Up to 16.5% of patients experience complications from hair transplants abroad
Holidaymakers jetting off abroad this summer will be packing their travel essentials – but an appointment card for the plastic surgeon is unlikely to be slipped into most suitcases. Yet for an increasing number of British, a nip and tuck or a Hair Transplant is becoming as important on holiday as a tan or a souvenir key ring.
Due to the increase in Patients having cosmetic surgery abroad, Leeds University compiled an in-depth report on the cosmetic surgery tourism. It found that up to 16.5% of Patients who had surgery abroad suffered complications.
The number of Britons undergoing procedures abroad has risen by 109% in the past two years, according to research by private healthcare search engine WhatClinic.com. From dentures in Thailand to Hair Transplants in Turkey, more and more people are seeking surgery abroad as they are tempted by low-cost flights and the promise of cosmetic surgery at a fraction of the price offered in the UK.
The results, however, aren’t always a bargain. This is a lesson which my friend Khalid had learned the hard way. The 35-year-old wanted a Hair Transplant– for a snip of the price advertised in the UK. He jumped at the chance of having surgery and a holiday at the same time which sounded too good to be true…and it was.
Instead of a lengthy consultation and one-to-one care at the private clinic, He found himself on a conveyor belt of other patients, rushed through the operating theatre to make way for the next paying customer. That might have been fine if the surgeon had lived up to his advertised reputation, but after the quick 5 minute meet, he was never seen again which is not what he was hoping for.
“During the procedure I started to feel the surgery but they had given me a strong sedation so it was difficult to tell them that I was in a lot of discomfort and even worse because they spoke very little English. I knew exactly what was supposed to be done and it was only half-corrected,” he explains. “I emailed the doctor and finally after numerous call and emails he suggested I come back for more. It’s not like getting your nails done, though, its surgery. I started questioning it – is this a deliberate strategy so I come back?”
Khalid 2 years post-transplant in Turkey
The Patient went for a free assessment with the UK Hair Transplant Clinic to have a further Hair Transplant, “I just want hair and after spending £2000 and being in a tremendous amount of pain, I look worse than when I started” said Khalid. Paul the surgical assistant that saw him said “I see a lot of Patients who have the same story, he was told that he had 4000 grafts, which was most defiantly not the case visually and because it took less than 6 hours , there was no way physically could that many grafts be extracted and implanted.
Khalid explained that all the treatment was done by some girls, from administering the anesthetic, extracting the follicles, making the incisions to implanting the follicles. In the UK this would be illegal and with the exception of implanting the grafts, is performed by the surgeon.
Khalid 2 years post-transplant in Turkey
Whilst depending on whether you are a gambler or not the chance to save £4000 by risking £2000 could be a risk worth taking, however there is not only financial risk, “I was shocked when the surgical assistant said that I needed a further 4000 grafts as very little had taken , but what was more devastation was when he said that this would not be possible as the donner area from the back of the head had been ruined from the scaring of the previous FUE, I was devastated, Not only had I lost £2000 I had also lost the opportunity of getting my hair back”
Khalid’s story is not an isolated case. A survey by the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (Baaps) revealed the number of patients reporting complications after treatment abroad is on the increase. Three out of five Baaps members reported a rise of at least 25%-35% during the past five years.
Lack of regulation in many countries means standards fluctuate around the world. In the UK, a surgeon’s performance is strictly monitored, with routine training and independent yearly appraisals. A surgeon must be registered to perform cosmetic surgery specifically, be a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons and, in order to be considered “highly qualified”, should have carried out in excess of 2,000 surgical procedures.
You also have the peace of mind knowing in the UK you can take legal action if you feel the surgeon as done something wrong.