November 1 2019: Update
The ISHRS has started a campaign to combat fraudulent hair restoration practices around the world. The campaign is called FIGHT, which stands for Fight the Fraudulent, Illicit & Global Hair Transplants.
July 6 2019: Update
This week, there were several important stories pertaining to hair transplants abroad.
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 in Weibo has been read an insane 260 million times as of today. Investigative video here.
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 Turkish dailysabah paper estimates that country’s hair transplant industry hit $1 billion in 2018. A majority of this is accounted by foreign customers.
Hair Transplants Abroad
April 23, 2017
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.
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 in the vast majority of cases result in favorable outcomes. Although 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 as well as directly speaking in person with and examining patients located near you. Most experienced certified surgeons should have at least several of their patients located within a 100 mile radius of you if you reside in the US or Europe. It is imperative to see such patients in person.
Hair Transplant Cost 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, with around 90 percent coming 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), although 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.