Turkey: Picking the perfect hair transplant for YOU

Nezahualpiltzintli.jpg Daniel Cullen Graft king

Sun Dec 19 2021

To anyone who has looked into getting a hair transplant in Turkey, you will know how confusing it can be.

Between the infinite number of clinics all claiming to be the best, to the avalanche of fake reviews, it is easier to come away with more questions than when you began.

I spent two years researching hair transplant clinics. This is the article I wish I found at the beginning.

I will not recommend a specific clinic. Instead, it will give you a set of questions that should lead you to your ideal clinic.


Join unbiased groups

The internet is awash with content produced by people working on commission for clinics. The absolute most important step in your journey is to seek out unbiased advice.

  1. Facebook - Hair loss Conquerors - if you do one thing after reading, join this group. A 10k+ strong community of men who either have already had a hair transplant or are currently researching clinics. Made in response to a group that banned posts from clinics not paying them commission, the main rule in Hair Loss Conquerors is that all content must be unbiased. With you average clinic showing perhaps 1% of their total procedures on their social media pages, these pages allow you to see beyond the curtain groups like this allow you to intera a clinic's Instagram A clinic’s Instagram will only show you their highlight reel of maybe 1% of the procedures they carry out per year. Here, you get to see behind the curtain, interacting with people who are not paid to sing a clinic’s praises.
  2. Forum - www.hairrestorationnetwork.com - a highly useful and well known space where forum members mostly post results of clinics they have visited. Any high-end clinic charging by graft should have a presence on this website.
  3. YouTube Mr Rolandas - an active member of the Hair Loss Conquerors Facebook group and something of an authority on hair transplants having had two himself. If you have a question on clinics, hairlines or medication- Rolandas has probably already made a video on it.
  4. YouTube Matt Dominance - one of the most well known voices on hair transplants, Matt makes excellent explainer videos particularly on understanding the level of service you can expect at different price points when comparing clinics.

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Understand the different tiers of pricing

This is a really key area. Compared to a similar clinic in the UK producing similar work, your transplant is always going to be far cheaper no matter if you go to a low-cost or renowned Turkish clinic.

Having said that, there are certain features that opting for a higher cost Turkish clinic will grant you that almost definitely won’t be available at the lower end. There is no right or wrong answer here. It’s about weighing up what is important to you versus the cost. Either way it’s good to have an idea of where you stand before reaching out to actual clinics.

There are three broad tiers of pricing that almost all Turkish clinics will fall into:

  1. Tier 1: the lowest cost of all typically between $1,000 - $2,000 including the hair procedure, hotel stay and travel to and from the airport. All the customer would need to arrange is their flight. Clinics in this bracket tend to offer one set price based on often “maximum grafts” being extracted to achieve the client’s aims. Accounting for probably the largest number of total clinics, Tier 1 clinics are extremely popular for their low cost, convenience and great value for money given the results produced. However, at this price point it is likely that your procedure will be carried out by technicians rather than a doctor. Doctor involvement is likely to be limited to a quick initial consultation on the day of the procedure and the drawing of your hairline. Beyond this, the doctor’s role is likely to be limited to ‘supervising’ the procedure by popping in from time to time. However, with up to twenty patients per day don’t expect the doctor to be checking in every hour. The main drawback of Tier 1 clinics is that technicians will have nowhere near the level of training of a doctor. This increases the risk of a complication such as over harvesting or implanting hairs at angles different to the native hair. Also, turnover of technicians is notoriously high. As such, there is little way of knowing whether any of the technicians who produced the results that enticed you will actually still be working at the clinic by the time you arrive.

  2. Tier 2: these clinics aim to offer some of the features of higher priced clinics while still charging a fairly cheap $2,500 - $4,000. In contrast to Tier 1, a doctor is likely to carry out the key area of surgery at this price: the incisions. They may also carry out other areas themselves such as the extraction and implementation. In contrast to Tier 1 clinics who operate more of a ‘stack it high and sell it cheap’ business model, Tier 2 clinics will tend to only carry out between 1-3 procedures every day. To many this offers peace of mind that they are choosing a clinic more able to practice quality control by dedicating their attention to a smaller number of customers at any one time. They may also charge a flat fee for a procedure up to a certain number of grafts i.e. $3000 for up to 3,500 grafts and $4,000 for up to 5,000 grafts split across two days.

  3. Tier 3 clinics: at the highest tier you are likely to find clinics where only one patient per day is taken. Not only will the doctor take an active role in your procedure as the only patient of the day, it is likely that their supporting team of technicians may be trained to a higher standard, holding their own qualifications. As well as the increased emphasis on procedure reducing the likelihood of complication, many argue that better results are produced by these clinics. With high tech equipment such as microscope loupes often used to separate single hair grafts ideal for the hairline from multiple grafts ideal for density in the scalp, it should be less likely that a customer is given a pluggy hairline filled with multiple grafts. With the name (and reputation) of a doctor hanging outside the door it is likely that more effort will be put into matters such as not depleting a donor area by harvesting an excessive number of grafts compared to cheaper clinics led by technicians. The main downside of these clinics is their cost, and often their waiting list. At between 1.5 - 3 euros per graft, a 3000 graft procedure might cost you anywhere up to 5 times the total cost of a Tier 1 clinic for the same number of grafts. However, similar quality work in the UK or US might run you back up to $30,000 which is no wonder why the waiting list for top Turkish clinics can easily run over six months.

Have an idea of what an ideal result looks like to you

Many clinics will have a signature style of result that they will go for. Some higher priced clinics pride themselves on achieving the most natural results where it is impossible to tell someone had a hair transplant. Whereas others are famous for low, straight hairlines with defined temples. There can be a lot of snobbery and confirmation bias in hair transplants where people will insist the

y know what is the best outcome. What is most important is deciding what a great result will look like in your eyes, so take some time to learn the trademark finishes offered by different clinics.

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Understand what Norwood level you are

In working out your ideal result, it’s a good idea to take 30 seconds in order to determine what Norwood scale you are. A simple Google will bring up the chart. This is important because obviously a Norwood 5 will have different considerations than a Norwood 3 and should set their expectations accordingly. It’s a great idea to know your Norwood level beforehand so that you can put into context any promises made by a clinic. For instance, if you know you are a Norwood 5 and you’re speaking to a clinic who are promising you full coverage with just a single hair transplant, you should really seek multiple opinions before doing anything.


Look into hairloss medication

You may not even need a hair transplant. Two FDA-approved hairloss drugs exist that have been proven to slow down or even reverse hair loss in men. In any case, if you don’t think you are actively losing hair, it is definitely worth looking into both of these drugs. Why? Because iby stabilizing your hairloss, it ensures that should you get a hair transplant you are able to hang onto the results you have made. If you are still receding you may end up in the same position a few years later with less grafts wishing you stabilized your hairloss first.

  1. Finasteride: male hairloss is caused by DHT which is derived from testosterone. Finasteride works by suppressing this hair-killing compound. By taking finasteride, hairloss can be stabilized or even slightly reversed where someone responds well. Available from GPs in many countries or in a cheap generic form online.
  2. Minoxidil: available in generic form and branded such as Rogaine, minoxidil works by thickening hair that has been miniaturized by DHT. including those that have 'minaturized' due to DHT.

Given that both drugs can be purchased for a combined price of under 20 pounds per month online, they can be smart moves for people considering a hair transplant, particularly those who are actively receding. It wouldn’t be fair to discuss these two drugs without mentioning potential side effects. Roughly 5% of men may experience loss of libido and other sexual side effects particularly with oral finasteride, however, in almost all cases once the drug is stopped these side effects disappear. It is worth noting that when compared to the dosage of finasteride given to men suffering from an enlarged prostate (7mg), the 1mg daily recommended dose is still very low.

Should you still be having reservations of finasteride, a new topical version is now reaching the market. Applied straight to their hair like minoxidil, early reports are that it works just as well at suppressing DHT in the scalp as oral with little to no side effects. At current it is only available in the UK at www.hims.co.uk but expect larger manufacturers to hopefully enter soon. This would be great as the only downside to topical finasteride is its current price - roughly 40 per month compared to an oral prescription of 5.

Create your initial shortlist and begin contacting clinics

By now you should have some idea of your of hairloss and what level of service you are happy with. Now is the time to begin constructing your shortlist. At this stage the most important thing to keep in mind is you are only inquiring. I kept a spreadsheet and found it very useful to keep track of all the different quotes. Below is a screenshot of how I set mine up.

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It’s okay to change your mind!

I hope this article has been of use to you. Just a final point, I changed my mind three times in the 18 months that I researched as I uncovered more information and learned more about what an ideal result would look like for me. There’s no need to research quite as long as I did (at times I definitely felt I had burnout from researching) but I would seriously advise against making a snap decision, i.e. less than 2-3 months of research at a minimum.

The sales people responding to you will tell you everything that you want to hear. You are putting yourself in the best decision by making use of the free, unbiased information out there. Remember, the people you are talking to are probably working on commission... they won’t have to wear the outcome of the decision on their head every day for the rest of their lives.