Hair Transplant In Turkey
Dr. Ali Emre Karadeniz, MD, PhD
Ali Emre Karadeniz, MD (Dr. K) is the only American Board of Hair Restoration Surgery Certified Turkish plastic surgeon. He has performed over 2000 hair operations. He is an active member of the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS). More info about Dr. Ali Emre Karadeniz and AEK Hair Clinic.
Hello, this is Dr. K, hair transplant surgeon from Turkey. I’m going to talk about hair transplant in Turkey in general; how things work in Turkey and what are the differences of the system here compared to let’s say the western countries like Europe or United States.
Turkey has become the center of hair transplants in the last couple of years; there are a few reasons for that. Turkey has become the center of hair transplants in the last few years, there are approximately 1.000 hair transplant procedures performed every day in Turkey. And the annual revenue made from only hair transplants has exceeded a billion dollars. What are the reasons for this?
The first reason: it’s cheap. So, why is it cheap? The reason why is that labor in some countries is much cheaper than others. That’s one of the reasons. The other reason and perhaps more important is that: it is allowed in Turkey to use much cheaper labor than it is in other countries. For instance, some part of the surgery can be performed by technicians/nurses, this decreases the overall cost of hair transplants. Some of this is legal and some of this is not entirely legal. Cheapness is a huge attraction for international patients who come in every day for hair transplants.
There are approximately 1.000 hair transplant clinics in Turkey. Most of those clinics are called “technician clinics”. These are clinics where there’s no doctor involved in the procedure and 99% of the procedures are done by technicians. Of course this is not entirely legal but the system here allows a doctor supervising the procedure and technicians doing most of or even all of the surgery.
This allows for offering multiple surgeries per day by each clinic which also decreases the costs even more. There are clinics that do 30-40 surgeries per day. Some clinics will do 2 or 3 operations in just one operating room per day. Given that each surgery normally takes 7 to 8 hours they speeding up the process so that they finish under 5 hours and they can do 2 or 3 of those surgeries per day. There are clinics that have night shifts, they work 24 hours so they can do more surgeries.
Basically this is how it works. Since there’s a huge demand for having a hair transplant in Turkey, internet marketing becomes very effective. These companies advertise with a significant budget on the internet and then they get thousands of inquiries. Because they sell so cheap they sell a lot of hair transplants and because they don’t need a doctor in the surgery there are companies that will do 30-40-50 surgeries per day. What they do is that they rent a hospital flat, they divide it into small rooms and then two technicians perform hair transplant procedures and sometimes the same team performs 2 or 3 surgeries in the same operating room, so they do it so quickly that they finish 2 or 3 surgeries in one room. As I said, there are companies that do 30, 40 or 50 surgeries per day. This cycle goes on and on like this because more revenue generates more marketing budgets and more marketing budgets generate more inquiries and more inquiries turn in to more patients and so on.
There’s a handful of doctors that actually have boutique clinics like mine. These have to swim against the current because the doctor does most of the procedure they can do less patients a day, for instance in our clinic typically we do one or two patients a day. Because we do more of the work and we do less patients a day, our price becomes more expensive, doctor’s price becomes more expensive. Because it’s more expensive less patients choose the doctors. Because less patients choose the doctors there’s even less patients. Because there’s less patients choosing these doctors there’s a much smaller marketing budget that can be used for advertising. A smaller marketing budget means less customer leads, less customer leads leads to less patients and then that vicious cycle goes on and on against the “doctor clinics” that actually want to do it properly. It favors the clinics that just use technicians to do the whole surgery. And this system is going on and on for many years now.
So question comes to our mind: what are the results of these hair transplants done in these “technician clinics” with no doctor involved. Of course most of them are not good results. However, these patients generally don’t make a significant official complaint; because these hair transplants are so cheap, patients tend to see it as a "shot for nothing" which I believe it's not but they just give it a try and then once it doesn’t work they just accept the fact and they just leave it as it is. Which also helps the system go on as it is.
The clinics that do multiple surgeries per day - thousands of patients per month – they need to only sell one hair transplant to one patient once. They don’t need the patient come again so they don’t need direct referrals. Once they do the hair transplant it doesn’t matter if the patient is happy or not, they’ve made the money and they move onto the next patient. The “doctor clinics” work on reputation so the doctor has to be very careful, has to take care about their quality and the results. If the results are not excellent, the doctor will pay the price for that as negative results and perhaps even negative reviews and less referrals. Whereas the “technician clinic” doesn’t need any referrals, it just depends on its own internet marketing and this system goes on and on and it doesn’t seem to be anything that’s going to stop this from happening.
Thank you for watching this video and see you in the next one, goodbye for now.