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Linda Briggs Cosmetic Surgery & Dentistry in Turkey
Cosmetic, dental surgery tourism on the rise in Southern Turkey


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Turkey is fast becoming one of the most popular places to have a nip, tuck or a dental makeover.  There are now many companies that organize trips to Istanbul or southwestern Turkey providing a range of hi-tech and life-changing procedures and treatments

Kieran Whitely

Monday, January 17, 2011 by JANE AKATAY FETHIYE –
Hürriyet Daily News

Turkey is rapidly emerging as one of the most popular destinations in Europe, especially for people from the United Kingdom, for dental and cosmetic tourism.

Jean Berry from Bristol was one of the thousands of Brits who have had their dream come true in Turkey.  She had her teeth “done” at a clinic in Fethiye in southwestern Turkey.

“The whole thing was amazing; not painful at all,” Berry told the South Weekly a few weeks after her operation in a phone interview from her home in the U.K.  “When I looked in the mirror I hardly recognized myself.  My friends were all very impressed with how natural they looked.  The dentist really matched them to my existing teeth.  I am quickly getting used to eating with them.  Now I have teeth where I had got used to having gaps and I feel younger and more confident.  It is really great.  I hope to come to Turkey again next year.”

Berry was among the 70,000 British people estimated to have traveled abroad for medical treatment during 2010, according to the Daily Telegraph, a British newspaper.  Current market reports about Turkey’s medical tourism industry anticipate that the number of incoming medical tourists will rise by as much as 30 percent between 2010 and 2013 with support from the government, which has already been contributing to promotional activities.

Fraction of the cost
During the last decade or so, there has been a vast increase in the demands people make on themselves (especially among celebrities) in terms of physical appearance and perceived perfection.  “Doctor 90210” for example, with charismatic Dr. Ray, has become a cult program – even for those who don’t necessarily approve of these procedures.  And Turkey has benefited from the growing trend.

“I remember reading an article about having your teeth fixed and had seen programs on the telly, you know, like ‘Doctor 90210.’ I thought about how much I would like to have my teeth done, but thought I could never afford it,” Berry said.

“But one of the best reasons for coming to Turkey is that the treatment has been a fraction of the cost it would have been in the U.K.  I know I couldn’t have afforded to get it done at home,” said the lively, attractive 66-year-old woman with a gentle West Country burr.

The prices for dental and cosmetic procedures vary widely depending on individual needs and people considering having surgery should call clinics directly to find out what they offer. Factors in the final price can include a patient’s age, skin type and health condition.  Even the currency exchange rate can have an effect on the final price.  In general, the cost for procedures such as thigh liposuction, rhinoplasty, face-lift, abdominoplasty plus liposuction, and hair transplantation in Turkey ranges from 2,000 to 4,000 euros, including accommodation in a hotel.

I suppose some people may be nervous about going abroad but the treatment I have received has been amazing,” Berry said.  “It has been quite a process but even the injections didn’t hurt.  This dentist certainly has the most up-to-date equipment and he speaks wonderful English.  Also the new teeth will have a five-year guarantee so if there are any problems I get to come back to Turkey for free.  So far the company and the dentist have all been wonderful: working so hard – even on a Sunday to get everything ready.”

Berry said her whole procedure was completed in less than two weeks and during this time she was able to have a holiday as well.

“The organisation of flights and everything made me more nervous than anything else,” she said.  “But eventually a 10-day slot became available, which I was told was enough, and I got an end-of-season discount for the treatment into the bargain.  A friend of mine came with me, which was comforting.”

Berry said her past experiences had made her fearful of dentists generally and like many people with dental problems she had a habit of covering her mouth with her hand while talking.  “I broke one of my front teeth as a child of 12 on a round-a-bout in the playground and was given a horrible bit stuck back on the broken tooth. I hated it.”

She said she had allowed years to pass without visiting her dentist in the United Kingdom and her teeth suffered as a result.  “I am having bridge work now because the procedure is much less invasive and painful.  Although the treatment has been a little uncomfortable, it hasn’t been painful at all…maybe a bit tender but I just took one painkiller after the really bad teeth were removed and the anesthetic had worn off.”

According to sources inside the Turkish medical tourism business, one of the reasons why medical tourism in Turkey is a rising star is that dental clinics and hospitals serving foreigners in Turkey put patients at ease.  And, together with committed and highly skilled staff, doctors and dentists ensure that foreign patients experience comfortable, calm and hassle free treatments.

High-tech Turkey
Turkey ranks ninth in the world for its number of plastic surgeons with 700 registered as practicing in the country, according to the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.  Between them they performed 210,861 surgical procedures and 129,283 non-surgical procedures in 2009, also placing them ninth in the world.  In terms of percentage of total number of procedures carried out worldwide, Turkey tied for 11th with Italy and Russia at 2 percent.  The global leader was the United States with 5,700 surgeons carrying out more than 3 million procedures in 2009, giving them 17.5 percent of the market share.

“In the implant dentistry and oral surgery disciplines, we are adapting to digital and virtual imaging technology.  There is a small, elite group of dentistry professionals in Turkey investing in technologies that enable them to provide treatments that until recently were only available in the medical community,” said the a spokesperson.

“Dental implants are specially designed screws that are placed in the jawbone and act like natural tooth roots.  Replacement teeth can then be attached. Dental implants have a high rate of success and are widely considered the most secure solution for replacing missing teeth.  Studies now show a greater than 97.5 percent success rate for dental implants,” she said.

“CAT scan and new Cone Beam scanning devices have been developed to provide levels of accuracy and precise data collection that enable digital mapping and virtual treatment planning for implant patients,”

“Implant doctors can readily visualise ‘slices’ of jawbone anatomy, from several perspectives and create treatment plan choices that take the best advantage of jawbone structure and integrity so the guesswork of where, which implant device and how to firmly place an implant is virtually eliminated,” she said.

The center also offers 3-D guided implant surgery. The new technology creates a 3-D image of a patient’s teeth and jawbone that then allows the surgeon to map out the exact placement of the implants.

King said she believed that “guided implant surgery is truly the way forward.  As the technology improves and price pressure from competition brings down the overall cost, the solution will become more of a standard for care.”

Preference for the natural look
Even though dental and cosmetic procedures are becoming increasingly popular, not everyone is keen on the idea of being nipped and tucked.  Some men and women prefer to allow life to take its natural toll as part of the aging process.

Those who insist they will resist the scalpel or syringe include Marion Carter from Fethiye, who laughed unabashed, showing smile lines galore.  “I am happy with the way I look. … For whose benefit are so many undergoing surgery, general anesthetics, and pain?  This is certainly not something I would ever consider.  I would prefer to grow old disgracefully. ‘Love me a s I am,’ I say!”

Often, especially in macho societies, men are cited as the reason why women have procedures done and in some cases this may well be the case. Businessman Mehmet Öztürk considered this possibility and said: “Maybe if there is some illness or accident, OK.  It can be good for their morale, but normally I think people only have it done because they are unsure of themselves.”

Great from the start
“Today plastic surgery is an extremely common procedure carried out on an increasing number of both young and old, men and women, thanks to the increased availability of techniques, reduced cost and societal acceptance,” said Helen for Antalya- and Istanbul-based Plastic Surgeon.

In many cases the desire to have a particular procedure or surgery is about more than mere vanity.  Sometimes cosmetic and dental surgery is performed because of health issues. Snoring or difficulty in breathing can be as a result of nasal abnormalities and corrective surgery can make all the difference.  Bad teeth can result in gum disease and other serious problems, including irreversible bone and tooth loss.

That is the case with singer Kieran Whitely, who suffered from breathing problems for many years.  “I had particular problems with sleep apnea and although I didn’t want any change to be made to my face and profile or eyes, I couldn’t deal with the snoring and apnea any more.  My doctor in Antalya said the procedure wouldn’t make any difference at all, which was great news as I didn’t want to change the way I looked,” he said.

Whitely’s operation was elective, so he had time to prepare for the surgery.  He was given a list of things to do, including eating healthily and drinking plenty of water.  He also used the upcoming operation as a reason to quit smoking, something he said he had wanted to do for a long time.

“Right from the first consultation, everything they told me was going to happen went according to plan.  They didn’t give me any false expectations.  Also, all our conversations were very easy, as they all speak English,” said Whitely.

“We stayed in the hospital for the night before the operation and that night, so it wouldn’t be too stressful.  My partner could stay as well and I was very calm throughout.  After that, we stayed in a great hotel just down the road.  That, too, was everything we hoped it would be,” he said.

Whitely said he experienced very little pain after the procedure.  “I slept a lot afterward and needed only minimal pain relief.  I have to return in a few months for a check up but the surgery costs included any future treatment.”

He said the advice and information he was given gave him total peace of mind and that he was pleased with the whole experience. “Antalya has a wonderful shopping center as well so the time we spent there was like a holiday.”

Always a risk with surgery
Cosmetic surgery like any other procedure carries a degree of risk.  Suitable candidates for plastic surgery are in good health and have the psychological stability to deal with the recovery period.  Complications are rare, but they do occur.  Modern procedures have greatly decreased most risks but the complications might be enhanced in those who have certain health conditions, such as diabetes.

In order to reduce the risks, it is important to choose an experienced plastic surgeon who has a proven track record of success with minimal complications.

Helen, said potential patients should check the accreditation of the surgeons.  She said, their doctors are accredited and certified by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons; the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association; the European Boards of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery; Interplast Turkey; and the International Confederation of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery.

Considering the risk, perhaps its no wonder that more and more people are jetting off to holiday destinations for relaxation, privacy and value for their cosmetic and dental operations.  Coming to sunny Turkey for such a surgery looks like a great option and is increasingly being considered by people thinking about having an operation.  Previously only thought of only as a holiday destination, it appears that Turkey is taking strides in the market for affordable cosmetic surgery by offering professional staff and treatment in luxurious private hospitals and dentist’s surgeries and clinics in a wondrous holiday environment.

How to choose a company

  • Check the credentials, the experience, the academic background and publications of the surgeon.
  • Check the accreditations and the facilities of the hospital where the surgery will be performed
  • Do not make your final decision based on price, tourist merits or photos only
  • Compare companies on the basis of what they offer and what’s included.
  • Ask about post surgery arrangements, aftercare and what happened in the eventuality of complications
  • Ask about partner clinics in your home country
  • Check that the doctors and the staff can speak English
  • Ask to see testimonials and to get in contact with existing patients
  • Check if the surgeon has Medical Malpractice Insurance and possible insurance

Benefits of plastic surgery
Many people are comfortable with their appearance, happy to grow old and accept natural changes to their faces and bodies that come with age.  Until recently it was a case of tacit acceptance unless we were dealing with something dangerous to our health, but nowadays both cosmetic surgery and dentistry are becoming an affordable option.

“Beauty may only be skin deep, but the fact is if you look good, you feel good,” said Helen.

“The benefits of cosmetic surgery are fantastic physically and emotionally.  When we improve our physical appearance we become more self confident, our social life, sex life, interpersonal relationships and enjoyment of leisure activities can all improve – self esteem rockets.

She said people who are happy with their self-image are more likely to be confident and effective in their work and social situations and comfortable in their relationships.  It is no longer necessary to feel self-conscious about a physical problem that can affect the way one feels throughout life.

Those who are dissatisfied tend to be self conscious, inhibited and less effective in activities.  Plastic surgery, whether cosmetic or reconstructive, elective or essential, encourages and promotes a strong positive self-image.  Even a small change on the outside can create an extraordinary change on the inside allowing an individual’s self confidence to flourish, she said.

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