The truth about the Turkish Hair transplant industry

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The truth about the Turkish Hair transplant industry

July 18
09:36 2022
Hair transplantation and Turkey have become inextricably linked. Why has this happened, and how would one know to choose the right clinic?


STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN – July 18, 2022 – Hair transplantation and Turkey have become inextricably linked. Tens of thousands of men, primarily between the ages of 25 and 65, go to the nation with one objective in mind: to regain their younger appearance by repairing receding hairlines and lost hair.Turkey’s $1 billion-per-year sector has become a Mecca for hair transplantation. Thousands of Turkish clinics guarantee the greatest hair transplantation for ever-decreasing prices and ever-increasing promises. Some of these assurances blatantly contradict the ISHRS (International Society of Hair Restoration Surgeons), the world’s foremost authority on safe hair transplantation methods. Statements like “painless procedure,” “scarless,” “non-invasive,” and “unlimited grafts” are just a few examples of unethical marketing tactics that can have serious consequences.

“It is normally not recommended to remove more than 4000 grafts from a donor location in a single session, and even this can be dangerous in some individuals. This sort of operation necessitates the participation of a large team. It’s terrifying to watch teams as small as three people complete Giga sessions of 4000-6000 grafts in a single day. There is no way that appropriate protocols are followed. It takes a lot of experienced hands and a lot of time to extract this many grafts correctly. It’s heartbreaking to watch increasingly deceitful marketing schemes dupe innocent patients. Hair transplantation is a permanent procedure. It is also depleting in nature. You cannot afford to make a mistake the first time. They are difficult to correct,” says Dr. Asi I Peretz of Trichogenics, a specialist hair restoration surgeon and associate ISHRS member.

It is estimated that over 80% of the clinics in Turkey follow these dubious protocols and are locally dubbed as “hair factories” or “Turkish Hair Mills.”

These clinics operate with a doctor as the face of the business. The doctor is generally well-known, but there is no or limited doctor participation in any of the operations, even if it is explicitly promised or advertised. Many of these hair factories see more than 100 patients each day. Given that the typical hair transplant takes 8 hours, it is impossible for the doctor to even oversee such a huge number of procedures, let alone actively participate in them.

So, why do people keep coming? And why has the industry continued to grow year after year?

“The truth of the matter is that even at these massive hair factories, decent results are achieved relatively often because technicians are highly skilled, and the process is so brilliantly streamlined. Most patients are happy when hair grows where it once didn’t, even if the results are unnatural looking. Additionally, FUE hair transplant carries a relatively low risk for serious adverse medical outcomes, so complications like life-threatening infections and death are rare, although not impossible. Most of the complications we see are cosmetic in nature. We do many revisions at our practice, although these are expensive. Unfortunately, ideal results are not always feasible,” stated Dr. Eric Peretz, chief surgeon at Trichogenics.

So, how can you make an informed decision about a clinic or doctor now that modern-day internet marketing has muddled the industry? It is difficult, but here are some essential things to keep in mind:

1. Ensure that your clinic only sees one or two patients per day at most (or at least follows a one patient per doctor rule).

2. Prior to your arrival, make sure you have a face-to-face appointment or a live consultation through zoom with the actual doctor doing your treatment.

3. You get what you pay for; you typically will not find a reputable clinic offering hair transplantation for less than 4,000 USD anywhere in the world. So instead, save your money and do it correctly the first time.

4. Check if your doctor is part of the ISHRS (International Society of Hair Restoration Surgeons) or ABHRS (American Board of Hair Restoration Surgeons). These are the only two organizations that hold their members to high standards of practice.

5. If you see wording such as “scarless surgery,” “painless surgery,” “unlimited grafts,” or any amount of “grafts over 4000,” immediately disregard the clinic.

6. Confirm that all equipment, especially micromotor handles, is autoclavable. We found unsterilized micro motor handles in every single hair factory and technician-based clinic we visited. Please be careful of this!

7. Before and after can be misleading. There are many fake before and after photos on social media. Even legitimate before and after pictures can serve as marketing ploys and go against the best interest of the unwitting patient. For example, young patients who will likely bald rapidly are given maximal graft counts with hairlines that are too low. This is done so that the clinic can use an awesome before and after photo a year later, but five years down the line, the poor patient has continued to bald and is left with little or no donor area to fix the new bald spot. These patients end up looking unnatural and are worse off than regular bald people.

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