FUE vs FUT- Which one is right for me?

From punch hair transplant in the 1950s to mini and micro grafting to follicular unit transplant in the 1990s and then finally to Follicular Unit Extraction, hair transplant has come a long way [1].  If you have been contemplating the idea of undergoing a hair restoration procedure for quite some time, the terms FUE and FUT wouldn’t be new to you, but if you’re still trying to figure out which is the right one for you, then this piece might help in making the decision.

 

Follicular Unit Transplant

Follicular Unit Transplant or strip method involves a thin strip of tissue being removed from the back and sides of the head, followed by removal of individual removal of follicular units (grafts) from the strip through stereo-microscopic dissection. The grafts are placed in tissue storage solution until they’re transplanted. The edges of the wound are sealed leaving behind a linear scar.

FUT tends to give a higher hair yield (not always but most of the time) and this advantage especially comes in handy, when the patient prioritizes maximum fullness. The advantage stems from the precision of the stereo-microscopic dissection as well as efficient harvesting from a more selected area of the donor region.

Even if you have chosen to FUT as the procedure, you should try to look for a surgeon who is an expert in both the procedures, because sometimes a combination of FUT and FUE may be required. This especially becomes inevitable if;

  • No more strips can be harvested due to scalp tightness
  • There is a wider scar that now needs to be camouflaged

The graft quality is better for FUT since there’s more supporting tissue around the follicles and it definitely becomes an excellent choice for patients who aren’t concerned about a scar being there. Many patients don’t mind the scar because they keep their hair a little longer in the back, thus hiding the scar.  Also, FUT costs less than FUE, due to the time-intensive nature of the latter.

 

Follicular Unit Extraction

Contrary to FUT, where a strip is removed, FUE makes use of small circular incisions while harvesting hair follicles. The donor region, in this case, is larger than that of FUT, while the scars are smaller, round, and widespread. The advancement in technology has further given a boost to the procedure’s popularity with the help of automated systems and hand-held devices that have improved the precision of the procedure.

The main benefit of FUE is the absence of a linear scar, which in turn means a quicker recovery. This is a treat for patients who want short hair without having to think about hiding the scar. FUE comes to the rescue when;

  • There’s a risk of a widened scar
  • The scalp is lax or loose and doesn’t permit strip removal
  • The patient doesn’t want a scar at all.

Both the procedures yield high-quality results but have a separate set of indications. The choice is therefore made after a consultation in which the patient’s situation and condition are assessed by an expert. However, here are a few more basic factors that influence the choice

 

DONOR HAIR

Hair at the outer edges of the donor area has a higher probability of being lost over a period of time (balding process), whereas those in the mid-portion tend to be resistant. FUT utilizes strips from the mid-portion, while FUE has a broader region to work on, in terms of harvesting.

Bottom line- Some of the hair follicles harvested during FUE may eventually fall prey to balding

Not all hair follicles make their way to the phase of harvesting during FUE, only about 20%, compared to an entire strip harvested during FUT. In an attempt to collect sufficient hair grafts, the surgeon then tries to harvest from additional areas, in turn leading to thinning in the donor region

Bottom line- there are chances of thinning of donor region with FUE

FUE is all about making tiny incisions in the donor region, which are left open for healing, unlike FUT. While the incisions have the advantage of being small and not visible, they do distort the adjacent tissues and make the subsequent sessions more challenging.

Bottom line- scarring is confined and consolidated in FUT but widespread in FUE

 

 

SCARRING

The most basic and obvious difference between both the procedures is scarring. FUT leaves behind a linear scar that can very well be hidden by hair, but not if you have really short hair. FUE has no remaining linear scar behind, just tiny dots that aren’t apparent even with short hair.

However, a person with a previous FUT, if he/she decides to have another procedure, the strip removed in the second procedure gets rid of the initial linear scar and at the end of the procedure, there’s only one left. No matter how many times you go through it, there will only be one scar.  However, eventually, the scalp will be too tight and you won’t be able to do any more FUT procedures. This is not true for FUE, that instead keeps adding the dot scars for every additional FUE procedure.

 

 

GRAFT QUALITY

In FUT, hair is dissected microscopically and carefully from the strip, keeping the tissue intact after its removal from the scalp, giving high-yield grafts.

FUE, on the other hand, removes hair follicles one by one and during this, there’s a risk of cutting the follicular units since the direction of the follicle underneath the tissue can only be estimated. This places the units at a greater risk of being damaged during FUE. Therefore, if the cut is not deep enough, the unit may be taken out without the lower portion, resulting in damaged grafts and potentially a lower yield.

 This particular aspect has seen a lot of improvement with experienced teams who understand how to extract properly using the FUE techniques.  It’s crucially important to find an experienced hair transplant surgeon who specializes in both procedures and also who has a team that has decades of experience.

In a nutshell, whether you need to go for FUT or FUE is partly determined by your own choice and priorities and partly by the assessment of a surgeon who has enough clinical knowledge and skills to carry out both efficiently.

 

References

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2956961/

HAIR TRANSPLANT SURGERY OVERVIEW

Hair restoration surgery has established itself as the most sought after solution for hair loss resulting from androgenic alopecia. While the surgery has been practiced for years, as reported by an article in Japan [1], it wasn’t until the advent of the newer techniques that the procedure evolved enough to give natural-looking results.

The number of procedures worldwide has increased by 76% since 2006, with the global hair restoration market being valued at approximately $2.5 billion annually [2]. But, what is this hair restoration surgery that has gained immense popularity over the years? Here, is a brief guide to what it is all about.

 

What Is Hair Transplantation?

It is a minor surgical procedure that involves moving hair in follicular units from the back and sides of the head to the region of hair loss. The procedure involves the removal of punch grafts with or without the tissue (depending on the method chosen) and relocation of these grafts to the region where hair thinning and balding are an issue. Here is a brief overview of the procedure.

 

Planning

The pros and cons of the procedure need to be assessed for every individual, but this is especially important in younger patients. The planning of the hairline is the most crucial step and often its quality is an indication of the quality of work of the surgeon [3]. All the factors that will influence the outcome need to be taken into consideration here.

 

Pre-operative Preparation

7 Days Prior to Surgery:

  • The patient picks up medications
  • Abstain from the following:
    • Alcohol
    • Aspirin
    • Concentrated fish oils
    • Vitamins or anything else that thins your blood

On the day of surgery, the doctor meets with you and confirms the number of grafts, where to place the grafts, designs the hairline, and goes over any other specific instructions or considerations.

 

Donor area Preparation

During this stage, the hairs in the occipital region (back of the head) are trimmed and anesthesia is injected below the donor region and the region itself is tumesced by administrating normal saline.

 

Harvesting

Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) and Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) are two popular techniques to extract hair follicles.  While both the techniques are similar, since both offer the same results, the method of extraction of hair follicles is what differs. FUT involves removal of a strip of skin with all the hair follicles whereas FUE makes use of punch grafts to extract the follicles only.

 

Graft Preparation

Next is the graft preparation stage during which a single large strip (FUT procedure) is divided into smaller slivers, then ultimately into single follicular units that can contain anywhere from 1 to 4 individual hairs, and then immersed in chilled normal saline. In order to improve the survival rate of grafts, proper hydration is ensured throughout the procedure.  For the FUE procedure, the grafts go straight into the chilled saline solution.

Grafts are prepared stereo-microscopically making the procedures time consuming and labor-intensive, but very accurate.

 

Preparation of Recipient Area and Graft Implantation

The recipient site is also made numb by injecting anesthesia at specific sites. The grafts are then placed in slits/holes such that there is minimal damage to the tissue. 2mm of subcutaneous tissue is left with FUT so that it settles well with the tissue in the recipient site. The grafts are placed such that they are neither too far below or too high above the surface of the skin.

 

Postoperative Care

Since it’s an out-patient procedure, the patient is discharged the same day and the head is covered in bandages along with a list of Do’s and Don’ts that need t to be followed religiously. Here is a link to our Hair Transplant Post Op Care Instructions.

 

Am I An Ideal Candidate?

Experiencing hair loss is not enough to make one an ideal candidate for the procedure. There are a number of factors that play an important role in making the right decision. The best way is to be assessed by a surgeon or a board-certified dermatologist who specializes in hair restoration procedures.  Here are a few aspects that are considered before you’re good to go for it;

  • Cause of hair loss- Hair restoration surgery is not effective if your hair loss is due to an underlying disease or genetic reasons. Therefore the root cause of hair loss is also one of the most important factors that determine the success of the procedure.
  • The hair loss has to be sufficient enough for you to consider the surgery for cosmetic reasons
  • Whether the donor region has enough hair to allow the procedure to be carried out successfully
  • If you have initially tried medical therapy and that has failed to yield results
  • Last but not the least, you have realistic expectations with respect to the procedure and realize that hair loss happens over time and it may not be possible to get a completely full look after one procedure. It comes down to math – normal hair density is about 80-85 hairs per square centimeter. Hair transplants can safely place approximately 30 hairs/sqcm. So, if you’re completely bald, then the best a surgeon can do is to place up to 30 hairs/sqcm, which is about 40% density. In order to get more density, then you’d have to come back in for a second procedure.  However, if you have some hairs already in the area and you just want to add more density, then it’s possible to get very close to 100% density (depending on many factors). 

 

What to Expect during Recovery?

Recovery, to a great extent, depends on the complexity and extent of the procedure. Mild discomfort, swelling, excessive tightness, and throbbing are few things that should be expected.

You might be asked to avoid any strenuous activity for a few days since any activity leading to an increase in circulation to the scalp may lead to bleeding from the incision. It is best to avoid exercise and any vigorous activity for a few weeks. Some other instructions will be provided to ensure that the newly transplanted hair is taken care of.

Within 5-6 weeks of surgery, transplanted hairs shed, which is normal. Within another 5-6 weeks, hair growth will resume, so results will take their time.  The transplanted hairs go dormant for 3-4 months.  Then, normal hair growth is at about half an inch per month.  So, most people begin to see small hairs growing at about the 6-month mark, with full growth anticipated to be in the 9-12 month range.

 

Safety & Risks

With all the modern and advanced equipment, the surgery isn’t as uncomfortable as it was several decades ago. Overall the procedure is very safe if performed by an experienced and qualified surgeon. As with most surgical procedures, there are risks. While rare, here are a few of the side effects associated with a hair transplant procedure:

  • Infection
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Scarring
  • Graft rejection

The type of procedure, the decision to undergo the treatment itself and a lot of other decisions become easy to take when you chose the right doctor. A smooth procedure, with realistic expectations right from the start and minimal adverse effects, can be ensured only if your hair transplant surgeon and dermatologist are qualified enough.

 

References

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4507484/#b1-ccid-8-361

[2] https://www.bernsteinmedical.com/hair-transplant/resources/statistics/

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2825128/

Hair Transplantation Expectations – What to Expect Before and After

The single most important factor that determines the success of cosmetic surgery is, how satisfied the patient is with the outcome, and whether this is what was expected. Preoperative counseling regarding recovery and the procedure is equally important. Whether through discussions, or presentations or brochures, the patient should be given enough knowledge to develop a deep understanding of how each phase is important in determining the desired outcome.

A hair transplant procedure is relatively safe and carries a very low risk of complications [1]. Most of the complications that exist are avoidable with proper surgical techniques and wound care. Here are some potential complications of the procedure;

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Pain
  • Edema
  • Adverse reactions to anesthesia
  • Drug-induced complication
  • Patient dissatisfaction (since it’s a cosmetic procedure)

While the procedure itself may be smooth, the recovery could be somewhat surprising, especially if you aren’t well aware of the hair growth cycle and its timelines. Therefore it is important to discuss recovery in as much detail as the procedure itself because patient counseling and proper planning play a vital role in avoiding patient dissatisfaction, and declaring the surgery a success.

 

IMMEDIATELY AFTERWARDS

With all the scabbing around the follicles, your scalp may not be very visually appealing immediately after the procedure. The transplanted follicles will now be in their new spots and you’ll be able to see your new hairline.

As far as scabbing is concerned, incisions are small and heal quickly. It is important to let scabs fall out on their own. If you pick them or scratch them, you might pull the follicles out.  You may be given painkillers, anti-inflammatory drugs, and antibiotics to tackle the pain, inflammation and prevent infection respectively. Your surgeon will have you wear bandages for a few days after surgery as well. You can read more about our Post Op Care Here.

The donor site has undergone trauma and some form of swelling should be expected however this will also subside in a few days. Forehead swelling, if any will also subside in a few days. In the case of the FUT/Strip procedure, there will be numbness that may take up to a couple of months to get resolved. Expect minor tenderness at the graft implantation site. For a smooth and quick recovery make sure you follow your surgeon’s advice like;

  • Keeping your head elevated while sleeping, since sleeping with the head and feet at the same level can cause edema
  • Instructions regarding showering and hair washing
  • Avoiding exercises that increase the circulation in the scalp leading to bleeding.

The more you take care of your scalp during these days, the better the chances of a successful transplant, and the quicker the minor effects like swelling and discomfort resolve. Normal activities and exercises can ideally be resumed within a week unless advised otherwise.

A healthy and balanced diet is of great importance during this period. Even though the follicles have been transplanted, your cells need to be nourished and any nutritional deficiency at this point can’t be afforded. Make sure you get enough Zinc, Magnesium, and vitamin B.  Also, avoid alcohol, junk food and smoking.

While it is important to be cautious and take care of the hair and scalp throughout the recovery, the first few days are crucial and it is best to take as many precautions as possible. Avoid chemicals and use only the products given or advised by the surgeon.

 

TWO TO THREE WEEKS LATER…

This phase of recovery might come as a surprise to you, especially if you are not familiar with the natural hair growth cycle and transplant recovery basics. Why? Because your newly transplanted hair will begin to fall out. To understand why this is completely normal, you need to understand that shedding of old hair is a natural part of the cycle and this is how new hairs are made. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, a majority of the transplanted hair falls out within 6 weeks [2]. The newly transplanted hair essentially goes into a dormant phase.

So when will your new hair be visible? In another few months, that is once this dormant phase is fully over. Hair grows 1cm per month and for you to have a fair idea of the results of the procedure you will have to wait for 5-6 months minimum, and the final and complete look is achieved in 1-1.5 years. This is the point when your recovery is complete and now the transplanted hairs behave just like your natural hair.

Hair growth post-transplant doesn’t happen overnight and despite investing time, money, and effort in getting the procedure done, it’s unrealistic to expect quick results. It is very important to understand how the recovery moves from one phase to another and that the outcome you pictured will take time but will be life-long. Equally important is to acknowledge that post-operative recovery is highly dependent on efficient post-operative care because insufficient post-operative care is one of the major reasons behind an unsuccessful hair transplant.

 

Follow-up Procedures

Follow-up or touch up procedures are not for everyone, but once the swelling subsides and incisions heal, you may require another procedure to achieve a more natural-looking result. This can be achieved using a combination of mini-grafts, slit-grafts, or micro grafts depending on what your doctor decides to do to fill in the hairline.

Discussing recovery, its various phases, its timelines, the need for touch-up procedures, and aftercare is therefore of immense importance during the early consultations. While this gives the patient an understanding of the procedure, post-operative phase, and possibility of complications that can seriously spoil the outcome, it also gives the surgeon an idea of your expectations and an opportunity to manage them quite early in the entire hair restoration episode.

 

References

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6371733/

[2] https://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/hair-transplant/recovery

 

Hims and Keeps- Hair Loss Solutions Explained

Men above 35 and those who haven’t hit a genetics jackpot would know that male-pattern baldness is a frequently encountered problem. Even more frequently encountered are brands that offer hair loss solutions that not only claim to completely halt the loss but also promise hair re-growth. What really makes the entire deal tempting is the convenience of assuaging your concerns without having to leave the house. But, remember that convenience comes with a price.

 

Hims and Keeps and several other online brands are just the tip of the iceberg. By Iceberg I mean the Telemedicine industry, a booming industry these days. Many such startups offer people hair loss solutions in the form of topical agents, pills or gummy vitamins, promising hair re-growth as well as assuaging other hair and scalp issues.

 

However, the burning question here is, whether these options are a solution to all your hair issues or just a gimmick to make a profit? Do these really make a difference, and if not, then what is the real solution?

 

 Let us discuss the flaws in such setups and if they’re really worth trying or not.

 

Doctor-Patient Interaction

Most of the hair loss solutions offered by Hims and Keeps and various other such companies are medicines that are otherwise prescribed by a doctor after a thorough consultation and examination. This is the most invaluable step that an online purchase, if not completely, partly skips.

 

What if, you’re misdiagnosed and hair loss is not male-pattern baldness, instead there’s an underlying reason for it? An online setup will surely not be able to run the relevant tests and investigate that.

 

Drugs like Finasteride and Minoxidil are a general regimen offered by them after a brief online consultation, that too at a substantial discount as compared to a pharmacy. Both the drugs have important side effects that need to be discussed with the patient before they’re prescribed and only a doctor can decide whether or not the medicine will benefit an individual, its route of administration or if an additional drug needs to be given to enhance the efficacy.

 

Yet another important consideration is if the medicine being given is really needed?  Not everyone needs to start with a pill directly, some respond to topical agents and some might need a transplant in the very first stage.

 

Is It Really A New Remedy?

Not really! Most of the medicines that are offered by brands promising complete halt to hair loss, hair re-growth, and other stellar results are in reality simple medicines, vitamins, and supplements that you can buy anywhere, just in a simpler package.

 

Propecia, for example, is a generic drug now that is marketed under different names. This gives such startups an opportunity to add ingredients without any proven efficacy to it and sell it under their own brands.

 

In a nutshell, you are more or less given one of these or a combination of Finasteride (1mg) also known as Propecia, Minoxidil (Rogaine), and Biotin (Vitamin). While these drugs are effective in regions with thinning hair, they have no role in hair re-growth in bald patches, and pretty much like all the other medicines, they have side effects. It is therefore extremely important for your healthcare provider to assess whether the benefits outweigh the adverse effects.

 

Is Surgery A Better Option?

While there are medicines that can be effective in stopping the hair loss, the reality is that once you start losing hair follicles in a region, they become dormant and lose their capability of producing hair.

 

In simple words, the medicines may have noticeable effects in early cases but in case of substantial hair loss, there’s not much that can be done. However, a hair restoration surgery in such cases has been proved to be effective. With the advancement in technology and the introduction of newer techniques, there has been a significant improvement in;

  • Patient satisfaction
  • Results (more natural looking)

 

There are two types of hair transplant methods, Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT) and Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE). The choice of method depends on what you and your physician mutually decide. The former has been there for more than 2 decades and involves the removal of a strip of skin with follicles from the donor site and requires wound care during recovery. FUE, on the other hand, is a fairly newer technique that removes follicles without the removal of a strip of skin, thus addressing the concern of scar at the back of the head. Also, there is a lower post-operative discomfort in FUE.

 

Hair restoration surgery is a powerful tool that can make a great difference in the lives of people affected by androgenic alopecia.  An experienced and trained surgeon will first decide if you’re an ideal candidate for the procedure or not, but once you opt for it, this minor surgery can make some major changes in your appearance and your life. Here are a few reasons why you should choose it over other solutions;

  • A permanent solution for people facing severe hair loss
  • Low maintenance is required once the surgery is done. You don’t require special shampoos or oils to take care of the transplanted hair.
  • One procedure can give excellent results.

 

If you’re considering a surgical option for hair restoration, consulting an experienced, skilled, and trained surgeon will assuage all your concerns. Recent advancements have made hair transplant surgeries a convenient and long-term solution.

 

 

Robotic Hair Transplants (ARTAS Machine) – Things You Should Know

Robotic Hair transplant (ARTAS system) – a breakthrough in hair restoration surgery, is in simple words, Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) carried out by a robot/machine. The system relies on algorithms to identify hair ideal for transplant and with advanced technology predetermines the recipient site. Before we discuss how it is different from the traditional FUE let us first throw some light on how the system works.

 

How It Works

ARTAS is a computer-assisted, physician controlled system that automates the FUE method of hair transplantation. The procedure involves attaching a digital imaging device to the donor site of the patient’s scalp, and then mapping and relaying the image to a bigger screen. The system then makes use of algorithms to identify follicular units based on their individual characteristics. Once the exact location of each unit is pointed out, a graft is prepared for harvesting.

A robotic arm equipped with a needle extracts the graft and once done, it rescans the donor site for the next extraction. The technology has gained immense popularity over the years and the growing interest in it is mainly because of the benefits it offers;

  • Minimally invasive
  • Less discomfort
  • More precise and quicker extractions
  • Quicker return to normal life
  • Reduced risk of human errors like mishandling
  • No fatigue
  • Takes care of the technical challenges physicians are fazed by.

Undoubtedly, the minimally invasive procedure offers a great amount of precision and speed; however, there are certain drawbacks that one should consider before deciding to go for it.

 

Increased Cost

While there may not be much difference in the final outcome of both the procedures (Robotic hair transplant and the traditional FUE), there is certainly quite a lot of difference in the cost. The Robotic transplant is heavier on the pocket, as compared to the manual FUE procedure.

The final cost of the procedure still, is determined by factors such as the amount of hair loss, its progression, and the number of grafts required.

 

Limited Region for Hair Extraction

While ARTAS may be able to take into account hair follicle features like angle, direction, orientation, distribution, and density in order to identify the ideal candidate, it still struggles to pull out hair from limited regions of the head. The ARTAS machine works in small blocks and does not do a very good job with the curved features of the human scalp. Therefore, it’s necessary to reposition the machine several times. Sometimes, surgeons even use ARTAS for a small portion of the procedure and then do the more difficult portions manually.

 

Bigger gauge needle

The needle used during a Robotic hair transplant is around 1-1.2mm gauge needle, bigger than some used in manual FUE. Also, its approach of a two-step punch (the inner punch scores the skin, the outer punch dissects follicular units from the surrounding tissue) increases the size of the punches and limits the quantity of hair from the donor area.

This is one of the major downsides of the robotic procedure since this directly affects the healing rate and occurrence of complications. In simple words, a smaller needle means lesser infliction of trauma to the tissues in the recipient site, lesser visible scarring, and eventually quicker healing.

 A highly skilled surgeon, on the other hand, is able to pinpoint the target site with great precision with a small gauge needle, thus saving the surrounding hair follicles from the damage as well. While this may not be a concern for those who have big patches of hair loss, it is of great value for those who still have a fair quantity of hair in the area surrounding the region that needs to be treated.

 

Not All Candidates are Ideal

The imaging technology of the ARTAS currently works well on people with dark and straight hair only. FDA still hasn’t approved ARTAS for female patients, people with curly hair or light hair.

 The mapping camera is fairly large, requiring the patient to sit in a prone position with their head strapped down. The position becomes pretty uncomfortable if maintained for hours.

 

A Tool Is Only As Good As The Hands That Wield It

No matter how sophisticated the entire procedure becomes, it still cannot replace the knowledge, expertise, and skills of a surgeon. While it is an incontrovertible fact, that with ARTAS even a less experienced healthcare professional or a neophyte surgeon may be able to carry out the procedure, one still needs to remember that when it comes to surgery, we need to look beyond technology being offered, because in the end, robots are merely tools that offer assistance and they’re programmed and controlled by humans.

For natural-looking results, there are constant readjustments that need to be made during the procedure, which can only be assessed by an expert and not a robot.

In a nutshell, It is true that ARTAS is an excellent FUE tool, that offers a great deal of precision, speed and amazing results, however, it is also true that no matter how advanced and independent the system becomes, it still requires an experienced, skilled and trained surgeon to deliver the stellar results it promises.

 

 

Hair Transplant Turkey (or other non-US countries) – What You Should Know Before You Go!

If you’re considering getting a hair transplant in Turkey or another non-US clinic, then you should carefully consider all of the pros and cons. This article highlights some of the things to look out for when dealing with clinics in another country.

PROS AND CONS OF HAIR TRANSPLANT IN TURKEY

The booming health tourism industry of Turkey has made it one of the most sought after places, especially when it comes to cosmetic procedures like hair transplant. There are literally hundreds of hair transplant clinics in and around Istanbul, Turkey. Some are good…many are very bad.  But how do you know what you’re getting into?

Even though the country has established itself as one of the best value-for-money destinations, and is home to some highly skilled surgeons, one can’t simply turn a blind eye to the threats and risks of undergoing a medical procedure there.

Turkey because of its strategic position between Asia and Europe becomes an easily accessible spot as compared to other countries and is often preferred as well. If you have been toying with the idea of undergoing a hair restoration surgery there too, this piece may very well help you in making the final decision and hopefully the right one!

 

Illegal clinics

When it comes to a hair transplant outside the US, one of the biggest concerns is the mushrooming of unregulated and illegal clinics that do not have the license or permission to practice. Medical tourists being unaware of how the black market hair transplant clinics operate in the local area, fall prey to such setups.

It is important to know that by law, only hospitals and registered medical centers equipped with surgery rooms and emergency units are allowed to perform the surgery. However, due to lack of monitoring and auditing by the concerned authorities, there is a surge in the number of illegal clinics and people operating these are on the loose.

While this is indirectly affecting the genuine clinics, the bigger loss is still faced by people going to these illegal clinics for treatment. The issue has become so serious over the years that The International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) has started a campaign against all such fraudulent practices all over the world [1]. The campaign aims at educating people on tips to look for a certified physician for their treatment.

The growing competition, on the other hand, compels them to trap as many medical tourists as possible, which not only means attractive packages and lowered costs but compromised quality.

 

Under qualified Professionals

The doctor you choose for your hair transplant is the single most important decision made while going for the hair restoration surgery. An under-qualified professional or a technician handling your case is a sure shot ticket to a botched-up procedure.

A consumer alert issued by the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) highlighted the increase in the number of technicians performing the surgery and its drastic consequences [2]. Read this article for more things you should consider before traveling for a hair transplant.

The most important aspect often ignored by most people is, that no matter how minor a procedure/surgery is, it is after all a surgery and has the potential to get complicated at any stage. The probability of a complication is even higher if the doctor;

    • Misdiagnoses
    • Overlooks specific types of alopecia
    • Fails to consider the importance of strict monitoring due to co-morbid conditions
    • Advises unnecessary surgery or makes use of wrong techniques
    • Adopts bait and switch technique to lure more tourists

It is not uncommon to have patients turning to surgeons in the US for correcting the damage done, but sometimes the damage is irreversible and there is not much that can be done.

 

False Advertisements

One issue faced while searching for a proper clinic is that there is no other option except for relying on testimonials and reviews on the web, which could be real or paid. Internet is teeming with bogus claims and false advertisements of fraudulent companies and poorly skilled doctors.

You might also come across fraudulent intermediary companies or individuals, who serve as the connecting bridge between you and the illegal clinics. This also doesn’t give you a chance to assess and verify the credentials of the doctor.

In such situations, the ideal is to have a proper consultation in person, where both the parties are well informed.

 

Lack of Post-Operative Care

Successful surgery is not just when the procedure is carried out well; it is also how satisfied you are with the outcome, which in turn is determined by;

    • Realistic expectations (that you and your doctor set together)
    • Appropriate surgical method and technique
    • Excellent post-operative care

The recovery phase has a huge impact on the outcome, and anyone traveling back to their country immediately after the surgery is surely risking it. Infections during this phase can cause permanent scarring, and could even be life-threatening.

Adhering to instructions and guidelines and seeking immediate medical attention at this time, in case of anything unusual, is of immense importance.

Imagine coming back home with a complication and looking for a new doctor without any record of the procedure carried out and beginning right from scratch. The whole point of saving money goes down the drain in addition to the trouble and discomfort that one faces at this point.

 

What to look out for?

Now that pros and cons of hair restoration surgery in Turkey have been discussed, here is a list of questions that a prospective patient can ask regarding the procedure, its risks and benefits. Once you have these and other questions in your mind satisfactorily answered, you’ll know if you have chosen the right place or not;

    • Who will perform the surgery and their experience, training, and licensure in treating hair loss?
    • Malpractice insurance?
    • What happens, when something goes wrong?

Undoubtedly, Turkey has established itself as one of the best value-for-money destinations. It is believed that the industry surpassed over $1 billion in 2018 [3]. But, with poor sanitary measures and easily obtained qualifications the procedure may very well be affordable, however, its consequences are bound to be costly.

 

 

[1] https://ishrs.org/2019/11/01/ishrs-launches-fight-the-fight-public-awareness-campaign/
[2] https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/buyer-beware-medical-tourism-for-hair-transplants-can-have-costly-consequences-300273303.html
[3] https://www.dailysabah.com/health/2019/06/29/turkeys-hair-transplant-industry-surpasses-over-1-billion-in-2018