Advanced Hair Clinics presents an excellent example of how, through innovation and excellence, some Greek companies are gaining global market share in medical tourism. Hair transplantation is rising in popularity, with the number of worldwide procedures increasing by over 20% a year. Greece’s largest and most advanced hair clinic’s statistics transcend this impressive fi gure. Its seven centres in Attica, Thessaloniki, Rhodes and Cyprus saw a 300% growth in patient numbers in 2017. “We are not just another clinic – we are pioneers in hair restoration,” explains the company’s founder and scientific director Dr Anastasios Vekris.
International experts agree: in 2017, the clinic was awarded International Hair Clinic of the Year by International Medical Travel Journal and Healthcare Business Awards for the second time in a row. The company is part of the Cosmetic Derma Medicine Medical Group, which offers a full range of cosmetic and plastic surgery, provided by experienced dermatologists, surgeons, dentists, nutritionists and other specialists. But it is its cutting-edge hair treatments that have made it universally famous.
Vekris is a highly trained microsurgeon and member of the Hellenic Society of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery, the International Confederation of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery and the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery, as well as being registered with the General Medical Council in the UK. As one of the first surgeons in the world to practice the follicular unit extraction (FUE) technique for hair transplantation more than ten years ago, he is also recognised as one of the leading experts in hair restoration. “FUE is a less painful and less invasive hair restoration procedure. Over the years, we have improved the technique’s quality and results. We take single hair follicles, one by one, and plant them under local anaesthesia, without making any linear scars or causing any major trauma. It has the big advantage of producing a natural result within a few months, while at the same time only requiring a downtime of 24-48 hours,” states Vekris.
In the last decade, he has personally performed the procedure over 3,000 times, both in Greece and many other countries and his in-depth understanding of FUE means he is called upon for the most complex cases, such as eyebrow, beard and body hair transplantations, or for clients who have scarring from previous, inferior operations. Advanced Hair Clinics is still the only Greek provider of FUE, with Vekris being supported by over 15 skilled medical teams which carry out up to 12 procedures every day. “Our services stand at the highest level in the world,” says Vekris; “Not only are we known globally for our achievements, but we are invited to give lectures or train at numerous international medical events. In addition, our main facility in central Athens also serves as a training centre for doctors from all over the world who want to learn from us.”
Multiple benefits for clients
As Advanced Hair Clinics’ acclaim increases, so does the number of foreign visitors it receives. “50% of our patients are international. People in the UK, especially London, care a lot about their looks. Other big European markets include France, Germany and Italy, but we also have clients from the Middle East, India, Australia, Canada, the US, Latin America and Africa,” he notes. Part of this is obviously down to a world-class, reliable service. Europeans, for example, are reassured by the fact that 95% of medical regulations and legislations are common throughout the EU. “So there is very little difference between a clinic that stands in Athens and one in London,” Vekris believes.
Price is another major factor. Right now, hair restoration in the UK can cost up to £30,000, whereas the maximum in Greece would be about £4,000. “As a side effect of the Greek financial crisis, we can offer high-quality services from well-trained, multilingual staff at very competitive prices. There are cheaper countries, but not with our medical skills and standards,” he expands.
Advanced Hair Clinics’ other advantage is the location of its centres, which allow clients to combine treatment with a holiday in Athens or other popular locations in Greece and Cyprus, says Vekris: “To make patients feel comfortable, we offer fully inclusive packages of transport, accommodation and treatment. We also give recommendations for just about everything from food, leisure activities and sightseeing, to wellness centres and spas.” This level of service is starting to attract regular tourism, as well as medical tourists, with the company now offering minor aesthetic procedures like laser and injectable treatments throughout the year.
Advanced Hair Clinics success is leading to expansion and plans to open more centres domestically and in Europe. It is looking at Germany, Switzerland and Italy, but Vekris has a soft spot for London, having practiced there over many years, and hopes to open a clinic there soon. Additionally, it is widening its European network of partners that operate as local agents for patient referrals. The company will also continue to innovate, says Vekris: “You need to be first in innovation and in the appliance of modern technology, because there is strong competition nationally and internationally. Nowadays, there are no borders in medicine.”
Advanced Hair Clinics – CDM Medical Group