The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many questions to arise regarding the safety of hair transplant procedures in Turkey during Coronavirus.
Since the restriction of travel and security measures have changed, we arranged for a neutral observer to travel to Istanbul to record the current situation on-site. We would like to talk you through the measures that have been taken by Elithairtransplant to continue to fulfil your desire for hair restoration.
Travel between the UK and Turkey is currently suspended due to the new strain of the Coronavirus. However, you can still book your appointment in advance to beat the rush when the travel restrictions are lifted. You can read more about the restrictions on the government website.
Our customer service team are available to advise you on the treatment process and to arrange your appointment for 2021.
When travel resumes, the following guidelines must be observed:
Entry is only possible with a negative Corona test
PCR test must not be older than 48 hours
Test must be performed on you (the patient)
A negative PCR test must also be available on the return journey (carried out free of charge in the clinic).
At the beginning of July, I received the request to fly to Istanbul as a neutral observer for Elithairtransplant. There are so many people with hair loss who currently do not know whether the hair transplant procedure in Turkey is feasible during the coronavirus pandemic and whether proper safety and hygiene measures are being taken.
I have quite a lot of friends in my inner circle, who are thinking about getting a hair transplant, so I felt that I was offered the unique opportunity to get a first-hand impression of the situation and share my experiences with people affected by hair loss.
SELINA, 32 Selbstständig im Bereich Medizintourismus
Before my trip could start, I decided to do some thorough research regarding the travel arrangements. After all, the processes during a global pandemic are different from the usual procedures. Of course, this applies if you want to get your hair transplant during the coronavirus pandemic in a different country.
My first point of contact was the Foreign Office, to find out important information about travel arrangements to Istanbul.
The entry ban for UK citizens was already lifted on June 11, 2020. Furthermore, Turkey follows a strict tourism and hygiene concept, so that a trip is perfectly safe. Additionally, the Turkish government carries out an obligatory PCR test on departure to ensure even more safety.
„(…) under the conditions of the strict adherence to the comprehensive tourism and hygiene concept ordered by the Turkish government.
This includes an obligatory PCR test for all travellers in Turkey within 48 hours before the departure back to Germany (...). This is controlled by the Turkish authorities.“
The Robert Koch Institute has meanwhile confirmed that the PCR tests are also recognized here in Germany. Accordingly, you are on the safe side with a negative test result.
The test needs to be carried out no more than 48 hours before entry. Molecular biological tests (PCR tests) are currently accepted by all states of the European Union and by the states listed below. (...) If no test has been carried out before entry, it is possible to get tested after entry to Germany.
And just to be absolutely sure, I have also checked with the ADAC (German Automobile Club) regarding a trip to Turkey during Corona. Again, I was assured that there is no travel ban to Istanbul and that a mandatory corona test will be performed upon departure.
The sources I have visited are reliable and have provided me with important information that has made it possible for me to plan my trip.
After everything was planned and all precautions were taken care of, I made my way to the airport, always keeping an eye on the display of Turkish coronavirus cases. This helped me a lot to estimate if the current situation had improved or worsened.
For my trip to Turkey during the coronavirus pandemic, I decided to fly with Turkish Airlines. The airline has a very good reputation and was my first choice.
It is mandatory to cover your mouth and nose with a mask when entering the airport building. In general, the airport was only moderately busy, so the boarding area wasn’t too crowded. Turkish Airlines currently departs twice a day from Stuttgart to Istanbul. From Berlin-Tegel it is even more frequent.
There’s no additional paperwork or questionnaires regarding the virus to fill out, so I was able to check-in relatively quickly and relaxed. The staff were friendly and helpful as well.
It’s mandatory to always wear a face mask, not only in the airport building in Stuttgart, but also during the entire flight and on arrival at the airport in Istanbul. On top of that, hand sanitizers are provided every step of the way.
It was very reassuring to see that every single person on my flight followed through with the safety instructions and wore a mask. Especially during the flight, it creates a special feeling of security. Of course, the mask may be removed for eating and drinking in the aircraft.
If you decide to fly to Turkey during the coronavirus pandemic, you don’t need to worry much about social distancing, the safety measures are indicated and reinforced everywhere you go, at the terminals, in the waiting areas and in the aeroplane itself.
As soon as you are on the plane, you will be handed a form. You will need to fill it out on the spot, as the flight attendants will collect it again later. Among other things, you will be asked what countries you have visited during the last 14 days. This way, it is easier to determine how the infection might have spread, if you are tested positive at any point.
One of the first things I immediately noticed upon arrival in Istanbul was the cleaning team. The staff was already standing there, ready to clean the aircraft, as passengers were still getting off. Every staff member was wearing a face mask and even full protective bodysuits. Again, I felt relieved how all those safety and hygiene measures were being taken seriously.
I should also mention that Istanbul Airport is the first airport in the world to receive the new health accreditation from the ACI (International Airports Council). Especially in times of the Covid-19 pandemic this is reassuring information that creates a lot of trust.
Inside the airport, they even installed a station with hidden thermal cameras to measure the temperature of every passenger. Which I think is a great and very reasonable additional safety measure. The following passport control was carried out as always and went without any complications.
And finally, even when collecting luggage, everyone kept the instructed social distance of 2 metres. Currently, no hand luggage is allowed on the plane, but that wasn’t any trouble for me, since I only had one big suitcase anyway.
In total, only about 60 other people sat with me on the plane, which was very relaxing for me. It was only a short flight of about 2 hours, and it went by amazingly fast and quiet. To be honest, I had expected more restrictions, but I felt quite comfortable and relaxed during the flight.
Since I had already informed myself about the obligatory mask policy in Turkey, I knew that I had to always wear my mask on open roads and in closed buildings. Thus, I simply kept my mask on when I stepped outside the airport building. My personal driver from Elithairtransplant was already waiting for me.
The safety distance was also maintained during the greeting. I was immediately driven to the clinic without any other patients in the car or any form of contact with other people.
What I particularly liked about the service is that the driver was very professional and polite. I simply felt well taken care of and I noticed that the Elithairtransplant employees have been professionally trained with regard to their behaviour during the period of the coronavirus pandemic.
All patients for the hair transplants procedures in Turkey are driven directly to the Istinye Üniversitesi Hastanesi clinic. At the clinic, they can get a first overview of the super modern clinic building, and are introduced to all the specific hygiene and safety measures.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the Turkish government has adopted a variety of regulations and measures to contain the virus. Elithairtransplant also strictly adheres to those measures, as I have experienced first-hand.
Once inside the building, each patient is obliged to wear a face mask. When I pulled my mask down for a short moment, I was immediately reminded over the loudspeaker system in the clinic that I had to completely cover my mouth and nose at all times.
An integrated warning system with camera technology automatically detects when patients do not follow the rules. The system works flawlessly and thus ensures a great deal of trust and safety throughout the clinic in times during Corona.
A further safety measure that Elithairtransplant has taken, is an automatic body temperature measurement. State-of-the-art measuring devices have been installed in the clinic to determine the temperature of each patient.
If the temperature is not within the normal range, the doctors are informed immediately. For hair transplant patients in Turkey during the coronavirus outbreak, this is an important procedure to prevent possible COVID-19 infections.
Of course, there are dispensers with hand sanitiser everywhere. Due to the high number of dispensers, it is almost impossible to forget to disinfect and clean your hands.
It is important to make sure that the liquid is thoroughly rubbed in for at least 30 seconds. Not only into the palms of the hands but also between the fingers and the back of the hands as well. Better safe than sorry.
For me, it was of course also very important to see that the medical team follows the health rules by wearing face masks. As a neutral observer, I can confirm that during my entire stay in Istanbul, every member of the team wore a mask and kept the necessary safety distance.
If you travel to Turkey during the coronavirus pandemic for the hair transplant procedure, you would like to feel safe and secure. The team at the clinic always gave me the feeling of being in the best hands.
In addition to wearing a face mask, it’s important to always keep the minimum distance to other patients. During my visit, I noticed that several signs and safety instructions were put up in the waiting area and hallways to remind everyone to follow them accordingly.
Even if the freedom of movement is a little restricted, these measures are effective and serve the protection of the hair transplant patients in Turkey during the coronavirus pandemic.
I could see that hygiene and cleanliness were taken very seriously. The rooms had been freshly cleaned and all instruments were sterilised to ensure that every patient could have his treatment carried out safely under the coronavirus measures.
Especially in times of COVID-19, such safety precautions are absolutely necessary. Elithairtransplant takes the current situation very seriously and has developed a perfect hygiene concept in this regard.
A particularly important utensil in every treatment room is the so-called UV lamp. The resulting heat successfully kills bacteria and viruses. This ensures that the rooms are clean, hygienic and in perfect condition for each patient.
The utensil is often used in hospital hygiene, as germs avoid sun rays and the UV radiation penetrates the genetic material of viruses and thus kills them.
12 hours before the hair transplant procedure, all treatment rooms are disinfected by trained cleaning staff during the coronavirus outbreak. This is done with great attention to detail to ensure everything is perfectly clean, hygienic, and safe for the patient.
I noticed immediately that cleanliness and hygiene are a top priority. I was incredibly pleased to see how much is being done to make sure all patients feel safe during the coronavirus crisis.
In addition to manual cleaning, ultra-modern disinfection equipment is being used during the coronavirus pandemic before an upcoming hair transplantation in Turkey. Such machines ensure that every corner of the room is spotless, clean and germ-free.
No costs and efforts are spared during the pandemic to carry out all upcoming hair transplantation in a safe environment.
After I was convinced that the hygiene regulations in the clinic are of the highest standard, I wanted to know about the hotels where the patients will be accommodated during their stay in Istanbul.
The hotel companies are aware that the safety of its guests is the top priority. They’ve also worked out a great hygiene concept.
Both the Ramada by Wyndham and the Nidya Hotel have official certificates regarding the safety of the guests in the hotel.
On arrival at the hotel, all my luggage was immediately disinfected and the temperature of the patients for a hair transplant in Turkey during the coronavirus pandemic is measured upon arrival on site.
Depending on the hotel, either a contactless clinical thermometer or a camera is used to take the temperature.
However, the check-in procedure is completely normal. You pass on your contact details, and additionally, you will be asked about your whereabouts of the last 14 days. Quite simple precautionary measures, that are already part of the standard procedure in times of Corona.
During my stay in Istanbul I was accommodated in the Nidya Hotel. My room had been completely disinfected before I could enter it. I could tell by the smell of disinfectant that it has been thoroughly cleaned. Each guest also gets a hygiene kit consisting of a face mask and hand sanitizer.
The rooms are well ventilated, which is important in times of Corona. My experience in the hotel was incredibly positive and satisfying.
Thanks to my profession in medical tourism, I have been able to travel to several countries and of course, I have been able to try the breakfast buffets of every hotel. Unfortunately, it’s not allowed to offer a buffet during the times of the pandemic.
Unfortunately, you’re not allowed to serve your own buffet, instead, the food is served to the guests on a plate. This is unfortunate, but it is necessary because close contact between hotel guests needs to be avoided.
But the breakfast service in the hotel worked out wonderfully, I did not have to wait long for my delicious meal and could start the day strengthened and satisfied. Of course, you are obligated to wear your face mask in the dining room, except when you are eating.
It is still possible to visit various tourist attractions in Istanbul. Especially if you are here as a patient for hair transplantation surgery in Turkey during the coronavirus pandemic, you might want to go out for dinner at night or just enjoy the beautiful city and its famous tourist attractions.
Unfortunately, I did not stay very long and thus did not have enough time to explore the city, but I asked around and found out that certain tours still take place - of course always in compliance with the safety measures. One should always remember that wearing a face mask is always mandatory in Turkey. Even if you just want to grab a snack from a restaurant.
Since I didn't want to do a hair transplant myself, but rather to get an overview of the hygiene measures on site, I asked the head physician Dr. Abdulaziz Balwi whether it would be possible to have a conversation with him. I was especially interested in what has changed during the pandemic and how the hair transplant process in Turkey during the coronavirus pandemic is currently being performed.
Good afternoon, Dr. Balwi. I hope you are well. Many people are worried about the current pandemic and many are asking whether it is even safe to travel to Turkey for hair treatment?
Good afternoon. Yes, I am fine. I hope you’re enjoying your stay here in Istanbul. We are pleased that you are here to get a personal impression of the hygiene measures on site. As you have already seen for yourself, we have developed a perfect hygiene concept that gives our patients the necessary protection and shows that we take the situation quite seriously.
Yes, I am. I must confess that I am super excited to see the existing measures that Elithairtransplant has implemented to make hair transplants in Turkey during so safe during the pandemic. The automatic temperature measurement and the intense cleaning of the treatment rooms are especially amazing.
(laughing) I am happy to hear that.
Can you briefly explain to me what the current procedure for hair transplants is like? Are there any changes compared to the time before the pandemic?
Well, we now do a test for COVID-19 before every procedure. This is then valid for 48 hours. Every patient receives a document from us confirming that the test was performed here. It is recommended that you also take another test on departure. The results are available within a few hours.
Afterwards, the preliminary consultation takes place, in which we examine the individual hair situation of the patient. We draw the optimal hairline for the patient and mark the places where we will transplant the hair roots. Then we decide which treatment technique will lead to an ideal final result.
Our medical teams are specialised in all hair transplantation techniques. The modern and innovative DHI method is especially used in Elithairtransplant. With this method, we can achieve maximum hair density and the highest growth rate.
That is interesting. So, all these steps take place before the actual treatment. And has the actual process of hair transplantation in Turkey changed during Corona?
Of course, we pay more attention to hygiene measures and sterilize all our instruments with even greater precision. In addition, we are increasing our use of disposable materials to maintain high standards of cleanliness.
Regarding the actual hair transplantation procedure in Turkey during the coronavirus pandemic, we apply the anaesthetic as usual before the procedure. By using the modern Comfort-In method, the patients feel almost no pain. We have an experienced specialist in the field of anaesthesia with us to carry out this step.
Sorry to interrupt you. Did I understand correctly? For each step of the treatment, there is a team of experts to perform the task?
That is correct. The work steps are shared. The reason for this is obvious. To achieve the best possible result in hair transplantation in Turkey during the coronavirus pandemic, it requires an experienced team of specialists, each of whom has the expertise in their respective fields.
Okay, I see. And what happens after the anaesthesia?
Once the anaesthetic sets in, and we have discussed the final coordination steps with the team, the actual treatment can begin.
As already mentioned, the DHI hair transplantation method is increasingly being used. In this method, the hair roots from the donor area are first removed using the FUE hair transplant method. Then the collected grafts are prepared for the so-called Choi-Stift. With this instrument, it is possible to implant the grafts directly into the recipient area - without the need for a separate channel opening.
What exactly does this mean for the patient?
We are now able to achieve a higher growth rate and denser hair growth. At the same time, there is virtually no scarring and the recovery period is shorter than with other methods.
Talking about recovery: Does Elithairtransplant also include a follow-up examination?
Of course. After the procedure, the patient must first take it easy. The day after the procedure, we have a short follow-up meeting in our clinic with me and my team. We discuss with the patient exactly what they need to pay attention to during the entire recovery phase.
We also hand out care products and medication to the patients. In addition, the hairs are grown for the first time. Thus, the patient knows exactly what to do so that the hair transplantation in Turkey during the coronavirus pandemic is a complete success.
During the next 12 months, the patient will also have a personal consultation, in which we discuss any questions or suggestions regarding the progress of the hair growth.
Thank you very much. This was a highly informative conversation. It was interesting for me to get this information firsthand. Thank you again Dr. Balwi for taking the time to talk to me.
Thank you for your visit and for getting a first-hand impression of our safety and hygiene measures. Enjoy your stay in Istanbul and I wish you a safe return flight.
After the informative conversation with Dr. Balwi, my time in Istanbul was sadly over. My personal driver, provided by Elithairtransplant, just took me from the hotel back to the airport. The return trip was adapted to the pandemic and instead of a handshake as a greeting, the driver bowed to me and asked me to board the VIP shuttle.
I had spent 3 wonderful days in Istanbul and was a little sad that time went by so quickly. I was able to see for myself the safety measures of Turkey and especially the clinic of Elithairtransplant, this made me feel positive about the procedure.
The COVID-19 pandemic is being managed in Turkey on a daily basis in the most effective ways possible so that patients can have a hair transplant in Turkey during the pandemic with complete peace of mind.
I had not imagined my trip to Turkey to be nearly as relaxed as it was. All the staff were highly professional and took great care of me. I had no stress at all and thanks to the impressive hygiene concept, I never had any concerns about Corona.
I hope that with this experience report, as a neutral observer, I can take away the fear some people have about the procedure during the pandemic.
In addition, I have also made an informative video on this topic, which can be found here.