Dr Rogers hair transplant complaints review #2
Turkish hair clinics
Turkish hair clinics have been featured in hair forums, in the newspapers and even on the BBC news site. Some of these have been complaints, some more positive. What is the truth?
Many hair transplant patients understandably are looking for a good deal – they have a budget for a hair transplant they feel comfortable with (preferably less!) and are shopping around.
Inevitably, they see the very cheap Turkish hair transplant clinics and think they might take a chance. After all, here in Harley Street, in London or indeed, anywhere in the UK, Europe or USA, they are unlikely to get a hair transplant cost as cheap as in Turkey. It’s just not economically feasible – staff costs, rent, transport, consumables etc, let alone marketing and making a profit above that as well, means that it’s not viable to perform a hair transplantation surgery for less than about £3500. Regardless of the number of grafts, otherwise corners will be cut.
Potential patients we have seen, have been quoted £1500 for 4000 grafts including flights and accommodation in Turkey! How can that be?
Obviously, the cost of rent and staff wages are massively less in Turkey. Also, the unseen costs of providing good quality healthcare – CQC (Care Quality Commission), medical courses, infection control etc are probably not the same in Turkey.
We hear tales of the cheapest overnight accommodation which you really don’t want to be staying in after having had a hair transplant surgery.
But it’s not as simple as that, some facts of which are particularly worrying. We will detail that below, but for the sake of balance, Dr Rogers wishes to state that he has seen personally, some good results from at least one Turkish hair transplant clinic. However, the caveat is that particular patient is a fellow doctor, who already knew the clinic/doctor and paid a comparable amount to a hair transplant clinic in the UK. That is comparing “apples with apples” in terms of results. You don’t get something for nothing.
We are now going to discuss the most worrying issue of so called Turkish “hair mills.”
The Truth about Turkish Hair Clinics
The truth about the Turkish hair mills is simple and this is not about any specific clinic but a way of working which is detrimental to patients.
Typically, the hair transplant surgery will take place in a large room, sub-divided by free standing partition screens, into six areas. Each area will have a patient couch and be attended by two technicians. These technicians will extract the grafts, make incisions and re-implant the hair grafts, according to the plan marked out by the doctor, who will in turn be guided by the salesman who has recommended the number of grafts.
The doctor will simply patrol the six areas, injecting the local anaesthetic as required and leaving the rest to the technicians. All this is not necessarily detrimental to the results – a slick, well trained and skilful team producing consistent results isn’t the problem (see FUE technicians complaint review #1) below.
The following are the problems associated with Turkish hair clinics:
The salesman is incentivised to sell as many grafts as possible – more grafts equals more money. However, more grafts is not necessarily in the patient’s best interests. Everybody has a limited number of grafts that can be safely moved, which differs from person to person. All the salesmen sees is that if he can sell a larger number of grafts, he’ll get more money.
The patient might need 4000 grafts but his safe donor extraction limit might only be 2500. Nevertheless, he will be sold 4000. “Great” says the patients, more grafts for less money than Harley St.
But, the technicians will also be told, “extract 4000 grafts.” They will be paid per graft (piece work) and they WILL extract 4000 grafts, even if that involves going into non safe donor areas, extracting too close, too densely etc. There are many pictures available of “moth eaten” FUE cases available.
It’s the patient that loses out, too late, when they realise their donor has been over harvested. It might have been cheaper at the time but the cost of extra surgeries to try and put things right plus the emotional distress is harder to count.
On the side of balance, it can still happen in any country but Turkey is one of a number of countries which encourages a “perfect storm” of problems. It’s cheap and therefore attractive. But the laws don’t work the same as many Western countries, which is a deterrent in itself. And the rules regarding medical liability are also more difficult to enforce. So the owners of these clinics are fairly well protected against legal action by a disappointed foreign patient.