Turkish beauty clinics attract tourists with cheap prices – not all are what they promise | Foreign countries

Turkish beauty clinics attract tourists with cheap prices not

ISTANBUL At Turkey’s largest airport in Istanbul, you come across several people with their heads wrapped in gauze. They have had a hair transplant in Turkey and are returning home among the usual vacationers.

The country’s largest airline, Turkish Airlines, has been nicknamed Turkish Hairlines for this reason.

Even more than 1.4 million tourists arrived in Turkey in 2022 to improve their appearance. In the busy streets of Istanbul, one cannot miss the large number of clinics offering various beauty operations.

It’s about big business: the healthcare industry turnover was in Turkey in 2022 around 1.85 million euros.

People are attracted by cheap prices and, compared to many other low-cost countries, high medical expertise. It is also easy to travel to Turkey, as Western tourists usually do not need a visa.

However, the world has reported on surgeries gone wrong, where patients have even died.

At the end of March, reported on a Finnish woman who accidentally had a tummy tuck instead of breast reduction surgery in Turkey. The woman ended up in the intensive care unit in Finland and she almost lost her life.

Do you dare to go to Turkey for cosmetic surgery and what should you consider if you go?

It can be difficult for a foreigner to find a reliable clinic

by Taner Haskan run by the travel agency Starwise focuses on cosmetic surgery tourism. Haskan has been working in the industry for 15 years and he cooperates with the one located on the top floor of the same building by Özge Ergün with the clinic.

Haskan advises those interested in cosmetic surgery to travel to the country once before booking surgery and to check the clinics and doctors he has found online.

– My advice is to have a free consultation with doctors who have international certificates. These are the basics, he says.

On Ergün’s wall, there is one certificate after another.

A Turkish who studied in Finland and works as a specialist at HUS Mine Eray says that there are many hospitals of different levels in a big country. He recommends looking for large units that have been operating in big cities for at least 20 years.

– There are university hospitals of the Finnish standard in Turkey, but there are small clinics all over the country. I can’t say how well the authorities monitor them.

According to Eray, it is easy for Turkish people to check the reliability of clinics and hospitals with the help of local contacts. Not for foreigners, especially if they don’t speak Turkish. Eray would also not rely on certificates alone.

– Who proves that the permits are genuine, he asks.

Haskan recognizes the problem. He says that there are also many clinics in Turkey that the country’s Ministry of Health knows nothing about.

– They advertise their activities online and abroad, so they don’t get caught by the authorities.

Many find clinics on social media

The importance of social media is great for clinics operating in Turkey.

Arrived in Istanbul from California Taimoor from my Noori found the dental clinic’s video service on YouTube.

For Nooristan, it was enough that a well-known Afghan orthodontist had recommended the Noorzad dental clinic in Istanbul. He didn’t even consider other options.

– Sure, I googled the clinic and talked to a few of my friends who had been here. After that, I talked with the clinic’s coordinator, he says.

When I was young, I had a whole mouth full of dental implants. The operation would have cost more than half as much in the United States, including flights.

So coming to Turkey paid off, at least financially.

– So far, everything has gone well, but I can give an accurate assessment once I’ve got all my teeth back in my mouth, Nooristan smiles.

Among the most popular operations are precisely implants and the so-called Hollywood smile, i.e. dental laminates, says the owner of the Noorzad clinic, a dentist Wahid Noorzad.

His clinic is licensed by the Turkish medical association Türk Tabipleri Birliği.

Most of Noorzad’s patients are Afghans living in the West who have found the clinic through acquaintances.

– They have had a good experience and they recommend my clinic in the future, says the dentist.

Noorzad is used to patients being suspicious. He is regularly asked about the materials used in operations and even about the laboratories with which the clinic cooperates.

– Unfortunately, there are also bad clinics here. Not everyone should be trusted.

Complications after surgery are a big risk

Sometimes aftercare has been lacking in Turkey. In the case reported by , the Finnish woman did not want to have surgery, because her travel time was too short for recovery. Finally, one clinic agreed, with poor results.

Eray, who works in Finland, would not necessarily recommend going abroad at all because of the risks.

– If there are complications, who is responsible? He asks.

It is also common for people to end up taking more treatments after arriving in the country, without thorough planning.

On the upper floor of the Noorzad clinic, there is a beauty salon, where many of the dental patients end up on the same trip.

If patients want, for example, hair transplants or more complex operations requiring plastic surgery, they are sent to collaborating clinics.

– We do initial consultations and final inspections of surgical operations here. Apart from that, we only do non-surgical procedures such as laser, botox and filler injections, the owner of the clinic Hasina Faiz says.

He says that customers often want to perform several operations at the same time. However, according to him, this will only be done if travel times allow.

Most patients stay in Istanbul from one to two weeks, depending on the recovery time required by the operations.

Faiz emphasizes that they always check that patients are completely fine before they go home.

– We don’t give them permission to fly if they have any kind of complications.

Videographers: Fayzullah Kahraman and Ahmet Kirbiyik

Editing: Kari Nihti

What do you think about beauty tourism in Turkey?