Legal Hair Transplant Clinics, a handcuff on a white background.

Legal Hair Transplant Clinics

Differences between legal and illegal hair transplant clinics in Istanbul

Turkey is currently the world’s leading destination for hair transplant tourism. In fact, over one hundred thousand people visit the country every year for hair transplants. This booming industry is worth nearly $250 million a year. As a proportion of the world’s global industry, it is equivalent to $1 billion.

In Istanbul alone, there are currently over 250 clinics and private practices. These places compete for clients who seek to cover the balding areas of their head or create a more masculine image with thick beards or moustaches.

One of the best clinics is SHIFT Hair Transplant, one of the most dependable hair transplant clinics in Turkey. Here, the quality is high while the price is low in comparison with many other countries: often less than $2,500. This modest figure is quite a steal in comparison with prices in the UK or the USA, where the cost of such procedures can reach up to $25,000. In fact, hair transplants in Turkey are even better valued than in Greece, the main competitor in this sector.

A POS machine on a white background.
Clearly, illegal hair transplant clinics only accept cash.

Illegal Clinics Destroy the Reputation of the Business

A rapid surge in popularity can create problems in the industry. A lot of illegal clinics, most of which do not have licenses for hair transplant procedures, are seeking to attract new patients with the potential for profit in mind. This situation has caused a rivalry to emerge between legal and illegal hair transplant clinics in Istanbul. An increasing number of such clinics make money from international patients, many of whom are from Arab countries. The majority of these patients are unaware that illicit and very often dangerous surgeons perform the procedures.

Agencies as Intermediaries

The differences between legal and illegal hair transplant clinics in Istanbul are not always easy to spot. Usually, tourist agencies in Istanbul will work with a list of customers and documents from a middleman. The agency introduces a patient to a clinic and receives an amount from the commission of every visitor. When patients book a hair transplant treatment, they receive an all-inclusive package which includes a welcome at the airport and transfers with luxury cars. These transfers will take patients to the hotel or apartment that has been reserved for them and, after the treatment, back to the airport again.

How do Illegal Hair Transplant Clinics Operate?

The majority of the patients at illegal clinics travel from Gulf countries. These patients are often tempted by the low price and geographic proximity. In the battle between legal and illegal hair transplant clinics in Istanbul, there is an effort to lure patients in using new trends such as moustache transplants. These trends aim to attract men who are inspired by popular actors from Turkish soap operas. Many of the patients bring a photo of their favourite soap opera star or singer and ask to be made to look like just like him.

Fake clinics promise patient 100% satisfaction with the appearance of their dreams, but most of the treatments end in frustration. Legal Turkish surgeons have been working to build an excellent reputation throughout the years. However, they now find themselves up against the proliferation of illegal clinics. Such clinics are causing significant damage to the overall image of Turkey in the hair transplant industry. They are furthermore harming tourism to the country.

A Considerable Decline in the Proportion of Legal Clinics

In the golden era of the hair transplant industry in Turkey, there had been more legal than illegal clinics. However, patients should be aware that in Istanbul at least six out of ten clinics are currently operating illegally.

Unlicensed Clinics Put Lives in Danger

Legal and professional clinics such as SHIFT Hair Transplant perform safe, high-quality hair transplant procedures in Turkey. They also warn that unlicensed rivals put patients’ lives at risk. However, illegal clinics continue to try to steal patients from their legal, licensed counterparts.

The main difference between legal and illegal hair transplant clinics in Istanbul is that in legal clinics only a qualified surgeon, doctor, dermatologist or experienced trichologist will perform the operation. The clinic must also provide clear records about the hair transplant procedure, emergency unit and operating room in the facility as well as all of their relevant documents. These documents will prove their registration with the national care system and compliance with existing Turkish legislation.

Another significant difference between legal and illegal hair transplant clinics in Istanbul is that surgeons in the illegal clinics normally leave the work to nurses, inexperienced students and even untrained staff members. This leads to the potential for disappointing results and postoperative infection, as well as a potential risk to the life of the patient.

Hair transplant procedures are not as simple as the black-market clinics claim. If patients suffer from heart conditions, they can be at risk of serious injury and potentially even death.

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