Turkey’s Booming Medical Tourism: Affordable and Attractive Options

Benita Paloja, a 28-year-old from the US, has longed for a nose job since she was 13. Hearing positive reviews about Turkish doctors, she opted to undergo cosmetic surgery on her nose in Turkey, following in the footsteps of her friends. Despite paying just $5,000, she received comprehensive care and feels more confident post-surgery, crediting both the quality of care and the cost-effectiveness of the procedure.

Medical tourism in Turkey has surged amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with over 670,000 foreigners seeking treatment in 2021 and surpassing 1.25 million in 2022, generating over $2 billion in revenue. While revenue slightly dipped in 2023 due to external factors like the February earthquake, the country remains a top destination for medical treatments.

Germans topped the list of foreigners seeking medical care in Turkey, with popular procedures including Botox, hyaluronic acid treatments, liposuction, rhinoplasty, and breast augmentation. Additionally, Turkey has become a sought-after destination for leg lengthening procedures, attracting men from Western countries.

Despite success stories like Paloja’s and Ash’s, questions arise regarding the professionalism of Turkish doctors and clinics. Dr. Susanne Punsmann from Germany advises against generalisations, emphasising the need to thoroughly research doctors’ qualifications and clinic certifications. She underscores the importance of verifying qualifications and European standards certifications, such as ISO standards, to ensure patient safety and quality care.

Ali Ihsan Okten of the Turkish Medical Association echoes the sentiment, cautioning against non-certified clinics and the commercialization of health tourism. As clinics compete aggressively with advertising tactics and low prices, patients should prioritise safety and quality over cost savings.

While Turkey offers significant cost savings compared to Western countries, patients must weigh the risks associated with cheaper procedures. While breast augmentation in Germany may cost €4,500, the same procedure can be as low as €2,500 in Turkey. Similarly, stomach reduction surgery in Germany costs around €12,500, whereas in Turkey, it’s significantly lower.

Ultimately, Turkey’s allure lies in its affordability and diverse medical offerings. However, patients must exercise caution and prioritise safety and quality when considering medical treatments abroad.

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