The lucrative market makes up a significant part of the medical tourism industry
With the rise of medical tourism as a full-fledged industry and its cementation as a vital component of many of the world’s economies, we are also witness to the increased treatment-based marketing strategies employed by both the private sector as well as governmental medical marketing.
The loss of hair in the midlife stage has long been one of man’s troubles, and for some, a source of depression and lack of confidence. Since hair loss largely targets individuals indiscriminately around the world, it makes a massive pool of potential customers for the hair transplantation sector. Today we will examine the importance of hair transplantation in the medical tourism industry, take a look at the forerunner countries of the field, and evaluate the risks and dangers that the practice might pose to some patients.
What Exactly is Hair Transplantation?
Although at first glance the term itself seems self-explanatory, a hair transplant can entail many variables that would make up for new definitions and methods. However it can generally be defined as a plastic surgery procedure that is used to treat hair loss. Hair follicles are moved from one area with adequate hair growth (known as a donor site) to an area that has lost hair.
Hair transplants are generally associated with the baldness of the head, but the operation is also used to treat hairless chests and chins, while it is also may be used to restore eyelashes and eyebrows.
Hair transplants don’t work for everyone. They’re mainly used to restore hair if you’re balding or thinning naturally or have lost hair due to an injury.
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) and Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) are the two principal techniques used in the hair transplant operation. The FUE method consists of harvesting single hair follicles from the donor area and the subsequent implantation of the hair in the bald area, while in the FUT method; the follicles are placed in large groups. While both methods are viable, FUE is generally considered the more advanced and the upgraded version of FUT. Depending on the method employed by your surgeon, the hair transplant surgery usually lasts between 4 and 12 hours.
Not everyone is a suitable candidate for this surgical operation. The central and principal requirement for the surgery is for the person to have a donor area on their body with sufficient amount of hair present. People who are usually troubled by keloids scars after an incision may have some complications that may negatively affect the surgery results.
Forerunner Practitioners and Position within Medical Tourism
We have covered the top three main contenders of the field (Turkey, South Korea, Thailand) in the article above, however honorable mentions go to Iran, the USA and Pakistan all of whom also possess extensive knowledge and experience in the field. Out of these countries, some Iranian clinics in particular have reached new heights in the field where they offer “Insured Hair Transplantations”.
This Insurance for the hair transplantation is done based on quantity, which means that the number of the transplanted hair is determined before the operation. When the assigned amount is transplanted, photographs will be taken of the results with professional cameras and sent to the insurance council. There, a written guarantee is issued by the council, documenting the operation. If after a year, the amount of hair that has grown is fewer than 80 percent of the transplanted amount, then the insurance will provide full payment for the operations, repaying the patient.
Related Articles: World’s leading Hair Transplantation Countries
Apart from this, Iranian cosmetic surgeons are working on the new methods known as Super FUE and Super FUE+ which is based on the normal FUE method; however it has become a non-invasive treatment and excludes the surgical part of the operation.
Turkey is the undisputable capital of hair transplantation in the world, to the degree that 21 percent of its entire medical tourism market is composed of patients looking for hair transplants. There are more than 30 JCI-accredited medical centers that provide hair transplantation services on the highest level as part of their catalogue. Together they performed over 70 thousand cases of hair transplantation for medical tourists in 2019, a testament to the quality and experience of Turkey in the field.
Risks, What to Avoid, and Phony Practitioners
As with all cosmetic procedures, hair transplants also carry risks of failure. While most clinics that employ hair transplant as part of their marketing strategies tend to promise no side effects and abnormal success rates, rarely if ever does it happen for more than 80 percent of the planted hair to grow to a sufficient length. This number usually ranges from 10 to 80 percent.
Individuals with dormant hair follicles (sacs that usually contain hair beneath the skin but no longer grow hair) may have less effective transplants, but a 2016 study suggests that plasma therapy can help up to 75 percent or more of the transplanted hairs fully grow back. Hair transplants don’t work for everyone. They’re mainly used to restore hair if you’re balding or thinning naturally or have lost hair due to an injury.
Like many other cosmetic procedures hair transplantation is also subject to a large number of phony clinics and practitioners abusing the industry, with some undesirable and even some outright botched operations taking place. In order to avoid these predatory clinics, always pay attention to the accreditation of your clinic of choice, and enquire about the validity of it from the related authorities of the host country before making the trip.
With some of the most important countries in the medical tourism already employing hair transplantation as part of their marketing strategy, and other rising stars of the scene also employing it as part of their catalogue, as also due to the massive potential customer base of the field, it has the potential to become one of the most sought after treatments in medical tourism world-wide.
Article by: Parsa Khaknezhad