Getting a hair transplant abroad in countries such as India, Thailand, Turkey and the UAE is becoming increasingly popular.
The costs are usually a fraction of those seen in the US or Western Europe. However, the dangers are also significant, especially in the hands of inexperienced surgeons.
The below new Bloomberg video on Istanbul’s booming hair transplant industry features Spencer Stevenson (Spex). One of the surgeons in the video estimates that 1,500 to 2,000 hair transplant procedures occur in Turkey daily.
Deaths from Hair Transplant Procedures
Although very rare, a number of young people have died in recent years during or immediately after a hair transplant surgery. As hair restoration procedures become ever more popular worldwide, such tragedies will only increase.
Among the main reasons for major issues after a hair transplant procedure include: incorrect dosage anesthesia medication delivery; excessively lengthy procedures in order to get the most number of grafts moved; and uncleanliness related infections.
September 21, 2021
A 31-year old Indian man died three days after getting a hair transplant. It has not yet been proven what exactly caused his death, but he started feeling uneasiness less than two days after the procedure. He went back to the hospital where the hair transplant clinic is located in order to get treated. Sadly he did not recover, and passed away in the ICU on the next day.
September 15, 2021
A 28-year old Italian man went to Turkey for a hair transplant. He ended up dying from a heart attack under very suspicious circumstances. Doctors supposedly even performed an angiography and stent procedure before the hair restoration procedure.
In 2020, a 26-year old UK man who went to Turkey for his hair transplant came back with a pretty shocking story. There are many great hair transplant surgeons in Turkey, but even more numerous dangerous run-of-the-mill clinics. Getting a hair transplant abroad can be very cheap, but also a risky proposition.
March 12, 2019
An Indian man in his early 40s died after getting a 12-hour hair transplant procedure. He initially wanted an insane 9,000 grafts in one go. However, after receiving 3,700 grafts, the surgery was stopped at 2:30 am due to complications. Some unethical surgeons want to provide the best before and after results and photos for future customers. Therefore, they will often encourage unrealistically large procedures detrimental to patient health.
Update: November 1, 2019
The ISHRS has started a campaign to combat fraudulent hair restoration practices around the world. The campaign is called FIGHT (or Fight the Fight), which stands for Fight the Fraudulent, Illicit & Global Hair Transplants.
July 6, 2019
China’s Hair Transplant Industry
This week, there were several important stories pertaining to hair transplants in China. Something we rarely read about in the US or Europe.
First, Chinese social media was abuzz with horror at malpractice and terrible training in China’s unlicensed hair transplant industry. This story via its related hashtag on Weibo has been read an insane 260 million times as of today.
Make sure to read my past post on hair transplants gone wrong.
Apparently China’s hair transplant industry was worth around $1.5 billion in 2018 per the earlier linked article. Also, a new article from the Turkish dailysabah paper estimates that country’s hair transplant industry hit $1 billion in 2018. A majority of this is accounted by foreign customers.
April 23, 2017
Hair Transplants Abroad
While this blog’s ultimate focus is on a cure for hair loss, virtually every month I write at least one post that is devoted to existing treatments. Hair transplants represent the most popular hair loss treatment option, and many people are visiting foreign countries for hair restoration work.
To date, I have written at least ten posts on hair restoration procedures. Hair transplants are currently the best treatment option for people who want to see an immediate improvement in their scalp’s appearance. In the hands of certified and highly experienced surgeons, hair transplants will usually result in favorable outcomes. However, even the best surgeons will have some failures and highly disappointed patients.
If you ever do decide to get a hair transplant, you will want to do a lot of research before proceeding. This includes checking out numerous patient testimonials on hair loss forums. Even better, examine and directly speak in person with patients located near you. Most experienced certified surgeons should have at least several of their patients located within a 100 mile radius of you. Especially if you reside in the US, Europe, India, Turkey or Thailand. It is imperative to see patients in person after their new hair has grown out.
Cheaper Hair Restoration Prices Abroad
In recent years, patients in developed countries where hair transplants can cost upwards of $15,000 have often decided to travel to poorer countries where the procedure can cost less than $5,000. The most popular countries for such lower-cost cosmetic hair transplant tourism procedures are probably India, Thailand and Turkey.
All three of the above mentioned countries are home to many extremely skilled and renowned hair transplant surgeons. This includes ones who regularly present at international hair transplant conferences and have authored hair transplant related textbook chapters.
However, the number of sketchy surgeons and clinics in these countries is also very large. Far more so than in developed countries. If you do not do sufficient research before going to a foreign country to get a hair transplant, you can get the shock of your life.
In the most extreme case, you can even die in a foreign land in the process of getting some hair moved from the back of your scalp to the front. And in case of any major injury, you might have an almost impossible task of taking a surgeon to court in a country that you might be visiting for the first time ever (and where your native language may not even be spoken).
Getting a Hair Transplant in Turkey
The reason I decided to write this post is because I recently read an article about Turkey’s booming hair transplant tourism industry. It is the first time that I have read something like this in a well known online publication in the US. Edit: There was another interesting story on this subject in Wired magazine in 2015.
While I was not surprised at reading about some of the sketchiness in Turkey’s underground hair transplant world, some of the descriptions and images are quite vivid. Apparently, hair restoration clinics in the country are “springing up like rabbits”. According to official data, 60,000 people from abroad came to Turkey last year for hair transplants. Around 90 percent of those came from the Middle East.
On many hair loss forums, you will read numerous testimonials from people in the western world who have gone to Turkey to get a hair transplant. Thankfully, most seem happy with the results, or at least not seriously injured. However, forum members tend to be much more educated about this subject matter and tend to only go to the most reputable hair restoration surgeons out there in Turkey.