Chapter 7

Gastric bypass in Turkey

Welcome to the fınal chapter of our bariatric surgery guide. 

Gastric Bypass Surgery in Turkey

What makes people go for gastric bypass abroad, in this case, weight loss surgery Turkey? Either you landed on our website while googling “gastric bypass turkey” or just went over the guide on bariatric surgery, you obviously made sure gastric bypass is the right choice for you, which means you’re in the place to choose the right surgeon and medical center to have this operation at.

Undergoing bariatric surgical procedures in the US and most of the European countries needs a lot of money or is on a long waiting list. So, looking for your options outside your country seems reasonable.

Turkey is not the only, but one of the most popular, affordable places for having obesity surgery. But why is gastric bypass in Turkey cheaper? Before deciding whether you want to go with gastric bypass in Turkey you should know the answer to this question and some others:

– The advantages and disadvantages of gastric bypass in Turkey

– Whether the procedure is carried out differently in Turkey

– The quality of hospitals and clinics in Turkey

– Is it safe to have gastric bypass in a country and then take a flight back home?

– How to choose a trustworthy, professional surgeon

– What documents do you need for traveling to Turkey?

– How many days does the entire process take?

Remember, after collecting all this information, you still need to decide according to your individual situation. This info is only to help you decide with total awareness.

Why Medical Travel for Gastric Bypass?

If you already know why you want to go abroad and it is not possible to have your surgery in your own country, just skip this part. Before we delve into the reasons, let’s take a look at some statistics on the popularity of medical tourism.

Top medical tourism destinations in the world

The pie chart above shows medical tourism trends among Americans in 2017 based on the top destinations among American citizens. The table below gives a list of top 9 medical tourism destinations in the world.

Top 9 medical tourism destinations in the world

There are mainly two reasons that might cause you to have your gastric bypass procedure abroad: money and time. Insurance companies in most countries usually pay for any excess weight loss surgery options only if they are convinced obesity is jeopardizing your health, which means either you have a BMI over 40 or over 35 with obesity-associated complications.

However, even when your insurance company accepts to cover the cost of surgery, there is still a long waiting list before your turn comes up.

There’s also a third reason. Sometimes people don’t find proficient surgeons in their own country and must look for surgeons overseas because this is a serious operation that significantly affects your life.

According to the American Journal of Medicine in 2016, 14-16 million people preferred medical travel over in-country treatments. A noticeable amount of this crowd was the ones looking for a solution to end obesity and experience a healthier, easier life.

Is Weight Loss Surgery in Turkey Safe?

The answer to this question depends on many factors. Is it a safe country to visit? Well, the 40-50 million visitors per year are proof of this claim. But what you need to know is the medical proficiency in addition to the quality of hospitals.

Here’s also a complete database on health tourism in Turkey which is proof of Turkey’s popularity among medical tourists and the attention to patient safety in this country.

Number of medical tourists in Turkey

 

There is only one reason for the decline in 2020 and that is the travel restrictions because of COVID-19. Now that people can travel again, it is estimated that the previous peak is going to be broken. Let’s get an overview of what you’ll read in the sections.

 

Facts about medical tourism in Turkey

Now let’s read about the advantages of gastric bypass in Turkey and why the cost is less than other countries.

Why Gastric Bypass in Turkey?

Every year patients from a wide variety of countries Turkey for medical treatment, liposuction, reproductive treatment, hair transplant, and weight-loss surgical treatment, to name a few. The most popular types of excess weight loss surgery in Turkey are gastric bypass, gastric balloon, and gastric sleeve surgery.

But why Turkey?

1- Affordable prices

The cost of life in Turkey is a lot less than UK or US. Therefore, the salary of the staff, hospital expenses, and other expenses are less than in Western countries. But the budget-friendly price is not the only reason for Turkey’s popularity as a global medical center.

2- Experienced surgeons and staff

Highly-proficient surgeons are one of the major attractions in Turkey now, if not its number one export. Advertisement and low prices are not enough for tempting this great number of tourists to come to Turkey just to enhance their health and beauty.

It may be effective in the beginning, but the rising number of tourists is proof of high quality, not merely low prices. The Healthcare system is important, not only when it comes to tourists, but for the Turkish people as well.

3- A mixture of leisure and medical care

Turkey is for sure one of the most absorbing tourism spots for both Easterners and Westerners. You might not get enough chances for a relaxing holiday. That’s why many overweight or obese patients choose Turkey as their destination. It’s both business and pleasure!

How Much Does Gastric Bypass Cost in Turkey?

We’ve collected information on the cost of gastric bypass in bariatric surgery centers in North America, South America, and Europe. Here’s a visual explanation of the result:

gastric bypass cost in different countries

As you can see, if you want to have your surgery in America and Canada without insurance coverage, it is very expensive and you have to pay at least $15,000. Gastric bypass cost in the UK starts from £8,000, equal to almost $10,000. The average price in Germany is $13,500 or €12,000.

There is a tight competition between Mexico and Turkey. Yet still, Turkey offers more affordable prices that start at 4,000 USD.

What Affects the Cost of Gastric Bypass in Turkey?

The cost of gastric bypass differs in different parts of the world, and also within each country. The variety of expenses is because of many factors, including the proficiency and experience of your surgeon, the value of the country’s currency, cost of living in each country, the surgical equipment.

1- Lower Cost of Life

We talked about this before, so, we won’t repeat it.

2- Equipment

You might want to compromise your surgeon’s wage, but not the equipment. One of the factors that cause differences in gastric bypass prices in Turkey is the different equipment brands used by different surgeons.

Medtronic is a world-leading American-Irish registered medical device company. Covidien, an Irish-headquartered medical device and supplier were bought by Medtronic in 2015. They supply many surgical instruments for gastric bypass surgery, including wound closure and vessel sealing devices.

If you’re comparing gastric bypass prices in Turkey, ask your coordinator about the brand of devices they use. There are also some low-quality devices on the market that are used, unfortunately, for more than one patient. the difference might at most be a few hundred dollars, but rest assured it’s worth it.

3- Surgeon’s expertise

“Greater skill was associated with fewer postoperative complications and lower rates of reoperation, readmission, and visits to the emergency department,” a study by The New England Journal of Medicine reveals.

The most important thing you need is a safe environment where you can trust your surgeon and have this surgery with ease of mind. In addition to a surgeon’s academic knowledge, it is necessary to check their experience because the more surgeries they have performed, the more profound their expertise is.

We’ll talk more about how to analyze a surgeon’s expertise and choose the right one further in this article in the ‘How to Choose the Right Surgeon’ section.

The Quality of Healthcare System in Turkey

How Turkey managed the COVID-19 situation, in comparison with most European and neighboring countries shows the importance of the healthcare system as a vital section of society. In addition to that, the quality of private hospitals and clinics has raised noticeably, in Istanbul in particular where there are more hospitals and the tight competition resulted in an increased level of medical services.

“Turkey has achieved great success in the field of health in the last 20 years,” Prof. Murat Dizbay, deputy chief physician and international health office manager at Gazi University Hospital in the capital Ankara, told Anadolu Agency on the occasion of Public Health Week celebrated every year between Sept. 3-9 in Turkey.

“Turkey, which has been closely following the recent technological innovations around the globe, has become a leader in its region with its specialized health professionals,” Dizbay said.

Is Gastric Bypass Procedure Different from Other Countries?

The purpose of gastric bypass is to decrease the stomach volume and hence the food intake while changing the digestion process in a way that your body’s food absorption decreases. This is done when your surgeon creates a stomach pouch as the main part that receives food.

In chapter 2, we talked about different types of bariatric procedures in detail. Gastric bypass is done either laparoscopically or endoscopically, but the former is preferred because it only leaves some small incisions on the patient’s stomach and the pain and recovery time is lessened.

Most gastric bypass surgeries in Turkey are done laparoscopically, the method we use in our center as well. This way, you can stand up a couple of hours after the surgery and you’re not considered a nursing patient. In case your job does not require physical labor, you can get back to work after the laparoscopic surgery after 1 or 2 weeks.

If you have a preference, announce them and request details before setting a date and coming to Turkey so that nothing will come to your surprise.

What Are the Facilities I’m Offered in Turkey for My Surgery?

Having your surgery in another country brings about difficulties that you might not have in your own country. For instance, everyone in Turkey does not know English and you need someone to be by your side for translation all the time, which is why most of the centers that offer medical services, including weight loss surgery, offer packages with different facilities to meet all your needs.

These services are translation, transportation (right when you arrive from picking up from the airport to visiting the city), travel arrangements, visa assistance, coordinating all medical appointments, accommodation, recreational options, and so on. So, the final price you’re given is for all of these items not solely the operation. But make sure to ask for the details of each package to avoid any misunderstanding.

Your whole journey will look something like this:

How Many Days in Hospital for Gastric Bypass Operation in Turkey?

International patients must arrive in Turkey at least 2 days before their operation for a few medical tests, including the essential blood tests. The hospital stay takes almost three days. So, on the whole, you need to be in Turkey for at least 5 days, which is why the packages medical centers offer to travelers are from 5 to 7 days.

If you have a cautious personality and prefer to rest longer before you leave Turkey for your country, you can stay a few more days. For your accommodation, you can still stay at the hotel provided by the agency and ask them to extend your stay for an affordable price.

Think about this and make up your mind before the arrangements are fixed, as it is more convenient for you yourself and the company that is coordinating your trip and surgery.

Also, if you have an adventurous personality or feel like taking a tour of the city helps you take your mind off the operation, you can come to Turkey earlier and immerse yourself in the beauty of this country.

How Many Hospitals in Turkey Offer Gastric Bypass?

Over 25 hospitals offer gastric bypass all around Turkey, all of which boast the infrastructure and services for the surgery, before, during, and after the operation. This includes not only the standard equipment but all the specialist doctors whose expertise your surgeon might need before, during, and after the surgery.

They are also supposed to follow the legal standards and guidelines of the local medical affairs organization.

Izmir, Antalya, and Istanbul are three major cities that patients from all around the globe choose for their treatment. Here’s a comparison of these three cities which helps you limit your search to only one city according to your preferences.

Number of daily operations Gastric bypass Turkey cost Transportation umber of hospitals Age of hospitals Number of certified surgeons
Izmir Medium High Medium Medium Old High
Istanbul High High High High Modern High
Antalya Medium Medium Medium Low Fairly modern Medium

The average rating of hospitals in Turkey is 3.6, which is beyond the average. However, because of the high number of surgeons and hospitals in Istanbul, to be ahead of the competition, they need to offer better services each day, which results in this number to be around 4 only in Istanbul.

The following figure shows the percentage of the JCI Accredited Health Institutions by cities in Turkey.

JCI accredited medical institutions in Turkey

The Mortality Rate of Gastric Bypass in Turkey

The death rate of a weight-loss surgery depends on various factors, type of bariatric surgery, cardiovascular causes, the severity of obesity, age, gender, and so on.

There are some other factors that are associated with your choices before and after the surgery that affect the post-operation complications and also reduce the need for revision surgery in the future. For instance, the proficiency of your surgeon, the quality of the equipment they use, and whether you go for regular follow-ups.

With that in mind, the mortality rate of gastric bypass in Turkey is not different from the global average number. Our article on bariatric surgery fatality rate includes exact numbers and conclusions of research studies on this topic.

But be sure what you’re about to experience in Turkey is not different from the data in that article. Also, ask yourself, what is the mortality rate of obesity?

Is it Safe for Me to Travel Back to America After Gastric Bypass?

If you live in the USA, Canada, Australia, or any other country that requires a more than 5-hour flight, you might be concerned whether it is risky to be on the plane for long hours after such a serious surgery or not.

First of all, you should know that patients’ bodies react in different ways after gastric bypass. The healing process may pass easily or with difficulty. Therefore, if your body does not adapt to new situations easily, there’s a chance you might feel uncomfortable on the way home.

The best way to find out the safety of this trip is to consult with your doctor. But, most doctors use blood thinners to decrease the probability of any risks during your trip. Using blood thinners avoids blood clots in the veins and eliminates the chance of blockage.

If a vein handles blood transfer to vital organs, such as the brain, heart, and lungs, you don’t want any problems on their path. This is one consequence of extra weight as it causes an increased risk of embolism.

How to Find the Best Bariatric Surgeons in Turkey?

This is not easy, not even in your own country. As obesity increased in the world, so did the number of bariatric surgeons. You can’t make this decision without enough research because, let’s be honest, you’re not going to buy a t-shirt. This surgery is going to affect the rest of your life.

How to choose your bariatric doctor

Word-of-mouth is a trustworthy way, especially when someone you know and trust mentions a doctor. You can also google. You will find tons of websites and doctors. Take your time to call them, ask all your questions, and then decide. Also, to be assured, you can ask for an online consultation with your surgeon.

Make sure to read their reviews, check their social media, read the comments, and even reach out to some of their previous patients.

Remember to check the surgeon’s credentials, the ISO International Standards, membership of Turkish Medical Association, IFSO, and JCI (Joint Commission International).

Do Hospitals in Turkey Accept Health Insurance?

Yes, but with the affordable prices of gastric bypass surgery, you won’t need one. Still, you should ask your patient coordinator the name of the hospital and whether they accept your insurance. Also, you should check with your insurance company if they have any internationally valid plans.

Then, the hospital will ask your insurance company for the guarantee of payment and begin your process cashlessly.

Beware that most insurance companies do not pay for operations overseas, especially in the case of bariatric surgery, if they are not convinced it is for health not aesthetics.

 

Which Documents Do I Need for Travelling to Turkey?

First, you should know whether you need a visa or not. In our “gastric sleeve in Turkey” article we’ve put together a complete list of all the countries that don’t need a visa for traveling to Turkey. Also, you can find out how to ask for a visa, which is pretty easy for people from most countries due to the tourist-friendly environment of Turkey.

Make sure to have your medical history, passport, driver’s license, details of your health insurance, residence copies, bank statement and any other documents you might need during your travel.

Gastric Bypass in Turkey: Patient Reviews

If you don’t know anyone who had gastric bypass in Turkey, you can read some of my patients’ reviews to see how this experience is. 

Benedict Jones, from England

My BMI was 45.2. You know how that feels. But gastric bypass was about £10,000. I saved about £6000. And that’s not it. Turkey is such a lovely country. Also, Dr. Ceyhun and his staff were so helpful. My dietitian gave me delish, healthy recipes. I’m so happy with my decision.

Maggie Williams, Italy

As the mother of 3 kids, I had to be energetic and able to play with them. To be honest, I tried my best, but most of the time I could not run as much as them or even walk. After a few minutes of running, I felt dizzy and my knees hurt a lot. I was certain to change his situation, but any diet I’ve tried lost its effectiveness after some time.

I saw Dr. Ceyhun’s ad on Facebook. At that time, I did not know a lot about bariatric surgery, but I said, well, let’s give it a try, and I just added my name to the ad. A kind lady called me 2 days later. I said I need to do more research. I was just collecting information for 6 months. And then I called her again. After a free consultation and checking my BMI and medical history, the doctor said I was good for the surgery. I bought a ticket, left my kids for my husband, and left England for Turkey with my mother. I had no complications after the surgery, just a bit of nausea, which I think is usual.

One year ago, I was so desperate that if someone told me I could lose 30 pounds in a year, I would have said they’re the biggest liar in the world. But here I am, a happy mom, with three beautiful happy kids, who I enjoy spending time with every second of my time.

Harry Mottram, UK

I had the surgery when I was 25. I had all my life ahead of me, so I wanted to make sure it is the right decision. I read a lot about Dr. Ceyhun’s CV and the reviews from his previous surgeries. He is as talented as everybody says.

I’m not saying I did not feel a thing afterward. After all, it is surgery and it takes time for your body to be healed. But fortunately, there were no serious complications and I owe it all to my doctor’s experience.

Are you ready for your weight-loss journey?