Turkey is known for its unique diversity all over the world. Spanning across Europe and Middle East, this stunningly beautiful country features a mix of several cultures. That, along with its attractions, makes it one of the top tourist destinations in the world. Turkey is often visited by a lot of holiday tourists. Recently, however, the country has been enjoying a different form of tourism, namely medical tourism. In fact, Turkey is the world’s 6th topmost country for medical tourism.
Last year alone, almost a million medical tourists visited the country according to the Istanbul International Health Tourism Association. Costs for medical procedures are lower than in the US, Europe and other western countries. Sometimes, the rates are as low as 80% while the quality is on the higher side. When it comes to quality healthcare, Turkey ranks third after the USA and Germany, with 44 JCI accredited hospitals in the region. Hospitals take around two years to prepare for this accreditation, implementing high quality medical and safety procedures. JCI accreditation implies that these medical institutions can drive and support quality improvements, reduce the risks involved and focus on patient safety. Antalya, Ankara and Istanbul are the preferred countries for medical tourism.
Why Choose Turkey?
Medical tourism in Turkey has risen by around 38% in the past four years. For starters, the treatment costs are affordable. Also, some of the hospitals offer additional discounts to foreign visitors in an attempt to boost Turkey medical tourism, which further lowers costs.
- Turkey’s healthcare system is efficient and effective, thanks to reformations and revolutions carried out under the Program for Health Sector Transformation (HTP) between the years 2003 and 2013. Today, most of the doctors receive their training from aboard and use highly innovative procedures.
- Many hospitals and clinics in Turkey are JCI accredited, the highest criteria indicating quality healthcare service. Thus, the offered treatments are presumably safe and reliable.
- Medical tourism in Turkey is on the rise and hospitals have been designed for this purpose. Generally, they fall into broad categories: state hospitals and private ones. State hospitals are usually meant for the locals, but the private hospitals target overseas patients. Competition levels are high in the medical industry, so hospitals do appoint the best doctors, invest in high quality equipment and are involved in research. All this ensures that you receive topnotch treatment.
- Turkey boasts a serene environment. Surrounded by coastal areas on one side and mountains on the other, the comfortable climate and rich culture improve your general health and wellbeing, making you feel relaxed and at ease. This also ensures that you recover sooner.
- Medical travelers mostly avail treatments for cosmetic surgery (hair transplantation), ophthalmology (eye surgery), orthopedics (shoulder, spine, pediatrics, sports and knee), gynecology, as well as many others.
Healthcare and Medical Tourism in Turkey
Turkey is also planning to introduce tax-free healthcare zones for foreign patients. Providing some of the best cancer treatments such as Cyber Knife, as well as orthopedic and cardiac treatments, Turkey is now gaining popularity due to its extremely effective yet incredibly affordable medical treatments, which cost significantly less.
The country is mainly known for hair transplantation; for starters, the costs are only 25% of the rates in the US. Secondly, Turkish doctors have accumulated a significant amount of experience in the field. During the process, the Follicular Unit Extraction or FUE procedure is utilized during which each graft is removed by using a punch tool, which prevents scarring. With the very same technique, the average hair per graft is around 2,000 units in Europe and 4,000 units in the US. In Turkey, they are double, each graft has at least 8,000 units.
Cancer treatment in Turkey includes radiotherapy, chemotherapy and robotic surgery. Doctors can quickly prepare a short-term treatment plan after assessing the patient’s condition and needs. Considering neurosurgery, the success rates for spinal cord and brain surgeries are as high as 91%. The entire treatment and surgical plan is managed by a team that consists of neurologists, neurosurgeons, neuro radiologists and other key personnel.
Turkish clinics perform hundreds of thousands of plastic surgeries and aesthetic procedures every year on foreign patients. The rates are nearly three times lower compared to the US and European countries. Generally, these aesthetic centers combine their procedures with relaxation and sightseeing activities by the sea.
Turkey is also known for other procedures such as liver, bone and kidney transplantation, ophthalmology, cardiology, genetic testing, orthopedics, neurosurgery, dentistry and cosmetic surgical procedures. Patients can save between 50-65% including travel costs and savings can go as high as 70% compared to costs in the US.
Lodging and Hotels
Turkey offers a variety of hotels, holiday villas and luxury resorts. Some of the hotels offer a small guesthouse where patients can spend time if their trip is short. Accommodation options also include a bungalow cabin that offers an outclass experience. The average rates are around $18 per person, but luxury hotels charge higher around $32.
The three most preferred cities for Turkey medical tourism are Ankara, Izmir and the capital, Istanbul.
Overview of Turkey
Capital of Turkey: Ankara
Languages: Turkish but English is spoken throughout the country as well.
Currency: New Turkish Lira (TRY)
Suggested Vaccines: Hepatitis A and B; Typhoid booster
Time Zones: GMT +2
Country Code for Telephone Calls: +90
Airlines that fly directly from United States to Turkey
- Turkish Airlines
Other airlines that fly to Turkey
- Air China
- Kuwait Airways
- ANA (All Nippon Airways)
- British Airways
- Etihad Airways
- Avianca Brasil
- Qatar Airways
- Air Europa
- Ethiopian Airlines
- Air France
- Azerbaijan Airlines
- Thomas Cook Airlines
- Air India
- Austrian Airlines
- Royal Jordanian
- Air New Zealand
- American Airlines
- Philippine Airlines
- TAP Air Portugal
- Brussels Airlines
- Asiana Airlines
- Royal Air Maroc
- Aer Lingus
- Air Serbia
- Korean Air
- Ukraine International
- Uzbekistan Airways
- EVA Air
- Singapore Airlines
Climate and Weather
Turkey has varying climates in different parts. The coastal areas near the Mediterranean Sea and the Aegean Sea are hot and dry in summers; in winters, the weather turns mildly cool. Areas near the Black Sea experience warm and damp winters, whereas the summers are cool and cold. Istanbul and areas close to the Sea of Marmara enjoy a moderate climate with dry summers and cool winters.
Some of the coastal areas do receive snowfall, but only for a few days.
Entrance Requirements and Visa
Patients travelling on a US or Canada passport must apply for a visa beforehand. Fee for e-Visa is around $20. When entering Turkey, your passport must be valid for at least 90 days if you will be staying for a month. If you want to stay longer, the validity period of your passport must also be longer.
If you live in another country, please check your country’s embassy for visa requirements
Languages and Culture
Turkish is the official language and is spoken by around 90% of the residents. Kurdish and Arabic are also spoken by a small population. Most of the locals follow Islam, and observe Friday as a religious day, but it’s not considered to be a holiday. Doctors speak and understand English and translators are also available to assist patients.
Entertainment and Tourist Attractions
Turkey lies between Europe and Asia. Its vibrant culture and food are famous all over the world. Boasting of a rich historical heritage, Turkey is filled with glorious landscapes and refreshing beaches. The topmost attractions include Aya Sofya, Pamukkale, Pergamum, Gobekli Tepe and Mount Nemrut.