Find out if the clinic or hospital you’re considering is affiliated with medical facilities in your home area, which can help if you need unexpected follow-up treatment postoperatively.
Your health insurance will probably not reimburse you for elective cosmetic surgery and it might not cover any complications that may arise once you’re home. Find out before you go.
Above all, do the research before you make a decision.
Medical Tourism Undergoes Hair-Raising Experiences
Turkish moustaches have become all the rage for medical tourists, particularly, men from the Middle East, Europe and Asia.
Turkey’s economy is getting a facelift, a hair-raising experience of sorts that is not only sprouting the growth of whiskers above the upper lip, but profits in the country’s booming medical tourism sector as well. Long favored as a destination for the follicly challenged, Turkey’s cosmetic surgeons have for years offered hair implants to those balding on top. Now, moustache transplants for the face are growing in popularity, cosmetic surgeons and tourism agencies say, as men from the Middle East, Europe and Asia are coming to Istanbul seeking a virile addition for their upper lips.
The procedure uses a technique called follicle-hair extraction, in which doctors remove clusters of hair from the more hirsute areas of the body and implant them along the lip or cheeks to magnify a mustache or beef-up a beard.
Performed under local anesthetic, the surgery takes around five hours and can cost up to $5,000, cosmetic surgeons say. Medical tourism agencies have begun offering “transplant packages” combining facial-hair operations with a shopping vacation in Istanbul or beachside retreat on the Mediterranean coast.
Most customers are foreigners, according to surgeons, as Turkey’s emergence as a place for facial-hair transplants comes as the number of Turks wearing mustaches has declined sharply.
Selahattin Tulunay is one of the surgeons profiting from this bewhiskered boom. From his surgery clinic in an upscale neighborhood known as Istanbul’s Beverly Hills, Dr. Tulunay started facial follicle transplants two years ago and now says he completes up to 60 such operations a month.
“The mustache is making a comeback,” he told the Wall Street Journal as he leafed through a photo album showcasing his most-prized creations. “If a man’s mustache doesn’t grow, he wants to know he can have one as a mark of masculinity. Our customers know that if they pay, we can deliver the results.”
A 34-year-old businessman from Erbil, in northern Iraq, said he traveled to Dr. Tulunay’s clinic after years of low self-esteem over the patchy hair growth on his upper lip.
“The mustache is very important in our culture and my wife supported me to get the operation,” he said. “Now, I feel much better. I’ve recommended it to my friends.”