If your facial scruff grows in a sparse or unsatisfactory pattern, you might consider a trip to Turkey, which is seeing an increase in medical tourism from men seeking mustache transplants.
The procedure uses a technique called follicle-hair extraction, in which doctors remove clusters of hair from the more hirsute areas of the body and implant them along the lip or cheeks to magnify a mustache or beef-up a beard. Performed under local anesthetic, the surgery takes around five hours and can cost up to $5,000, cosmetic surgeons say. Tourism agencies have begun offering “transplant packages” combining facial-hair operations with a shopping vacation in Istanbul or beachside retreat on the Mediterranean coast.
The mustachioed and bearded stars of Turkish soap operas—wildly popular across the Middle East, North Africa and the Balkans—have helped repopularize facial hair as a symbol of virility and machismo. Surgeons say many patients request the full-bodied mustache worn by Turkish singer Ibrahim Tatlises, which has long set the standard for top-drawer whiskers. Another popular style is the stubble beard worn by Turkish TV show heartthrob and model Kivanç Tatlitug, surgeons say.
(Tipped by JMG reader Kevin)