Turkey has gained popularity in terms of traditional tourism because of its rich Ottoman culture, ancient monuments, throughout busy bazaars with antiques, herbs, and spices. In addition to traditional tourism, this Eurasian country has been turning heads towards itself for medical tourism as well and hair transplant treatment is one of the reasons.
Turkey’s medical tourism, being one of the rapidly growing industries, attracts thousands of patients annually from all over the world.
Do you know that approximately 50,000 health tourists travel down to Turkey every month alone for a hair transplant? These numbers are expected to grow in the coming years.
For hair transplant surgeries, Turkey has managed to claim the top spot leaving behind Europe and the US.
How Turkey Became A Top Destination For Hair Transplantation
‘Cost’ Factor: In 2015, the country earned $5.8 billion alone from medical tourism, out of which $1 billion was generated through hair transplant patients. This has been possible due to lower costs as compared to the US or UK. The average hair transplant surgery performed by a certified surgeon costs around $1,500 to $2,000. The ratio of costs to quality is enough to invite patients around the globe.
Experienced Surgeons: The rapid development of this industry is subjected to experienced surgeons who are well-trained for hair transplant surgery for different hair types. A hair transplant surgeon performs thousands of surgeries with the desired results. The potential of these surgeons is sufficient enough to bring satisfying results as compared to the surgeons abroad.
Medical Protocols and Guidelines: This is the most trustworthy part for contributing to the potential growth of this industry - Turkish medical institutes strictly follow international clinical practice guidelines. Turkish Ministry of Health constantly keeps an eye on cleanliness maintenance in the clinics, the credibility of the doctors, and the quality of care.
Internationally Accredited: Not only the clinics in Turkey are accredited by its own government and ministry of health, but the number of clinics is also certified by international boards such as Joint Commission International (JCI) and the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS). Also, Turkey maintains a record of the highest number of JCI accredited healthcare institutions around the world.
International Patient Care and Services: Hair transplant clinics offer service packages in accordance with international patients that includes greeting medical tourists from the airport, transportation, accommodation, translation and currency exchange services. These service packages are intended to take care of these international patients while being away from home.
Who is an eligible candidate for hair transplant in Turkey?
Well, to get the doctor’s appointment and treatment done, one has to come up with proper reasons else the doctors and surgeons don’t recommend any treatment. Therefore, it is necessary to prepare with a list of queries to ask the doctor upon consultation.
Hair Loss: As hair loss is quite common nowadays, but if the cause happens out of scarring, burns, alopecia marginalis, traction alopecia or androgenic alopecia, then the candidate is welcomed in Turkey for hair loss treatment. However, if the cause of hair loss is due to an autoimmune disorder, alopecia totalis, full androgenic baldness, or unpatterned alopecia, then Turkey won’t entertain for hair transplant surgery.
Note: Alopecia is either complete or partial loss of hair from areas of the body where the growth is usual.
Donor Hair Density: The number of hair regions a donor has, it will be more effective for the patient. The donor hair density plays a crucial role in bringing the desired results. Patients with insufficient donor hair density are not eligible for hair transplant treatment in Turkey.
Age has no role when it comes to hair transplant treatment in Turkey. However, if a patient is 23 years or older, then it would be better as the hair loss patterns are stabilized by then.
Other Health Conditions: If a patient has other health conditions such as Diabetes or Hypertension, then the treatment is done under certain circumstances and medications. Nevertheless, not all cases are eligible. Also, if the patient has certain chronic diseases, then he/she has to consult his medical specialist before getting the treatment done and also, inform their hair transplant surgeon before surgery.
Patients suffering from Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Hepatitis D or HIV are not eligible for treatment in Turkey.
Patients with hereditary baldness stabilized hair loss pattern and in a good physical condition are eligible for hair transplant treatment in Turkey.
What are the hair transplant procedures opted by the surgeons?
After the consultation session is done and the patient is eligible to travel to Turkey, then comes the right hair restoration treatment which is decided by the team of surgeons as per requirements. It can be bewildering for first-time patients knowing their basic requirements - the type of skin, cause of hair loss, type of treatment suitable, how it differs from other treatments and more.
Hair transplant treatment is categorized into two categories - surgical and non-surgical treatment. The surgical treatment is further divided into - follicular unit transplantation (FUT), follicular unit extraction (FUE).
How is the surgical procedure implemented?
Irrespective of the type of surgical treatment offered, hair transplant surgeries follow the similar steps that begin with drawing the hairline, shaving followed by applying the local anesthesia, extraction of hair follicles, separation of follicular units, creating channels and ends with implanting hair follicles in the incisions.
Drawing the hairline: On the first day of the appointment, the procedure begins with a team of nurses using a marker pen with an alcohol-based ink drawing the borders of the hairline. Once the patient approves the drawn-border, the next step follows.
Shaving: Shaving is not necessary in all transplant procedures. It totally depends on the technique used and the number of grafts required. While in FUT the entire donor strip required is shaved, whereas in FUE and variants, shaving depends as required.
Injecting local anesthesia: Patients undergoing surgical hair transplant procedure will be given local anesthesia before the procedure begins. The anesthesia is given to both donor hair regions from where hair follicle units will be extracted and on the patient’s region where the incisions will be made to prepare it before the implantation process.
Extracting Grafts: Depending on the donor’s density, hair is extracted either from the scalp or body. Based on FUT or FUE and its variants, the extraction is done using either a manual punch or motorized punch. In FUT, the donor region is surgically excised from the scalp. While in FUE and variants, a punch is used to isolate the hairs to be extracted. Once the isolation is done, the isolated hairs will be individually extracted via sterilized medical forceps.
The number of grafts required depends entirely on the degree of baldness which is decided by the surgeon. However, over-grafting does not give natural-looking results as the average hair density per cm square is between 60-85 follicular units.
Separating Follicular Units: Separating follicular units means separating hair grafts. The separation depends on the number of hairs in each follicular unit. Afterward, it is placed in a sectioned Petri dish containing Saline or Hypothermosol solution. Grafts with 1 or 2 hairs are implanted in the hairline for a good look, while the grafts with 3 or more hairs per unit are protected for the middle and back regions of the scalp.
Opening Channels: Now for implantation, opening channels process is done by creating several punctures on the scalp by using a steel micro-sized scalpel blade or a gauge needle. However, in DHI Choi, a pen is used for the incision and implantation process. This step consumes 1 to 3 hours depending on the method of opening channels and the number of incisions required.
Implanting Follicular Units: Once channels have been made, the extracted and grafted hair will be implanted in the channels using angular medical forceps.
How long does hair transplant surgery take place?
As hair transplant surgery is a multi-step procedure, it takes up to 8-10 hours depending on the treatment used, the number of grafts extracted and implanted. The steps - extraction and channel opening, are time-consuming and take 1-3 hours depending on the number of follicular units extracted. The steps are done with breaks given to the patient for having meals and resting. Although the surgery happens in a day, the washing is done the very next day. Therefore, the whole process takes two days.
What are the surgical treatments offered in Turkey?
As the surgical process is already described above, the steps are almost similar which may differ depending on the type of baldness, number of hair grafts and type of treatment required.
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)
1. Trivial microscopic scarring not to be seen with the naked eye.
2. Minimally invasive and mostly used procedure in Turkey
3. Permanent results
4. Body hair can be used of a donor if the scalp hair is insufficient
5. Faster recovery rate
6. No to lesser pain post surgery.
1. Small-scale balding areas.
2. Restoration or transplantation of hair on eyebrows and beard.
3. Keloid scars from trauma - burns or other injuries
4. Low-density areas
5. Want faster healing
6. Failed FUT treatment or not eligible for FUT.
Sapphire Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)
1. Permanent results
2. No scarring
3. No damage to the surrounding follicles
4. Faster healing rate
5. Lesser to no pain
1. Advanced hair loss
2. Patients with low donor density areas.
3. Patients with fairly thick hair and want to increase their hair density.
4. Looking for faster recovery rates.
Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT)
1. Extraction of more numbers of hair follicles per session as compared to FUE.
2. Permanent results
3. Less costly as compared to other methods.
1. Patients having no objection with a linear scar done by its surgical treatment.
2. Patients with low donor hair regions.
3. It takes longer recovery rates, therefore, this treatment requires patience.
Direct Hair Implant (DHI) Choi Pen
1. Permanent results
2. Trivial scarring not to be seen with the naked eye.
3. Minimally invasive surgical procedure
4. No damage to the surrounding follicles
5. Faster recovery process.
1. The costlier method, therefore, those who can afford it as it is a state-of-the-art technique.
2. Those having patience as it is a bit longer procedure.
What are the non-surgical treatments for hair transplant?
Minoxidil: It is FDA approved hair loss treatment for men and women. It is a generic medication in liquid form to be rubbed on the scalp daily for 6 months. It halts hair loss and helps in regrowth. The treatment is long-term and should be continuously applied for 6 months for better results.
Finasteride (Propecia): It is also FDA approved treatment only for men. It comes in the form of pills which need to be taken daily to stop hair loss and for new hair growth. Like Minoxidil, this treatment is also long-term and should be regularly consumed to maintain hair growth.
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy: Although not FDA approved, a widely used treatment for hair loss and complementary treatment after hair transplant surgery. In this treatment, platelet-rich plasma is collected from the patient’s blood by centrifuging it. The collected plasma with growth hormones is then injected into the patient’s scalp for regrowth. Multiple sessions need to be performed for 6 months to a year for long-lasting results.
How to choose the right hair transplant clinic and surgeon in Turkey?
Choosing the right treatment alone doesn’t yield the desired results. It also depends on the skill and experience of the surgeon along with the right kind of treatment. Even though the Turkish Ministry of Health conducts frequent inspections, it is still advisable for patients to check the credibility of the clinic and doctor.
Following are some key points to consider while looking for hair transplant clinics and doctors in Turkey:
Check for the clinic’s accreditation from international medical associations such as JCI or ISHRS. This helps in making the decision whether the clinic follows surgical, medical and clinical guidelines.
Ensure that the clinic provides a free consultation session to answer the patient’s queries. This helps patients in deciding the right kind of treatment accordingly.
Whether the surgeons in the associated clinic are government certified and have vast experience in this field.
Check the clinic’s reputation from its catalog, before & after pictures, Google star ratings and reviews from previous patients on Google.
Make sure that the clinics don’t provide instantaneous results. The clinic should provide proper follow-up services to track the recovery period of its patients.
Surgeries must be performed by the surgeons rather than hair transplant technicians.
Who are the top hair transplant surgeons in Turkey?
Following is a list of top hair transplant surgeons along with the clinic they are associated:
Name of the Clinic
Name of the Surgeon
HLC Hairline Clinic Aesthetic Medical Center
Dr. Ozgur Oztan
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) and Body Hair Transplantation (BHT)
FUE with full shaving: 2.7 Euro Per Graft
Dr. Mbarka Ahmed Ljohiy
Hair implants with 18 years of experience using FUE, DHI.
FUE Premium Pack: 2,400 Euro
Dr. Melike Kulahci
Hair Restoration and Cosmetic Surgery with 25 years of experience
Packages upon FREE consultation
DK Hair Klinik
Dr. Meltem Senturk
Dr. T. Hair Transplant Clinic
Dr. Tayfun Oguzoglu
Hair loss, restoration treatment
Packages upon consultation
Istanbul Aesthetic Center
Dr. Ergin Er, Dr. Aylin Turan, Dr. Ibrahim Bozkurt, Prof. Dr. Gurhan Ozcan, Dr. Mahmut Ozgul
Surgical and Non-Surgical Treatments
Pricing upon consultation
Dr. A. Hakan Doganay
FUE and FUT technique
Pricing upon consultation
Dr. Resul Yaman Hair Clinic
Dr. Resul Yaman
Hair transplant, facial hair transplant, and eyebrow transplant surgery
Pricing upon consultation
What preparations should be done for hair transplant surgery?
Precautions & Instructions
1-2 weeks before the surgery
1. Restrict use of blood thinners and anti-inflammatory drugs fortnight before the surgery.
2. No consumption of Vitamins supplements
3. Say ‘NO’ to smoking and alcohol consumption as it may hinder in the recovery process.
4. Massage the scalp for 10-30 minutes daily to improve the blood circulation in the required area.
24 hours before the surgery
1. Wash your hair thoroughly using a good shampoo.
2. Do not go for a haircut.
3. Get adequate sleep and proper rest
On the day of surgery
1. Do light breakfast
2. Avoid consuming caffeinated beverages.
3. Do not apply any hair gel or other hair product.
4. Wear loose clothes to easily on and off before and after surgery
What are the instructions and precautions to be followed for a smooth recovery after hair transplant surgery?
After the surgery takes place, patients will notice a newly defined shape of their hairline. Although the scalp may not look appealing at first due to scabbing and swelling, but it will eventually diminish after a week because of micro-sized incisions. The patients will be given instructions post-surgical treatment by their surgeon which will reduce swelling and pain to a zero degree after the first week ensuring a smoother and faster recovery.
1. Sleep at an inclined angle of 45 degrees.
2. Say ‘NO’ to alcoholic/caffeinated beverages or blood-thinners.
3. Protect the treated area from direct sunlight.
1. Wear loose clothes especially no tight-collared shirts.
2. Do not use hair dryers or any other heating source.
3. No participation in sports as it may sweat the treated area.
Tourism in Turkey:
Once the treatment is done and patient is in recovery mode, they are free to either head towards their home or spend some leisure time exploring the beautiful Eurasian country, its historic monuments, wonderful architecture and more. There are some multi-cuisine restaurants which also serves Turkish food. The best part is that hair transplant surgeries do not take longer recovery times and require no hospitalization.
Following is a list of places to visit in Turkey:
Bosphorus Cruise: Explore Istanbul’s Asian and European sides in a cruise on the strait. A phenomenal experience not to be missed.
Galata Tower: The tower for enjoying a panoramic view of Istanbul.
Topkapi Palace: An ancient place where the history of sultans of the Ottoman empire resides.
Grand Bazaar: 500 years old, the bazaar has 5,000 shops spread over 60 streets stocked with Turkish delights, ethnic herbs, spices and antiques.
Conclusion: After the treatment is done, patients are advised to cover their scalps throughout and stay hydrated.