Even with the COVID restrictions, for anyone impacted by hair loss in the UK, a holiday in a warm place and a new head of hair sounds pretty appealing, right?
You would probably think twice if you heard some of the horror stories we hear while correcting bad overseas transplants. Turkey is a popular choice for the British when looking to combine a holiday with a hair transplant procedure. But when weighing all the pros and cons, which one comes out on top for hair transplant surgery for the British consumer – Turkish or domestic clinics?
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know before you go ahead and book your procedure, whether in Turkey or home in the UK.
Hair transplants in Turkey – what are the risks?
Low procedure prices combined with a sunny climate make Turkey very attractive as a medical tourism destination. However, it may not be as sweet a deal as it looks on the surface.
If you decide to jump on the overseas low-cost hair transplant conveyor belt, there are some things to keep in mind.
There are the obvious risks associated with cheap hair transplants abroad - infection, poor quality of work and the communication barrier, for example.
However, there are also other important differences when it comes to the standard of hair transplants in Turkey compared to the UK.
You will likely have multiple people working on the procedure. Most often, two “technicians” will work on your transplant, one on the left and one on the right. The problem is, this won’t achieve a uniform look, as different people will have a different manner (e.g. angle) of inserting the follicles. Therefore, it’s quite common that the results to look irregular.
With overseas transplants, the tools used are often too aggressive and damaging. When the donor area is not cared for properly and the follicles are extracted in a rough manner, it can cause scarring. What many people don’t realise is that such significant damage can be done to the donor area that corrective treatment in the future may not be an option.
What will travel insurance cover if something goes wrong?
One thing is certain in Covid-times - flying is a risk and no airline will let you onto a plane with an elevated temperature from an infection!
When travelling overseas for a cosmetic procedure, if things go south they tend to go south fast. There’s the risk of infections, complications, procedures that are not done correctly… No one likes to think of worst-case scenarios, but what is the plan if the worst does happen?
There’s also a chance you simply may not be happy with the quality of the results. Would you pay to fly back to have a botched procedure corrected, or would you just cop the cost of having it done properly in the UK?
Travel insurance is intended for covering the unforeseen. With that said, it’s virtually impossible to find an insurance company that will cover you for an overseas cosmetic procedure, because they’re classed as high risk.
If the worst did happen, could you just go into emergency and be taken care of like you can in the UK? Who will pay for the care? Travel insurance won’t cover hospital expenses as a private patient. Then there’s the added difficulty of the language barrier. How would you communicate your problem to get the right kind of help?
To summarise – these are the main risks with an overseas hair transplant:
- Travel insurance won’t cover cosmetic procedures - you're on your own
- Potential damage to the donor area - future transplants may not be possible
- Unqualified “technicians” performing the procedure – not doctors and potentially not even nurses
- Facility hygiene and level of care may not meet UK standards
- Risk of infections and complications
- Limited to no post-operative care and no monitoring of results throughout the following year
- If a corrective treatment is needed, it will outweigh the initial saving
- Higher follicle loss rate – fewer donor follicles for future use
- Communication barrier – if something goes wrong, how do you make sure you get the medical assistance required?
Stay informed – what to keep in mind when choosing between a UK and Turkey hair transplant clinic
We’re not here to tell you where to get your transplant done, but make sure you’re informed on the risks and benefits of each option.
To ensure you get the best possible results for your hair transplant, you need to ask the following questions:
- What technique will be used, how will the follicles be extracted?
- Who will perform the procedure – a surgeon, doctor, nurse or technician?
- Are there post-procedure instructions?
- Is there an emergency contact?
- What results can you achieve? Ask about the clinic’s average follicle survival rate – we’ll look into this in more detail in the next section!
- Will I be able to have another hair transplant in the future?
- Will the results look natural?
With the risks outlined in this article, a low-cost hair transplant may not be quite so low-cost once you have factored in the potential corrective treatment or medical assistance required.
Success rate vs follicle survival rate
You may be wondering how so many hair transplant clinics can claim a 98% success rate. How can all these different clinics be so exceptional? The truth is, the “98% success rate” claim is intentionally misleading to make for good marketing.
How do we measure success and what is the benchmark for a successful hair transplant? Is a transplant successful if 10%, 50% or over 95% of the follicles survive?
The problem with talking about a point-blank procedure ‘success rate’ is that there’s no clear measurement for what counts as success. A better and much more accurate measure is follicle survival rate – the number of hair follicles transplanted that go on to produce permanent hair growth.
The million-dollar question is how many of the implanted hairs will survive? The follicle survival rate is a much more accurate measure of how successful a hair transplant is.
Survival rates vary dramatically between different methods – anywhere from 50-95%. The Gro microsurgery FUE is the most refined technique out there, and we consistently achieve over 95% follicle survival rate.
Why is follicle survival rate so important?
Survival rate is important – at the end of the day, only the hairs that survive are worth paying for.
Let’s look at an example – a patient needs 2,000 hairs to fix an uneven hairline. If the procedure has a high follicle survival rate (such as 90%-95%), the surgeon will transplant around 2,200 hairs. A different clinic may tell you that you need 3,500 hairs for the same exact procedure.
It may seem like a better deal getting more hairs, but if only 50% of them survive, the patient ends up with less viable hair (1,750) than they need to correct the hairline. The results may be poor or average at best, and there’s the added cost of longer treatment sessions.
Not only that, but the patient now has 1,300 donor hair follicles less available for use in the future.
Each of us has a limited number of donor hairs available, so it’s important not to over-harvest your lifetime bank of donor hair follicles in your first hair transplant session.
Why choose Gro microsurgery in the UK
Gro micro-FUE is the most refined and gentle hair transplant technique on the market.
The tools our doctors use are less than 1mm in diameter to minimise any damage to the follicles during extraction and implantation. The carefully extracted grafts are implanted directly into the treatment area (no slits or holes need to be created), where they are more likely to ‘take’ due to a tighter fit in the skin.
We also keep the follicles in a special growth solution, at a constant temperature of 4 degrees Celsius, to keep them healthy while they wait to be implanted.
Through minimal handling of the follicles between extraction and implantation, and by providing the ideal conditions for survival outside the body, our doctors have increased our follicle survival rate to over 95%.
In addition to our follicle survival rate being consistently higher than the industry standard, we are the only clinic to guarantee 100% natural results.
What should I do next?
Getting a diagnosis is always the first step.
Gro is a leader in the UK hair transplant industry, using the safest and most advanced innovations in hair replacement techniques and technology. We give you healthy, natural-looking hair with virtually no pain, no stitches and no scars. Just 100% natural results, meaning you can enjoy your hair for life.
If you have been considering treatment for hair loss, you can book your free diagnosis consultation online via video call or in-person at our Manchester clinic. Alternatively, contact us on 0161 839 3769 so we can answer your questions and tell you how we provide a natural, permanent solution to hair loss.