Victim of Black Market Hair Transplant Clinic Shares His Story

This case is presented by a victim of a black market hair transplant clinic. He contacted the ISHRS directly after finding the Fight the FIGHT campaign microsite and wishes to tell his story publicly to help others be aware. A video interview (hiding his identity) was conducted by the ISHRS after he reached out to us wanting to share his story. He wishes to remain anonymous. The hair transplant was only a few months ago, as of November, 2022. He will be evaluated by a doctor to see if the hair transplant can be repaired and possibly be a canditate for next years ISHRS World Hair Transplant Repair Day.

If you know a victim of a hair transplant done incorrectly by unlicensed technicians in black market clinics, please let them know about ISHRS Hair Transplant Repair Day which is on November 11 every year. For details visit this page.

In the patient’s own words:

On June 21, 2022, I traveled to Istanbul with the intention of having a hair transplant, with no clinic chosen yet. My hair loss would be a Norwood I, that is, a little receding, but not much. I wanted to reinforce the area to improve my appearance so that I would not be so self-conscious about it.

Before hair transplant

Until that moment, the information I found on the internet was about the great results that these clinics achieved, and I was interested in giving density to an area in which I had some hair loss. Until then I had not treated hair loss in any way, and, in my case, more conservative treatments would have been more than enough for the time being.

I thought, in my ignorance, that by undergoing the surgery, I could avoid medication. The information received on the internet was from Instagram stories or Facebook posts. I did not receive information at any time about what good hair planning is and the importance that medication has in the recovery process. It was my fault also for not having informed myself correctly.

Once in Turkey, I visited two clinics, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.
I decided on the one that had the best reviews on Google and that had also been in operation for several years.

The first meeting with them was in the afternoon before the operation and, after selling me some services that I would later never receive, we made an appointment for the next day to perform the surgery in a hospital. They promised me that I will see the surgeon the next day before starting the operation and I decided to trust him.

I only paid €868 because I didn’t want a hotel. I know, cheap becomes expensive.
A van picks me up and takes me to the hospital the next morning. There, contrary to what I had been promised, no surgeon was waiting for me, only translators with great social skills and a group of teenagers who would be the ones who would carry out 100% of the surgery.

The minimal hair loss I currently had changes radically when I am told that a supposed doctor, whom I have never seen, decided that he would extract 4,200 follicles from my donor area for my Norwood I hair loss.

The supposed doctor based his decision on some photos taken on a cell phone the day before and they transplant a bunch of hair follicles on my crown and other parts of my head where I had no hair loss.

They unnecessarily overharvested my donor area and damaged the native hair by putting some follicles on top of others. I try to prevent this aberration. I repeatedly tell them that I don’t want to have so much removed and that I want to speak with the surgeon first to decide on the number of follicles and the design before touching anything, but the translator convinces me that everything will be fine and pressures me to I stayed and agreed to have surgery without having spoken to any specialist.

A few days after hair transplant surgery at black market clinic

At that moment, very nervous, I try to be respectful and simply submit to it because I assume that if they are dedicated to hair transplantation, they will know what they are doing.

They devastated my hair with complete lack of professionalism. I couldn’t regret anymore the fateful decision to stay there and let them make a mess of my natural hair that is now ruined for life. The scene in that operating room causes me anxiety even now. I imagined myself escaping from there without looking back and without giving any explanation, even at the risk of losing money; how cheap it would have been as it is costing me more in so many other ways. Without a doubt, it has been a traumatic moment that I have to deal with.

After the aberrant extraction (yes, with 4,200 follicles already out), they introduced me to the so-called doctor that I see for just five minutes of my operation. Later, researching the company page of the clinic on LinkedIn, I discover that the CEO of the company, who is not a doctor and much less a hair surgeon, looks just like the supposed doctor. This man draws me a hair line that I don’t like at all. And when I let him know, he convinces me that it will look great this way to save himself from erasing it and drawing it again. Once again, I decide to trust the so-called specialists who I thought knew more about hair transplantation than I did.

From there, I leave with a very low frontal hairline that I cannot accept, with a bald spot on the crown that I did not have previously, a devastated and scarred donor area, a strange feeling in my head that still lingers three months later, my native hair very damaged and with a negative self-consciousness that I had never had, that of being bald.

Frontal hairline after surgery
at black market clinic

It’s still early to see definitive results, but the process was horrible and I wish I had never gone through it. Since my hair was grafted in a hurry, I think that I will also have problems as the new hair grows, such as misdirection of the implants or the doll hair effect due to hair implantation without taking into account the thickness of the frontal hairline. It remains to be seen, but I currently have no hope of seeing a natural result.

I recommend that people consult with a good specialist that will advise you on your specific case and not get carried away by the bombardment of advertising and offers that low-cost clinics are carrying out.

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