Hair Transplant in Turkey during the Pandemic

Dr Balwi and the Elithair team take all precautions during the Corona period

The COVID-19 pandemic is still affecting lives around the world. However, this doesn’t mean you need to put up with your hair loss until it’s over. A hair transplant is still possible even with the corona health restrictions.

In fact, it’s an ideal time to get hair surgery while you are able to work from home.

As the situation regarding travel and safety measures remain in place, we arranged for a neutral observer to travel to Istanbul to document their experience, in an honest and non-biased manner.

Travel to Turkey – Corona situation update

Infographic showing the number of patient vs the corona cases at Elithair in Turkey

It’s still possible to travel to Turkey, thus hair treatments can take place as planned. We ensure that our procedures are in compliance with the most stringent health and safety measures.

Entry into Turkey:

  • Negative PCR test, which must not be older than 72 hours
  • Completed “passenger locator form” for entry (duration approx. 5 minutes)

The return journey to the UK:

  • Negative PCR test (carried out on-site at the clinic)
  • 10 days quarantine in a managed quarantine hotel
  • A day 2 + day 8 Covid test needs to be pre-booked before travelling to the UK

If you are vaccinated or have recovered, you still need to abide by these travel requirements.

Updated: 10.09.2021

Selina travelled to Turkey during the Pandemic Selina shares her experience at Elithair

selina introduces herself

At the beginning of July, I received an invitation to fly to the Elithair transplant clinic, in Istanbul, as a neutral observer.

The reason for this was that there are many people with hair loss who don’t know whether a hair transplant is possible in Turkey during Corona times. There’s also uncertainty about whether accurate safety and hygiene measures are being taken.

Since I myself have acquaintances and friends who are thinking about having a hair transplant, I, therefore, was excited for the unique opportunity to see the process for myself. Now I share my experiences with other hair loss sufferers, so they know it’s still possible, and (most importantly) safe.

An infographic explaining the travel process to turkey during the corona pandemic

Planning to travel during COVID-19

An infographic explaining the travel process to turkey during the corona pandemic

Before I booked my trip, I carried out extensive research about travel arrangements. After all, the processes at the airports are very different during the covid pandemic.

My first port of call was the “gov.uk” website, as I was able to find important information about travel regulations to Istanbul.

Turkey follows a strict tourism and hygiene concept to ensure that the trip is safe during your stay. In addition, a mandatory PCR test is carried out before departure, which is arranged by Elithair.

Quote: “The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has led to unprecedented international border closures and travel restrictions being imposed without notice. Before making travel plans you should read the information on the COVID-19: Health Considerations for Travel page”.

Quote: “Turkey will accept the UK’s proof of a COVID-19 recovery and vaccination record. Your NHS appointment card from vaccination centres is not designed to be used as proof of vaccination and should not be used to demonstrate your vaccine status.”

The Departure from the UK What measures are in place at the airport?

The arrival at in turkey for a hair transplant during corona at Elithair

After I was confident that I had planned everything effectively, I made my way to the airport for my departure. On the days leading up to my trip, I checked the government websites to see whether any rules had changed last minute.

For my hair transplant trip to Turkey during Corona, I chose Turkish Airlines. The airline has a very good reputation and was, therefore, my first choice. The flight was smooth and I was also well looked after by the flight attendants.

The Boarding Process

check in at the airport with turkish airlines

When entering the airport, the mask requirement comes into effect. Generally speaking, the airport was moderately busy, so the boarding area was not too crowded.

There are many direct flights to Istanbul from the UK, including London, Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Dublin.

Because the airport wasn’t overcrowded, I was able to check-in relatively quickly without any stress. Also, the staff were friendly and helpful.

Mandatory Masks and Social Distancing

A girl waiting at the airport for her flight during corona

The mask requirement doesn’t only apply to the airport in the UK, but must also be worn during the entire flight and upon arrival at the airport in Istanbul. Disinfection dispensers can also be found at regular intervals.

For me, it was very reassuring to see that everyone really did comply with the mask requirement. Especially during the flight, this creates a special feeling of safety. Of course, the mask may be removed for eating and drinking on the plane.

Those who decide to have a hair transplant in Turkey during the corona pandemic do not have to worry. There are signs everywhere to remind everyone about the rules – in front of the terminals, in the waiting areas and on the plane itself.

During the Flight

the aeroplane corridor

As soon as you are seated on the plane, you are handed a “corona locator” form. You fill it out on the spot, as the flight attendants will collect it again later. Among other things, you are asked which countries you have been to in the last 14 days. This is because if you test positive for the virus, it is easier to track how the infection cycle went.

There were about 60 people on the plane with me, which was very relaxing. The flight, which was quite short anyway and lasted only 2 hours, was therefore quite smooth and quiet. To be honest, I had expected more restrictions, but I was able to make myself really comfortable during the flight.

Arrival at Istanbul Airport

passengers leaving the aeroplane with turkish airlines

When I arrived at the airport in Istanbul, I immediately noticed the cleaning team. The staff were already ready when the passengers were still disembarking. They were all wearing face masks and even full protective suits. This was another point that reassured me a lot.

In addition, it should be mentioned that Istanbul Airport was the first airport in the world to receive the new health accreditation of the ACI (International Airports Council). Especially in times of the COVID-19 pandemic, this is reassuring information that also inspires confidence.

Inside the airport, a station with hidden thermal cameras has been installed to take the temperature of every passenger. For hair transplant patients in Turkey during the pandemic, this is a welcome (and at the same time, sensible) security measure. The subsequent passport control followed the pattern and ran smoothly without any glitches.

Even when collecting luggage, everyone kept to the specified minimum social distance of 2 metres. Currently, hand luggage is not allowed on the plane, but this was no problem for me, as I only had one large suitcase anyway.

The Elithair VIP Shuttle Service

selina is greeted at the airport

As I had already informed myself about the compulsory wearing of masks in Turkey, I knew that you always have to wear a mask on the open street as well as in closed buildings. So I simply kept my mask on when I left the airport building and was met by my personal chauffeur from Elithair.

Even when greeting me, a safe distance was maintained. I was driven to the clinic without any other patients and without contact.

What I particularly liked about the service is that the driver was very professional and courteous. You could clearly feel the professionalism of the staff. You simply feel like you’re in good hands. Thus, it’s clear to see that the Elithair employees have been properly trained in terms of behaviour during corona time.

Arrival at the Clinic Security measures at a high level

a picture of the thermal imaging camera measing peoples temperatures during corona

Patients for a hair transplant in Turkey during Corona are taken directly to the Istinye University Hastanesi clinic by the chauffeur. There they can get a first overview of the state-of-the-art building and also take a look at the hygiene and safety measures.

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, the Turkish government has adopted a variety of regulations and measures to contain the virus. Elithair also strictly adheres to those precautions, as I experienced first-hand.

Mandatory Masks in the Clinic

a patient wearing a mask

Once inside the building, each patient is required to wear a face mask. When I pulled my mask down for a brief moment, a reminder immediately sounded over the public address system that I had to wear my mask completely over my mouth and nose.

An integrated warning system with camera technology automatically detects when patients do not follow the rule. The system works perfectly and thus provides a lot of confidence and safety in the entire clinic in times of Corona.

Temperature measurement

a picture of the thermal imaging camera measing peoples temperatures during corona

Another feature that distinguishes the hygiene concept of Elithair, is the automatic body temperature measurement system. State-of-the-art measuring devices have been installed in the clinic, which determines the temperature of each patient.

Should this not be within the normal range, the doctors are informed immediately. For patients of a hair transplant in Turkey during the Corona situation, this is an important procedure to immediately prevent possible COVID-19 infections.

Disinfection dispensers

dispensing hand sanitiser gel into the palm of their hand

Of course, there are also disinfection dispensers everywhere. Due to the large number of devices, it is impossible to forget to disinfect your hands.

It is essential to make sure that the liquid is rubbed in thoroughly for at least 30 seconds. Not only the palms but also between the fingers and the back of the hand should be disinfected accordingly. Better safe than sorry.

The Elithair Team leads by example

A woman is greeted at the reception desk during corona

Of course, it was also very important for me to see that the medical team follows the health rules and also wear face masks. As a neutral observer, I can confirm, that during my entire stay in Istanbul, every staff member wore a mask and also kept the necessary safety distance.

When you travel to Turkey for a hair transplant during the Covid pandemic, you want to feel safe and secure. The team at the clinic made me feel like I was in the best hands at all times.

Keeping a Safe Distance from other Patients

She waits with her mask on in the waiting area

In addition to wearing a face mask, it is of course also very important that the minimum distance to other patients is maintained. During my visit, I could see that several signs are posted at regular intervals and that necessary markings are also present in the waiting area.

Even if this restricts the freedom of movement a little, these safety measures taken are effective and serve to protect hair transplant patients in Turkey during corona.

The Treatment Rooms

The hair transplant treatment room

Here I could directly see that a lot of importance is attached to hygiene and cleanliness. The rooms had been freshly cleaned and all instruments sterilised. Thus, the next patient could have their treatment in compliance with the Corona measures.

Especially in times of COVID-19, such safety precautions are an absolute must. Elithair takes the current situation very seriously and has developed a perfect hygiene concept in this regard.

UV Lamp against Viruses and Bacteria

selina next to the uv disinfection lamp

A very important utensil in every treatment room is the UV lamp. The heat produced by the lamp successfully kills bacteria and viruses. This ensures that the rooms are clean and hygienic for every patient.

The device is used especially in hospital hygiene, as germs avoid sunlight and the UV radiation penetrates the genetic material of viruses and thus destroys them.

Effective Disinfection of the Rooms with state-of-the-art Equipment

a cleaner disinfecting the hand rail

12 hours before the hair transplant procedure in Turkey, all treatment rooms are disinfected by trained cleaning staff. Care is taken to ensure that everything is to the highest hygiene standard and that the patient feels comfortable.

You notice immediately that cleanliness and hygiene have top priority here. I was really thrilled that so much is done to make patients feel safe during the corona crisis.

In addition to manual cleaning, state-of-the-art disinfection machines are used before an upcoming hair transplant in Turkey during Corona. Such machines ensure that every corner of the room is absolutely clean and germ-free.

No expense or effort is spared in order to limit the pandemic and perform the upcoming hair transplant without fear of Corona.

The Hygiene Situation in the Hotels

a picture of the hotel room

After I saw for myself that the hygiene regulations in the clinic are of the highest standard, I wanted to know what the hotels were doing where the patient is accommodated during their stay in Istanbul.

The hotels are also aware that the safety of their guests is paramount. They also have an optimal hygiene concept, which I was able to see for myself.

Both the Ramada by Wyndham and the Nidya Hotel have official certificates regarding the safety of their guests.

The Hotel check-in

a contactless thermometer for covid

Upon arrival at the hotel, all luggage is first disinfected. The temperature of all the guests, including patients for a hair transplant in Turkey is taken to check for corona symptoms.

Depending on the hotel, either a contactless clinical thermometer or a camera is used to take the temperature.

However, the check-in process is quite normal. You give your contact details and are also asked for your whereabouts in the last 14 days. Purely precautionary measures, that are now in place to help reduce the spread of the virus.

The Hotel Room

a face mask on the pillow at the hotel

During my stay in Istanbul, I stayed at the Nidya Hotel. My room had been completely disinfected before I could enter. From the clean smell, it was clear to me that the place had been thoroughly cleaned. Every guest is also given a hygiene set consisting of a face mask and disinfectant.

The rooms are ventilated very often, which is very important to keep the virus at bay. My experience at the hotel was entirely positive and very satisfying.

Hair Transplantation in Turkey during the Pandemic

dr balwi with a member of the elithair team and a patient

As I did not want to perform a hair transplant myself but wanted to get an overview of the hygiene measures on-site, I asked Dr Abdulaziz Balwi, the doctor in charge, whether it would be possible to have a conversation with him.

I was particularly interested in what had changed during the pandemic and what the current hair transplant procedure in Turkey was like during Corona.

The Interview with Selina and Dr Balwi

Selina

Good afternoon, Dr Balwi. I hope you are well. The current pandemic worries many people and many ask whether it is safe to travel to Turkey for hair treatment.

Dr Balwi

Good day. Yes, I am fine. I hope you enjoy 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, which gives our patients the necessary security and also shows that we take the situation quite seriously.

Selina

Yes, absolutely. I must confess that I am completely thrilled with the existing measures that Elithair implements here to make hair transplantation in Turkey during Corona so safe. Especially the automatic temperature measurement and the deep cleaning of the treatment rooms are unique.

Dr Balwi

(smiling) I’m glad to hear that.

Selina

Can you briefly explain to me what the current hair transplant procedure looks like. Are there any changes compared to before the pandemic?

Dr Balwi

Well, a COVID-19 test now takes place before every examination. This is then valid for 48 hours. Every patient receives such a document from us, which confirms that the test was carried out here. It is recommended to do another test on departure as well. The results are available within a few hours.

Afterwards, the preliminary consultation takes place in which we assess the patient’s individual hair situation. We draw the optimal hairline for the patient and mark the places where we will transplant the hair roots. Based on this, we then decide which treatment technique will lead to an optimal end result.

Our medical teams are individually specialised in all hair transplantation techniques. Above all, the modern and innovative DHI method is used at Elithair. With this method we achieve maximum hair density and the highest growth rate.

Selina

Very interesting. So all these steps take place before the actual treatment. And has the actual process of hair transplantation in Turkey changed during Corona?

Dr Balwi

Of course, we pay more attention to hygiene measures and sterilise all our instruments with great precision. In addition, we increasingly use disposable materials to keep cleanliness standards high.

Regarding hair transplant in Turkey in Corona, it can be said that, as usual, an anaesthetic is administered before the procedure. By using the modern Comfort-In method, patients feel almost no pain. An experienced specialist in the field of anaesthesia performs this step with us.

Selina

Sorry to interrupt you. So let me get this straight! For each step of the treatment, there is a team of experts who carry it out?

Dr Balwi

That is correct. The work steps are divided. The reason for this is obvious. To achieve the optimal result in hair transplant in Turkey during Corona, it takes an experienced team of specialists, each with expertise in their respective field.

Selina

Okay, I see. And what happens after the anaesthetic?

Dr Balwi

Once the anaesthetic has set in and I have discussed the final coordination steps with the team, the actual treatment can begin.

As already mentioned, DHI hair transplantation is increasingly used. Here, the hair roots are first removed from the donor area with the FUE hair transplant. Then the collected grafts are prepared for the so-called Choi pen. With the help of this instrument, it is possible to implant the grafts directly into the recipient area – without a separate channel opening.

Selina

What exactly does this mean for the patient?

Dr Balwi

Thus, we are able to achieve a higher growth rate and denser hair growth. At the same time, there is virtually no scarring and the aftercare phase is shorter than with other methods.

Selina

Speaking of follow-up care: Does Elithair also carry out a follow-up examination?

Dr Balwi

Of course. After the procedure, the patient has to take it easy for a while. The day after the procedure, the patient comes back to our clinic for a follow-up consultation with me and my team. Here we discuss with the patient exactly what he or she has to pay attention to during the entire aftercare phase.

We also hand out care products and medication to the patients. In addition, the hair is grown for the first time. Thus, the patient knows exactly what to do so that the hair transplant in Turkey will be a complete success during Corona.

During the next 12 months, the patient will also have a personal counsellor who will take care of any questions or suggestions regarding the progress of the hair growth.

Selina

Thank you very much. That was really a very informative talk. It was very interesting for me to receive this information first-hand. Thank you again, Dr Balwi, for taking the time.

Dr Balwi

Thank you for your visit and for seeing our safety and hygiene measures for yourself on site. Enjoy your stay in Istanbul and I wish you a safe return flight.

The Return Journey

selina waiting at the airport in istanbul

After the informative talk with Dr Balwi, my time in Istanbul was unfortunately over. Their chauffeur then took me from the hotel back to the airport.

The return journey was also adapted to the pandemic and instead of a handshake as a greeting, the driver bowed to me before I got into the VIP shuttle.

I had spent 3 wonderful days in Istanbul and was a little sad that the time went by so quickly. I was able to see the safety measures in Turkey for myself, especially at the Elithair clinic. I was thrilled with the whole process.

Selina’s Overview of travelling to Turkey

dr balwi with two members of his hair transplant team

The COVID-19 pandemic is counteracted in Turkey with the most effective methods so that patients can have a hair transplant in Turkey during Corona with complete peace of mind.

I had not imagined my trip to be nearly as relaxed as it turned out to be in the end. All the staff were highly professional and took excellent care of me. I had no stress at all and thanks to the perfect 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 of the procedure due to Corona for some of you affected by hair loss.