7 Questions Answered to Get You Ready for Hair Transplant Surgery Abroad

The increasing number of patients seeking a treatment abroad reflects the ongoing global need for affordable access to quality healthcare. Qunomedical was founded by Dr. Sophie Chung with the goal to offer another option where getting affordable healthcare does not mean compromising on quality.

There are many internationally renowned hospitals and clinics worldwide that represent an excellent yet cheaper option; when it comes to hair transplant surgery, destinations like Turkey and Thailand boast high quality treatments and institutions that allow you to save up to 80% compared to the UK, Ireland or the US.

We collected 7 of the most common questions that people traveling abroad for hair transplant surgery ask; as you go through, you may feel the list is overwhelming but you do not have to worry: Qunomedical is here to help you research, find the right clinic and plan your journey from start to finish.

1. Where do I start planning my travel?

Planning a treatment abroad can be really confusing, especially when you do not know where to start. Broadly speaking, there are a few things you need to consider when preparing for a medical treatment abroad; for hair transplant surgery specifically, go through the following list to avoid any last-minute surprises.

  • Read up on the treatment. It is important to be well-informed about the treatment you plan to undergo; there are different types of hair transplant surgery such as FUE, FUT or PRP hair treatment. You can research online or get in touch with one of our Health Managers if you have specific questions or need advice.

  • Research popular destinations. Hair transplant surgery has increased in popularity in recent times and also the number of people traveling abroad to get it done is on the rise. While Turkey is one of the most popular destinations, there are many other destinations you can choose from; Qunomedical partners with clinics and hospitals that are JCI-accredited or have received their highest national medical accreditation. If you are unsure of the political and social situation in the destination you chose, you can refer to travel advice websites; we will also try to give you as much information as possible by liaising with our partner clinics which can give us first-hand information about the surroundings.

  • Check visa requirements. Once you’ve picked your destination, check if you need a visa to travel there and apply for it in plenty of time before you travel. Some countries like India will require a medical visa, so make sure you double check exactly what document you will need and how to submit your application correctly.
  • Know your health. Depending on where you are traveling, you may need to make sure your vaccinations and boosters are up-to-date. Make sure you also take care of your day-to-day personal, food and water hygiene. You can get specific information on your local health provider website.
  • Plan time off. Hair transplant surgery 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), also depending on your personal needs.

2. What should I do or not do before getting hair transplant surgery?

The doctor of the clinic you selected for your treatment will ask you for some information about your medical history, e.g. if you take medications on a regular basis, if you have specific allergies or if you have undergone surgery before. Below, we identify the most common guidelines that patients undergoing hair transplant surgery are usually required to follow:

  • Do not cut your hair in the 2 weeks prior the operation - surgeons will do the necessary trimming before operating.
  • Stop using shampoos, medications or lotions that prevent hair loss starting at least 2 weeks before the treatment.
  • Do not drink alcohol the week before the operation as well as 5 days to 2 weeks following surgery.
  • Stop smoking 24 hours before the surgery and as long as possible after the surgery. Smoking can affect healing.
  • Avoid drinking coffee or caffeinated drinks prior the operation day.
  • Do not take aspirin or vitamin E at least 3 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: what are the things you need to bring with you when traveling abroad for hair transplant surgery? Here are some helpful things to pack besides your personal items:

  • Personal documents: always have your ID and visa handy as you may need to show them multiple times while traveling. 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 when applying for the visa in case there are any issues.

  • Medical history: your medical record should have already been clarified during consultation and before traveling, though you may be required to bring test results or recent medical files to the hospital so that the surgeon can get a complete overview of your medical history.

  • Tickets and emergency numbers: do not forget to print your boarding pass as well as your treatment confirmation; by booking with Qunomedical, you will receive a detailed treatment confirmation including addresses, emergency numbers and hospital contacts so you do not have to worry about collecting this information yourself. Consider also bringing details of an emergency contact for yourself that the hospital can reach any time.

  • A couple of button-up shirts: it is recommended to wear button-up shirts during hair transplant 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 runs as pleasantly as possible.

  • Carry-on-sized bottles: most clinics will provide you (or have available for purchase) bottles of shampoo, lotion or foams to be used during the recovery period after your hair transplant. If you don't plan to check 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 this as an opportunity to visit the city, packing a handy city guide can be useful for you to get to know the city better. We’ve created some quick-starter guides to help you get to know Istanbul, Budapest and Bangkok. Surgery can last up to several hours and you will be awake, so you can also bring your favourite read to pass the time.

4. Once landed, what should I expect?

Many hospitals offer airport-pickup included in their treatment package. So make sure you know what you should do once you arrive, whether finding your driver at a meeting point or going to a transfers office. Depending on the clinic, the driver will either take you to the hospital for a first check-up or directly to your hotel.

Once you are properly rested, a driver will pick you up the next day for the actual surgery, which usually starts in the morning. Most clinics will contact you by text, WhatsApp or email once you arrive in the country to inform you of your exact pick-up times for your appointments.

5. Is hair transplant surgery painful?

Hair transplant surgery is conducted under local anaesthesia; this means you will be awake during the treatment but you will hardly feel any pain during the actual operation. Depending on the number of grafts needed, surgery can last up to 8 hours, during which you can read a book or watch TV. There will also be a lunch break in between to make sure your sugar levels are brought back to normal. Pain threshold varies greatly from person to person and that is why anaesthesia and painkillers are prescribed with different dosages and on a case-to-case basis. Our Hair Transplant Guide will give you detailed information about the different procedures and what results to expect.

6. What happens once surgery is done?

The transplanted area will be covered in bandages and it can be swollen and tender for the next 5 days. During this time, it is 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 infections; however, moderate exercise such as taking a walk is recommended to keep the blood circulation going. Even though routine activities can be resumed the day after surgery, doctors usually recommend to take 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 general guidelines about what to do after your hair transplant in our Post-op Guide and why those guidelines are prescribed in our After the Hair Transplant article.

7. What if I have questions while I’m traveling or when I’m back home?

Qunomedical is here to help you plan your hair transplant surgery abroad and support you throughout your journey; we are here to answer to all your concerns before, during and after your treatment.

In case not all of your questions were duly answered here, contact us and we’ll do our best to clear up all your doubts so you can start your hair transplant journey!

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About the author

Ambra Andrei, Content Manager

Ambra has the gift of putting complex matters into simple words. With her year-long background in the travel industry, she is our expert when it comes to travelling abroad for treatments.

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