. It’s important to achieve a good natural result here as it’s the first thing people notice if they’re looking at your hair.

The graft distribution looks pretty uniform across the whole area, except the slight increase in the hairline. I don’t think they put the full 2000 in the crown. Time will tell once it’s grown out.
As for cutting Proscar, I just used a sharp knife.
To lower your dose, you could take a quarter every other day.

 
M

MyHT2021

member
That’s good your hairline was mainly intact. It’s important to achieve a good natural result here as it’s the first thing people notice if they’re looking at your hair.

The graft distribution looks pretty uniform across the whole area, except the slight increase in the hairline. I don’t think they put the full 2000 in the crown. Time will tell once it’s grown out.
As for cutting Proscar, I just used a sharp knife.
To lower your dose, you could take a quarter every other day.

Thanks Bigmac, that's a useful video and very sensible approach to lower the dose at 1.25mg every other day, that should give approximately 0.625mg a day. This is what I'm doing now and so far 5 doses in and so far so good in terms of no negative side effects, although very early days yet. The Youtube channel "The Hair Loss Show" is a very useful resource too for anybody thinking of potentially getting on medication or wants some more scientific insight on hair loss and the medication and science currently available, no salesy videos or pitches for particular products but just two doctors who provide legitimate information backed up by medical research.

Today marks exactly one week after my transplant, I didn't do an update yesterday as it was more or less the same as the previous day and would just become overkill. I slightly buzzed my hair around the hairlines of the back and sides of my head just for maintenance and to keep things tidy as the hairs are now starting to grow out. I've kept up with the daily foaming and shampooing routine since day 3 without applying any pressure to the scalp and using a cup to pour water over the area without direct contact. I noticed a lot more scabs have been starting to fall out but annoyingly there are still plenty more left. From tomorrow's wash I am able to apply some gentle massaging techniques to the scalp, so hopefully more of the scabs should then start to fall out. The transplanted grafts have also started to grow slightly and I can now see quite a few double and triples planted around the crown which will hopefully add to the density once grown out. Also seeing a lot of miniaturised hairs scattered around the balding areas so time will tell whether the finasteride can help to thicken those out. The donor area is also looking much more healed compare to earlier days. Expecting most of the newly transplanted hairs to fall out in the coming weeks but from how things are looking it appears to be so far so good.

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S

smokeybacon

member
Sorry, I don´t want to be rude to you. But I tried to read all this earlier and couldn´t. It is so long, I hope you get the result you are happy with. You had 3000 grafts and they spread it over your head. If you said this, sorry. But you think this is going to be a thick head of hair?
 
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