Debunking the myths about cosmetic surgery in Turkey
In the past decade, Turkey has become one of the top destinations for medical travel competing with Thailand, Malaysia, Mexico and South Korea. Each year, approximately 500,000 people from around the world travel to Turkey for medical treatment or aesthetic procedures.
With the number of patients from all over the world including Australia continuing to soar, questions have also been raised about the quality of treatments, the diligence of regulation and the satisfaction of patients. In the British media there has been some serious misinformation. In the British media there has been some serious misinformation. Because with huge success comes with a huge responsibility we are going to breakdown some of this misinformation
One of the misconceptions that have been voiced in the tabloid media is that it is legal to perform operations in Turkey at facilities that are not intended for medical use.
“Turkish surgeons can operate in a garage if they wanted to.”
In an article published in one of the most read tabloids in the U.K., it was claimed that “Turkish surgeons can operate in a garage if they wanted to.” It is easy to discover with a simple Google search that this is as ridiculous as it is untrue. Even so, we still wanted to hear from an experienced professional in the clinical research field, the Director of Mira Projects, Sayeste Bibin.
Mr Bibin says: “In Turkey, operating room conditions and surgical practices comply with the patient health safety and universal protocol determined by the World Health Organization (WHO). The General Directorate of Health Services has the power to authorize and license health institutions and organizations, and to cancel these permits and licenses temporarily or indefinitely when necessary.
Private hospitals can only operate with the permission and/license they receive from the administration according to Article 355 of the Presidential Decree. In addition to that, private hospital requirements were also taken under control with the Private Hospitals Regulation legislation, there is a specific article about the operating rooms in this regulation. Hospitals are frequently inspected by the Ministry of Health Inspection Board.”
Turkey has robust regulations when it comes to licensing premises for medical use. But it also has robust regulations regarding malpractice insurance. One of the claims made in the British media was that Turkish surgeons do not need insurance to practice their profession. This is entirely false. By law, all doctors must have insurance in Turkey. This is called “compulsory financial liability insurance” for cases of medical malpractice and it provides pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages while also covering the litigation expenses of doctors, dentists and specialist chambers working in private or public health institutions and organizations.
Get real, reliable Information!
It is not always easy to pick through real information about medical treatment in the media because quite often competitors give biased views or the tabloid media feeds into prejudices. Any medical treatment decision must be made by a well-informed patient, so each individual must do their homework very thoroughly, keeping the focus on respectable sources. This more than often is not the media.
A medical tourism agency is your best bet! We have done the research and have a number of Plastic Surgeons and hospitals and can provide patients with a wealth of information. My advice is to double-check the information that is provided, ie the surgeons information on Google, social media and to ask the questions! Not all agents are as reliable and trustworthy as we are and by asking these questions you will quickly find this out!
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It’s the word-of-mouth successes that draw people into Turkey to get the cosmetic treatment they need. If you know anyone that has had cosmetic surgery abroad ask for their recommendations of who they went through!
There is also a considerable amount of recent statistics available about medical care in Turkey, with its medical faculties joining the club of the 500 best universities in the world, Turkey has no shortage of well-educated medical staff.
There are highly qualified surgeons and full-fledged hospitals are some of the reasons why medical travelers prefer Turkey in Istanbul or Antalya. In Turkey there are nearly 50 medical facilities that are accredited by the Joint Commission International, of which over 90% are hospitals. It ranks third among Junior Chamber International (JCI) accredited hospitals worldwide.
In the past two decades, the number of accredited hospitals specializing in cardiology, transplants, plastic surgery and advanced oncotherapy has grown exponentially. JCI is a nonprofit health accreditation organization based in the United States and known as the Gold Stamp globally in medical care. It is the top criteria for medical travelers.
Turkey invests heavily in its health system.
Statistics estimate that the total health care expenditures in Turkey will reach TL 233 billion ($14.23 billion) by 2020. Health care spending increased exponentially from 2000 to 2020, especially in the last five years, where it more than doubled since 2015. Turkish hospitals, particularly private hospitals, have seen one of the most substantial growth rates among Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries in the past decade. All the hospitals are regulated and controlled by the Ministry of Health regardless of whether they are public or private.
Another essential criteria in assessing quality health care is patient satisfaction. Research firm Ipsos reported in a 2021 survey that “32% of Turkish individuals rated the quality of their health care as very good or good. Among the high-income countries like Germany, France and the U.K. this figure is 39%, 47% and 52%, respectively. According to the findings of a previous survey done by Ipsos, the percentage of Turkish citizens who trust the health care system in their country to provide them with the best treatment is 43%. This percentage is also 43% in the United States and 45% in Germany.”
Remember- The onus to make an informed decision lies with the patient.
The onus to make an informed decision lies with you- the patient. As an agent it is our responsibility to provide you with information and recommendations based upon your inquiry, within your budget. We have spent years working within the medical tourism industry globally to find the best surgeons and hospitals for our clients. However at the end of the day, the best surgeon, clinic and hospital for your specific needs requires that you do your research before making a decision, just as it does in your home country. There are problems with regulations in the U.K. when it comes to cosmetic procedures, as their is in Australia. So it’s important to be aware of this and do your research. I am more than happy to provide information and answer questions!
In Australia there is a big push for an overhaul of the cosmetic surgery industry with the Medical Board of Australia (AMA) launched an independent review of the regulation of health practitioners in the cosmetic surgery industry in response to the uncovering of dangerous and unregulated practices that the health regulator said raises ‘significant patient safety concerns’.
Since then there have been a number of practitioners banned from performing cosmetic surgery and losing their medical licence after poor quality practices in the cosmetic surgery industry. There was a very high profile joint investigation between Four Corners, The Age and Sydney Morning Herald It revealed revealing disturbing surgical practices at some of Australia’s popular cosmetic surgery clinics.
A class action against a former celebrity cosmetic surgeon and four associates has been filed by patients who say they have suffered injury and losses from cosmetic surgery. This is just one of many cosmetic surgeons in Australia with poor practices and providing sub-standard and results for patients.
In the U.K. there are no regulations around Botox and filler treatments, which means the actual treatment can be performed by anyone with or without training. The U.K. Government like the Australian has plans to tighten the regulations but nothing has been done yet. In Turkey, there are stricter regulations regarding non-surgical cosmetic treatments. Only aesthetic surgeons, dermatologists and specialist doctors can administer Botox and derma fillers.
For more invasive surgical procedures in the U.K., patients need to be extra vigilant because regulations are dysfunctional. A very worrying report by the National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death found that nearly three-quarters of clinics in the sector in the U.K. operate effectively unregulated, adding that eight out of 10 providers who offer complex surgeries like breast reductions “do not perform these anywhere near enough to maintain an appropriate skillset and that a third do not even allow patients a ‘cooling off’ period when they book procedures.” The report added that less than half of operating theaters were properly equipped to perform surgery and one in 10 of the clinics actually ceased to exist between being identified and being approached.
For more invasive surgical procedures in the U.K. patients need to be extra vigilant because regulations are dysfunctional. A very worrying report by the National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death found that nearly three-quarters of clinics in the sector in the U.K. operate effectively unregulated, adding that eight out of 10 providers who offer complex surgeries like breast reductions “do not perform these anywhere near enough to maintain an appropriate skillset and that a third do not even allow patients a ‘cooling off’ period when they book procedures.” The report added that less than half of operating theaters were properly equipped to perform surgery and one in 10 of the clinics actually ceased to exist between being identified and being approached.
Neither at home nor abroad, patients cannot be complacent about making decisions about their health. Here is a list of things to check before you go ahead with any procedure, anywhere:
✅The medical education and degree of the surgeon
✅Professional credentials including licensing
✅Specialization degree, license and certifications
✅Fellowships or post-graduate training courses they received
✅Special training courses they underwent related to the procedures they offer
✅Previous and current hospital or clinical employment history
Everyone has the right to ask the necessary questions and request information when it comes to their medical needs, and no qualified surgeon or doctor would be offended to be asked these questions.
*This story was initially written by a freelance reporter in London with changes made in writing for the Blog by myself- Claire Licciardo.