Why is medical tourism booming and what ladies and men must know before preparing to travel to Thailand?
Medical Tourism began around 1980s as Latin American countries offered cheap dental, cosmetic and plastic procedures to American and European patients driven south by excessive costs.
But the niche market turned out to be a multibillion- dollar industry as the health systems of developing economies improve. There are 1.2 million “medical tourists” who annually travel to Thailand for treatments, making it the world’s top destination for medical travel.
In 2002 Thailand was the first country in Asia to achieve Joint Commission International accreditation, certifying that a hospital meets the same rigorous standards of quality and safety as required in the United States of America. Some 39 Thai hospitals now have JCI accreditation.
Today more than 89% of the medical tourists all over the world travel to Thailand, India or Singapore. The most popular procedures overseas are breast augmentation, facelifts, tummy tuck and liposuction. Most tourists prefer to go overseas with a medical tourism company.
We talked to Charmaine the founder of the medical tourism company Beautiful Body Makeover, who went to Thailand for her surgery before she started her own business. We were given a few tips for ladies and men preparing to travel to Thailand from her.
After losing 45 Kgs I was left with a lot of loose skin especially in the tummy and face. I hated my hanging belly and how old losing the weight made me look.
Surgery in Australia was not an option due to the price despite having top health cover this led me to surgery in Bangkok Thailand. I remember spending long nights researching and accumulating as much information as I could. Two long years later I found my doctor and I was so impressed with my results the experience and the entire process, that I am now booking ladies into surgeons all over Thailand. All our surgeons are plastic surgeon board certified.
Tips for men and ladies preparing to travel to Thailand:
- Declaring money over 10 Thousand AUD in Australia is an effortless process it only requires an additional form at the airport to be filled out.
- Take over in your checked luggage some sort of antibacterial body wash
- Take DVDs or a delightful book to have something to pass the time
- Take a long-handled loofah to use post op great for getting to wash feet legs and back especially once back at the hotel and if you’re travelling solo
- Be prepared for tears! Bangkok is a long way from home and after surgery nearly everyone I have spoken to has had a down day.
- Use google translator or learn some basic Thai this will be invaluable as the language barrier is a big stumbling block … Try to at least learn your Soi (street and hotel in Thai)
- Most medications can be brought over the counter. You will be given a goodie bag of meds to take after discharge but some medications like Endone cannot be purchased in Thailand
- Buy a local SIM card for your phone. You will see them being sold at the airport and 7/11 sells them as well, so much cheaper than using the hotel phone if you want to call home or ring your surgeon or hospital. It’s good to have a local number in case the hospital or dr needs to contact you
- Take small bottle of Dettol over with you to put into the wash when washing your clothes and compression garments.
- You won’t need to take much to hospital, but my advice is to take chargers for your devices, a book, DVDs, your toiletries including lip balm, easy to slip on clothes for day of discharge and of course your compression garment/s and your own pillow.
- 30 days is the maximum amount of days you can stay in Thailand without a visa anything over 30 days and you will need to apply for a visa
- A lot of ladies get worried about carrying cash but this is honestly the best way as a lot of places in Thailand won’t take cash cards. If using credit cards the fees can sometimes be extra
- Each surgeon is different and has his / her own pre-op and post op instructions to follow. So if in doubt or worried about anything please contact your surgeon or agent and they will guide you as to what they require you to do
- Prepare for swelling, swelling and more swelling
- Get a couple of compression garments from Australia before going overseas as you will be required to wear them 24 hours a day 7 days a week for many weeks. Also they are cheaper in Australia and you might be able to claim them for your private health insurance.
- Importantly remember to buy some TED anti-embolism socks for during surgery and the first few days after when you will be spending quite some time lying down. They will help with blood flow to prevent DVT.
If you have any further questions or if you want to share your experience with us, feel free to leave a comment.