My name is Chris, and I am seeking assistance worldwide. I fell victim to a fraudulent and illicit hair transplant clinic, and I am in need of help. Approximately fifteen months ago, I made a regrettable mistake by opting for a hair transplant in Turkey. I had limited knowledge about the procedure, and it was a friend who suggested I visit Istanbul. Although I wasn’t completely bald, I simply desired to enhance my receding hairline.
At the time, I believed that my case was straightforward and that nothing could go wrong. I assumed that all doctors performed the same job, so I contacted only two clinics and ultimately chose the one located at a hospital in Istanbul.
The clinic assured me that the doctor, with 15 years of experience, would be conducting the surgery. I checked online reviews and discovered that the clinic was situated in an actual hospital, leading me to believe that a qualified doctor would perform the hair transplant due to the favorable price.
Unfortunately, I now realize that this was all a lie. In my home country, performing any type of surgery in a hospital requires the presence of a certified doctor. The past twelve months have been exceedingly difficult for me. Initially, I trusted them and believed that everything was proceeding normally and that my hair would grow as expected, assuming the surgery was performed by a qualified doctor.
Before the surgery, I had beautiful hair, and I had specifically requested no more than 2500 grafts to fill in my temples.
However, when I opened my eyes after the procedure, I was shocked to find that the transplanted hair covered my entire head. They had not only operated on my temples but also on my crown and the middle of my scalp, contrary to my instructions.
The clinic reassured me not to worry and claimed that they knew what they were doing, promising me a head of new, beautiful hair. I held onto the hope that my hair would grow naturally over time. However, doubts began to creep in when I asked about the number of grafts they had taken. I received conflicting responses, with one person saying 4000 grafts, another 4200, and yet another claiming 4500.
At that point, I started suspecting that I might have chosen the wrong clinic, as they seemed uncertain about the exact number of grafts extracted. It became apparent that they had not been accurately counting the grafts.
The next day, when I went to the hospital to remove the bandage from my head, the doctor was nowhere to be found, and they had not properly cleaned the blood from my donor area. My donor area appeared unsightly, causing my anxiety to escalate. Upon returning home, my problems only worsened. Even after six months, the hair on the right side of the donor area refused to grow. I fell into a deep depression, losing 12 kg in weight and becoming reclusive. Concerned friends even questioned if I had cancer due to the prominent bald patches on both sides of my head, where I had lost most of my native hair, not only in the transplanted areas but throughout my scalp. Losing my hair was just the tip of the iceberg—I lost every ounce of confidence.
I became a mere shadow of the person I once was, unable to fathom the consequences of my decision when I looked in the mirror. The internet provided no similar cases to mine, and it became evident that my situation was far from ordinary. Typically, the donor area heals within two to four weeks, yet mine still had large holes after six months.
I sought the expertise of several doctors in my country, but none were able to offer a solution. My girlfriend became my pillar of support, as I called her every day, often in tears. I even contemplated suicide. Were it not for the unwavering support of my girlfriend and family, who stood by me every step of the way, I shudder to think what might have become of me. To this day, the trauma remains deeply ingrained, necessitating weekly sessions with a psychologist and daily intake of antidepressants.
While I understand that others face greater challenges, including curable illnesses, believe me when I say that no one would willingly subject themselves to such horror. Most people are unaware of the intricacies of hair transplant surgery—it only takes one misstep for everything to go awry. If anyone tells you that FUE surgery leaves no scars, run in the opposite direction. I would rather shave my head bald for the rest of my life than endure the consequences of a botched hair transplant. Regrettably, I was unaware of the repercussions of a poor surgery. I naively believed that it was just a matter of hair growing back the same way it had before. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that.
Do you recall the story of Samson from the Biblical Book of Judges? How he lost all his strength when Delilah betrayed him and cut his hair? Only those who have endured a similar ordeal can truly comprehend the suffering I have endured. For six months, the fake doctor assured me that everything was normal.
However, when I conducted my own research on hair transplants and educated myself, it became evident that nothing had been done correctly in my surgery. I bombarded the coordinator from the fraudulent clinic in Turkey with numerous questions: the pattern of graft extraction, microscopic examination to separate grafts according to the number of hair follicles, density assessments of both my donor and recipient areas, the doctor’s medical qualifications, and when I would receive my medical documents from the surgery.
Sadly, they could not provide satisfactory answers to any of my inquiries. I merely received reassurances that everything was normal. Finally, six months later, they blocked me on WhatsApp and their Instagram page after I left a comment under one of their photos, stating that the work did not resemble that of a doctor.
It is still difficult for me to fathom the extent to which people deceive others solely for monetary gain. They boast of fake followers and employ filters on all their post-surgery photos. On the contrary, I possess videos, WhatsApp conversations, recorded phone calls, and evidence of their lies regarding the doctor’s involvement and the supposed normalcy of my situation. In Europe, such deceitful practices would result in imprisonment, but in Turkey, I am powerless to take any legal action against them.
I am convinced that they lacked the skill to perform graft punching effectively, resulting in the unnecessary extraction and destruction of numerous grafts. Moreover, the technicians involved were not licensed professionals, and there was no legitimate doctor overseeing the procedure. The rate of graft extraction was excessively high, considering my case required no more than 2500 grafts. The fake doctor made numerous incisions in areas where my native hair density was already sufficient, leading to the destruction of my natural hair.
Prior to the surgery, I specifically inquired if they understood that only single hair follicles should be placed in the front line, but they assured me that they were knowledgeable and capable. Unfortunately, I now find myself with an uneven hairline, consisting of double and triple hair follicles. Additionally, all of the transplanted hairs have been positioned at incorrect angles.
My donor area has been ravaged and depleted, and every possible mistake has been made during the hair transplant procedure. For six months, they insisted that everything was normal and advised against worrying. However, when I requested the phone number of the doctor to address the issue of hair growth on the right side of my head, they promptly blocked me. I misplaced my trust in individuals who deceived me solely for financial gain. Prior to the surgery, I possessed beautiful hair, but now I am burdened with a disastrous outcome and profound depression. Baldness does not run in my family, and my initial goal was to slightly enhance my temples.
It is important to understand that repairing a botched surgery is not as simple as undergoing another hair transplant. Repair procedures are extremely challenging. The donor area has a finite number of grafts, and if too many grafts are extracted incorrectly, patchy areas may result. Transplanted hair that is positioned incorrectly resembles horns on the head rather than natural hair. Removing these unnatural grafts from the hairline and relocating them to different areas typically requires more than two surgeries. If one is fortunate, a third surgery may be able to reconstruct the hairline.
However, at this stage, the donor area becomes significantly more limited for further surgeries. The process of repairing the damage caused by an initial botched surgery can take two to three years and may cost up to five times more than the original procedure. Therefore, I urge you to approach hair transplants with caution, conduct thorough research, ask as many questions as possible, inquire about photos of the donor area immediately after surgery, verify the licensing of the technicians and clinic, and ensure that the doctor is transparent and forthright. Do not be swayed solely by the photos displayed on Instagram, as they often depict only the front of the face. Additionally, inquire about the utilization of microscopes during the procedure.
Lastly, I would like to express my gratitude to the ISHRS and all its members who have provided me with hope. Hope that certain aspects can be rectified and that I can regain the life I had before. A special thanks goes to Dr. Marie Schambach, Dr. Vincenzo Gambino, Dr. Ruban Nathan, and Dr. Augusto Guerreiro, who have generously offered pro bono repair surgery through the Fight The Fight Hair Transplant Repair Day campaign.
Before choosing a hair transplant clinic in Turkey, carefully consider the consequences of making a poor decision. The repercussions can haunt you for the rest of your life, with little opportunity for correction or repair. Select your clinic wisely, opting for those with the highest standards of medical practice, medical ethics, and extensive experience in the hair restoration industry. Believe me when I say that the losses incurred from choosing the wrong place extend far beyond hair and money.