Why Are More People Flying to Turkey for a Hair Transplant?
With almost everything these days you see a lot of people reaching out to professionals overseas with the intention of finding cheaper products or services. It happens in IT, manufacturing, and even the medical community.
When it comes to elective procedures, prospective patients are searching out the most inexpensive physicians or surgeons and sometimes they search for procedures that are not even allowed in the United States. These procedures can range from Brazilian butt lifts to dental implants, all the way to unapproved cancer treatments. If you have enough money and are willing to travel, there is most likely someone out there that will happily help to treat you.
While we do not focus on general plastic surgery in our office, we do focus on hair transplants and hair restoration, which has seen a huge uptick in patients traveling overseas for these procedures. People are finding doctors and surgeons around the globe that will help treat their hair loss in a new trend called “health tourism” or “medical tourism” and Turkey is leading the way.
But why is Turkey so popular when it comes to hair transplant surgeries?
Who is Traveling to Turkey for Hair Transplants?
For the most part, patients from European countries are making their way over to Turkey to undergo hair transplants, but there are still quite a few from the United States opting for Turkish doctors instead of doctors stateside.
Denmark, Sweden, Norway, England, Spain, France, and Italy are among some of the top European countries that are opting to travel to Istanbul and Turkey for hair transplant procedures, but it’s not just about the price.
Why Are Patients Opting to Have Hair Transplants in Turkey?
As we mentioned before, the price of these procedures is one of the reasons that a lot of these men are traveling out of their own home country for hair transplants, but it’s not the only reason.
A hair transplant in the United States can cost between $5,000-15,000 depending on how many grafts are required and which transplant method the patient opts for. In Turkey there are reportedly over 500 qualified hair surgeons and over 350 hair transplant clinics, which means that competition is high. Because of this, and because the cost of goods in Turkey is lower than in other countries, you can find a surgeon that can perform a hair transplant for between $1500-4000 depending on the amount of grafts.
Even when you combine this with the cost of a flight from the United States, which can be upwards of $1000, this can still be cheaper than having a surgeon perform the procedure stateside.
If you live in Europe and are traveling to Turkey, the cost of flights can be as low as $500 depending on where you’re coming from, which can save you a lot of money in the long run. Not to mention that a lot of these hair transplant doctors offer travel packages that include airfare, hotel, and the procedure. So by bundling everything together they are able to offer very competitive prices, which are generally cheaper than what you might find in Europe and the Unite States.
Technology – FUT vs. FUE
One of the other things that attracts people from out of the country is the technology that the specialists are using in Turkey.
The great majority of the hair transplant clinics in Turkey are using the FUE method which is a advertised as a less invasive procedure than the FUT method which requires a strips of hair to be excised from the scalp. With FUE, robots and Micro Motor FUE assistance make people believe that harvesting and implanting can be done by anyone, which is definitely not the case, but it is part of the reason why there are so many of these clinics popping up in Turkey, but we’ll get to that in a minute.
While this technology used to be more prevalent outside of the United States and European countries, more and more clinics are investing in these new technologies so that they can better compete with other practices. It may also allows for shorter recovery times with less discomfort and the ability to wear shorter hair styles once healed.
In the past, this was one of the main reasons people were traveling out of the country for hair transplant procedures, but as more and more hair restoration clinics upgrade their technology, this is less of a reason to travel for a hair transplant.
Should You Travel for a Hair Transplant?
Of course we are going to be biased and tell you that you should not be traveling outside of the United States for your hair transplant procedure, but we also know that the decision is up to you.
However, we do recommend you do thorough research into these foreign clinics before you make any decisions. We know the allure of private cars, hotels, and cheaper prices may seem like a no-brainer, but beware of flashing marketing and unskilled professionals.
With the introduction of the robot assisted hair transplant we’ve seen a lot of unqualified clinics buying machines thinking that they can start offering the procedure without the proper knowledge or training. Just because you have a robot involved doesn’t mean you should not still have a skilled surgeon at the helm. The robot is merely a tool that the surgeon uses to assist in the procedure.
Turkey has a lot of well qualified surgeons and highly rated clinics that are very capable of performing great hair transplants, but there are always those people out there trying to make a quick buck without the proper qualifications.
Be sure to research the clinics and the doctors before making any decisions. Ask for referrals, talk to previous patients, and try to get as much firsthand information as possible before making your decision.
If the price and the packages seem too good to be true, then they most likely are.
Dr. Krejci has seen some patients return from Turkey who are happy with their outcome and she admits, they certainly got a bargain! However she’s also seen some disasters from both overseas and locally and patients have come to her desperate for help to fix their poor results. She believes, the worst thing about having a medical procedure overseas is there is no recourse once you’re home. There’s no doctor to call, no clinic to reach out to when problems arise whether big or small. Dr. Krejci has a policy that for 18 months after hair surgery, she will not charge for any surgical follow-up; either by phone, email, in-person or by video. She’s readily available to patients for any questions or concerns.
Because of the uptick in medical tourism, the ISHRS is collecting cases to warn the public about the Black Market of Hair Transplant. So like everything else, buyer beware!
If you are considering a hair transplant outside of the United States, please use one of these references to help you find a reputable doctor.
Physician Directory – American Board of Hair Restoration Society (abhrs.org)
Hair Transplants in the United States
At the Limmer Hair Transplant Center in San Antonio, Texas, Dr. Krejci is a board-certified dermatologist who is an expert in hair transplant surgery. She is proficient in both the FUT method and the FUE method with the assistance of the ARTAS Robot as well as the new Trivellini device, so there is no reason to travel outside of the United States. You can have either method- FUT or FUE- performed safely right here.
So next time you see one of those photos pop up on the internet of a plane from Turkey full of men with bandages on their heads, make sure you do your research to see if that’s something you really want to experience.