Medical tourism is on the rise with a lot more men travelling abroad for hair transplants at a cheaper price than in the UK.
Crown Clinic is one of the leading hair transplant clinics in the world. Like any medical facility in the UK, we are heavily regulated by the Care Quality Commission and have to pass stringent checks and inspections to continue operating each year.
Our surgeon Asim Shahmalak worked as a general surgeon both in Ireland and the NHS for more than two decades before setting up Crown Clinic 10 years ago. He is one of the leading hair transplant surgeons in the world. Yes, you pay a little more for this level of expertise but it is money very well spent.
Here are some of the risks you are taking by going abroad for a hair transplant.
The clinic you choose may be operating illegally
Many of the clinics operating in Turkey which advertise in the UK do not have a licence - that means they are operating illegally.
There is a risk with any of surgery - though it is very small if you are working with a reputable surgeon like Dr Shahmalak.
However, if you are going to an illegal clinic you have no recourse if the surgery goes wrong. And what level of expertise will your surgeon have? That is, if you actually have a qualified surgeon working on your case. You may just be fobbed with poorly trained technicians.
You can find out more about the large numbers of Turkish clinics operating illegally here.
You won't know until too late if you have got value for money
No successful hair transplant shows off its best results for at least six months.
That is because the transplanted hair falls out in the immediate aftermath of the operation. This is perfectly normal. The key is that the new transplanted follicles have bedded into their new home. In time, new hair will grow back from these roots and you will see the transformation in your hair - but not until several months after the procedure.
By this time, you will have returned home to the UK. If there are problems or if the procedure has not worked as you expected, are you really going to want to go to the time and expense of returning to Turkey or India to see the surgeon again to put it right.
As part of our after-care at Crown Clinic, we have face-to-face catch-ups with our patients long after the procedure to check that they are happy with every aspect of their care. You won't get this attention to detail at most clinics abroad.
Questions you need answering before choosing a clinic for a hair transplant
Choosing to have a hair transplant is a big decision in anyone's life. There are lot of questions you need answering before picking an individual surgeon or clinic.
Some are pretty basic but highly relevant if you considering choosing a clinic abroad.
Is it easy to contact and visit the clinic?
Are there independent checks you can make to ensure that they are using registered doctors? You would not just want to take their word for it.
Is the clinic registered with a profession body? This is an important consideration. At Crown Clinic we are registered with the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery. All its clinics operate to high standards. It is perfectly reasonable to expect a Turkish clinic to be a member.
Does the clinic have testimonials from satisfied patients that you can look at? It is worth looking at these testimonials closely to check these are genuine.
Crown Clinic has dozens and dozens of testimonials from patients thrilled with their treatment over several years. You can read them here.
Read up on the difficult experiences British patients have had at clinics abroad
A decent proportion of the work our surgeon Asim Shahmalak does is 'repair' work on patients who have previously had surgery at clinics abroad. They may have had disastrous experiences and been left with significant scarring such as our patient Adeleh, or they have just been ripped off and needed additional surgery to combat their baldness because their first procedure aborad has not worked.