Inside the Turkish hotel that’s become a waiting room for Brits wanting cut-price boob jobs
Cosmetic surgery doctors in Istanbul continued to do ‘a roaring trade’ this week despite the reported deaths of two British women who had flown to Turkey for procedures.
MailOnline visited a hotel full of body-conscious British women recuperating after undergoing surgery for everything from tummy tucks to breast reduction or enhancement.
Donna Clancy, 42, was happy to have paid £13,000 for a so-called ‘mummy makeover’ with a Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL), liposuction on her arms and saggy skin removed from her eyelids.
Despite having extensive bruising on her arms and around her eyes with a drainage tube attached to her stomach, she insisted: ‘It all went brilliantly.
‘I can tell that my fat has gone from my tummy. It used to be so loose that I had an apron hanging down. I can now see it is all gone. I can also feel the difference in my breasts.
Donna Clancy, 42, paid £13,000 for a ‘mummy makeover’ after struggling with her self-confidence since having children
Ms Clancy, from Suffolk, said just days after the surgery that she was pleased with the results, despite significant bruising
‘I know it can take six months to a year to see the full results from surgery, but I can already feel I am a different shape.’
Ms Clancy of Lowestoft, Suffolk, who has three children and five grandchildren said she was aware of the risks of surgery, but felt ‘it was a risk worth taking’.
She added: ‘From what I have seen here, the hospitals are cleaner than ours. I am really impressed with the nursing care.
‘It is the same with any surgery. Anything is a risk. You hear horror stories everywhere. There are horror stories in England as well as here.
‘But I have been feeling very insecure and self-conscious about my body for years. When you have had three children, your whole body goes south.
‘I didn’t really have breasts before. They were just sags of skin. I decided to do something about it for me, and I am glad that I did.’
Pictured with her surgeon before her procedure. Ms Clancy, who has three children and five grandchildren, said she was aware of the risks
A 28-year-old Scottish woman, Shannon Bowe, reportedly died last Saturday after flying to Turkey for gastric band surgery
Ms Clancy spoke out after Shannon Bowe, 28, of Denny, near Falkirk in Scotland, reportedly died last Saturday after flying to Turkey for gastric band surgery.
MailOnline also revealed for the first time last week how grandmother Carol Keenan, 54, had died in Turkey last April, just six days after BBL surgery.
The mother-of-three collapsed as she walked to a taxi with her fiancé outside the Volley Hotel in Istanbul where she had been recuperating after her procedure.
Ms Clancy is staying at the same hotel, along with other recovering patients on ‘cosmetic surgery tourism’ packages which include surgery, accommodation and transfers between airports, hotels and hospital appointments.
She initially agreed to pay £8,000 for a tummy tuck, breast implants boosting her to Size C/D, and a BBL.
But she decided to add extra treatments to her arms and eyelids at a 50 per cent discount on the normal rate.
Ms Keenan, right, who died after complications following Brazilian Butt Lift surgery in Istanbul, Turkey, last year. Pictured with her daughter Leonie
Ms Clancy said: ‘I decided it was worth getting everything done in the same go. Everything would have been double the price in the UK’
Ms Clancy arrived in Istanbul with a friend for five days break before undergoing her surgery on Monday and spending two nights in hospital.
She returned to the Volley Hotel on Wednesday and is having her dressings checked every day by a visiting nurse before she flies home next Tuesday after a final hospital check-up.
As she sipped a bottle of water outside her room, she said: ‘I decided it was worth getting everything done in the same go. Everything would have been double the price in the UK.’
Known for its beautiful beaches and architectural wonders, Turkey has become one of the world’s leading centres for plastic surgery in recent years with nearly 950,000 aesthetic procedures carried out in 2020 alone.
The UK’s Office for National Statistics estimated that 248,000 Britons travelled abroad for medical treatment in in 2019.
Many seek out Turkey as their destination of choice to get perkier bums, better breasts, hair implants, flatter noses or so-called Turkey Teeth.
But while most patients return unscathed, data from the Foreign Office reveals that 23 British citizens have died after taking medical tourism trips to Turkey since January 2019.
The Foreign Office website cautions would-be patients to ‘carry out their own research’ and consult their doctors, dentists or specialists in the UK before flying out.
It also warns of ‘an outbreak of botulism cases linked to weight loss treatments performed in Istanbul and Izmir in February 2023’.
Lucy Gorji, 34, from Bristol headed off to her hospital from the Volley Hotel on Thursday morning this week to have a BBL operation as part of a package costing her £3,550.
Lucy Gorji, 34, travelled to Turkey with her eight-year-old son Kasper and a friend for her procedure
Ms Gorji works as an aesthetics practitioner providing botox and lip fillers and said she was undertaking what she regarded as ‘safe’ type of BBL procedure
She arrived in Istanbul on Tuesday with her son Kasper, eight, and best friend Ellie Quirke, 29, in time for pre-surgery checks on Wednesday.
Ms Gorji who works as an aesthetics practitioner providing botox and lip fillers said she was undertaking what she regarded as ‘safe’ type of BBL procedure, having fat injected on the top of the muscle in her buttocks instead of underneath.
She said: ‘I know it can cause problems having injections under the muscle, but I think this way is really safe. I wouldn’t have it done if I thought it was dangerous.’
Ms Gorji spent two or three months carrying out research, before choosing to buy her treatment package from the Clinic Center agency which arranges ‘advanced surgical methods at affordable costs in Turkey’, according to its website.
She said: ‘I looked at the Instagram sites for different companies and I ended up with this one because their online reviews were all positive.
She researched clinics for two to three months before deciding to take the trip, having read reviews on Instagram
Ms Gorji said when she travelled abroad to Spain and Dubai she saw many women who had undergone procedures
She said she had struggled to lose weight from her stomach after giving birth to her son, Kasper
‘Since having a child, I cannot lose wight from my stomach. I also want to improve the look of my hips. I know it will give me more confidence. When you go to places like Spain or Dubai, you see a lot of girls who have had work done on them.’
Emma Jackson, 42, who teaches sport and exercise science at a college in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, was recovering at the Volley Hotel after paying £3,800 through the Clinic Centre for breast enhancement to boost her bust size from a small to a B to a D.
She said: ‘I had been thinking about getting it done for four years or so to improve my confidence. I did look at prices in the UK – but they were pathetic. One price I saw was for £11,500.
Emma Jackson, 42, was recovering at the Volley Hotel after paying £3,800 through the Clinic Centre for breast enhancement
Ms Jackson who was accompanied by ex-partner Daniel Harrison (left), 40, had to pay a £300 online deposit in the UK
She had her procedure on Wednesday while under a general anaesthetic for nearly an hour before spending a night in the hospital
‘I decided to come to Turkey because I know a few people who have been here for things and they have all had positive experiences.
‘This is the only thing I would have. I would never have a tummy tuck or anything like that.’
Ms Jackson who was accompanied by ex-partner Daniel Harrison, 40, had to pay a £300 online deposit in the UK and was asked to pay the remaining £3,500 in cash when she arrived at the Goztepe Hastanesi hospital.
She had her procedure on Wednesday while under a general anaesthetic for nearly an hour before spending a night in the hospital and leaving with antibiotics, pain killers and scar cream.
Ms Jackson said: ‘The hospital staff were really good.
‘They were constantly waking me up for checks. I had people taking my blood pressure and temperature all through the night.
‘The Clinic Centre was dearer than other places, but they have promised me 12 months after care which is one of the reasons I chose to go with them.
‘I was made aware that there are risks with any procedure.
‘They did not hold back and I had to sign paperwork, saying that I was aware about things going wrong.
‘This is a nice hotel and the staff are brilliant.
‘There are people here who had all sorts of procedures like nose jobs and hair transplants. It looks like there is a roaring trade going on.’
Human resources worker Sandi Kay who is a married mother-of-two from Crystal Palace, south London and aged in her 40s said she ‘felt fine’ after returning to the hotel from having breast reduction surgery and spending a night in hospital.
Sandi Kay, a married mother-of-two from Crystal Palace, south London and aged in her 40s, said she ‘felt fine’ after returning to the hotel from having breast reduction surgery
Mrs Kay, who underwent surgery to reduce her bust size from a GG to a D after experiencing discomfort, said she was confident in her surgeon
Ms Kay, who has had her bust size reduced from GG to D, said: ‘I have someone very close to me back home who used the same surgeon and was pleased with their results, so I was confident I was in safe hands.’
She said she ended up paying a cut price of £2,100, less than the normal rate of £3,500, after the Clinic Centre agency honoured a price originally agreed with her in 2020 before Covid.
Ms Kay insisted that she underwent the operation because the size of her breasts made her feel uncomfortable.
She said: ‘I used to need massages and had to go to the osteopath for my shoulders – so there were medical reasons for coming here. I am still swollen, but I feel so much lighter now.
She said she ended up paying a cut price of £2,100, less than the normal rate of £3,500, after the Clinic Centre agency honoured a price originally agreed with her in 2020
Sandy Kay, from South London, recovering from her breast reduction surgery earlier this week with her best friend and chaperone Emma Mclean
‘I had hoped to get it done years ago on the NHS, but I didn’t get anywhere. I was referred to a Clinical Commissioning Group and told that there were a lot of people who need the same treatment and I should lose weight first.
‘So I looked into doing it privately, but I was shocked to find out that it would cost £8,000 to £9,000 in the UK. I didn’t want it done on finance, and I didn’t have the money to pay that much.
‘I knew there were risks to having surgery like anything else – but I think the risks of what I had done were smaller than when you start dealing with internal organs.’
Mother-of-two Val Rees, 58, who has five grandchildren and is a support worker for people with learning difficulties in Pontypool, south Wales, paid £5,200 to have a facelift and a neck lift in a six hour operation on Wednesday.
Val Rees, 58, who has five grandchildren and is a support worker for people with learning difficulties, had a neck and face lift
Clineca Health Tourism main office in Istanbul. Cagatay Alorvorfor, a patient experience manager with the Clineca health tourism agency, said the agency could not answer health questions because they are not doctors
Speaking on her return to the hotel after her operation and overnight stay, she said: ‘It seemed to go OK – but some things were a bit misleading.
‘When I was at home and looked at the details for the hospital, it appeared to be quite posh. But when I got my transfer from here to have my surgery, I found it was a different place in a side street.
‘It made me have second thoughts about going ahead, although it was clean and clinical, but I decided to anyway.
‘They were very keen to take my money in cash. I had to sign paperwork in Turkish. The agency had someone there to translate it for me, but their English was not very good.
‘I have been conscious for a long time about my looks. I am just getting old and my face was drooping. I have a had a lot of stress over the years.’
As she puffed on her vape in the spring sunshine on a terrace at the front of the hotel with drainage tubes still embedded behind her ears, she added: ‘I always wanted a facelift, but it would have cost £10,000 in the UK.’
Cagatay Alorvorfor, a patient experience manager with the Clineca health tourism agency which arranged Ms Keenan’s treatment admitted there had been delays in getting autopsy results after she died, but he was unable to comment on the reasons.
Speaking from the agency’s plush offices with panoramic views of Istanbul on the 12th floor of the Akasya office suites building, he said: ‘We are like an agency linking doctors and patients.
‘The doctors have their own clinics and use us to find patients for them. We arrange for patients to meet doctors, and get operation dates and hotels. We stay in touch with patients after surgery on WhatsApp.
‘We cannot answer health questions because we are not doctors.’
He said that his agency was ‘one of many’ in Istanbul and organised operations for around 45 patients every month.
He added: ‘Most of them are from the UK. They find out about us on Instagram.
‘All patients sign papers explaining what the risks of an operation are. Every operation is a risk, no matter how small.’
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