Medical Tourism: Facelift in Bangkok

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Mar 11th, 2018, 06:38 PM
  #1
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Medical Tourism: Facelift in Bangkok

My wife and I just returned from a month-long trip to Thailand. Not our first time, we have a good feel for the country after visiting many times over the last thirty years. My 62 year old wife had some concerns about her facial features so she visited a doctor here in California and found that what she was hoping to get done was going to cost over US$20k. She wanted a facelift, neck lift and browlift. OK, not everyone here might think that is a viable thing to do but we both decided that Bangkok would be a cheaper option. And it was. I had done as much research as I could online but did not find as much recent info as I'd like so I thought that this report might help someone who's thinking about doing the same thing. If you don't think that this is a proper thing for a 62 year old woman to do, please keep your thoughts to yourself. But if you're interested in how this worked for us, please read on.
We researched online and saw that quite a few places in Thailand are trying to capitalize on medical tourism. It seemed that Bunrungrad Hospital in Bangkok had the premium service for tourists. We noticed that Yanhee Hospital did too but they weren't in the touristy area of town like Bumrungrad. Both hospitals advertise their prices online and it looked like Yanhee was about 20% less expensive than Bumrungrad. So we contacted Yanhee and found that they had a pretty good team of contacts who speak English well and were very reliable in communication.
After several emails of questions that we had over about six weeks time, we decided to book the procedure there at Yanhee Hospital. We wanted to come and get the surgery done ASAP and then stay in Bangkok for a week until it was time to get the sutures removed. There were a few hiccups about the exact day that the operation would take place, but we felt that Yanhee really did their best to accommodate our schedule.
We initially came to the hospital on a Friday morning. The hospital is on the other side of the river, northwest of the main tourist areas. We were wondering if the area of the city might be a problem but it was not. It was just typical Bangkok...sois and main roads and nothing to be afraid of or concerned about. No big shopping malls or big restaurants nearby but that was not why we were there. I ended up doing a lot of walking around the neighborhood and found it typically Thai. Very safe with lots of places to eat along the street.
Dr. Thawatchai did the consultation that morning. He already had all of her photos and knew what she was looking for in the procedure. It took about thirty minutes and after she had several medical tests done, she was slated for surgery later that day. She was admitted to the hospital and given a private room that I was able to stay in during her stay. Her operation allowed her to stay in the hospital for four nights. The same procedures in the USA would have allowed one night. The room was clean and comfortable and I had a comfortable couch to sleep on along with bathroom and shower. Plus, I could order meals over the phone from an extensive menu.
Her surgery ended up taking nearly six hours in the operating room and she wasn't brought back to the room until nearly 1am. I was a bit worried as she looked like she'd been in a car wreck. The rest of that evening, a nurse came in every hour to check on her and make sure everything was OK. The next day was much the same with nurses coming periodically and her doctor also visited to check up on her. They all spoke English quite well and we never had a communication problem.
Four nights sounds like a lot but it was worth it and we were glad for it. The staff was wonderful with changing bandages and making sure she was comfortable. Dr. Thawatchai even came to the hospital on his day off to check up on her. By the fifth day, it was easy for her to leave without discomfort of any kind. The surgery had been very successful and we were both amazed at the work that Dr. Thawatchai had done.
The total cost of everything was 285,000baht which was US$8900. A year earlier with a cheaper baht and it would have been only $7900. And this included EVERYTHING, followups, room and board, meds, and meds to leave with.
It's now four weeks post-op and we are both very happy that we decided to go to Bangkok for her work and especially happy with everything about Yanhee Hospital. There were not many recent reviews of Yanhee and I thought that it might be helpful to those looking into it. We would not hesitate to go back.
PinotNoir is offline  
Mar 12th, 2018, 12:20 AM
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Oh yeah, Thailand is pretty good at that. No wonder people also go there to turn into girls from men.
helixspin is offline  
Mar 12th, 2018, 08:02 AM
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Not my thing, OP, but your wife is a braver woman than I am to have that done overseas, and Iím so happy it turned out well for her.

probably sarcasm, helix, in which case youíre a...something I canít say on the boards, Iím sure. But the gender affirming surgery tourism industry in Thailand is fascinating. I was just reading an academic research paper on that topic, although why, I donít know. Should not consume gummy worms while in the depths of the online databases, I guess!
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Mar 12th, 2018, 11:51 AM
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It is true that hospitals in Bangkok are known for offering cosmetic surgery at good prices. I've met some people in Bangkok who had "work done" and it looked good. I have to admit I would have opted for Bunrumgrad even though it was more expensive, but it sounds like it worked out well for you.
Kathie is offline  
Mar 13th, 2018, 08:19 AM
  #5
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The hospital was as modern as any in the USA. I forgot to mention earlier that my wife was an RN in her working career and has pretty high standards for health care. We both agreed that if we wouldn't hesitate to become hospitalized in Thailand if it were ever necessary.
PinotNoir is offline  
Mar 13th, 2018, 09:33 AM
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I’m retired RN with 36 yrs. critical care experience. My wife was hospitalized 5 days in 2013 at Samitivej in Bangkok. I too was impressed by the care. They earned my respect and confidence.
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Mar 13th, 2018, 03:29 PM
  #7
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Samitivej was on our short list and it wasn't too far from Bumrungrad. Here's a photo of one of the reception areas in Yanhee.
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Mar 14th, 2018, 01:42 AM
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Looks very nice. Samitivej I would say is similar. They have valet parking, a 7-11, coffee and pastry shops, gift shops, etc. Most importantly the care was excellent. Sue had a private room where I could sleep, a frig, H2O and a newspaper daily and the cost for 5 days was just under 6 k total all of which was covered by travel insurance.
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Mar 14th, 2018, 12:51 PM
  #9
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Originally Posted by jacketwatch View Post
and the cost for 5 days was just under 6 k total all of which was covered by travel insurance.
Wow. I've only purchased travel insurance when required to on several Rick Steves tours. I may have to rethink that. Do you always carry insurance for your travels and if so, what kind?
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Mar 14th, 2018, 02:32 PM
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We do. That time it was Allianz. I didn’t think we would need it but as we purchased the tickets thru UAL per ff miles they offered it which I think they normally so I took it about a week before we left. It was about $50.00. for 15k total coverage. We flew R/T ORD-DEL with a stop in BKK for a week on the return. She pick up some nasty gi bug while in India and was a little sick by the time we got to BKK and two days later she had to be hospitalized. Now I get it from my TA thru travel guard. You can also try www.insuremytrip.com. Check it out.

Last edited by jacketwatch; Mar 14th, 2018 at 03:08 PM.
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Mar 21st, 2018, 02:41 AM
  #11
 
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Originally Posted by jacketwatch View Post
Looks very nice. Samitivej I would say is similar. They have valet parking, a 7-11, coffee and pastry shops, gift shops, etc. Most importantly the care was excellent. Sue had a private room where I could sleep, a frig, H2O and a newspaper daily and the cost for 5 days was just under 6 k total all of which was covered by travel insurance.

None of which necessarily makes it a good hospital
If you had witnessed the training of doctors you'd have second thoughts about having any medical treatment voluntarily in Thailand - there are so many pitfalls - it's just a lottery.
khunwilko is offline  
Mar 21st, 2018, 04:36 AM
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Originally Posted by khunwilko View Post
None of which necessarily makes it a good hospital
If you had witnessed the training of doctors you'd have second thoughts about having any medical treatment voluntarily in Thailand - there are so many pitfalls - it's just a lottery.
I also said the care was excellent sir and this is coming from a perspective of an R N for 36 yrs. who worked my last 24 yrs. in a major teaching hospital in inner city Chicago so I witnessed just that, how doctors were trained. Did you not see that? I know what good care is. I also know the frills are just that but in our case Samitivej delivered top notch care. These days such frills are part of the medical centers package, I imagine to appeal to patients and families. Have you witnessed the training of MD's in Thailand and in what capacity?

Last edited by jacketwatch; Mar 21st, 2018 at 05:34 AM.
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Mar 21st, 2018, 05:50 AM
  #13
 
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Samitivej has received many awards for excellent care.

https://www.samitivejhospitals.com/en/accreditations/
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Mar 21st, 2018, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by jacketwatch View Post
I also said the care was excellent sir and this is coming from a perspective of an R N for 36 yrs. who worked my last 24 yrs. in a major teaching hospital in inner city Chicago so I witnessed just that, how doctors were trained. Did you not see that? I know what good care is. I also know the frills are just that but in our case Samitivej delivered top notch care. These days such frills are part of the medical centers package, I imagine to appeal to patients and families. Have you witnessed the training of MD's in Thailand and in what capacity?

Sorry to have to disagree with you on this,
I've experience of the corruption that goes on in the training of medical staff in Thailand, the dreadful hierarchical system that exists and the total lack of comeback available to customers.
I have spoken to foreign professionals who have worked in Thai hospitals and many leave because they can't do they job properly within the system here.
The lack of ethics and accountability is quite frankly frightening.
khunwilko is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2018, 12:21 AM
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Originally Posted by khunwilko View Post
Sorry to have to disagree with you on this,
I've experience of the corruption that goes on in the training of medical staff in Thailand, the dreadful hierarchical system that exists and the total lack of comeback available to customers.
I have spoken to foreign professionals who have worked in Thai hospitals and many leave because they can't do they job properly within the system here.
The lack of ethics and accountability is quite frankly frightening.
my experience and others here have been quite the opposite sir. We will just have to disagree.
All the best, Larry.
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Mar 22nd, 2018, 05:42 PM
  #16
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Originally Posted by khunwilko View Post
Sorry to have to disagree with you on this,
I've experience of the corruption that goes on in the training of medical staff in Thailand, the dreadful hierarchical system that exists and the total lack of comeback available to customers.
I have spoken to foreign professionals who have worked in Thai hospitals and many leave because they can't do they job properly within the system here.
The lack of ethics and accountability is quite frankly frightening.
As a lifelong RN, my wife knew the way that hospitals should operate and would acknowledge that care in some USA hospitals was woefully lacking. At Yanhee, which is likely a typical Thai hospital, she did not see any of the shortness of staff or lack of care that is shown in USA hospitals today. Instead, she saw a doctor who took time from HIS DAY OFF to come in and make sure that she was OK. We wouldn't hesitate to go back for any treatment.
PinotNoir is offline  
Mar 24th, 2018, 03:45 AM
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Originally Posted by khunwilko View Post
Sorry to have to disagree with you on this,
I've experience of the corruption that goes on in the training of medical staff in Thailand, the dreadful hierarchical system that exists and the total lack of comeback available to customers.
I have spoken to foreign professionals who have worked in Thai hospitals and many leave because they can't do they job properly within the system here.
The lack of ethics and accountability is quite frankly frightening.
​​​​​​Having used both international hospitals in Phuket for both emergency, routine and cosmetic reasons, I would disagree.

I do agree with regard to the state hospitals and doctor surgeries.
Cyansiam is offline  
Mar 24th, 2018, 08:19 PM
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Originally Posted by khunwilko View Post
Your experience hasn't been the opposite, our conclsions are not the same..
Are you saying you have experienced excellent care in the Thai health care system? That is what I said.
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Mar 26th, 2018, 07:54 AM
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I can't believe this hasn't been deleted as advertising. Because that's basically what it is.
RM67 is offline  
Mar 26th, 2018, 01:42 PM
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I disagree about this being an ad. Ads are usually plugs by the posters for their own gain. There is even a disclaimer at the beginning of the post to not read on if you are not interested. People posting ads don’t discourage you from reading on.

This is was more like a TR for medical tourism which is quite a business now for those who want to save a lot of money for procedures like plastic surgery or for those who simply can’t afford necessities like joint replacements or even a CABG. As I noted our total bill for 5 full days was just under 6k. Contrast that to my out patient knee meniscus surgery in 2013 which was just under 12 k not including the bills for the surgeon and anesthesia.
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