The Turkish Race to the Bottom: when is a hair transplant ‘too cheap’?

Nezahualpiltzintli.jpg Daniel Cullen Graft king
#hairtransplant #turkey #lira

Thu Mar 17 2022

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There is no doubt that low prices are a core reason as to why Turkey has exploded in popularity. Whilst rising demand has meant that the general price of a transplant has crept up across Istanbul, both, it is still possible to achieve excellent results at roughly a third of the cost the procedure would set you back in Europe or the USA. What’s not to love?

Recently, however, Turkish clinics have been put under unprecedented stress. With the vast majority of hair transplant clients coming from overseas, COVID travel restrictions chopped down the steady flow of men arriving into Istanbul airport for a new hairline. Once global travel restrictions lifted and clinics began welcoming customers with open arms, a new crisis emerged much closer to home.

In 2022, the Turkish Lira crashed by 40%. In fact, in the two weeks after my visit the currency lost a fifth of its value. At the same time as money being worth less, Turkey began to experience rapid inflation meaning the prices of basic necessities rose at the same time that money was worth less, stretching the average Turk from both ends.

If a certain amount of volume is always required for clinics to stay afloat, it seems the last twelve months was the most important to get scalps on the table. Step in the hyper cheap hair transplant. If you had previously signed up to the mailing list of any lower priced clinic, you likely received variations of the message below:

Reading like the script from a sales channel presenter, an impossibly cheap price is only available right now. Whilst it makes complete sense for a clinic already burdened with the costs of rent and staff to take any funds they can, what danger does such a cheap price pose to the customer?

Firstly, rushing your decision. In the trance of feeling an offer is too good to pass up, you quickly book your 1,000 hair transplant and arrange your flights. Perhaps it all goes well. Or perhaps you have this constantly gnawing feeling of whether you can trust this clinic. Would you have genuinely booked with them had you not been presented with this offer? If this is your one shot at restoring your hairline to its previous glory, will you be able to live with yourself if you are left with an underwhelming result, knowing it was all to save £500?

That’s not to say that its impossible to get a good result with a cheap hair transplant. The reality is just that it is much harder. The likelihood of something going wrong is much higher, and the slick PR arms of the low cost clinics means it may only be after your procedure that you realize the corners that were cut.

I think this decision can be summed up in a four word sentence: Nothing in life is free. Even though the clinics have been forced to offer rock-bottom prices due to unprecedented circumstances, they are still running a business. Can any company reduce their sales price by a third without any final impact on quality? However, this is not the Next Boxing Day sale. There are no easy returns in this game. Whenever a clinic is offering an aggressive time-limited deal it seems the safest bet to start from a point of enormous skepticism. It is this attitude that will protect you. Seek cast iron assurances. What is the doctor’s name who will do my surgery? What parts of the procedure will they carry out? Don’t allow yourself to be lulled into regret.

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