Bangkok has become a leading destination in Southeast Asia for cosmetic and plastic surgery. With more than 550,000 patients a year, top-notch facilities, and certified, experienced doctors, is this trend here to stay? We’ll try to answer this question
Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, has become a leading destination in Southeast Asia for cosmetic and plastic surgery. In this article, we’ll explain what drives this unique trend. We’ll also share tips on how to pick the best surgeon and avoid the horror stories you may have heard here and there. Thailand—and Bangkok in particular—is easily one of the most pleasant places in the world to visit for your next cosmetic procedure.
When conducting our research, we talked to leading clinics in Bangkok to learn about their perspective, and we realized there are plenty of reasons for the rise of this phenomenon:
Thailand’s Rise over the Last Ten Years
In recent years, cosmetic surgery has expanded in Thailand. It has become one of the leading destinations in Asia. Breast augmentation, rhinoplasty, facelifts, and liposuction—more than 112,800 operations are performed on thousands of patients from all continents each year in Thailand.
Asia is the fastest-growing continent in terms of cosmetic surgery, according to an ISAPS report. While the United States is still the leader in cosmetic surgery, performing around 18% of all operations in the world, Thailand should even surpass Europe by 2021.
In Thailand, about 112,800 aesthetic operations are officially performed each year, but this does not take into account operations performed by non-specialized surgeons. This number is expected to double by 2022.
Medical tourism is encouraged by the Thai government. The Tourist Authority of Thailand (TAT) even arranges an annual competition, offering prizes for what it calls ‘The Extreme Makeover’. This includes rhinoplasty, breast augmentation, facelift, tummy tuck, hair transplants, and more. The government’s support also adds another layer of verification for those who consider this option.
Experienced Doctors Answer the Question, ‘Is It Safe to Get Cosmetic Surgery in Thailand?’
Many hospitals and clinics in Thailand are accredited by the International Joint Commission (IJC). This organization promotes high standards of care in over 90 nations. Bumrungrad International in Bangkok became the first Asian hospital to meet the standard in 2002.
The IJC raised the standards dramatically. If you visit different clinics in Bangkok, just look at their walls, and you will see that they are proud of their achievements and always strive to improve. It is, of course, part of a bigger scale phenomenon that has to do with Thailand’s culture of service and professionalism. We talked with the leading doctor at Bangkok Plastic Surgery clinic, who explained, ‘the Bangkok plastic and cosmetic surgery scene has moved so fast over the past five years, and it’s unstoppable. With more and more foreign patients coming to our doors every year, we must keep improving and find innovative solutions’. He continued, ‘I truly believe that contrary to what people might think, Bangkok is probably one of the safest places in the world to have a procedure’.
Bangkok is currently considered by many to be a leader in the level of its facilities. The economic reform seen by the city has allowed for spending millions of dollars on better equipment, nicer clinics, and top human power. Yes, back in 2010, you could book your operation and have an unpleasant surprise when stepping into the clinic after a long flight. But today, the situation is much different, and it’s hard to find a clinic whose facilities don’t meet the national standards.
Bangkok Is One of the Cheapest Destinations for Cosmetic Surgery in the World
Yes, despite the unique situation described above, Thailand is still one of the cheapest places in the world for plastic or cosmetic surgery. For example, upper or lower eyelid surgery can cost as little as USD 700–1,200 in Bangkok while that price could be doubled in Western countries. Facelifts in Bangkok cost USD 3,000–6,000, and tummy tucks cost USD 3,000–5,000 (those of you who have already done this research know how affordable it can be in Bangkok). A good price may not always be your highest priority consideration, but it’s always a good feeling when you can meet your expected level of skill while keeping a few more bucks in your pocket.
Thailand is A Tropical Paradise with Unsurpassed Hospitality
At first, this point may not sound like a direct benefit for eyeing Bangkok and Thailand as your destination, but if you think about it, the recovery period is no less important than the operation itself. Your recovery could have a significant effect on your total experience, and Thailand has a major advantage over other places. It’s probably the best place in the world to go through your recovery period. Amazing hotels, white-sand beaches, historic temples, and unbelievably tasty food are just a few examples of what Thailand’s tropical paradise has to offer for patients. ‘We witnessed dozens of patients over the past ten years and learned from their experience. One of the most noticeable factors that contributed to their overall experience was their relaxing recovery period’, says Doctor Sue from bangkokplasticsurgery.net. And we haven’t mentioned the Thai people, who always welcome you with a smile. Simon D., one of the patients we interviewed, said, ‘The number of true smiles you see here every day I didn’t see in a year in the US’.
What to Consider when Picking your Plastic Surgery Clinic
When Googling, you may find some horror stories about plastic surgeries overseas. In our honest opinion, these stories probably aren’t based in reality. It’s not uncommon nowadays for customers to become wiser in their choices, and when a lot of money is on the stake, such stories tend to pop up on the internet. That being said, be cautious when picking your destination and clinic to ensure that you have the best experience possible.
So you’ve decided that you are ready to go to Bangkok to finally undergo that cosmetic procedure that you have been thinking about for a long time. Great! Here is what you should consider in your research:
- Ask the surgeon about his training and education. Consider the fact that many Thai surgeons received training in Western countries which means they should be able to show you an official certificate.
- Visit the clinic in person before signing any contract. You should have a full picture of the clinic look and feel and checking it in person will help you better prepare for the surgery and recovery period.
- Another recommended validation would be to ask the clinic whether they recognized by international bodies such as ISAPS or IPRAS.
To conclude, our research shows clearly that Thailand and Bangkok, in particular, can be a great destination to visit for cosmetic and plastic surgery and we hope you now feel more informed and aware of what stands behind the trend and why it’s here to stay and grow in the future.
Thinking about having cosmetic surgery? Share your thoughts in the comments.