Spotlight Interview: Serkan Aygin, MD, Dr. Serkan Aygin Hair Transplant Clinic

About Dr. Serkan Aygin

Dr. Serkan Aygin is a member of the International Society of Dermatology and has 25 years of experience in the field of hair loss treatments. He was among the first medical teams to perform hair transplants in Turkey and has been practicing since 1996.

At the 2019 European Awards in Medicine, Dr. Aygin was honored as Europe’s Best Hair Transplant Surgeon. He has focused his career on specialization in hair transplantation, and because of this, he has closely followed the rapidly changing developments, techniques, and innovations in the field.

About Dr. Serkan Aygin Clinic

Dr. Serkan Aygın Clinic emphasizes quality in all services provided, with an added focus on hospitality towards all patients and their guests. We provide solution-oriented hair transplant procedures and counselling services with our specialized doctors, all experts in their fields. They treat all patients with honest, ethical, and equal service of the highest quality, surpassing all required national and international standards.

At Dr. Serkan Aygin Clinic, hair transplant operations are performed in Turkey’s most prestigious hospital, which is also ranked as one the best in the world.

With all of these attributes, Dr. Serkan Aygin Clinic aims to provide care and reassurance for their patients, even scheduling visits to the countries of their former patients on a regular basis so as to keep track on how their post-operative recovery process is progressing. We believe in the philosophy “The experience of one patient is the experience of all of our patients.”

Providing solution-oriented hair transplant procedures with our specialist doctors experts in their fields, treating all of our patients with honest, trustworthy, ethical, and equal service of the highest quality, meeting all the required national and international standards.

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Medical Travel & Digital Health News (MTDH): Could you provide our readers with some background information on your clinic?

Dr. Serkan Aygin (SA): Our clinic, located in Istanbul, was established in 2013. We were first performing hair transplantation utilizing the FUE technique, and then incorporated the DHI technique, followed by Sapphire FUE, with Soft FUE method being the latest method of FUE.

We can consider the latter methods as developments, improvements and innovations taking place within the field of hair transplantation. 

At our Clinic, we are currently offering our patients both Hair Transplant services as well as hair loss treatments such as; LLT (Low Level Laser Therapy), PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) and Hair Mesotherapy.

At our clinic we offer the following treatments:

Hair Transplantation

A hair transplant operation is an effective and permanent solution for individuals experiencing hair loss.

The hair follicles to be transplanted are extracted from the areas of the head that are genetically resistant to balding, which is called the safe donor area. This area is located at the back of the head, a few inches above the nape of the neck.

The FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction) hair transplant is the gold standard of hair transplant procedures. This technique has been in continuous development reaching higher refinement levels.

The FUE technique can be performed with a variety of different instruments and for this reason is also defined under different names such as; Classic FUE (via micro motors), DHI technique (FUE performed with Choi implanters), Sapphire FUE (FUE performed with Sapphire blades) and Soft FUE (FUE carried out under sedation).

Beard Transplantation

This procedure restores hair to the beard area where hair growth is thin or missing. It can be performed to restore the goatee and moustache, sideburns, cheek beards, and anywhere that hair is desired, even if hair has never grown in the area before.

Facial hair transplants can also be used to conceal acne scars and other types of scars. Similar to hair transplantation, the DHI technique is used.

The follicles situated on the back of the head between the two ears are taken one by one and are implanted on the necessary areas with the help of an implanter pen.

LLLT (Low Level Laser Therapy)

Based on photochemistry (chemical effects of light) to stimulate hair cells in the follicle, this procedure helps in increasing blood flow in the scalp and stimulates metabolism in catagen follicles, resulting in the production of anagen hair.

The low-level laser is radiated on the balding areas. Light of different wavelengths is absorbed by the outer dermis which accelerates chemical reactions within the cells.

The photobiomodulation divides the follicle, thus resulting in long and strong hair growth.

PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma)

PRP involves taking a small sample of blood and spinning it in a centrifuge to concentrate and separate the platelets and plasma from the other components of your blood, which is then injected back into the scalp.

Platelets are the source of growth factors that have the power to promote hair growth and also thicken your existing hair. Growth factor generates new formation of blood vessels in the scalp, which in turn, increases the amount of oxygen and nutrients that are delivered to the hair follicles with subcutaneous blood flow.

The role of PRP is to strengthen the hair and prevent hair loss. PRP aims to promote and enhance tissue repair as well as to stimulate new hair growth.

Hair Mesotherapy

Mesotherapy is a treatment method that involves injecting a special combination of specific chemicals, amino acids, vitamins, nucleic acids and coenzymes into the patient’s scalp.

Mesotherapy can be applied to the scalp at certain periods to prevent hair loss, improve the quality of existing hair, and activate new hair growth. Patients generally achieve positive results.

MTDH: Who are the groups of patients you serve the most? Female, Male?

SA: Although the majority of hair transplantation patients are still men, a high percentage of women have also started looking into a hair transplant procedure as a hair loss treatment. Women opt for hair transplantation at our clinic generally to lower their hairline or to add more volume.

Women are not required to have their heads completely shaved. To carry out the extraction process only a small area in the donor site is shaved but will remain completely ‘undetectable’.

Women with long hair can easily conceal the donor area with their hair let down and this way, no one will be able to tell that they have undergone a hair transplant procedure.

MTDH: What can you tell us about the patients who are taking advantage of your services?

SA: The ages of our patients varies across 21 to 65, so we perform hair transplantation on different age groups, who have different expectations.

Although men still constitute as the majority of our patients, in the recent years we have been seeing an increase in demand from women.  We have patients coming from around 143 different countries.  The cultural diversity is amazing.

MTDH: Give the readers some background on your professional experience and how it led to you being one of the first doctors to use the FUE technique.

SA: I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Medicine at Istanbul University, Faculty of Medicine and pursued a Master’s Degree in Clinical Pharmacology.

Since 1996 my primary specialty has been hair transplantation and hair loss treatments. Over the course of 24 years of practice in Turkey, I and my team have operated on patients from 143 different countries across the globe. 

We have been performing hair transplantation utilizing the FUE and DHI techniques since 2007. Over the course of this 13-year period we have treated around ten thousand patients, and the vast amount of experience accumulated, combined with continuous analysis as well as assessment has enabled to pass on this experience to future operations.

This, in turn, has enabled us to conduct the operations at a level of perfection.

With more than 24 years of practicing in the field of hair transplantation and hair loss treatments, I can say that there is nothing more that makes me happier to see my patients are highly satisfied with their hair transplant results, liking their new appearance and living with higher self-confidence as well as an improved life quality. This is totally priceless!

MTDH: Can you give some examples of ways your clinic has helped patients?

SA: We have performed thousands of hair transplantation since 1996. We share our patients’ real hair transplant experiences on our Instagram account so if you would like to hear their stories’ first hand, I’d recommend you to our account:

Or you may visit our YouTube channel to listen their experience:

MTDH: Tell me where you are and what your focus is with patient care at the moment. 

SA: We as healthcare workers need to be in good health.

Currently, our focus is to create an environment that ensures maximum safety for our patients as well as our employees. Every employee working at our clinic including our drivers has taken the coronavirus test.

Additionally, we are taking every precaution regarding sanitation, disinfection, and general workplace hygiene to protect the health of our patients and employees as well as to provide them with a clean and safe working environment.

Before the patient enters the clinic, his/her body temperature will be measured for fever. Every patient of our clinic receives masks as well as proven disinfectants directly on arrival in Turkey.

Further masks are also provided in the clinic and in the hotel. Moreover, we also provide our patients with hand disinfectants in the transfer cars, hotels and in the clinic.

Therefore, in our transfer vehicles, the clinic, the hotel – from the lobby to the elevators to the breakfast room – a minimum distance of 1.50 meters to the nearest person applies. The vehicles are carefully disinfected after each passenger transport. For disinfection, agents with proven effectiveness against enveloped viruses are used.

We have our patients take the PCR test prior to their operation. The test results are obtained within 3 hours.

We repeat the test twice to make sure that the results are as reliable as possible. So the patients are able to take the test 1 day prior to their operation.

As the number of patients is lower than normal, we are using this as an advantage. We are ensuring that patients maintain their social distancing with other patients, from the time they arrive at the clinic as well as the time spent at the clinic. So we are offering patients a more private-exclusive service.

MTDH: How are you operating during the COVID-19 pandemic?

SA: Operating rooms require the highest levels of safety precautions since patients spend the longest time in these spaces.

Our clinics have structured our operating rooms under the sterilization practices of ‘surgical operating rooms’. Two devices are used for the sterilization of surgical operating rooms.

The first device is a HEPA filter that traps microorganisms and all the micro particles in an environment. This system works throughout the course of the operation and within 2-3 minute intervals generates a flow of clean air into the operating room, purifying the room from microorganisms.

The second device is UV-C lamps, which we activate after the operation. These lamps have a deadly effect on all the microorganisms.

MTDH: Is there a high demand for hair transplantation procedures despite the pandemic?

SA: The medical tourism market has been booming from the past few years.

Hair transplant procedures are elective and the clinics performing, such as our clinic, were shut down by many governments to control the spread of COVID-19. The decrease in the number of transplant procedures can also be attributed to the government’s prioritization of the health & safety of its citizens.

These safety measures include maintaining safety distance in the transplant centres, thorough sanitation after every patient visit, maintaining the patient information, and checking the health of the employees in the centre, among others.

Despite the closure of our clinic, we continued to provide our consultation services internalizing ‘virtual healthcare’-online and video consultation. As of June, we have opened the doors of our clinic and have started to welcome patients from around the world.

Although the negative impact on medical tourism is also expected to challenge the growth of the hair transplant market, the market is expected to witness substantial growth after 2021 once the pandemic is over and travel for medical tourism normalizes.

MTDH: What fees are associated with the different types of transplantation procedures?

SA: The price is not based on the amount of grafts to be transplanted. However, there is a slight price difference between the FUE and DHI technique, with the DHI method being a little more expensive.

The DHI method replicates every step of the FUE method excluding the incision creating and transplantation processes. The technique employs a pen-like medical instrument called “Choi implanter” that creates the recipient sites and simultaneously transplants the grafts.

DHI technique is a meticulous method that requires more skill and experience than other hair transplant methods. This in turn, requires the physicians and medical teams to be exposed to a long-term training period to specialize in utilizing this technique.

MTDH: Can you give examples as to why there’s an increase in interests for cosmetic surgery?

SA: Patients seeking cosmetic surgery now have more options in terms of potential providers and procedures than ever before.

In contrast to most medical fields, the elective nature of cosmetic procedures suggests that the surgeon must seek out patients as much as patients seek out their surgeons.

To that end, physicians engaged in the practice of cosmetic surgery commonly employ public relations experts and engage in widespread advertising in marketing-related endeavours.

Additionally, cosmetic surgery is becoming increasingly socially acceptable. This shows that the negative stigma that may have been previously present for cosmetic surgery has been reduced.

Millennials are more open to cosmetic procedures than any other generational group. This age group is more knowledgeable about these treatments, and what can be achieved with them.

MTDH: Are your services available to patients outside of Turkey?

SA: Our patients are international. From Brazil to Australia, we have a dynamic patient profile, which really is motivating.

For our patients who live abroad, we incorporate assistants who monitor the patient’s postoperative phases and also follow-up their treatment. Our assistants can speak with the patients in their own language, making them feel more comfortable as well as confident about their after-care.

We have established lasting relationships with our patients and keep the communication active between us.

MTDH: Have you noticed patients being reluctant to travel internationally for cosmetic surgery?

SA: Post COVID-19, medical travellers will become more selective in both the destinations and the hospitals that they choose for their treatment.

The emphasis on patient safety will become even greater. Patients will be seeking destinations, hospitals and clinics that are “COVID safe”.

A safe environment, whether in a country as a whole or in an individual hospital or clinic, will be front of mind when patients are comparing destinations or providers. Germany, Turkey, Singapore, Thailand, South Korea, Greece, Switzerland and UAE are highlighted as destinations that may attract more international patients post COVID-19.

Across the globe, there are still people who are uncertain and reluctant. They currently may not be convinced that medical travel is a safe or sensible option.

This is totally understandable. So, the focus must be on minimising and removing risk, and changing the perception of future patients.

MTDH: At this point, is there anything else that you want to share with the readers?

SA: At Dr Serkan Aygın Clinic, your safety is always our top priority.

We understand the seriousness of COVID-19 and want to assure you that we take every precaution to ensure a sterile environment for you. We are closely monitoring the developments with COVID-19 Under recent government mandates.

We acknowledge that these tough times require an advanced level of precautions to keep our patients and our team members healthy.

MTDH: What do you think sets your clinic apart from others?

SA: From my point of view, there are some specific criteria for a hair transplant to be successful:

  • The first is to preserve the donor areas (especially the back of the head and the beard area) and to leave these areas undamaged. After extracting from the beard area there should not be any noticeable marks seen within the area.
  • Creating a proper hairline design.
  • To design the transplanted area correctly so the patient can achieve optimum hair density.
  • To achieve homogeneous and balanced hair density.
  • To follow the direction and angel of the existing hair.
  • One of most important criteria is to ensure healthy growth of the transplanted hair.

A successful hair transplant procedure can only be achieved if the extraction, recipient site creation and transplantation processes are carried out with precision and accuracy.

And all these factors highly depend on the experience, knowledge and capabilities of the clinic that is performing the operation.

We believe that our success lies in being able to achieve and maintain high satisfaction levels from our patients. I guess this is our strongest point that sets us apart from other clinics.

MTDH: How many patients do you typically treat in a year?

SA: Well I guess I can say approximately 6000 patients.

MTDH: Has this number been affected by the pandemic?

SA: Yes, currently an impact on around 10 – 20% of the patients.

MTDH: Where do you see the industry going from your perspective?

SA: The global hair transplant services market is projected to grow significantly due to increasing hair related problems.

Hair related problems are not restricted to any specific age and gender that have created a huge scope for this market to grow across the globe. Increasing consciousness for physical appearance among the people and rising disposable income may help the market to gain traction in the coming years.

With the growing demand for single session hair transplant surgeries and the capability of clinics to deliver varied and technologically advanced therapies are expected to increase the demand.

MTDH: What types of procedures have you noticed patients are most interested in during this pandemic?

SA: Facial procedures are found to be most in-demand, with a rise in requests for lip fillers, Botox, face lifts and nose jobs. 

With the immediate after-effects of cosmetic procedures often including swelling or bruising, patients are now taking advantage of not having to be seen in public. They can actually recover at home and also they can have a mask that they wear when they go outside after a rhinoplasty or facelift.

People want to resume their normal lives and part of that is looking as good as they feel.

MTDH: Are patients leaning more towards traveling abroad for surgeries versus finding local surgeons?

SA: Yes, we can say that people are leaning more towards traveling abroad to receive medical treatments.

More than 44 medical institutions and hospitals have been accredited by the Joint Commission International, with the evaluation process taking up to 2 years in order to meet the required criteria of high-quality healthcare services. Today, Turkey has the highest concentration of JCI- accredited medical institutions across the globe, ranking in 2nd place after the United States.

Hospitals and medical facilities in Turkey are equipped with the latest medical technologies that comply with international standards in terms of quality, service as well as safety.

So, medical tourists travelling to Turkey are assured with the technologically advanced medical infrastructure and high-quality services offered by these hospitals as well as their medical staff.

Additionally, healthcare services in Turkey are offered at a relatively low-cost and at competitive prices. Many procedures are approximately 55% to 65% less than the price for the same treatment in the EU or the US. 

What’s more, the cost of traveling and hotel accommodation are also lower in Turkey, with many clinics offering all-inclusive packages at the best rates with free airport pickup and VIP transfer services between hotel-clinic-hospital, translation services, consultation session, postoperative medication.

MTDH: What types of travel precautions or guidelines are you providing your patients with?

SA: At the airport, thermal cameras will check their body temperature. Those who are running a fever can be subject to check-ups and testing at the testing centres at the hospital. 

Wearing a mask at the airport and during flight is compulsory. Passengers and visitors not wearing a mask will be denied access to the terminal.

On arrival in Turkey, all passengers must complete a passenger information form at the airport. All these steps will ensure not only the patients’ health and safety but that of others too.

Only essential accompaniment can enter the terminal area, such as in the case of handicap or disability.

UV lights are being used at the airport facilities for disinfecting the buildings, walkways, along with passenger luggage and their e-passports. An IGA Hygiene Team will ensure that all passengers are following social distancing rules.

If we look at the terminal area regulations, passengers and visitors not wearing a mask will be denied access to the terminal and boarding facilities to protect public health. To ensure a safe journey, there are certain conditions that travelers are required to fulfil. 

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