Traveling To Turkey For Hair Restoration

If you want to have a successful transplant, it is essential that you work with a board-certified Michigan plastic surgeon who specializes in follicular unit extraction and has years of experience performing this treatment. Request a consultation at the top of our website and SurgeonGate will have a Michigan hair transplant specialist reach out to you as soon as possible to discuss your options. 

Hair Transplantation is a surgical technique that extracts follicles from one part of the scalp, the donor site and implants them into a balding area termed the recipient site. Hair follicles that are genetically immune to alopecia such as on the posterior and sides of the scalp are transplanted onto the cap and frontal areas of the patient’s scalp. Hair transplants are also used to restore beard hair in men, eyelashes, chest hair, and eyebrows. 

Why do people travel for FUE?

Every year thousands of people travel to countries such as Turkey to have a follicular unit extraction. The main reason why people choose to travel overseas for hair restoration is cost.

Having a hair transplant overseas is typically cheaper than having one in the united states. In the US, the average patient spends between $3,000 to $8,000 on FUE depending on their case, while in turkey the cost can range from $1,800 to $4,000. 

Below we are going to explain why we strongly advise against traveling for FUE and why several hair transplant surgeons in the US have built thriving practices, purely repairing hair for patients who were damaged overseas.

A study by the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) found that the number of hair transplant treatments performed worldwide increased by 76% in the last 10 years. This increase is due in part to the revolutionary FUE (follicular unit extraction) technique, which allows for achieving natural looking results without any visible scars, as opposed to FUT.

The rise of Turkey as a hotspot for hair restoration has caused many people to opt into surgery without being educating themselves on the threats of undergoing surgery in a country where sanitary measures are poor and qualifications are easy to obtain. With more than 250 clinics, the Ottoman country has set up an economy with hair restoration thanks to grants from the Turkish government to promote medical tourism.

The phenomenon of health tourism is nothing new. In fact, its growth in recent years has been exponential and countries like Turkey have taken advantage of this situation. Its location halfway between Europe and Asia makes Turkey’s position one of the most accessible destinations for medical tourism worldwide.

In 2018, 826,000 people visited Turkey to receive some kind of medical or aesthetic treatment, a figure almost 10 times higher than in 2008, in which the country received close to 75,000 tourists visiting for medical treatments. In addition, it is expected that in the year 2023 there will be 2 million tourists visiting Turkey exclusively for medical or aesthetic purposes.

Within the list of treatments, the most requested are those related to plastic surgery, dental aesthetics, in vitro fertilization, treatments for obesity, orthopedics, cardiology, oncology, brain surgery, and commonly hair transplantation.

Most people that have traveled to Turkey for hair restoration, did so after being lured by special offers and the low cost of the procedures in such countries. There are even packages that include travel, stay and surgery for approximately 2,000-4,000 euros. However, in many cases, these procedures are not performed by qualified professionals and therefore complications are very common. Medical procedures are more expensive in countries like the US for good reason. Doctors in the US spend significantly longer training and getting qualified to perform surgery than in countries like Turkey. Surgery centers are held to strict standards in the US and doctors can lose their licenses and board certifications abruptly if they are not following the proper guidelines before and after surgery

Risks and complications of Traveling For A Hair Transplant

Risks of going overseas

Having a hair transplant in Turkey is very risky because sanitary regulations are poor and one does not need to become a doctor to perform it. For this reason, it is often medical technicians who are performing the surgery on uninformed patients in Turkey. In addition, Turkish clinics often do not utilize the specialized instruments required for follicular unit extraction as they can be expensive to purchase. It is very common that patients undergoing low-cost hair transplants in turkey eventually turn to a surgeon in the US to correct the damage created, although in several cases the damage is irreversible.

Another problem associated with traveling is that most patients are on a plane and back to their home country within 48 hours of their surgery. Because of this, patients often do not get adequate postoperative care, which is critical to prevent complications such as infections. Clinics in turkey know that they will likely never see a patient again once they head off, and for this reason, pay little attention to postoperative care. 

There is no possibility of knowing if any complications have occurred because it would mean returning to this country, which increases expenses and interferes with the recovery process. The patient must take into account that after the surgery, multiple follow-up exams should occur to avoid or treat any complications that may arise and continue with the appropriate post-operative care to ensure a successful hair restoration.

Another very important aspect is that in Turkey both the preoperative diagnosis and the design of the transplant is done through a photograph, since there is no previous consultation in which the patient’s conditions are evaluated to establish a therapeutic plan adjusted to each person. The danger that this situation imposes is that some types of alopecia could even get worse with hair transplantation.

In general, the only mission of low-cost clinics in Turkey is to place hair and get paid, when in fact, hair transplantation is a very complex surgical process that requires proper medical criteria to determine who is a candidate for hair transplantation.

Complications after your surgery

Medical complications frequently associated with hair transplants performed in Turkey are infections of the transplanted follicles, this is because in many cases these procedures are performed in places that do not have the sanitary conditions necessary to perform this type of surgery. It is also common to see serious healing difficulties due to the poor technique used by “surgeons” to extract follicles from the donor area. In many cases, permanent scars may appear even with follicular unit extraction.

The situation is then further aggravated because patients are reluctant to go to a hair surgeon in Michigan to evaluate them because they are ashamed to admit that they traveled to Turkey to undergo a hair transplant without assessing the risks involved. So when they go to a professional they already have a very complicated problem. The surgeons we work with are very experienced at repairing hair that has been damaged oversees and you should not hesitate to request a consultation if you are in this situation.

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