The Sideshow

Mustache transplants on the rise in Middle East

Eric Pfeiffer
The Sideshow

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A mustache is a symbol of power and respect in some parts of the world. (KREM.com)

Movember is coming to a close in the U.S., but men in the Middle East are reportedly seeking out mustache transplants in order to give their facial hair a thicker and fuller appearance.

"For some men who look young and junior, they think (a mustache) is a must to look senior ... more professional and wise," Turkish plastic surgeon Selahattin Tulunay told CNN. "They think it is prestigious."

Tulunay says he now performs 50 to 60 mustache implants per month on patients who largely hail from the Middle East and travel to his country as "medical tourists."

Several other surgeons told CNN they have seen an increasing number of patients seeking the procedure, with most patients ranging in age from 30 to 50.

The procedure is known as follicular unit extraction and involves removing follicles from areas of the body with dense hair growth and implanting them in the desired mustache area.

Altogether, the outpatient procedure costs about $7,000.

Tulunay tells CNN that his patients often request mustache styles worn by celebrities or historical figures. "They have some celebrities as role models," he said, saying Turkish singer and actor Ibrahim Tatlises is a favorite.

In the U.S. the mustache is taken somewhat less seriously. Groucho Marx was recently voted as having America's favorite facial hair.

In May, an Indian man was recognized by Guinness World Records as having the world's longest mustache at 14 feet.

The mustache is a fixture of the Arab world, dating to the Ottoman Empire. And there have been recent examples of the mustache playing a role in power politics. In 2008 the Jerusalem Post reported that Gaza militants shaved the mustache off a Fatah rival they had abducted

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