The very first things you think of when you hear about Turkey are probably the sea, coffee, Turkish airlines, and…medical tourism! Exactly! The inbound medical tourists flow increased to 1M patients in 2019 — with a rise of 370% for the last 4 years.
Read on to find out why a million people go to Turkey for treatment!
- Why do patients prefer Turkey for treatment?
- Popular specialties
- Top hospitals for health tourism
- Top doctors in country
- Costs for healthcare in Turkey
- Top 3 cities in Turkey for medical tourism
- Guideline for medical travel to Turkey
The material shows medical tourism trends and describes the leading expert-opinion-based specialties in the country. This information relies on the Bookimed statistics, patient reviews, analysis of the health tourism characteristics in 28 countries, data compiled from multiple variable sources: IMTJ, the Ministry of Health, NCBI.
The report aims to specify health care peculiarities for international patients in a particular country, patients' preferences and factors that affect their choice. It is not a call to action — use it for informational purposes only.
Why do patients prefer Turkey for treatment?
Cost of medical services
Turkish clinics offer competitive costs and help save up to 70% of expenses for medical tourists from the Arab states of the Persian Gulf, Britain, Germany, and other Western European countries. It is explained by the price level within Turkey, which is lower compared to these countries.
Moreover, hospitals are interested in foreign visitors and offer discounts and packages for aesthetic procedures.
To increase the patient’s profit, the government abolished VAT chargers for healthcare tourists undergoing treatments in facilities certified by the Turkish Ministry of Health.
Quality of healthcare in Turkey for tourists
Between 2003 and 2013, the Turkish Ministry of Health implemented the Program for Health Sector Transformation (HTP) to improve medical services provision, increase sector financing, and overall workforce. Thus, a new level of medicine in Turkey followed these transformations.
Now, patients from Georgia, the CIS, and Balkan countries are looking here for medical options unavailable at home. Doctors serving medical tourists have trained abroad and apply the most innovative technologies and international developments involving robots.
34 Turkish medical facilities have Joint Commission International Certificate. It confirms that a hospital meets the strictest criteria of high-quality healthcare services — usually, the medical center needs 2 years to prepare for JCI evaluation. To compare, Israel has 30 hospitals with JCI accreditation, South Korea — 16, Germany — 1, UK — 1.
Medical tourism-oriented hospitals
Hospitals in Turkey are divided into state and private ones. While locals prefer to visit state hospitals, private medical facilities are oriented on patients from overseas. Thus, the competition between hospitals makes them employ the best doctors, renovate departments and equipment, conduct scientific research, support medical tourists, and offer competitive prices
Tourism to Turkey is on the increase — according to the local Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Ersoy, the number of foreigners visiting the country increases by 30% per year. The revenue of the tourism field is significant support for the Turkish economy. And the government makes its best to improve infrastructure, service quality, and attractions. Moreover, Turkey is among the top 10 travel destinations in 2018 according to TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice Award.
For the last several years, people are attracted by an opportunity to combine treatments or wellness procedures with holidays. And Turkey is a perfect option for this because of coastal areas, mountains, Mediterranean climate, and rich ancient culture — where anyone can tailor something to enjoy to their liking…and improve health.
5 most popular health tourism specialties in Turkey
Patients with oncology choose the country as a place where they arrange treatment in the shortest term for up to 3 days and can be sure of the quality of technologies and experience of doctors.
Oncology treatment is among the key specialties in university hospitals in Turkey.
Cancer specialists provide therapies according to international treatment protocols of ESMO (European Society for Medical Oncology) and NCCN (National Comprehensive Cancer Network) and show some of the highest success rates in the world. For instance, prostate cancer is treated in up to 100% cases.
All possible types of cancer treatment are available — robotic surgery, radiotherapy, brachytherapy, chemo-, immuno- and targeted therapies are personalized according to the patient’s needs.
Local oncologists collaborate with American colleagues from the leading cancer institutions like Johns Hopkins Hospital and apply the latest available developments in cancer research for the treatment of patients. Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy (HIPEC) is one of them.
The hospitals have equipment of the last generation — TrueBeam, GammaKnife, CyberKnife, Da Vinci Robotic System to make interventions accurate and safe for healthy organs and tissues.
Neurosurgical treatments in Turkey are demanded among foreigners due to experienced specialists and high success rates. Some of the hospitals reach up to 91% success rate for the brain and spinal cord surgeries.
More than 1,200 neurosurgeons are practicing in Turkish medical centers. Local medical teams consist of a neurosurgeon, neurologist, neuroradiologist, neuroanesthesiologist, and neurooncologist if necessary. This approach to team formation guarantees patients that the treatment program takes into account every aspect of their case.
A neuroteam plans interventions under MRI control to increase the accuracy of future operation, making it as safe as possible.
Among other innovative techniques, there is immunostaining to detect the exact location of a tumor. Patients with brain and spinal cord tumors, arteriovenous malformation, carotid artery stenosis also choose Turkey for the treatment. After the surgery, a patient can participate in a special rehab neurological program to return to regular life.
People with Parkinson’s disease, dystonia, and other movement disorders visit Turkey to have deep brain stimulation surgery. In 2018, a Turkish neurosurgeon Dr. Ali Zırh received the DBS Guinness World Record.
Treatment of hematology oncology diseases and bone marrow transplant are among the strongest specialties in Turkey. The hospitals closely work with leading medical research institutions, including the US John Hopkins Hospital and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Center. This partnership helps to apply the results of the collaboration into the treatment process.
The hospitals have certificates from the Joint Commission International, Turkish Ministry of Health, and European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplant. So a patient can be sure of the treatment quality.
The centers accept adult and pediatric patients with aplastic anemia, leukemia, myeloma, and various types of lymphomas.
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Turkish clinics accept over 100,000 foreigners for plastic surgery and aesthetic procedures every year! They choose Turkish plastic surgeons due to high-quality services and affordable prices, which are 2-3 times lower than in the USA or Europe.
According to the Turkish Ministry of Tourism, patients from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, the UAE, Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, and France are interested in local plastic surgery the most.
Specialized aesthetic centers offer packages, discounts, and an opportunity to combine beauty procedures with sightseeing or relax at sea.
The most popular procedures are nose job, abdominoplasty, liposuction, gynecomastia surgery, breast enlargement.
Turkish plastic surgeons have international education and regular training in the USA. Among them are the world’s famous names, such as Professor Bülent Cihantimur and Safiye Kurt.
A patient stream made it possible to develop unique techniques available only in Turkey. One of them is Spider Web by Professor Cihantimur.
Hair transplant is one of the most popular procedures with foreigners coming to Turkey. The Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEİK) reports that people from Europe (Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, the UK, France) and Middle Eastern countries (Saudi Arabia, Israel, Oman, Qatar, the UAE) have the biggest share of visitors. Israelis alone counted 500,000 people coming for hair transplants in 2019.
Turkish hair transplant specialists provide all possible techniques — FUT, FUE, micro-FUE, Sapphire FUE, DHI, organic plantation for hair, beard, mustache, and eyebrows. Clinics offer successful outcomes in up to 100% of patients. Some of them provide patients with a lifetime warranty for hair transplantation.
Patients who are seeking dental treatments, decide on Turkey due to the following reasons:
- they can save up to 70% for the dental implants, dental crowns, and aesthetic dentistry
- local clinics provide a guarantee for the work done
- the success rates of complex dental procedures reach up to 98%
- local dentists use certified materials produced in the USA, Switzerland, and Germany
- patients can combine dental holidays with vacations.
Turkish multispecialty hospitals offer affordable and comprehensive screening programs such as cancer check-up, cardiac, female, male, and kids screenings, etc. Their cost is about 10 times lower than in Germany, Israel or Spain. While advanced equipment make possible providing qualitative diagnostics. For instance, the Medipol team reaches a 95% accurate heart screening diagnosis with Flash CT.
Top 3 hospitals for health tourism in Turkey
Anadolu Medical Center is a multi-specialty hospital opened for people from all over the world. The hospital has over 80 departments to provide you with high-quality medical services. Oncology, urology, bone marrow transplant, neurosurgery, IVF are among key specialties.
Anadolu is a partner of the Johns Hopkins Hospital — No. 3 American Adult Hospital according to the U.S. News & World Report. This strategic collaboration enables Anadolu specialists to implement all innovations and breakthroughs to the treatment process.
Patients looking for robotic surgeries with Da Vinci system, modern radiotherapy with TrueBeam Stx, precise diagnostic tests with PET/CT and much more can find it here.
Anadolu Medical Center is certified by the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) and Organisation of European Cancer Institutes (OECI) for the effective treatment of cancer patients. It has also JCI and ISO certificates.
In 2018, Anadolu was the first hospital in Turkey to receive the accreditation from the Planetree recognition program for the patient-centered approach.
Liv Hospital Ankara and Liv Hospital Istanbul (Ulus) are smart medical centers of a new generation. In 2018, Liv Group celebrated its 5th anniversary.
Over 50,000 medical tourists visit local specialists to get care in oncology, orthopedics, cardiac surgery, and hematology oncology. The hospitals offer treatments with all medical technologies available in the world.
Liv medical teams provide more than 13,200 interventions per year. And they represent some of the highest survival rates in Turkey and the globe: i.e., up to 94% for stomach cancer surgery, up to 96% for heart surgeries, up to 100% for chest operations.
Liv Robotic Surgery Center, Colorectal surgery and Bariatric surgery departments have Certificates of Excellence.
Estetik International’s specialty is plastic surgery. A patient can get any change of the body here: abdominoplasty, breast enlargement, blepharoplasty, vaginoplasty, and others.
The clinic has a particular focus on hair transplant and rhinoplasty. Foreign patients visit the clinic to get the most popular method of FUE hair transplant or platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatment at the early stages of hair loss. The medical team provides over 3,000 hair transplants per year!
Prof. Bulent Cihantimur found the clinic. He is ranked among Top 50 plastic surgeons in the world. He is an author of modern techniques of non-surgical Spider Web facelift and Cihantimur Fat Transfer.
ISO certifies the clinic for meeting the criteria of safe and cutting-edge medical services.
Top doctors in Turkey
Professor Zafer Gülbaş is a specialist of diagnostic and treatment of hematologic malignancies for over 30 years. He is an expert in bone marrow transplant, cellular therapy, and flow cytometry application. Professor Gülbaş heads the Hematologic Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant Department at Anadolu Medical Center.
Dr. Ali Zırh is a world-known neurosurgeon specialized in movement disorders and deep brain stimulation (DBS). Doctor Zırh has over 25 years of experience and has performed over 650 successful DBS procedures. The doctor serves patients with Parkinson’s disease, dystonia, and Tourette syndrome. His achievements are recognized by the Brain Research Foundation Award and the Turkish Neurosurgical Society Award. In 2018, Dr. Ali Zırh received DBS Guinness World Record.
Dr. Safiye Kurt is an expert in aesthetic medicine. Hair, eyebrow, beard, mustache transplants, Ozone therapy are among procedures she performs. Doctor Kurt has treated over 5,000 patients — both male and female — from Mexico, South Korea, Europe, the Middle East, and the Gulf Countries. The UAE Minister of Healthcare is one among her patients. She found Adem and Havva Medical Center oriented for international patients. The doctor is also a member of European Hair Research Society.
Medical tourism Turkey: prices
Autologous bone marrow transplant
Deep brain stimulation
Da Vinci prostatectomy
The costs in the table are approximate. Contact Bookimed manager to get an exact price for the procedure of interest.
Top 3 cities in Turkey for medical tourism
Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey and one of the largest cities in the world. Over 15.5 M inhabitants live here, and about as many tourists from all over the world visit Istanbul annually.
It’s a cultural and economic center of the country with a soft Islamic law and tourist-friendly atmosphere.
You can easily reach the city by plane, which will arrive at one of two airports. Istanbul is the city located at the same time in Europe and in Asia. Geographically one part is located on the European shore of the Bosphorus, and the other — on the Asian. Istanbul has 190 hospitals (52 of them are owned by the local Healthcare Ministry). Make sure your hotel and the hospital are located on the same continent :) Typically, the medical staff offers airport-hospital transfer and language assistance. However, lots of Turkish doctors and citizens speak English.
In free time:
- visit the historical center of the city and sightsee the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Dolmabahce Palace, Galata Tower
- try national cuisine
- have a Bosphorus boat tour
- go shopping at unique Grand Bazaar and other Istanbul bazaars, and don’t forget to bargain. Thus, you’ll reduce the price (which is initially very high) and pay tribute to local customs.
Antalya is the fastest growing city in Turkey. The heart and central tourist city of the Mediterranean coast along Turkey. It’s a perfect option for aesthetic and thermal treatments.
Antalya has an airport that connects the coast with the cities of Turkey and Europe, so you’ll quickly reach the destination.
The city keeps the heritage of Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, Lucian, Pamphylian, and Hellenistic cultures, and local clinics and hospitals will offer tours to make your experience brighter.
What to while you have a medical trip to Antalya:
- have a rest at the seaside — suburban Antalya beaches Konyaalti and Lara are listed among the best ones in Turkey
- explore Duden Park, go down to the observation deck, and admire the spectacular view of the 40-meter waterfall that flows from the cliffs into the sea
- visit the oldest Hamam Sefa in the Old Town, which is about 600 years old.
Ankara is the capital of Turkey, a dynamic metropolis with 5 million people (takes the second place after Istanbul).
The city was founded in the 2nd millennium BC and is one of the oldest cities in Asia. The Hittites, Phrygians, Lydians, Persians, Greeks, Galatians, Romans, Byzantines, and Turks left their traces here.
What to do in Ankara after treatment?
- discover old city Ulus
- visit the President Palace, the official residence of the President of Turkey — a huge complex that surpasses the White House in Washington and Versailles in Paris
- try national and international cuisine. Ankara has the largest number of restaurants in the country with authentic Chinese, Japanese, Mexican, and Italian cuisine.
Guideline for medical travel to Turkey
- Choose an appropriate medical center.
Consider the following factors:
- type of a hospital — whether it is a single specialty or multispecialty center
- success rates in the treatment of your condition/the outcome of procedure of interest
- international recognition, certificates, accreditations
- services for medical tourists
- location of the hospital.
Contact Bookimed manager to get assistance and find the most appropriate center for your case.
- Send medical records to Bookimed manager
Bookimed manager will inform you of best options in your case: hospital, doctor, cost estimate, and treatment travel arrangement.
When you decide what variant is more suitable, we will arrange an appointment with a specialist. With Bookimed, you can go for treatment to Turkey within 2-5 days after submitting a request on our website.
- Arrange your medical stay
Bookimed care team will help you with a medical visa, transfer, and accommodation. All issues with medical travel are solved easily and comfortable.
Patients can get a visa online (find more details on Turkish medical visa requirements here). And leading local air carrier Turkish Airlines provides more than 300 destinations to the country.
- Treatment and coming back home
Bookimed manager will provide you with all necessary information about your treatment process. Our team will support you 24/7 during your hospital stay and afterward, so you can focus on your recovery.
If you’re seeking excellent healthcare — cancer treatment, dental care or plastic surgeries — Turkey is a wise decision. You will save money, find appropriate medical services and discover this beautiful country.