I have just completed my Sapphire FUE Hair Transplant with Dr Mehmet Demircioglu and his team at Diamond Hair Clinic. This review will be based on my experience from booking, all the way to 10 days post-operation. I will write another review purely focused on the results of the operation in around 12-18 months from now. This review is very extensive, so if you are short on time, you can simply read the TLDR section and hopefully you will get the sentiment I am trying to convey. Otherwise, I’d recommend reading the full review because I have spent a lot of time & effort to give the most accurate and detailed review possible, which can hopefully be useful to those considering a hair transplant in Istanbul.
TLDR // Summary
Deciding on Diamond Hair Clinic and Dr Mehmet Demircioglu was the best decision I could have possibly made. Everything was professional and patient-focused, from the first messages exchanged on WhatsApp to 10 days post operation (where I currently am with my recovery). For those considering a hair transplant in Istanbul, I would HIGHLY recommend you to consider Dr Mehmet Demircioglu, his team and his clinic.
Yes, the pricing is a bit more than your average in Istanbul, but for a very good reason and ultimately, you get what you pay for. You are paying for:
An experienced surgeon to conduct the incisions, which is a highly technically demanding part of the surgery, and for the surgeon to supervise the whole operation. Experienced is probably not sufficient to capture his skill set - world-renowned is more accurate. In fact, Dr Mehmet Demircioglu is a recognised member of the World FUE Institute. You can see the requirements for membership here https://www.worldfueinstitute.com/see-our-fellow-members/. You can read for yourself how difficult it is to be invited as a member.
The purest form of patient focus as Dr Mehmet Demircioglu only takes 1 patient a day, and 10 in a month (if I remember correctly). This allows him to invest all his expertise and energy into a single patient at a time to ensure the best experience, and to deal with any and all queries that a patient may have. This in my opinion SHOULD be an industry standard because a hair transplant is as personal as it gets, but unfortunately, it is far from standard.
Dr Mehmet Demircioglu is more than a surgeon; he is an artist & perfectionist. He allocates a full 1 hour consultation to draw your hairline and go over the details, many of which are things a regular individual wouldn’t even know existed. For example, Dr Mehmet Demircioglu showed me some asymmetric characteristics on his own personal hairline, which are not noticeable to the naked and unaware eye. He did this to highlight that naturally looking hairlines seldom are perfect, thus introducing minor imperfections is key to attaining a naturally looking hairline.
Exceptional care, organisation and pre and post-operation communications. Being a naturally inquisitive and detail-oriented individual, I had so many questions for Dr Mehmet Demircioglu. He has answered each and every single question to my satisfaction, with more detail than required to ensure I have all I need. He has also provided additional resources for things I have asked about. This is only possible thanks to his fluency in English.
A stay in a lovely and well-positioned hotel called Ramada, alongside all transport in big Vito cars. Believe me, the Vito cars are not a minor detail. They have been chosen because they are big and avoid head-bumps post operation. Hopefully, that gives you some insight into the level of thinking and planning that goes into ensuring patients have the best experience possible.
The price you pay is not subject to the number of grafts to be extracted and implanted. You essentially pay to have Dr Mehmet Demircioglu around for the day, which is a much better alternative because decisions will no longer be based on financial factors only, but rather whatever is best for the patient in the short and long term.
The key thing I am trying to convey here is that Dr Mehmet Demircioglu has set a really high standard for hair transplant surgery. I can only recommend him and inform prospective patients about the excellence of his work and service, but ultimately it is down to the prospective patient to choose the surgeon and clinic. I would highly recommend that prospective patients at least compare other clinics and surgeons to Dr Mehmet Demircioglu because if he is not your go-to-surgeon, then he will serve as a great reference point.
Motivation of FUE Hair Transplant
The key motivation for me to get a hair transplant was that to me, hair reflects youth, and as a man of 27 years of age, balding early did not sit comfortably with me. My balding had been progressing gradually over the years, but I most likely accelerated my genetic predisposition by mistreating my hair. In my (even) younger days, I would straighten my hair as I disliked the excessively wavy nature of my hair. I’m of the opinion that doing that over the years has damaged my hair beyond repair, resulting in thinning and complete loss of hair in some areas. To put this into concrete timelines, I started straightening my hair around 15 years of age, and stopped around 20 years of age.I am now 27 years of age, and prior to my operation, I would still use a blow dryer daily to straighten my now shorter hair as much as I could. I was estimated a number 4 on the Norwood scale, although my crown is not as thin just yet, but still thinner than desired.
I started doing research into possible solutions. Finasteride & Minoxidil were mentioned everywhere, but I got the gist that these will not suffice for me. I was looking for corrective mechanisms, not a mechanism which prevents the worsening of my hair loss. There have been studies demonstrating that Finasteride was effective for some in regrowing hair, but I took those studies with a pinch of salt as I wanted more conclusive evidence and more of a guarantee. Once I had decided that the only mode of action that can repair my hair is a hair transplant, I went ahead and started researching clinics.
This is arguably the most difficult part of the journey. I spent months researching clinics, processes, reading advice and so forth. The internet is crammed with a lot of conflicting information so verifying every piece of information gained was quite tedious and difficult at times. The general rule of thumb I used for verification is that if 4 or more reputable sources corroborated the information, then it is likely to be valid.
The first thing that became immediately obvious to me is that there are different types of clinics around. I’m not an expert in categorisation of these clinics, but I can broadly and informally categorise them into two types: patient-focused and well-oiled money-making machines.
I concluded this dichotomy because when I was reaching out for quotes with some clinics, I was receiving unrealistically cheap quotes (around £1500-£2000 for 5000 grafts) almost instantly, which implied to me that the messaging was mostly template based, and that the quote is generic and not personal to me. Additionally, the sales agents were very pushy and persistent in trying to get me to book as soon as possible.
Now, I don’t mean to bash the good work that some of these money-making clinics do. Undoubtedly, many have had success with them, especially in terms of results. However, I urge prospective patients to read reviews and watch plenty of videos on the process of these clinics because most are unpleasantly surprised to find out they are being operated on alongside 10-15 other patients.
At this point, I had decided that I wanted a world-class surgeon to do my hair transplant with full focus on me as the patient, and not a technician without a medical diploma. Once I started searching for clinics where a surgeon operates on the patient directly, I came across Diamond Hair Clinic. After reading the reviews, I was confident that I should at least attempt to get a quote from Diamond Hair Clinic because they provided the service I was after.
A brief note on reviews - the number & quality of reviews available is quite a useful indication into the type of clinic you are dealing with. I’m not naive enough to think that everyone writes reviews post surgery, but you can quickly filter out bad candidate clinics; some have thousands of reviews, and have only existed for 2 years. Those kinds of numbers are awfully suspicious and indicate a vast turnover of patients. Additionally, there are examples of foul play; censoring negative reviews, manipulating public perception and so forth. I can only advise to check everything multiple times over, and attempt to corroborate across sources.
Getting into contact with Diamond Hair Clinic was really simple. The website has a Contacts page, which redirects you to the platform of choice, which in my case was Whatsapp. I believe Facebook messenger and email were viable alternatives. I went ahead and sent a message detailing my intent and objective.
The admin had responded within 5 minutes of my initial message requesting photos, which Dr Mehmet Demircioglu requires for analysis and probing whether I’m a good candidate for the hair transplant. The angles of the photos were clearly described with examples, so all this was really simple to do.
Once the photos were sent, I was asked to share my email and asked a few questions about my general health and lifestyle. After that, I was informed that Dr Mehmet Demircioglu will carefully analyse my pictures and come up with a personalised medical report which outlines the planned operation. This medical report also includes the cost details of the operation. This report takes around 3-4 days to produce, highlighting that Dr Mehmet Demircioglu personalises each plan according to the patient.
I received my medical report as a PDF via email exactly 3 days after initial contact. The PDF was quite extensive, with many annotations outlining the operation Dr Mehmet Demircioglu has planned to achieve my desired results. There was a lot of information regarding Hair Transplants in general in that PDF, so it takes a little while to get through to digest all the content. I was quoted 4500 euros for 4500 grafts for my operation, which made sense given what I was about to receive in return (see TLDR section).
Shortly after the medical report landed in my inbox, the admin had messaged me on Whatsapp to inform me that the medical report is complete and should be in my inbox. Alongside, a plethora of messages were sent via Whatsapp of previous patients. These messages included pictures, videos, links to reviews and other informational pieces. Again, there was a lot of content to digest. It took me around 3 to 4 weeks of continuous further reading to ensure that Diamond Hair clinic really was my best option. Lo and behold, I was very confident in this choice after corroborating a lot of the information that was provided to me.
The booking process with Diamond Hair clinic was very simple. All you need to do is book your flights to Turkey, and they will make the remainder of all the reservations. I enquired about potential dates in September and the admin informed me that those dates work. I then booked my flights for September 3rd 2022 to September 6th 2022. My operation was planned for the 4th September 2022, which to my surprise, was a Sunday. Of course, in the UK, Sunday is considered somewhat of a rest day, but things are different in Turkey. Anyway, all the reservations were confirmed by Diamond Hair Clinic the following day, and Dr Mehmet Demircioglu emailed me a PDF letter confirming my hair transplant booking.
The booking was completed in April, so I had several months to wait around. I strategically decided on September because I wanted to recover over winter, and from reading around, I knew that summertime is not ideal as you need to shield your head from direct sunlight post operation, and that you should prevent sweating as much as possible. Practically, it was easier to just do it in September.
Towards the end of August 2022, the admin shared more details regarding my trip. Namely, I was passed on the contact details of the company/persons who will be sorting my transport during my stay in Turkey. This was a nice little touch because everything was so timely, thus I never felt like I was missing anything prior to the operation and my flight.
Flights and day before operation
I booked my flights with Turkish Airlines, and was expected to depart from the South terminal in Gatwick around midday. As had been the trend in the preceding few months, I encountered a minor delay with my flight. I was delayed by approximately 1 hour, which was not an issue to me. Upon learning this, I messaged the driver to inform him that I will be delayed. He was very kind and told me not to worry as they’ve got workers who are constantly at the airport.
The flight was relatively short, lasting around 3.5 hours, although the initial estimate was 4 hours. There was food served on the flight, and there was plenty of entertainment to keep me occupied, so that journey was actually quite enjoyable. Once I arrived, I immediately noticed how large Istanbul airport is. In fact, it took me approximately 20 minutes to walk through to the passport control and baggage reclaim. The process to get through security and to reclaim baggage was rather smooth.
My first struggle was finding my way around the airport so that I could meet my driver. As mentioned, the Istanbul airport is enormous and has many exit gates. I decided to contact my driver and ask for additional directions on where I can meet him, and he promptly directed me to Gate 13, and told me who to speak to so that I can organise my taxi back to the hotel. Within 30 minutes or so, I was in a taxi which was taking me all the way to Ramada hotel. I went to check in and everything was smooth sailing.
I was advised to rest well pre-operation, and that is exactly what I did. Room service was ordered and I was asleep by 11pm in Turkey time, because I was informed that my driver will pick me up at 8am the following morning.
I was so excited that I ended up waking up around 6:30am, which is crazy because back in the UK, it would have been 4:30am. I showered, got changed and headed straight downstairs to have some breakfast. I’d highly recommend eating breakfast before the hair transplant surgery as there is only a single lunch break during the procedure. Diamond Hair clinic book your stay with breakfast included, and it was a delicious breakfast at that. By the time it was 7:45am, the driver was outside and ready to take me to the clinic. The clinic was approximately 20 minutes driving from the Ramada hotel.
Upon arrival at the clinic, I was welcomed by the receptionist. I was asked for some identification (please bring your passport with you) and was given a form to sign. The form was essentially a standard medical waiver, quite common across cosmetic surgery in general. There was nothing outrageous and nothing I did not agree with, so I signed and waited until one of Dr Mehmet Demircioglu’s staff escorted me to his office approximately 15 minutes after.
I was taken to Dr Mehmet Demircioglu’s office for the initial consultation. The office was very modern, with some incredible artwork stationed behind the doctor himself. Everything looked state of the art to me, so I was feeling quite comfortable with the whole process. Before we even got to start talking about the operation, Dr Mehmet Demircioglu asked me about my well-being and whether I was nervous or not. Naturally, I was a tad nervous - here I am in a foreign country, and the only other English speaking person is the surgeon who was going to be operating on me. He reassured me, and so did his team, and I immediately felt at ease.
We got to start talking about many things:
- General introduction to who I am, and what I do for a living
- How I ended up here in this clinic
- Thorough breakdown of the procedure and its stages
- Reviewing pictures of me from the previous years so that Dr Mehmet Demircioglu has an idea of how the balding has progressed over the years
- What was previously discussed in my operation plan
- My expectations for the surgery
It is worth mentioning at this point that the conversation was very smooth and fluid. I was thoroughly impressed with the fluency of Dr Mehmet Demircioglu’s English. If you have been to Turkey before, you will know what I am referring to; the general public does not really speak English, so conversing as a tourist can be quite difficult. His team of nurses also do not speak fluent English, but they speak enough to get by. More on the two fantastic nurses/technicians later. Whilst the doctor and I were talking, one of his staff started taking pictures of the whole process. These pictures are taken throughout the whole day. Importantly, they are not mandatory. You have the option to not have pictures taken, but I welcomed it to add a bit of a celebrity feel to the day.
The initial operation plan consisted of 4500 grafts. However, upon closer inspection in person, Dr Mehmet Demircioglu suggested 4000 grafts instead because my donor area is poor, and taking more grafts would leave me more bald than necessary on the sides and back, which entirely defeats the purpose of attaining a natural look. It also wasn’t clear whether my donor area had 4500 grafts to donate to begin with.
In fact, Dr Mehmet Demircioglu rated my donor area a generous 3 out of 10, which was somewhat of a shock to me. This brings me to a very very important point, so let me digress slightly from the operation day to talk about expectations.
As patients, we may have unrealistic expectations. For me, I was hoping to renew my hairline, add density to the mid section, as well as partially cover my crown with around 1000 grafts. What I didn’t understand is the confines under which the doctor can operate, and that is that my donor area is not capable of donating that many grafts. Of course, initially it’s a hard thing to have to accept - you’ve just traveled across the ocean in hope of finally getting your dream hair, you have found an amazing surgeon, but here you are being told that it is physically impossible. However, you will be forever grateful to your surgeon down the line, because they acted with ultimate honesty and integrity. Dr Mehmet Demircioglu could have delivered exactly what I was hoping to have, without considering my donor area post-operation or any other factor for that matter. Instead, he informed me about the challenges, was honest, and offered a solution to somewhat bypass my physical limitation. This is something that you cannot even buy; only a good and caring doctor, who prioritises the patient before all else will behave in this manner, and for that, I am eternally grateful to have picked Dr Mehmet Demircioglu.
I suspect many clinics (those I referred to as money-making machines earlier) would have complied with my crown request, just to ensure that they get my money, but it would have been the wrong thing to do, potentially bordering on medical negligence.
Back to the operation day … Once the initial consultation in his office was complete, we began the second part of the consultation, which was drawing the hairline. I was taken to the operating room, and was tasked with describing the kind of hairline I would like. I wanted to mostly fill the corners gaps which are missing, without lowering my hairline too much. Dr Mehmet Demircioglu proceeded to draw the hairline using some laser device and sharpies. This process was really interactive and iterative. Dr Mehmet Demircioglu continuously asked for my feedback with every alteration he made to the hairline. I really enjoyed this process because I learnt a lot about hairlines in general, and it was interesting to see his thinking patterns behind making hairlines look natural. It was truly like watching an artist at work. This process concluded after around 40 minutes or so. The next step was to shave my hair, and change into the appropriate hospital clothing.
The entire procedure was explained to me multiple times in advance, and in much greater detail during the initial consultation in his office. The procedure consisted of 3 key stages:
- Extraction of hair grafts (completed by nurses/technicians)
- Incisions in target areas (completed by Dr Mehmet Demircioglu)
- Implanting extracted grafts in target areas (completed by nurses/technicians)
My previous research made me think that the whole procedure will exceed 10 hours, but in reality, each stage was estimated to take around 2 hours. I’m not sure whether these times are due to individual differences, such as having a smaller than average head, or whether that is the general consensus. Nonetheless, it was a pleasant surprise knowing that I will finish earlier than anticipated.
The stage breakdown above highlights that 2 of the 3 stages were completed by the nurses and technicians. This is a little bit misleading because Dr Mehmet Demircioglu is present in the room for the majority of the procedure, helping and guiding the team when necessary. Also, technically speaking, the only surgical aspect of the whole operation is stage 2, thus it is very important that a surgeon completes this stage, rather than a technician.
The extraction stage was arguably the least comfortable of the 3. There were a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, the local anesthesia is extremely painful upon application for the first 1 or 2 minutes. The technicians first apply needleless local anesthesia injections, but the intention of this is to actually ease the pain for the needle injection, which contains the complete numbing agent required for the operation to be painless. The technicians did a wonderful job with me, constantly checking whether I was alright and getting it over the line quickly and effectively so that we can continue with the operation.
Secondly, you are facing downward on the bed in an uncomfortable position for 2 hours. Your head is getting tossed and turned and pressed against a rather hard cushion surface. My jaw felt like it had gone through a brutal 12 round fight with Mike Tyson. It was a relief to finally be able to stand up after the extraction stage.
After the extraction was complete, I was served some lunch. I was asked what I would like to eat during the consultation in the morning, and of course, I decided on a good old Turkish kebab. The kebab was delicious and I was given plenty of time to finish my food, despite the fact that I am a very slow eater. The technicians catered to my every need, from tissues to water, so a big kudos to them for making the lunch so easy and enjoyable.
After lunch, we resumed with stage 2. This was mostly seamless. The only uncomfortable/painful part was the local anesthesia injection, but this time into the top of your head. For some odd reason, this was more bearable than the injection into my donor area. However, it was still very uncomfortable for the first 1 or 2 minutes, and then it was painless until the end of the operation. Once the anesthesia kicked in, I just had to lay on the operation bed with my eyes covered (because the light is so bright), and essentially wait until Dr Mehmet Demircioglu had completed all the incisions. We had a brief conversation, and as you can tell from the elaborate length of this review, I am a very talkative individual. I almost felt bad for Dr Mehmet Demircioglu after a few minutes, and decided to stop talking and allow him to focus on the surgery.
The final stage was also very seamless and easy. I continued laying in the same position, while the technicians were implanting the extracted grafts. I do remember getting a bit cold at this point, because the operation room has to be cold to maintain the good health of the extracted grafts. The technicians were kind enough to fetch a duvet for me. At this point, I was almost falling asleep so this step was over rather quickly.
All in all, the operation was a lot easier than I initially anticipated. I was expecting to walk out that operation room looking like I had just fought a battle in the trenches, but it was far from that. I was bandaged up quite neatly and felt no pain or discomfort after whatsoever.
After the operation, we went back into Dr Mehmet Demircioglu’s office and discussed postoperative care. The success of a hair transplant is subject to so many factors, thus distilling this vast knowledge into a simple set of instructions is absolutely crucial in ensuring a patient can follow the instructions and optimise the chance of success. Dr Mehmet Demircioglu did exactly that - broke down all the steps into simple to follow instructions. He was kind enough to write it all down for me, especially the instructions regarding the postoperative medications. He also provided me with his personal number, and welcomed me to message him with any questions or concerns I have.
After the operation in Diamond Hair clinic, you will be given a Greft Plus care package which should last approximately 6 months, alongside a bunch of medications to take for the following 10 days. The Greft Plus care package is rather large, so ensure that you have checked-in luggage large enough to carry it. The medications are crucial in ensuring that you do not contract any infections, while also alleviating some of the postoperative side-effects such as swelling. Keeping your head upright at all times really helps with the swelling. I had minimal swelling due to following all the instructions, and taking the prescribed steroids. A quick note on the steroids - they taste disgustingly bitter. My suggestion is to wash them down with juice, rather than water. I could still taste the steroid even after swallowing it, so juice was absolutely necessary for me to hold down that little steroid pill.
With all my stuff in hand (not literally, as the technicians carried all the stuff for me), I was transported back to the Ramada hotel. This was not the end of the journey though, as I was expected to come back in a day for the first wash.
The first night was really challenging. I felt handicapped and so limited in every movement I used to be able to make freely. Sleeping upright using a neck pillow, with some bandages covering the entirety of your head is as uncomfortable as one can be. Couple that with constant leaking of plasma and you have yourself a nightmare pending. However, the hotel staff were exceptional and helped me with anything I really needed help with. From adequately covering my pillows with towels to ensure I do not ruin their bedding with my leaks, to delivering food to my room. They were all so happy to help.
That night, I managed to get 5 to 6 hours of sleep in total, which is quite good compared to what I had read/seen from other people. I found that the best trick is to sleep in sets of 2 hours, because long continuous sleep is hard to get when sleeping upright.
The following day (Monday) was just a rest day. I kept my mind busy by doing some programming, and ensured that I was eating healthy enough to be able to take the medications and stomach them comfortably. I did not leave the hotel room because I was advised not to. Showering was a bit awkward, but I definitely learnt how to be more efficient with water usage since the operation.
On Tuesday, I went back to the Diamond Hair clinic for my first wash. The wash process was super simple, and I was taught how to wash my hair for the following 9 days. You simply apply the foam to your transplanted regions, and wait 30 minutes before rinsing off with cold/luke-warm low-pressure water.You repeat this twice a day. I was given 3 foam bottles, which should be more than enough to cover the 10 days. There was nothing uncomfortable about this washing procedure. However, the removal of the bandages stings initially, but that discomfort fades fairly quickly. While we were waiting for the foam to settle, we discussed and reiterated postoperative protocols to ensure I have everything I need to go back home confident in being able to look after my newly implanted hairs. After the wash was complete, I was transported back to Istanbul airport to catch my flight home.
For the last 9 days (since I have arrived back in the UK), I have been following all the instructions that Dr Mehmet Demircioglu provided me with, alongside sending daily pictures to him for continued analyses of the healing process. It was quite easy to make a routine out of this, and I have really enjoyed our extensive conversations about other treatments, such as PRP, finasteride and so on. The continued communication is something that you should not take for granted. It has been amazing to be able to quickly get answers for questions or concerns I have, even though there is a two hour time difference.
One other thing worth mentioning is that I am thankful for Dr Mehmet Demircioglu’s continued encouragement in improving my lifestyle as a whole. Prior to my hair transplant, I would regularly vape. I have since discontinued all use of vapes, and drastically improved my lifestyle in many aspects, such as diet, use of hot water, sleep, and more. This is all due to Dr Mehmet Demircioglu convincing rationale, and making me realise that part of the reason why I had to take a trip to his clinic to begin with is due to these lifestyle choices I had made. I cannot thank him enough for helping me finally overcome my nicotine addiction.
This concludes my review about my experience with Dr Mehmet Demircioglu and Diamond Hair clinic. My next review will focus purely on the results of the transplant after 12-18 months. My plan is to document the monthly progress to help prospective patients manage their expectations. I hope you find this review useful.
I have added images of the top of my head pre and post operation. This was to show that my review is authentic, and based on an actual operation. I chose the top of my head to preserve my anonymity. However, I do appreciate that there may be follow up questions. I have created an email account, where I am more than happy to answer any questions. The email is firstname.lastname@example.org.