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The Boom of Plastic Surgery in Thailand

Plastic surgery, also known as cosmetic surgery, in Thailand is hugely popular. The high quality and specialist skills of the surgeons, the first class hospital treatments and the affordable cost all add up to a satisfying all-around package.

Not surprisingly, people come from all over the world travel to Thailand to fix a physical imperfection. However, any form of surgery comes with its own health risks, which is why virtually all cases of plastic surgery are excluded from health insurance coverage in Thailand, unless it is considered medically necessary, such as breast reconstruction surgery for mastectomy.

In today’s article by Pacific Prime Thailand, we will discuss the popularity of plastic surgery in Thailand, the risks of the procedures and the implications on health insurance.

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Plastic Surgery in Thailand

Every year millions of people flock to fully take advantage of Thailand’s modern healthcare facilities, top-notch surgeons and state-of-the-art equipment. They form the cohort of travelers that go to Thailand purely for the medical tourism industry.

For many years, the country has become known for offering a range of procedures and surgeries performed by doctors that have received specialist training in Western nations. These procedures are more affordable when compared to other destinations around the world. A patient could potentially save thousands by electing to have their procedure abroad in Thailand.

More so, Thailand is a top destination for plastic surgery, as it is home to spectacular natural beauty, with majestic beaches in the south and cool, refreshing mountain ranges in the north. There is also the added temptation to recover post-procedure in luxury hotels or holed up in a beautiful beach resort.

What are the common procedures that medical tourists opt for in Thailand?

Most plastic surgery institutes offer a comprehensive range of plastic surgery aimed at reshaping the appearance and improving lifestyles as we will explore below.

Breast Augmentation

This procedure is also known as ‘augmentation mammoplasty’, which involves the use of implants to tone, volumize, and enhance the attractiveness or appeal of the entire chest area.

Admission for elective surgery normally lasts for 1 – 2 days after which, on discharge, you are allowed to continue resting at home. Surgeons will warn against any heavy lifting, exercise or any other strenuous activity.

The risks associated with this procedure include infection, nerve injury, numbness around the areola and nipples, and possible leakage over time leading to revision surgery.

Rhinoplasty

Globally, this procedure, also known as a nose job, is one of the most popular plastic surgeries. This is because the procedure is also performed to overcome health problems caused by, say, an abnormal nose structure or cavity. Other than fixing health problems, rhinoplasty is also performed to improve the appearance and nose features for cosmetic reasons.

The procedures vary depending on the individual and could be either a nose implant or removal surgery, nose reshaping or augmentation rhinoplasty.

The risk associated with this form of surgery is again worth noting. After the procedure, you may experience hematoma, poor healing at the site of incision, damage to subcutaneous blood vessels and underlying nerves and so forth.

Abdominoplasty

An abdominoplasty or commonly known as a tummy tuck is a standard procedure that removes excess skin and fat from the lower and middle region of the abdomen. Doing so helps tighten the wall of the abdominal muscles which enhances the appearance of the abdominal region of the body.

The risk of proceeding with a tummy tuck includes hematoma or bleeding in the abdominal region, infection, blood clots and numbness of the area of the incision. Anesthetic risks are also among the concerns for those going under the knife.

A full consultation with your surgeon will normally give you a better understanding of what to expect and prepare for.

Before the procedure, the patient may be required to stay in the hospital for at least 2-3 days to prepare for additional tests or scans and remain nil-by-mouth before the procedure. After the procedure, the patient may be required to stay to recover for 5-7 days with frequent follow-up checks after discharge for removal of stitches and wound cleaning.

Rhytidectomy

This procedure is commonly known as a facelift to improve the visible signs of sagging skin around the face and neck as we age. Reasons why patients opt for a facelift include:

  • Fat tissue that has displaced from the muscles.
  • Loss of muscle tone in the lower face that may create jowls. Jowls are the lower part of a person’s cheek, where the skin droops. Around the lower jaw, saggy skin also creates an impression of possessing a double chin.

As the procedure is focused on the face and neck, it is important that the incision sites are not subject to any excessive force or sudden movements, which may damage the incision cuts and prohibit the healing process.

Liposuction

The purpose of liposuction is to remove the excess fat under the skin. The removal of fat can be done on your hips, belly, buttocks, back, arms or face to improve the figure and appearance. This procedure normally occurs in tangent with other procedures such as breast reductions, tummy tucks, and facelifts.

Some of the risks attached to this surgery include bleeding, fat necrosis, skin contour irregularities, sagging of the skin, with scarring possible in areas that do not heal fully.

What are some of the best medical facilities for cosmetic surgery in Thailand?

According to reviews on MEDIGO, a few of the top-rated hospitals and facilities that offer a wide range of plastic surgery procedures include:

  • Sikarin Hospital in Bangkok
  • Thainakarin Hospital in Bangkok
  • Phi Beauty Clinic in Phuket
  • B. Care Medical Center in Bangkok
  • Radiant Medical Phuket
  • Nirunda in Bangkok
  • Absolute Care Clinic in Chiang Mai
  • Chiangmai Ram Hospital in Chiang Mai
  • Pyoderma in Bangkok
  • Bangpakok 9 International Hospital in Bangkok

Costs of plastic surgery in Thailand

The cost of the various procedures will vary as there are many different tiers and levels of treatment. Top end hospitals are able to charge high, owing to the excellent facilities and reputable staff, but smaller institutions may be cheaper but standards may not be as high.

Below is a table according to Bangkok Hospital, listing some of the procedures that they offer and their prices.

Procedure Length of Stay
(nights)
Price (Baht)
Breast Augmentation 1 164,000
Breast reduction 1 246,000
Face & Neck Lift 1 240,000
Full Abdominoplasty with liposuction 2 291,000
Liposuction (thighs & buttock) with Vaser 1 162,000
Rhinoplasty - reduction 1 180,000

Source: Bangkok Hospital

Tips to consider when making the decision to opt for plastic surgery

Doing research before you jump to conclusions and react impulsively, is imperative. Dedicating the time to find a top-notch facility for your procedure, the best medical team with credentials that can also speak English will make the entire process easier and safer.

It is best to keep the following in mind:

  • Request for a tour of the facilities and the chance to meet and know the medical team before undergoing the procedure.
  • Check that the medical team are qualified and fully insured.
  • Do your due diligence to review the past procedures, successes and any uneventful procedures to give you a broader perspective to weigh your risks.
  • Request for official certification of associations in which the medical team and facility are part of. For example, the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS) and the International Confederation for Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery (IPRAS) are recognized by international bodies.

Health insurance in Thailand

If you require expat health insurance, you can be reassured that Thailand has the right plan to cover your needs and within your budget. The process is relatively straightforward with the help of an expert broker such as Pacific Prime Thailand.

However, as with any insurance that you get, there will be certain attached terms and conditions that health insurance companies will consider before underwriting your policy.

The golden rule, when looking to secure comprehensive health insurance plans in Thailand – is that insurers will not cover elective procedures. These are procedures that are scheduled in advance and are not deemed a medical emergency. Therefore, all plastic/cosmetic surgery procedures are excluded.

For further information on other health insurance exclusions, we would welcome our readers to check our latest infographic that provides an easy-to-understand summary that people should be aware of.

Request the services of an insurance broker

As a fully licensed insurance brokerage company, Pacific Prime Thailand is proud to offer exceptional policies in partnership with the industry’s best insurance companies for travelers and expats alike. See below and click on the links for further information:

Feel free to contact us today for a free insurance plan quotation.

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Jimmy

Content Creator at Pacific Prime Thailand
Jimmy is a content writer who helps simplify insurance for readers interested in international private medical insurance. He is on a mission in Thailand to support locals, expatriates, and businesses by bring the latest news and updates to his Pacific Prime blog articles.

His expert view and wealth of knowledge on insurance can also be found in his blogs for China, Dubai, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
Jimmy