Chapter 6

Let’s read more about gastric sleeve, especially gastric sleeve in Turkey, and why it is a popular procedure among obese patients.

If you’re reading this article right now, you must have come a long way to decide whether you want to have weight loss surgery or not, and if yes, which type suits your situation the best. Gastric sleeve surgery is one of the most popular bariatric surgery types because it is effective but not as complicated as other medical procedures like gastric bypass. However, one of the biggest problems of these surgical procedures is their high price. Unfortunately, insurance companies sometimes do not cover all the costs since they are not always persuaded these surgeries are for the health of patients and assume they’re performed only for aesthetics.

As a result, many people who suffer from excess weight consider having a surgical procedure in other countries. This is a risky decision. When you’re living in the US or the UK, you just have to choose your surgeon. But that’s not the same when undergoing surgery overseas. You need a whole bunch of information about different factors affecting the success of your operation.

You should know:

Is it safe to undergo gastric sleeve procedure in another country?

What if your destination is really far? Is it safe to have a long journey?

How much is the financial difference?

Except for your surgery cost, Is there any other hidden cost? How much should you pay for tickets, accommodation, transportation, and hospital fee? e Is it wise to look for surgery at an affordable cost?

Are you eligible to have a vertical sleeve gastrectomy abroad?

Obviously, you cannot decide unless you find the answers to these questions. Moreover, even if your final decision is to have bariatric surgery in another country, options for medical tourism are not limited at all. In this article, we’ll find out if Turkey is a good destination for medical tourism and try to answer all your questions as much as possible.

Do not hesitate to leave a message if any of your concerns have not been responded to by the end of the article.

Turkey has been a popular destination for medical tourists. A noticeable amount of these people travel to have weight loss surgery Turkey. But this is just a claim. Let’s check some statistics to examine the credibility of this claim.

Facts about Medical Tourism in Turkey

In this blog post, we’ll give you accurate information about gastric sleeve in Turkey including:

– Differences between gastric sleeve in Turkey and other parts of the world

– Advantages and disadvantages of gastric sleeve in Turkey

– Who qualifies for sleeve gastrectomy in Turkey

– Gastric sleeve cost in Turkey and other parts of the world

– Travel requirements for Turkey

Is Gastric Sleeve in Turkey Different from Other Countries?

Gastric sleeve in Turkey is performed using methods as same as the ones in the US and the UK (mostly laparoscopic procedure). The main result of this effective surgery is the reduction of the patient’s stomach. Therefore, food intake will be less than before.

It is performed using both endoscopic and laparoscopic methods, but the latter is more common in Turkey. So, there won’t be any big scars, just some small incisions on the abdominal areas.

As most gastric sleeve surgeries all around the world, during the process of this surgical weight-loss method, about 75 to 80% of patients’ stomach is removed. This is done during a general state of anesthesia.

Moreover, gastric sleeve expedites excess weight loss by making hormonal changes. How? Hunger hormone is produced exactly in the part that is removed during surgery. So, patients feel full sooner and for a much longer time. This removed part is not just the one that controls your appetite but is able to stretch.

The reduction in food intake alongside these hormonal changes also helps eliminate obesity-related health problems, including sleep apnea and high blood pressure. This is all that happens to you after undergoing gastric sleeve in Turkey.

Why Do People Go to Turkey for Gastric Sleeve?

  • Affordable prices (in comparison with the US and the UK) in addition to high-quality medical technology
  • World-renowned achievements of Turkish physicians
  • The combination of tourism experience and health services for both patients and their families
  • Turkish spa and thermal centers
  • No waiting lists
  • High-quality clinics and hospitals
  • Exceptional medical care in addition including attention to patient safety, foreign patients in particular
  • Due to the progress of tourism in Turkey as its main industry, there are hundreds of luxury, comfortable hotels for your accommodation before and after the surgical treatment
  • Patients will be thoroughly examined and their health will be evaluated before going back to their countries. Following surgery, you will be evaluated by professionals and given nutritional guidance before returning to your home country

I guess you’re thinking the right question is why not? All of the above-mentioned reasons gave Turkey a new reputation: Health Tourism Turkey.

Every year hundreds of obese patients from the USA, Greece, China, Germany, Spain, Japan, Egypt, England, Italy, France, South Africa, Belgium, Holland, Russia, United Arab Emirates, and many other countries come to Turkey for different types of surgery, among which gastric sleeve in Turkey is one of the most popular surgery types.

Disadvantages of Gastric Sleeve in Turkey

  • Not knowing the Turkish language may cause you some problems when communicating with some staff or people in the streets.
  • Not being close to home increases your need for a companion. So, bringing another person might be an extra cost.
  • Checking specialist surgeons’ credibility is a bit difficult. And of course, options are not limited.
  • Not being able to have face to face follow-up sessions with your surgeon and their team

These disadvantages might make you a bit worried about coming to Turkey for weight loss surgery, and you’re right to be worried. But, medical teams in Turkey have thought about these problems and solutions have been provided.

1- Not Knowing Turkish Is Not a Barrier

If you do not know Turkish, don’t worry at all. Most centers, including ours, have dedicated translators that speak both your language and Turkish fluently. They will be with you from the time you arrive at Turkey, during your consultation sessions with your surgeon and their team, and after the operation when you’re all packed to return home.

2- Look for a Cost-Effective Gastric Sleeve Package

Due to the high demand for medical tourism, most clinics offer patients all-inclusive packages that the actual surgery fees is only a part of it. Other costs are dedicated to accommodation, airport transfers, and transportation with no extra money for your companion.

We strongly suggest our patients bring a close friend or family member to be with them during the whole process.

3- Do a Thorough Online Research

Check all sections of your surgeon’s website. Read all the verified reviews and take a close look at all their previously performed bariatric procedure before and after photos.

Share all your concerns with their patient coordinator. Ask everything that comes to your mind. If they’re telling the truth, you’ll find it out.

And you can always find the patients that left reviews. See if they’re willing to talk to you and ask more questions about their experience.

4- Find a Surgeon with 24/7 Post-Operation Services

It is better to have follow-up sessions with your surgeon, dietitian, and psychiatrist for 1 to 2 years after your surgery. Due to the importance of these sessions, most surgeons give you appointment times to meet with you online.

During these questions, your dietitian might also be present to check your diet progress and make any changes in your schedule, if necessary.

For instance, at our center, patients can be in contact with their dietitian, bariatric surgeon (Dr. Ceyhun Aydoğan), and their psychiatrist for up to one year. Still, finding the best bariatric surgeons in Turkey is not that easy.

Gastric Sleeve Surgeons in Turkey

While you’re doing the research to find the best gastric sleeve surgeon at an affordable price, you have to pay attention to a few points in order not to get tricked. This surgery is vital to your health. So, you must be very careful.

If you want to know who is eligible to perform gastric sleeve in Turkey, beware that any surgeon who has completed the 5-year of general surgery studies is permitted by the law to do gastric sleeve surgery. But the question you should ask is that is this enough?

According to a study that observed bariatric surgery hospital complication rates in Michigan, the rate of serious risks during and after bariatric surgery is directly related to the experience of your doctor and how many surgeries they have done before.

For example, a doctor who is a medical specialist from a center where bariatric surgery is not performed during the general surgery assistantship attends three or four-day courses and tries to practice bariatric surgery, and unfortunately, many sad results are encountered as a result.

So, first, you need to make sure where your surgeon has passed their surgery assistantship. Was it in a hospital where bariatric surgery was frequently performed? Was he the assistant during these procedures? If yes, they’re one step closer to being your ideal surgeon.

Then, you have to ask your patient coordinator the approximate number of surgeries your surgeon has done before. This does not include the ones they were assisting, but the main surgeon. If they have a handful of experience both assisting and leading bariatric procedures, then you’ve found your surgeon.

Some surgeons, in America in particular, pass 2 to 3-day courses for bariatric surgery, but it’s not enough. When it comes to operation, nothing is as necessary as experience.

Gastric Sleeve Hospitals in Turkey

Bariatric surgery cannot be performed in any hospital as it is a very sensitive and special operation. Therefore, you must find out the suitability of your surgeon’s hospital for operation. 

– The operation room must have certain equipment, international standards (ISO international standards), and medical facility.

– The score of the hospital’s intensive care unit must be at least grade 2. You can ask the name of the hospital and check its qualifications. 

– The number of intensive care beds must be sufficient.

– In addition to your surgeon and their team, it is better there should be full-time physicians at the hospital, especially experts in the cardiology department. Make sure to ask about this and also check it for yourself. 

– It would be better if there’s interventional radiology as well. 

Operating table and patient beds should be suitable for obese patients

– You might have to stay 1 or 2 days in the hospital. Make sure it has enough facilities for you and your companion. 

Equipment for Weight Loss Surgery in Turkey

One of the important factors that determine the cost of gastric sleeve is the type of equipment used in the operation. The variety of products in the market makes patients confused. American companies are among the highest quality products currently on the market and are more expensive than Chinese products. 

However, safety is more important than cost. You are saving lots of money by coming to Turkey for surgery. So, just go on with the best procedure in Turkey and forget about the little difference in cost. 

Who Qualifies for Gastric Sleeve in Turkey?

The process of bariatric surgery in Turkey requires patients to firstly send their individual information such as height, weight, and medical history to the medical team.

Then pictures might be needed. Sometimes even an online session with the patient is necessary.

After consultation, the surgeon will decide which type of surgery is better for each patient and if they agree, they will come to Turkey.

So, candidates for gastric sleeve operation in Turkey must tick all the necessary boxes for gastric sleeve in any other parts of the world such as:

1- Age between 18 and 65

2- BMI over 40 (over 35 for patients with serious morbid obesity-related health problems)

3- Psychological readiness

4- Patients who are willing to undergo weight-loss surgery, but having a long procedure like gastric bypass is risky for them.

5- Ready to change lifetime commitment to a healthy lifestyle

6- The most important requirement for international patients who want to undergo weight loss surgery in Turkey is the ability to travel to Turkey. We will discuss this in the next section in detail.

Gastric Sleeve in Major Cities of Turkey

Istanbul, Antalya, and Izmir are the three most popular cities for bariatric surgery. Let’s compare these three cities to see which one acts overall better

Cities for Gastric Sleeve in Turkey

Just find what matters to you and then you can pick the right city for your surgery. For instance, if you prefer to have your operation in a modern clinic, there are a lot of quality private hospitals in Istanbul. So, you’d better find a surgeon from this city to perform your surgery in a private clinic or a private hospital.

Gastric Sleeve Turkey Price vs Other Countries

As might know by now, there is a noticeable difference in bariatric surgery cost, which depends on various factors including the type of surgery, the expertise of your surgeon, the country in which you want to have surgery, and many other factors. We’ve compiled all the information regarding weight-loss surgery costs in a separate article.

Here’s an overview of the cost of sleeve gastrectomy surgery in 11 countries, including North America, Europe, and Turkey.

Weight Loss Surgery Cost

As you can see, among the 11 countries we’ve gone through, the cost of gastric sleeve in the US is the highest, which is on average 18,000 €. In the UK, people must pay about 10,000 € and in the United Arab Emirates, almost 8,000€. In some other countries, like the Czech Republic and Mexico where gastric sleeve surgery cost is about 4,800 €, prices are less than other regions, especially Poland and Germany where prices are between 6,000 to 7,000 €. But still, sleeve gastrectomy in Turkey costs the lowest, about 3,500 € and it makes sense as the expenses and overall cost of living in Turkey is less than the other countries mentioned in the chat above. Also, this is not solely the cost of the actual surgery but medical gastric sleeve mdical packages that include transportation, patients’ accommodation, hotel stay, translation, and so on.

Requirements for Traveling to Turkey

Citizens of Which Countries Do Not Need a Visa to Visit Turkey?

Citizens of about 70 countries do not need visas to visit Turkey and can travel to this country just with their passports. However, the permitted duration of their stay differs.

Citizens of the below-mentioned countries can stay in Turkey for 90 days per visit and 90 days during a 180-day period.

Russian citizens can stay for 60 days per visit and 90 days during a 180-day period.

Citizens of the following countries can stay for 30 days during each visit to Turkey and 90 days overall during a 180-day period.

Citizens of Which Countries Need to Get an E-visa to Turkey?

Citizens of some countries such as Canada and the United States need to get a visa before coming to Turkey, which is really easy. Just got to the e-visa website and fill out the form. You should only pay a few dollars and the process won’t take up more than 15 minutes of your time.

Also, if you’re not sure whether you need an e-visa to enter Turkey, you can check this page and find your country in their list.

COVID-19 Travel Restrictions

For the time being, Turkey is open to travelers from all nationalities who follow travel rules regarding the special COVID situation.

If you have a valid passport and visa, you should check out the latest lockdown updates as international changes affect Turkey travel restrictions.

Gastric Sleeve Turkey Reviews

Nothing is more helpful than the real experiences of the people who have undergone gastric sleeve in Turkey. I have added some of the reviews of my previous patients+ their before/after images in the next two sections. This might help you decide better.

1- Nathan, Birmingham

“I’ve been overweight since I was 13 and now I’m, which means almost d 20 years of non-stop dieting, losing weight, and gaining twice as much.

I had sleep apnea and constantly felt depressed… I just wanted to be healthy. So, I considered bariatric surgery after gaining 21 pounds during the 7-month mark of the pandemic. So, I’ve been to Turkey 3 times for vacation and met with beautiful people whom I’m really grateful for. In November 2020 I contacted one of my Turkish friends and shared my intention of undergoing bariatric surgery. Fast forward to today; Here I am in Istanbul on my 3rd postoperative day and I’m happily recovering from my gastric sleeve surgery, with little pain, almost no complications except for a bit of nausea only one or 2-hours a day, which is normal 🙂 I would like to thank my surgeon Dr. Ceyhun and his professional team.”

2- Sarah, Texas

“I had gastric sleeve surgery performed by Dr. Ceyhun Aydoğan in December 2020. 6 months on I have lost 25 kg (my before surgery was weight being 243 lb) but am still working to reach my goal of losing up to another 25 kg. Once again I would like to thank my bariatric surgeon Dr. Ceyhun, my dietician Ms.Billur, the nurses, and the rest of the staff.”

3- Avery. J, Colodaro

“Back home I had worked together with a professional nutritionist and a personal trainer but hadn’t been able to maintain the weight loss, with the amount lost never being enough to help with my deteriorating health issues. I have been to Turkey (Antalya & Marmaris) many times for vacation, so when a family relative told me about her recent cosmetic surgery experience in Istanbul and how good the healthcare services, as well as the prices, were, I decided to do some research on the medical travel agency she recommended. My initial contact was with Merwe who was efficient at responding to all my inquiries. After sending in all the required information he asked from me including my BMI, medical history, previous operations undergone (if any), medication, etc. I was told that I was eligible to undergo bariatric surgery. Dr. Ceyhun explained all the fundamentals in great detail and provided me with all the preoperative instructions, including a special diet that I was advised to follow 2 weeks prior to my surgery. I will be traveling for my gastric sleeve operation on the 26th of December. I’m feeling nervous and excited at the same time but I am confident that the reassurance provided by Dr. Ceyhun and the team of Arpanu Medical will be making the whole journey worthwhile!”

Gastric Sleeve Turkey Before/After Pictures

Gastric Sleeve Before and After Pics

Gastric Sleeve Before and After Pics

Gastric Sleeve Before and After Pics

Gastric Sleeve Before and After Pics

Final Advice

If it’s possible for you, try to make the most of this trip. Just a few days off earlier than your surgery date, book a tour and immerse yourself in Turkey’s diverse and heterogeneous culture. Let this critical point of your life also be a memorable one.

Also, if you still have doubts about bariatric surgery costs, take a look at the previous chapter.