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The risks of going abroad for low budget hair transplant surgery in turkey 
Every single day we see a large increase in the number of Turkish Hair Clinics advertising budget surgery, maninly using Social Media to attract UK clients to board a plane, bound for instanbul with the dream or restoring their hair follicles for a fration of the cost of a UK based, GMC Registered Hair Transplant Specialist, but at what cost? 
 
Well, having explored the process and discussing this exact topic with Surgeon from all over Europe at the recent Aesthetic Medicine & FUE Europe Conferences it is clear that there is a serious problem yet nothing seems to happen. 
 
We cant ask Google, Instagram and Facebook to block these advserts as they generate vast sums of money from them, even if the claims are medically false with inaccruate a missguided information used to part UK citizens of their hard earned money. 
 
It's now about EDUCATION, to educate everyone involved in Hair Restoration Surgery (be that BAHRS, ESHRS, ISHRS) in the main reasons how a clinic in Turkey can perform 5,000-7,000 Graft FUE for £1,000, not to mention do 7-10 procedures of this size per day! when in the UK the best and most experienced Surgeons can only perform 1-2 Hair Transplants per day and most believe that anything above 2,500 Follicular Units its a tough surgery and subject to having fantastic donor hair and an even better team of Surgical Assistants around him to get these grafts back into the scalp. 
 
There are lots of Private Hospitals in Turkey, many built a few years ago by foreign investors that pretty much sat empty until 2017 when Turkish Entrepreneurs stumbled upon Hair Transplant and realised that with such large facilities, with no need for higher level UK Regulation, these clinics could be used for Hair Transplant on a massive scale. Combine this with a low labour force and even in some clinics Syrian Refugees perforing the vast majority of your Hair Transplant Surgery, the lowest cost of labour imaginable - all overseen by one doctor. 
 
One Surgeon - that has little more to do than the inital rounds to ensure everyone has signed the paperwork to ensure they accept litte to no liability for wwhat is going to happen and your Surgery can now be performed by an inexperience, non medical trainee. 
 
Grafts are extracted using devices that have not been medically certified and can even be purchased on Amazon for $50. 
 
There are 43 Hair Surgeons registered with the International Society Of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) yet at last estmates there are over 276 Hair Transplant Clinics operating in Istanbul alone. 
 
The ISHRS recently released a press release stating that Hair Transplant Surgery hasnt changed in recent years and that clinics should not use misleading terms, such as: 
ICE FUE - DHIM - Sapphire FUE - NeoVascular FUE - Ozone FUE - DHI FUE 
 
Patients are vulnerbale and they put their trust in people to do right with their hair longterm & perforing 7,000 Grafts leaves the donor area over harvested and bare, the only other answer is that patients are being over sold and misled and not getting what they pay for, either way both are extremey shocking ways to practice medicine. 
 
Having spoken to a representative from Turkey the feedback was astounding of their abilty to SELL Surgery, however when this is based on a strategy of Over Selling, Untruths, Exageration and is simply Misleading on an uneven playing field its easy to sell anything if you dont have to tell the truth. 
 
No Pain, No Blood, No Shave - 3 fundamental parts of a Surgical Intervention is mild discomfort intially and when aneaesthesia wears off, blood is natural when an incision in made but is controlled with medication, and FUE requires shaving even if it is a small undercut or lines of shaved hair to perform a more subtle surgery.  
 
Sapphire FUE - merely by using a Sapphire Blade that is readilty available from many suppliers, unscrupulous clinics have names a Surgery after a blade an the niaive patients that havent done enough research are misled into believing this is something new or revolutionary when in fact is standard practice and there are multiple tools and methods to make a follicles incision site that work the same if not better. 
 
So what happens if you get a problem as many do then re-enquire with the UK provider they turned their back on to seek a cheaper solution, the answer in many cases is simple - the Donor Area has been over harvested, the implanted grafts have been put in poorly placed incisions and the growth is extremely poor & there is little to nothing anyone can then do about it. 
 
A safer solution is not to look for Budget Surgery & to plan for Hair Loss and subsequent treatments over a longer time period. Retain some of your Donor to allow for future loss, explore Non Surgical Options, such as Prescription Medications, Laser & PRP with your Doctor and should you need further surgery later you have the Donor hair to do it. 
 
Realistic Graft Ranges for FUE are from 500 to 2,500 Per Session - any more than this and you risk over harvesting and you risk poor growth. The grafts have been out of the body for a long time and regarldess of the solution you keep them in and the temperate you keep them naturally they will deteriorate. Safe Medical Guidelines are paramount - realistic expectations and a good undertanding or the Surgery having attended a Surgeons Consultation and explored all your Options. 
 
I hope the appeal of budget surgery will soon pass as patients start to reveal the horrors that we see on a daily basis but i fear this will be the case for another few years.  
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