Hair Transplants Abroad: 7 Questions Answered to Get You Ready
Ambra Andrei - Medical Content Writer
Posted Nov 29, 2016
Travelling for a hair transplant abroad has become increasingly popular in recent years. There are many internationally renowned clinics that represent an excellent yet cheaper option when it comes to hair transplant surgery. Destinations abroad boast highly-experienced doctors and institutions that allow you to save up to 80% on your treatment, compared to the UK, Ireland, or the US. But, what do you need to know before going abroad for a hair transplant? We collected seven of the most common questions amongst those travelling abroad for hair restoration surgery. Remember: Qunomedical is here to help you along your entire treatment journey. We’ll work together to find the right doctor and plan your journey from start to finish, based on criteria that matters to you.
1. Where Do I Start?
Planning a hair transplant abroad can feel overwhelming, especially when you don’t know where to start. Broadly speaking, there are a few things you need to consider when preparing for a medical treatment abroad. Some of these also apply to your hair restoration treatment, so we recommend going through the following list to avoid any last-minute surprises.
Read up on the Treatment
It’s really important to be well-informed about the treatment you plan to undergo. For instance, there are a variety of different hair transplant techniques, with the most popular options being follicular unit extraction (FUE), follicular unit transplantation (FUT), and direct hair implantation (DHI). Doing some research on these will help you to understand what’s in store and which technique might be right for you. If you’re not sure what treatment is best for you, then you can chat about it with your Qunomedical Patient Manager and your doctor.
Research Popular Destinations
Hair transplants abroad have become ever more popular in recent years. Qunomedical will only ever present you with clinics that are JCI-accredited or have received their highest national medical accreditation. This gives you the opportunity to choose from fantastic locations such as Turkey and Poland. These are two of the most popular destinations, with world renowned doctors and top of the range facilities. These locations are also popular thanks to their affordable prices. Hair transplant costs abroad are often much cheaper than at home, with average prices for an FUE hair transplant in Turkey coming in at €1950, compared to €7100 in the UK, and €6940 in the US.
Check Visa Requirements
Once you’ve picked your destination, check if you need a visa to travel and apply for it in plenty of time before you’re due to leave. Some countries will require a medical visa, so make sure you double check exactly what documentation you’ll need and how to submit your application correctly. Your Qunomedical Patient Manager can also help you with this information if you choose to book your treatment with us. If you’re unsure about the political situation in the destination you choose, we recommend that you refer to local governmental websites. We will also try to give you as much information as possible by communicating with doctors for regular updates.
Know Your Health
Depending on where you’re travelling to for your hair transplant abroad, you may need to check that your vaccinations are up-to-date. You can get specific information on this on the website of your local health provider. Your Patient Manager will also be happy to assist you here too.
Plan Time Off
Having a hair transplant abroad usually only requires a 2–3 night stay. Still, you might need to take some time off (most patients take a week off from work), it’s up to you.
2. What Should I Avoid Doing Before My Hair Transplant Abroad?
The doctor you choose for your treatment will ask you for some information about your medical history. This will be some basic information around any regular medications that you take, any specific allergies you may have, or if you have undergone surgery before. As well as this, patients are often asked to follow some guidelines in the weeks leading up to their hair transplant abroad. Below, we’ve identified the most common ones that patients are usually required to follow:
Do not cut your hair in the two weeks prior the operation — your doctor will do the necessary trimming before starting the procedure.
At least two weeks before your treatment, stop using shampoos, medications, or lotions that prevent hair loss.
Do not drink alcohol the week before your treatment, as well as 5–14 days following surgery.
Stop smoking 24 hours before the surgery and for as long as possible afterwards. Smoking can affect healing.
Avoid drinking coffee and other caffeinated drinks the day before your treatment.
Do not take aspirin or vitamin E at least three days before the operation.
3. What Do I Need to Pack?
At this point, your treatment is booked, your flight tickets are confirmed, and it’s time to pack your suitcase! So, what are the things that you need to bring with you when heading off for your hair transplant abroad? Here are some helpful things to pack besides your usual personal items.
Always have your ID and visa handy as you may need to show them multiple times while travelling. Some countries allow you to get an e-visa online that will automatically be connected to your passport number but it can be handy to print out a copy of the confirmation you receive, just in case there are any issues.
Your medical records should have already been clarified during consultations with your doctor. However, it’s still worth bringing them with you as you may be required to show test results or recent medical files to the hospital so that your doctor can get a complete overview of your medical history.
Tickets and Emergency Numbers
Don’t forget to have your phone fully charged for your boarding pass — or print off a physical copy — as well as your treatment confirmation. When booking with Qunomedical, you’ll receive a detailed treatment confirmation including addresses, emergency numbers, and hospital contacts so you don’t have to worry about collecting this information yourself. In the case of emergencies, you can always reach our team via our 24/7 hotline. Consider also bringing details of an emergency contact for yourself that the hospital can reach any time.
A Couple of Button-Up Shirts
It’s recommended to wear button-up shirts during surgery as you won’t be able to pull any clothes over your head once the operation has ended. Hospitals usually suggest you wear comfortable clothes and shoes at all times to ensure your stay at the clinic is as relaxing as possible.
Most clinics will provide you with (or have available for purchase) bottles of shampoo, lotion, or foams to be used during the recovery period after your treatment. If you don't plan to check-in a bag, then most of these bottles will be too large to take on the plane with you. Having a few extra, empty 100 ml or smaller bottles will allow you to split up the liquids the clinic gives you and take them in your carry-on baggage.
City Guide and Books
If you decide to use your treatment as an opportunity to do some sightseeing, packing a handy city guide can be useful for you to get to know the area better. We’ve also created some quick-starter guides to help you get to know Istanbul, Budapest, and Bangkok. Hair restoration surgery can take several hours, during which you’ll be awake, so you can also bring your favourite book to pass the time.
4. What Should I Expect Once I Get There?
Qunomedical treatment packages often include airport-pickups upon your arrival. So make sure you know what you should do once you arrive, whether it’s finding your driver at a meeting point or going to a transfers office. Depending on the specific arrangements within your treatment package, the driver will either take you straight to your doctor for a first check-up or to your hotel. Once you’re fully rested, a driver will pick you up the next day for your treatment, which usually starts in the morning. Most clinics will contact you via text message, WhatsApp, or email once you arrive in the country, to inform you of the exact pick-up times.
5. Is a Hair Transplant Painful?
Hair transplant surgery is conducted under local anesthesia. This means you’ll be awake during the treatment but you’ll feel little pain during the actual procedure. Since the surgery can last several hours, there’s often a lunch break in between to make sure your sugar levels are brought back to normal. Pain threshold varies from person to person so anesthesia and painkillers are prescribed with different dosages on a case-to-case basis. If you’d like to know more about this, check out this video below from our CEO and co-founder, Dr. Sophie Chung.
6. What Happens Once the Surgery Is Done?
Once your surgery is complete, the transplanted area will be covered in bandages. It’s common for the treated area to be swollen and tender for the next five days. During this time, it’s recommended to avoid any activity that may cause sweating (workouts, sauna, running, etc.) as it may slow down the natural healing process as well as increase the risk of infection. However, moderate exercise such as walking is recommended to keep the blood circulation going. Even though routine activities can be resumed the day after surgery, doctors usually recommend taking a week off work to ensure a speedy and healthy recovery. Your doctor will give you detailed aftercare directions to follow before you leave the clinic. You can also find useful guidelines in our Post-Op Hair Transplant Guide and why those guidelines are prescribed in our After the Hair Transplant article.
7. What If I Have Questions When I Get Home?
Qunomedical is here to help you plan your hair transplant abroad and support you throughout your treatment, but we’re also here to support you throughout the post-treatment and recovery phase. Our team of Patient Managers can be reached seven days a week via phone, email, WhatsApp, or Facebook Messenger. Contact us and we’ll do our best to answer your questions and clear any doubts you may have. Once you reach the post-treatment phase, feel free to join our dedicated hair transplant community on Facebook. The Hairloss Crusaders is a judgement-free space to ask questions, chat to others like you, and share experiences about your hair transplant abroad.