In a bid to regain a lustrous head of hair thousands of medical tourists are flocking to Turkey each month. The country is the world’s number one destination for hair transplantation surgery, and according to Ömer Tontuş (a senior official from Turkey’s health ministry), over 200 of the procedures are carried out every day (mostly on foreign visitors). Turkey’s booming medical tourism industry is worth an annual $1bn (£700m) and it offers a higher quality of service and considerably lower prices than its neighbors. Patients from the Gulf states as well as increasing numbers from Europe and the US make up the 500,000-plus medical tourists who visit the country each year.
Those who undergo hair transplantation surgery can return to their regular routine within days. The minimally invasive FUE (follicular unit extraction) technique—in which follicular units are removed one at a time from the back of the scalp where follicles are plentiful and transplanted into balding areas — can be performed under local anesthetic thus allowing for a quick recovery period. Patients can return to work and social activity from around 2 to 5 days after the transplant, but many visiting Turkey for the procedure make a holiday out of it and travel there a few days earlier to take in the sights and soak up the culture. Here’s a run-down of the three most popular destinations for hair transplant surgery in Turkey!
The only city in the world to bridge two continents (Europe and Asia), Istanbul is a melting pot and its rich and diverse cultural heritage is visible in its art, architecture, and food. The city lies on both sides of the Bosphorus channel and the Sea of Marmara, which connects the Black Sea to the Mediterranean. There are a number of must-see attractions in Istanbul such as the Blue Mosque, one of the city’s most iconic buildings, Topkapi Palace, which was the official residence of the Ottoman Sultans for around four centuries, and of course a visit to Istanbul wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the bazaars. The Grand Bazaar and the Egyptian Bazaar, found in the heart of Istanbul’s Old City are teeming with affordable spices, teas, carpets, trinkets, and gems. Istanbul has a plethora of accommodation on offer, whether you’re looking for a palace or a cheap and cheerful room, you won’t be disappointed.
Izmir is located on the western edge of Turkey, set around the brilliant blue waters of the Aegan Sea. Once the ancient city of Smyrna, Izmir is deeply rooted in history. Along with celebrating its culture, Izmir has also embraced modernity. Scattered all across the city are bars and cafes offering something for every age group. Finally, the stunning architecture and calming beaches make Izmir the perfect destination.
The largest Turkish city on the Mediterranean coast, Antalya is an attractive resort which boasts shady palm-lined boulevards and a prize-winning marina. The sprawling modern city with a small, charming historic center has a lot to offer visitors, including its renowned museums, long sandy beaches, top-notch hotels, and dramatic sea and mountain scenery. In the picturesque old quarter, Kaleici, narrow, winding streets and old wooden houses border the ancient city walls. During the winter months its population is around 2 million, but in the summertime it doubles. 12.5 million tourists passed through the city in 2014. There are ample accommodation options for those wishing to combine hair transplant surgery with a holiday on the Turkish Riviera.
Hair transplant packages including hotels, transfers, and often a complimentary PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) treatment — which helps to kick-start the skin’s repair process and stimulate hair growth — cost on average £2,500, in Turkey compared to around £10,000 in the UK. So if you’re looking for a permanent solution to hair loss and are in need of some R&R in a sunny spot, Turkey could be the destination for you!
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