Health tourism is a modern phenomenon and one of the benefits (and potential pitfalls) of increased globalisation. If a certain treatment isn’t available or is too expensive in your native country then why not cross borders to get the work you want or need done elsewhere?
Turkey has become renowned for being a go-to destination for several types of surgical procedures to the extent it’s become a key part of the economy, with the government targeting $20 billion in annual revenue from health tourism by 2023.
Unique geographical position
Turkey’s unique geographical position and its relatively low cost of treatment means it attracts people from across the Middle East and Europe, giving it a huge catchment area. Whilst many travel for heart surgery and plastic surgery the most common reason for visiting the country on a health ticket is hair transplantation, with over 200 specialist surgeries in the country (mainly in Istanbul).
Undeniably cheap transplants
The financial arguments are compelling: transplants in Europe can cost up to £20,000 whereas in Turkey you can expect to pay £400 to £2000. However, this is where the adage “you get what you pay for” becomes pertinent. Scratch below the surface of the all-inclusive deals (chauffeur driven cars, hotels etc.) and all is not what it seems.
Many of the surgeries are run like sweat shops, with long hours and stressful conditions for the operatives and often it won’t be the surgeon carrying out the operation but a nurse or technician. The pressure to compete in such a price sensitive market means that even the more reputable clinics will have a preliminary consultation with a qualified surgeon who will mislead the patient into thinking they’ll carry out the work before handing it over to an unqualified junior.
There’s no getting round the fact that a hair transplant is an invasive surgical procedure and if you want the best chance of success and avoid the risk of infection or other problems then it might be best to save up a bit more and pay the extra to get it done in the UK where the techniques and technology are up to date and the standards closely monitored and maintained.