View Full Version : 26 and couldn't take it anymore

11-27-2013, 03:33 AM
Hello everybody, I joined up to share my experience with people, gain some knowledge and try to make everybody's hair woes a bit easier, including my own.

I'm a 26 year old North American student living on university exchange in Istanbul, Turkey. I started losing my hair around 22, and yes, it really hurt me mentally. By 24, I had no choice but to shave my head completely using a straight razor; anything less would show off what I didn't have. To say I felt old was an understatement. You could call my pattern a Norwood V, which, by no surprise is similar to what my father has. Genetics were definitely at work here.


Shaving completely was cool for awhile, don't get me wrong. I started to have muscle aches in my neck that I attributed to chills from a lack of insulation. It's annoying, but I also realized I couldn't shave my head for the rest of my life. There's also the obvious image-related issues, I found people just didn't trust me with my hair cut the way it was. Compounded to this was the fact that I think I look decent with a beard (no-shave November discovery!), and the two don't go together very well. Last but not least, I think I broke my mother's heart when she saw my shaved head for the first time, the damage is still there. Above all, I miss having the choice of what hair style to choose from not being confined to the few choices that hide my hair.

Treatments other than surgery were pretty much off the table for me, seeing as how the hair was so far gone. Between study periods I would passively look for a doctor to perform the surgery anything back home cost an arm an a leg, plus I was turned down by two of the bigger names here in Turkey for lack of donor hair and too much ground to cover. I did however receive a next-day invitation for a consultation at Istanbul Hair Clinic (Dr. Emine Saykı). I showed up to the consultation, ready to play ball, where the estimate was between 3500-4000 grafts and a very reasonable price was given. I'm still a student, on exchange, so money is tight..I had a number in mind and their price was pretty much dead-on. I agreed to go ahead with it, to which they asked if I wanted to start immediately. This was a Saturday with no classes for the next week, so I gambled, pulled the trigger and got started less than 24 hours after sending the email the timing couldn't have been better.

All in all, the operation took approximately 10 hours and covered 5780 grafts (a bit up from the estimate!). The team there was very professional I couldn't count the number of staff that were on hand performing tasks related to my surgery. I do believe that they truly care about their patients.

Pictures around 72 hours after the surgery:


As I'm writing this, it's been just over 3 days since the operation, and things seem to be going smoothly. Sleeping is still an issue (I can't sleep on my back), and the neck pillow isn't my best friend, but I wasn't expecting this to be easy. So far nobody knows that I had this done, I'm hoping I'll be able to hide the damage completely from my friends at school (I have 9 days total to heal up enough to wear a hoodie/hat), and I can't wait to surprise my mom back home in January. There are still so many variables at play, I'm just hoping nothing goes wrong. My forehead is still swelling, particularly between the eyes, my dome still itching, I still have lots of the antibiotic cream on the donor area that is too difficult/painful to remove and I'm definitely not liking all the redness (I'm sure all of this is normal, but I worry). I've wanted this issue fixed for a long time, it's just not fair for all the men who lose their hair at such a young age, I can attest to the psychological issues that flare up because of it. I don't ever want to go back to baldness, and I'd prefer to not have another surgery done.

I'll post updates as I go, any questions I'd be happy to answer. Stay strong, friends!

11-27-2013, 08:35 AM
Hi Traveller,

Hello and welcome, there are more knowledgeable people on here than me. Looks like an impressive FUE and I look forward to seeing your results.

I'm sure you'll be looking a lot less red in the next 7-10 days. Good luck!



11-27-2013, 01:44 PM

Welcome to this community and thanks for sharing your story and pics with us.

A couple of things. I agree with you that the hair loss meds are of little to no benefit for you in that you have already lost in the areas of scalp that these meds have efficiency.

Your donor zone appears strong even though you are in a Norwood class 7 pattern and destiny.

Impressed with the post-op photos detailing the recipient areas and the graft placements. Note how your surgeon transitioned the spacing of the grafts as they transcend towards the mid-scalp and crown. Your new hairline and frontal zone has tighter spacing which will have a corresponding higher level of visual density. In addition, it appears that the whirl method was implemented in the crown with acute angulations there and elsewhere.

Look forward to your update pics and only time will tell how satisfied you will be in 12 months or so. Hopefully the transection rate will be low and you will enjoy an optimal yield and regrowth.

But considering where you started and reading how you have lived with the level of hair loss, 5780 grafts is going to make quite a transition for you.

Is your hair more on the coarse side or is the caliber more towards the thin side as it is hard to tell from the photos.

Now you can rest and grow and best wishes to you on the final result...;)

12-11-2013, 11:00 PM
Hello Traveller...any updates?Hope everything is OK.

12-12-2013, 10:26 AM
Thanks, Gillenator. My hair has always been coarse and heavy, though in my later stages it was hard to tell because I buzzed my hair pretty short. I liked the shorter style more, to be honest.

Ok, days 5-12 were pretty much hell. I had to go get extra pain meds because the donor area stung like crazy and sleeping was near-impossible. Since I'm so bad with needles and have an extremely sensitive nervous system, the anesthetic application areas were hit hardest, it was literally like knives being jammed into my head 24 hours a day. The rate of occurrence for nervous system damage is extremely low, but I can't say I'm surprised I'm one of the few who got it.

On day 5, the anesthetic started to move down my head. At first my forehead was very puffy, it looked awkward to say the least. On day 6, it was on the bridge of my nose between my eyebrows, and I looked like a cartoon. On day 7 it moved further down the bridge and nearly closed my left eye from swelling. Both eyes went black until about day 14; on day 10 when I finally saw someone I knew, I just said "I got in a fight, I don't want to talk about it". It seemed to work.

I guess today is day 20 and the pain is gone under normal circumstances. Over the weekend I was at a Turkish celebration party, but I left in massive pain at the end of the night. I had my hat on for about 6-7 hours that night, I had a few to drink (it was free, unlimited alcohol...c'mon) and I reluctantly danced along with the group when dragged along (I've been adamant that dancing was considered exercise and a no-no, slight mistake on my part). My pain killer was taken 12 hours before and I didn't want to mix alcohol and pain killers afterwards, so I had no help on that front. I just rode out the storm, as bad as it was.

I've been shedding like crazy and I'm starting to zit up a bit, nothing major. The redness is still around, but that's supposed to disappear around the 2-month mark, if I recall. I might buzz down the non-recipient area to even it out, but so far, so good. According to other people's progress pictures, my transplant is going to turn out very nice, and I'm quite pleased to say the least.


12-12-2013, 04:04 PM
Looking forward to your progress pics...;)

12-12-2013, 06:25 PM
Indeed, thanks so much for sharing your experience and your progress photos! It is *hugely* appreciated.

12-13-2013, 04:54 AM
Great step, looking very good so far.
The grafts are placed very nicely.

All the best, happy growing as they say

12-13-2013, 09:41 AM
Now that's people like you I admire. People who really need a hair transplant and have it done. Not those 40 years old NW3 being applauded because they're on Propecia and having 4000 grafts to fill their temples and vanity.

I believe you made a good decision. Looking forward to see your results too.

01-03-2014, 06:47 AM
Not much to update. It's been 42 days since my surgery and I look like my before photos.

However, I am starting to get worried. I do rub my head a bunch unconsciously, and I've noticed a few hairs falling out that have me concerned.

Here's an example of the first - the tissue isn't dry and crusty, but instead it feels soft and can be changed shape. There's always a small hair (sometimes two) sticking out of it. I've seen at least 10 of these fall out.


Second, I had this one fall out today. It looks a lot like a whole graft. I'm getting pretty nervous and scared that my head is rejecting the transplants. Help? :(


01-03-2014, 07:37 AM
There is nothing to worry about. Your head is not rejecting anything. Its normal to be paranoid at this stage.

After 15 days the grafts are secure, unless you rub your head very wild.

At this stage you will have shedding, don't panic. Everyone will go through this, sometime the shedded hair looks like graft.

Second pic is not a graft but hair with scab at the end of it.

if your head is itching a lot then you could take anti histamine tablets (loratadine). I am not a doctor, do ask your doctors advice before taken this medicine.

further relax, you will have many more panics in the coming months which is part of hair transplant post op

01-05-2014, 09:47 AM
I realize I'm being paranoid about this whole thing, but this one came out today. Opinions?


04-08-2014, 02:41 AM
Hello Traveller.

Im going to visit istanbul hair clinic on 14'th april.
Could you please give us an update on how thing are going?

Wish you all the best.
Tom Ford.

03-05-2015, 04:33 AM
Hey there,
am planning on visiting the same clinic ,, and hopefully a transplant..
i was wondering if you could please post some new photos just to see results..this will help me a lot to decide whether to have the transplant in this clinic or some other one.
i'll be grateful and thankful if you could please do so.

03-05-2015, 06:20 AM
Hey Tony93,
I was at this clinic, it is almost a year after the transplant, and it is not good, shitty results. During the operation no one could speak english and i could not tell them what i wanted done, so they just did what they wanted.

03-06-2015, 07:22 AM
Hey tomford,
I am disappointed to hear that since contacting them was not a problem at all and looked like a very good clinic,,
am sorry to hear about the shitty results.. but can you send me some before and after photos ?! it will help me a lot ! ( if you can send me some photos .. my email is tony.aub1@gmail.com )
And , Can you suggest another clinic and almost the same price range?
Thanks a lot for the reply.
have a good day

03-06-2015, 08:34 AM
Hey tomford,
Am a disappointed to hear that since contacting them was not a problem at all and looked like a very good clinic,,
am sorry to hear about the shitty results.. but can you send me some before and after photos ?! it will help me a lot ! ( if you can send me some photos .. my email is tony.aub1@gmail.com )
And , Can you suggest another clinic and almost the same price range?
Thanks a lot for the reply.
have a good day

Shame traveller did not update this thread. Would have been interesting to see how this turned out. And tomford, no need to email the pics, just post them here. We would all like to see.

03-06-2015, 08:41 AM
Agreed Notcool' It was looking to be a very positive step for 'Traveller'
Hey Traveller if your still on here,,please post your updates ,,thank you .

03-23-2015, 11:50 AM
any updates?

04-10-2015, 01:58 PM
I realize I'm being paranoid about this whole thing, but this one came out today. Opinions?

Our family friend went to Istanbul Hair Center a year ago and is very pleased. I think his hair looks really good. Traveller please update us if you can. tomford, I'm sorry about your results. Can you post pics? I was excited to go to this clinic after the results our friend got. Now I'm nervous.

06-14-2015, 09:54 PM
Hi guys,
Sorry for the very long wait, I wasn't really ready to deal with this and just left it alone. We're coming up on about 19 months now since the transplant, and I think today I've officially written this off as a failure. I have more hair than I did, but I don't think the result is truly spectacular in any way. I'm not sure what really went wrong, but you'll see in the following photos that the front is passable but the crown area is still quite bare. I'm not sure if my expectations were too high given the extent of the loss pre-transplant or that the transplant truly was done badly.

Throughout the past 19 months I've had almost non-stop pimples. When I would destroy them, I'm assuming it would take the hair graft along with them - repeat on a thousand pimples, lose a thousand grafts perhaps. I do rub it a decent amount (bad habit), but I don't think that alone would have done it. I haven't taken any supplements - I've considered fin but I do have cats, and their health takes priority. The hairs also grow unevenly; I can feel one on the crown that hasn't grown a millimeter since the first time it grew, while some grow faster than the hair on the side of my head. Some are normal diameter, some very small and without color. I won't place blame, I can't say for sure if something went wrong, or how it did. I'll just post the results and the community can draw its own conclusions.


All the best gentlemen, and Tom, my sincerest apologies for not checking in earlier. I wish I could have saved you the money and grief, for that I truly feel bad.

06-14-2015, 10:30 PM
Uh, this is a success. You were like full-blown NW7 before that hair transplant.

What did you expect? A Miracle? This is all you could hope to achieve.

I'm sorry that you thought you would be rocking Elvis' hair style.

Remember that some hair is always better than no hair.

06-14-2015, 10:42 PM
Uh, this is a success. You were like full-blown NW7 before that hair transplant.

What did you expect? A Miracle? This is all you could hope to achieve.

I'm sorry that you thought you would be rocking Elvis' hair style.

Remember that some hair is always better than no hair.

I completely agree. This was a success. You seem to have more donor hair. You might be able to get some more density with another HT. Glad you finally updated this post. Don't feel bad, your results look good. I wouldn't say that 90% of your grafts grew but it appears that most of them did. Think about adding finasteride.

06-14-2015, 10:47 PM
I took another picture in different light, not sure the above showed enough given the lighting.
I was expecting more on the crown; similar procedures here yielded results that make mine seem a little....sparse?


06-17-2015, 12:18 PM

Maybe go back and compare your before pics before you had this large mega-session of nearly 6,000 grafts. Then take a closer look at your immediate post-op photos to see the graft placement.

You will see that the majority of your grafts commenced at the frontal zone and then far less density as the placement transitioned into the crown.

Considering that the crown is such a large surface area, you really cannot expect much visual or actual coverage in that region. That's all it is, not a matter of poor yield but rather simply an issue of lower achieved density considering the remaining grafts that were left. It's mathematical my friend.

But wow, your frontal zone into the mid-scalp looks great and your visual transformation viewing you straight on is really good IMHO...;)

So I do not think this was a failure by any means.

But here's the deal. You are in fact or should I say were a true class 7 before surgery and realizing that will help you accept your own "realistic" limitations. As a class 7, none of us have the available scalp donor for that level of coverage.

You might want to focus/save any remaining scalp donor for your lateral humps in the future because you may experience some recessionary loss and you will need some donor to fill in those gaps as you get older. In other words, save some donor so you can keep your side rims connected to your frontal zone.

Hope this makes some sense and remember, you're still a young guy so managing your restoration over a lifetime is critical.

Best wishes to you Traveller...;)

06-17-2015, 01:50 PM
HELLO Traveller!!

To be very honest and objective with you, You scalp looks so MUCH BETTER than it did prior to the transplants!

Traveller, you MUST BE REALISTIC and ACCEPTING about this.
There is no way that you would have had a 'full head of hair' look after the surgery anyways.
My friend the great thing is that you have a very good facial FRAMING of your hairline.
You should be very HAPPY about that!

What you can do is to use products like 'DermMatch' to HELP enhance your head of hair.
As it has been said, you WERE a NW7!! You are NO LONGER that!!

Overall, WHO CARES that some others MIGHT focus on how your crown looks!?!?
No one will really do that anyways--thats true.

Your a good looking guy and this surgery enhanced your looks dude!
I am glad for you.
Another thing, You are still very YOUNG! There WILL be advancements in hair transplant surgery and hair treatments!
(who knows,,maybe some type of cure too,,not that you should hold out hope for that-lol)

I WISH my head of hair looked like yours does now.
Keep in mind that Dr Wesley is working on his 'Pilofocus' improvements....It COULD BE a game changer !!
If that IS the case, you will probably be able to improve your crown.
But I feel that , you will become COMFORTABLE with how your scalp has developed...
Cheers to you buddy and thanks for SHARING with us all!!
(thankfully I will be one of his Phase Test patients)

06-19-2015, 03:24 PM
Thank you gentlemen, your encouragement means a lot and I am looking at it in a better light with your input.
I'll consider a round 2 in the next couple years, hopefully drawing hair that isn't critical. Lots of reading to do, for sure. All the best, guys.

06-19-2015, 03:48 PM
Far from a failure. Like Fred said, you were a full blown NW7 when you got your HT. This is definitely NOT a bad result. Can you shave your hair with a #1 guard or is that not possible because of scars? I think this would look even better, as you still have a hair line to frame the face and your crown would probably look less thin

06-19-2015, 09:43 PM
Now that's a good hair transplant!! you look great!

06-20-2015, 05:04 AM
@ Traveller: I have a high norwood pattern in my genes and I observe with a big interest what HT can do for people with NW 5+. I have to admit, that your transformation is very impressive. What is the most important thing - you are no longer classified as ,,that bald man''!
If you aren't satisfied with your crown - add some concealer and you will have head full of hair.
You were blown to nw7, so it can't be worse, am I right? If you have some donor hair left you can use it partly to improve density in the crown area. Or wait with it for piloscopy abovementioned by Artista :)

06-20-2015, 05:49 AM
What about a very close buzz cut and some scalp micro pigmentation That would give the illusion of hair with some texture from the remaining hair.