Istanbul becomes hub of aesthetic operations

Istanbul becomes hub of aesthetic operations

ISTANBUL - Anatolia News Agency
Istanbul becomes hub of aesthetic operations

With the investment made in the health sector, especially over the last 10 years, Turkey has become one of the hubs of health tourism, according to officials. AA photo

Tourists are increasingly coming to Istanbul not only for its historical and cultural riches, but also for aesthetic surgery, such as nose surgery, eyelid, face and abdominal lifting, hair transplantation and liposuction.

Transmed Hair and Cosmetic Surgery Clinic Medical Director Melike Külahçı said 350,000 medical tourists came to Turkey every year for health tourism.

She said the rapid development of health tourism was because aesthetic surgery was not covered by social insurance companies in many countries, and that the waiting periods were often very long. “The waiting period can reach to up to two years in Canada and England, except for very urgent surgeries,” she said.

Külahçı said the fact that hospitals in developing countries had received international standard documents and had become safer for patients had also helped. “This is also an important reason for health tourism. Thanks to the internet, patients can get information about health services. Also, their insurance companies promote treatments abroad.”

With the investment made in the health sector, especially over the last 10 years, Turkey has become one of the hubs of health tourism, she added.

“The experience and quality of Turkish doctors in hair transplantation, and the reasonable price of the operation when compared to European countries, are among the reasons that Turkey is often chosen by foreigners,” said Külahçı.

Number of cosmetic surgery patients on the rise

The number of people coming to Turkey for health tourism in the first half of 2011 had increased to 350,000. “Generally, Brits choose Turkey for breast operations, face lifting, eyelid operations, abdominal lifting and liposuction, while Germans choose Turkey for liposuction, nose surgery, teeth-whitening and face lifting. Arabs come to beautify, for weight-loss and for hair and breast augmentation.

“Breast enlargement surgery costs almost 4,500 pounds in England, almost 2,000 pounds in Poland and Hungary and over 2,000 pounds in India. Face lifts cost almost 5,000 pounds in England and over 2,000 pounds in Belgium and the Czech Republic. Approximate prices in Turkey are below these figures.
“Tourists give more importance to the doctor than the location of the hospital or a medical center,” said Külahçı.

Aesthetic surgery specialist Dr. Deniz Küçükkaya said Turkey was almost at the same level as U.S. and European countries in the field of aesthetic and cosmetic surgery, and that references of previous patients were also very important. She said prices were increasing in Turkey, as higher-quality services were being provided.

“Our customers are generally from Germany, Holland, Belgium, France, England and Switzerland. We also have patients from the U.S., Korea, Northern Iraq, the Middle East, Jordan and Azerbaijan. Sometimes couples come together for surgery. For example, men come for hair transplantation while their wife comes for breast or hip operations,” Küçükkaya said.

Transportation organized

She added that they also organized airport and hotel transportation for patients. “Turkey is a country of aesthetic tourism. This has existed for five years and is increasing every day. 80 percent of our patients are from abroad, and many of them are Turks living abroad.”