In a bid to regain a lustrous head of hair thousands of medical tourists are flocking to Turkey each month. The country is the world’s number one destination for hair transplantation surgery, and according to Ömer Tontuş (a senior official from Turkey’s health ministry), over 200 of the procedures are carried out every day (mostly on foreign visitors). Turkey’s booming medical tourism industry is worth an annual $1bn (£700m) and it offers a higher quality of service and considerably lower prices than its neighbors. Patients from the Gulf states as well as increasing numbers from Europe and the US make up the 500,000-plus medical tourists who visit the country each year.
Those who undergo hair transplantation surgery can return to their regular routine within days. The minimally invasive FUE (follicular unit extraction) technique — in which follicular units are removed one at a time from the back of the scalp where follicles are plentiful and transplanted into balding areas — can be performed under local anesthetic thus allowing for a quick recovery period. Patients can return to work and social activity from around 2 to 5 days after the transplant, but many visiting Turkey for the procedure make a holiday out of it and travel there a few days earlier to take in the sights and soak up the culture. Here’s a run-down of the three most popular destinations for hair transplant surgery in Turkey!
The only city in the world to bridge two continents (Europe and Asia), Istanbul is a melting pot and its rich and diverse cultural heritage is visible in its art, architecture, and food. The city lies on both sides of the Bosporus channel and the Sea of Marmara, which connects the Black Sea to the Mediterranean. There are a number of must-see attractions in Istanbul such as the Blue Mosque, one of the city’s most iconic buildings, Topkapi Palace, which was the official residence of the Ottoman Sultans for around four centuries, and of course a visit to Istanbul wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the bazaars. The Grand Bazaar and the Egyptian Bazaar, found in the heart of Istanbul’s Old City are teeming with affordable spices, teas, carpets, trinkets, and gems. Istanbul has a plethora of accommodation on offer, whether you’re looking for a palace or a cheap and cheerful room, you won’t be disappointed. Both Liv Hospital and Florence Nightingale Hospital include a two-night stay in a partner hotel as part of the price of their hair transplant package.
Liv Hospital is a multi-disciplinary facility which has been accredited by the Joint Commission International and is ISO certified. Located in Ulus, an upscale area of Istanbul, it’s just 25 km or a 45-minute drive from the closest airport, Istanbul Ataturk International Airport. Liv Hospital’s team of internationally trained physicians has treated over 14,000 international patients using advanced diagnostics and state-of-the-art technology.
Florence Nightingale Hospital is less than a 25-minute drive from both Sabiha Gökçen International Airport and Istanbul Atatürk International Airport. The hospital is situated in a vibrant cosmopolitan district of Istanbul called Kadikoy. The hospital is part of the Group Florence Nightingale which collaborates with world-renowned hospitals and medical schools to offer its patients state-of-the-art diagnostics and treatment methods. It has been accredited by the Joint Commission International and is ISO certified.
The largest Turkish city on the Mediterranean coast, Antalya is an attractive resort which boasts shady palm-lined boulevards and a prize-winning marina. The sprawling modern city with a small, charming historic center has a lot to offer visitors, including its renowned museums, long sandy beaches, top-notch hotels, and dramatic sea and mountain scenery. In the picturesque old quarter, Kaleici, narrow, winding streets and old wooden houses border the ancient city walls. During the winter months its population is around 2 million, but in the summertime it doubles. 12.5 million tourists passed through the city in 2014. There are ample accommodation options for those wishing to combine hair transplant surgery with a holiday on the Turkish Riviera.
Ankara is an ancient city with a rich and fascinating history. The Turkish capital is home to various Hittite, Phrygian, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman archaeological sites, and was at the center of the Turkish independence movement after the First World War. Anitkabir, the mausoleum of Ataturk (founder of the Republic of Turkey) is one of Ankara’s top tourist attractions.
Hair transplant packages including hotels, transfers, and often a complimentary PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) treatment — which helps to kick-start the skin’s repair process and stimulate hair growth — cost on average £2,500, in Turkey compared to around £10,000 in the UK. So if you’re looking for a permanent solution to hair loss and are in need of some R&R in a sunny spot, Turkey could be the destination for you!