The growth of the hair transplant surgery industry in Istanbul is amongst the most remarkable developments in global health trends of the past few years.
Thousands of patients are realising that hair transplant clinics in Turkey offer more advanced technologies than in the UK. However, the cost of a hair transplant in Istanbul remains unbeatably low.
A remarkable nexus of expertise and price competition has led to Istanbul clinics developing and offering the most advanced hair transplant technologies available. At the same time, they offer hair transplant costs of around half the level of those seen in richer countries.
The usual cost per hair graft in the UK is around £3, so a typical hair restoration operation of around 3,500 grafts ends up costing about £10,500. Patients with severe hair loss may around 5,550 hair grafts, or possibly even more, so the total costs can soon become astronomical.
By contrast, prices for a 3,500 graft Sapphire FUE method (Follicular Unit Extraction) operation at the best hair clinic in Istanbul start at £1,800, rising to around £3,350 for a VIP package with the most modern technique, Micro Sapphire DHI (Direct Hair Implantation).
There is a fixed supplement for extremely long operations that still leaves the maximum total price at well under £5,000. Unlike in the UK, these prices are fixed price packages including hotel accommodation, transport, aftercare, and many other features.
The best quality on the market
These unarguable price advantages have left the Istanbul hair transplant market with a clear competitive advantage over those in Western Europe. There are now hundreds of hair clinics in Istanbul, ranging from the cheap and dubious to the best in the world.
The city now features the greatest concentration of hair expertise in the world. Inevitably, there has been some pushback from more established markets in countries such as the UK and Germany.
There have been some scare stories in the media about low-quality hair transplant operations in Turkey. Without question, there are clinics in Turkey whose standards of care fall below the levels demanded by patients.
However, this is the case for clinics in all countries. Turkish clinics are subject to the same safety standards as those in Germany, France, or the UK. This is because Turkey is an applicant to the EU, and an important part of that is the adoption of best practice medical procedures.
The high-quality nature of hair transplant clinics in Istanbul has been central to the growth of an industry which has become one of the most important in Turkey.
Hair transplant procedures in Turkey
The FUE procedure (Follicular Unit Extraction) has become the world standard for hair transplant operations. In an FUE hair transplant, the surgeon removes the individual hair grafts from the donor area. This is usually at the back of the head where hair is resistant to hair loss hormones. The surgeon then transplants these grafts into the recipient area.
The procedure takes place under local painkillers and allows the patient to talk to the staff, read or even watch television.
Dr. Levent Acar at the Cosmedica Clinic in Istanbul has pioneered the Micro Sapphire DHI method. This is a refinement of the FUE technique.
Instead of a normal scalpel, Dr. Acar uses a specialised extra fine blade made of the precious stone sapphire. The incisions made with this blade cause less damage to the hair grafts and heal more quickly afterwards.
Dr. Acar removes the grafts with a micro motor tool designed specifically for this operation. He then uses a DHI implanter pen to insert the grafts into the channels opened with the sapphire blade. Such specialised instruments, combined with Dr. Acar’s experience and expertise, give a 99% graft success rate. This means that 99% of the implanted grafts survive the process and become normal, healthy growing hairs.
The implanter pen gives the grafts 360-degree protection, and the time that the follicles are outside the body is minimised. This means that they are only very briefly cut off from the body’s supply of nutrients through the blood.
The Micro Sapphire DHI hair transplant method is not available in many clinics, as the technique requires intensive training and technological investment from clinics. It is favoured by the rich and famous as it offers superior success rates and quicker healing.
Cosmedica has been chosen by many members of the rich and famous, such as model Calum Best, actor Ricky Whittle, Spanish model Jesus Palacios, and the German World Cup-winning football star Andreas Brehme.
Hair Transplant Turkey Costs – what are the other factors?
It is not just the transplant itself which needs to be considered. Most clinics in the UK charge per graft, so a more extensive hair transplant is usually a lot more expensive.
As much a part of the total hair transplant turkey costs equation are expenses such as travel, accommodation, and aftercare.
Some of the top clinics in Istanbul offer hair transplant packages. These include luxury hotel stays, aftercare (such as the first hair washing after the operation), VIP transfer from the airport and hotel, and a personalised consultation.
Travel to Istanbul is not included, but Istanbul boasts one of the world’s best-connected airports, so this should not be a problem.
Most patients combine their treatment with a short break in Istanbul. With an incomparable historical and architectural heritage, it is one of the world’s great historical cities.
Why are hair transplants so much cheaper in Turkey?
Compared to the UK, medical services in Turkey are such good value because clinics there have much lower overheads. This includes tax, rent and utility costs. Even world class clinics have much lower overheads than in the UK.
A rule of thumb is that when all costs are considered, an affordable hair transplant in Turkey costs only about half as much as in the UK. When combined with the world class standards in the best Turkish clinics, it becomes clear why medical tourism and Istanbul are rapidly becoming synonymous.