Concern is growing in Turkey amidst the mushrooming of illegal hair transplant clinics that damage the reputation of the ever-expanding hair transplant tourism. Illegal hair clinics offer sub-par services in unlicensed offices where surgeries are performed by unskilled practitioners, putting the health and lives of patients at risk. Warnings have been issued both by the International Society of Hair Restoration (ISHR) and the Turkish Society of Plastic-Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (TSPRAS) cautioning international patients about the perils of having a hair transplant performed at an unlicensed hair clinic.
All-inclusive hair tourism packages in Turkey are mediated by travel agencies with great success. Transport, accommodation, surgery and aftercare are often all included in these competitively priced hair transplant packages. In the last couple of years, Turkey has seen an exponential growth in hair clinics and a huge influx of hair transplant tourists. As many as 200 patients a day go to Turkey in the hopes of getting a hair restoration procedure at an advantageous price. Most of these patients come from countries in the Gulf region.
The prices for hair transplant have also gone down as a result of the competitive hair transplant landscape that now has taken a turn for the worse. The emergence of illegal hair clinics makes it difficult for reputable clinics to compete with these unlicensed clinics that drive the prices down and lure patients with false promises. In this context, Turkey’s position as a leader in hair transplant is slowly undermined, and out of fear from getting botched hair transplant surgeries and even putting their lives in danger, many patients shift their attention to European hair transplant clinics that are bound by strict regulations and meet the highest standards of patient care.
Unfortunately, the permissiveness of the Turkish authorities in the face of such illegalities only adds to the problem, perpetuating the emergence of such hair clinics, seeing how their illegal activities are left unpunished by the competent authorities that seem to be turning a blind eye to the whole problem.
Since these clinics that lie outside the parameters of legality are not respecting the requirements set out by legislation for the operation of hair clinics, they are putting patients’ lives at risk. Hair transplant surgeries must be performed at a hospital equipped with an emergency room, by a licenced hair surgeon, cosmetic surgeon or dermatologist, and a protocol must be followed whereby surgery and patient records are kept.
While authorities are showing no signs of worries, dangerous procedures at illegal clinics are being performed at an alarming rate – as many as six out of every ten hair clinics are believed to be unlicensed. Reputable hair clinics worry for the safety of patients and consider that the current state of affairs will lead to the dethroning of Turkey as the top destination for hair restoration surgery.
Those planning on having a hair transplant surgery in Turkey are advised to research the clinic with respect to its reputation, years of operation, and ask for sufficient proof about the legality of their operation. Reading reviews of former patients on hair clinic review sites can also help in vetting a hair transplant clinic.
Those who don’t want to go through the hassle of researching reputable hair clinics in Turkey, can opt for the services of a European hair clinic.