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Is it worth choosing Turkey over Singapore for a FUE hair transplant?

By Dr Kelvin Chua
Table Of Contents

Search “hair transplant” or “hair loss” on social platforms like Reddit and you’ll find a plethora of posts, from before/after photos, reviews and desperate calls for help. There’s even an entire subreddit dedicated to hair transplants. Interestingly, the whole sub, along with other hair-related subs, are dominated by getting the hair restoration procedure done in Turkey

Turkey is known as the mecca of hair transplants, with over 500,000 procedures performed annually. Many Europeans, Americans and more recently, Singaporeans, travel across the Mediterranean to get this restoration procedure done at a much cheaper rate. 

But is it worth flying all the way out to get the procedure done, and at what cost? 

In this article, we’ll explain why a hair transplant in Turkey might not be as enticing, and why it’s safer and wiser to undergo the procedure in Singapore instead.

Factors to consider when doing a hair transplant in Turkey

Cost is not as cheap as it appears to be

On average, a hair transplant in a reputable clinic in Turkey costs US$1-3 per graft or US$1.5k-4.5k (~S$2-6k) in total.

Hair Loss Stages - How Many Grafts Needed

Assuming you have a Type M receding hairline and are in the 2nd stage of hair loss, which is usually the stage most patients consider a hair transplant.

Say you need about 3000 grafts, and you’re quoted US$1(~S$1.35) per graft

That appears to be about S$4000 for the procedure; however, a hair graft is different from a hair follicle. 

A hair follicle is an individual hair, whereas a graft is scalp tissue containing about 2 hair follicles/strands of hair. In most places including Singapore, 2 strands of hair are counted as one graft.

Hair Graft Vs Follicle Big

In Turkey however, 2 strands of hair may be counted as 2 grafts i.e. 3000 grafts are counted flat as 3000 strands of hair (compared to SG where 3000 grafts = 6000 strands of hair), so you’re paying US$2 (~S$2.70) a graft instead of US$1 as advertised

So you’ll end up needing DOUBLE the grafts you need, doubling your overall cost and spending more than you would in Singapore.

Using 6000 strands as an example; 

Turkey: 6000 grafts X S$2.70 = S$16,200

Singapore: 3000 grafts X S$4 = S$12,000

This is why when considering aesthetic procedures overseas, it’s important to be aware of such hidden costs and enquire as much as you can.

At SL Aesthetic Clinic, we maintain transparent pricing practices, ensuring what you see on our ads and website is accurate. We also communicate pricing and expectations clearly during your consultation as we want to foster a trustworthy relationship with you.

Follow up is crucial to success

Here’s a typical process of a FUE hair transplant as a tourist*: 

Day 1 – Arrival and pickup from airport 

Day 2 – Consultation with your provider. Your transplant will be performed on the same day. 

Day 3 – Free and easy 

Day 4 – Transportation back to the clinic for a round of checks; prescribed medication for the next 10 days; depart for the airport 

*Taken from a reputable clinic in Istanbul, Turkey

While it is not advisable to fly immediately after surgery, in the event a patient must travel by air, precautions must be taken to avoid any trauma, pressure or exposure to bacteria on the scalp. Failing to do so can lead to adverse outcomes. 

It is also important to note that the dry air inside the aircraft and the possible disruption to your sleep cycle may negatively affect hair transplant outcomes.

After a hair transplantation, patients must continue various treatments to slow down or even prevent further hair loss. This is because the pre-existing native hairs will still be subjected to further androgenic hair loss, and hair transplantation itself neither creates more hair nor prevents further hair fall

In other words, after you undergo hair transplantation, the total number of hairs on your entire scalp remains more or less the same; they are merely redistributed from the back of your head to the top of your head!   

Maintaining your full head of hair after transplantation is akin to running a marathon, and it requires a long and steady commitment. 

Among the many treatment options include: 

The common thing among all these treatments is that they require regular follow-up visits with your aesthetic doctor over a period of time.

Possible complications

You may be quoted a higher number of grafts than you need, which not only artificially inflates the price of your transplant but puts you at an increased risk of overharvesting

Overharvesting happens when the surgeon extracts too many hair follicles from your donor area, resulting in scarring and patchy hair growth. This is usually permanent.

Male Hair Loss Problem

Apart from the unsightly appearance from overharvesting, in the event you wish to do a second transplant to make up for the unsatisfactory results from the first, it is not possible. Once you extract a donor graft, it will not regrow.

Besides actually performing the procedure, there are many factors the surgeon must consider, such as how much to extract, where to set the hairline, and direction of hair growth

Deciding the location and shape of the hairline requires certain artistic insight that is specific to the patient’s ethnicity and cultural background. It is important to communicate this to the surgeon especially if the surgeon is from a different country or culture that is not familiar with the norms in your home country.

Hair Loss Problem

You also cannot be certain if a qualified professional is the one performing your procedure. In Turkey, many clinics employ assistants and technicians—rather than qualified doctors—to handle procedures. 

In fact, it is not uncommon to find black market pirate clinics where transplants are carried out by cab drivers or refugees.

Hair Transplant Pirate Clinics

In Singapore, it is mandated by law that all hair transplantations must be performed in an operating theatre/clinic by a certified professional

You can rest assured that all FUE hair transplants performed in legitimate clinics in Singapore are safe; at SL Aesthetic Clinic, we have an in-house technician and team of doctors and nurses who will work closely with you to ensure success. 

SL Aesthetic FUE Hair Transplant

No recourse in the event of issues

Singapore’s medical guidelines are notoriously strict, and many of us take it for granted and assume the same regulations apply in other countries. Unfortunately, it’s not always the case.

In Singapore, all patients are protected under tort law:

All medical practitioners are also subject by the Medical Registration Act to uphold professional standards. 

Conversely, when you get an aesthetic procedure done overseas, dealing with legal matters in a foreign country is a lot more difficult. Our legal systems are not the same, and you have to deal with potential language barriers.

You can correct hair loss safely

Hair Transplant Singapore

We understand that hair transplants can be a significant financial commitment.

However, when it comes to such an investment in yourself, prioritising safety and peace of mind is crucial. Opting for a hair transplant in Singapore not only ensures quality results but also your safety. Even if it means spending a bit more, the advantages definitely outweigh the risks. 

And again, remember that grafts extracted or damaged during the procedure will NOT grow back. You only get one chance.

At SL Aesthetic Clinic, we strongly advise against cut-rate hair transplant procedures

While we care about results, safety is also our top priority. 

Every FUE hair transplant procedure with us comes with a full doctor’s consultation, laboratory tests, and a holistic treatment plan customised to your needs. We will also tailor pre and post-procedure treatments to increase the success rate of your hair transplantation. 

We maintain transparent pricing practices and, while unable to publicly display before/after photos due to regulations, we will gladly share them when you get in touch with us.

We have successfully performed over 1,000 hair transplants, helping men and women in Singapore and across Asia suffering from hair loss regain their confidence. 

If you have any questions regarding hair transplants, or simply need direction on hair loss treatments in general, our team is here to help. Contact us to find out more. 

*This article is not meant to criticise or disparage hair transplants in Turkey, but rather to educate patients on the potential risks associated. 

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