Transition in Thailand

This information is for foreign tourists planning to go to Thailnd for medical procedures related to gender transition. Thailand has become well-known for its medical tourism in recent years, and the relatively low cost of trans procedures. Below are some comments from readers on the topic.

The information and opinions below are those of the authors and have not been independently verified.

From a reader in May 2007.

I visited Tsroadmap > International > Thailand and read some of the comments posted from readers; it is a little bit disheartening to see the recommendation to have Surgery only in Bangkok; this is really a false impression as one of the best surgeons is located in Chon Buri. That is Dr Suporn Watanyusakul who works out of the Aikchol Hospital which has ISO 9002 certification. He does both FFS and SRS. The SRS is done using a technique that he developed which is NOT penile inversion as practiced by other Thai surgeons. I had my surgery (SRS) done by him and can speak highly of him, his staff and the hospital; absolutely world class.  I have not had any FFS done by him, but those that have praise him highly for the results and lack of bruising.

From a reader in October 2006.

Transthailand will be established in year 2007 which is aimed at helping TS transit safely in Thailand, we'll have a job offering - preferably a western TS who stays in Bangkok, Thailand. The organisation will aim to 'register' TS who visit Thailand for surgery & making sure that the patient is making safe progress regardless of which medical provider they're at.
 
The job of the person is to visit the various medical provider on a regular basis & keeping records of complication rates, re-surgery rates & recovery of TS who just had surgery.
 
Interested candidates, please email us at: Transthailand@gmail.com

There's an accreditating body in Thailand which gives hospital an accreditation logo if they meet a certain standards (which means they're on par with any hospitals in europe or america). You can find the logo on many excellent hospitals (usually better than what most Thai surgeons have been using!), the logo looks like what's on this page <http://www.bangkokhospital.com/english/default.asp>  - Look at the bottom of the page & you'll see a small logo which has a orange colored tick & says accredited. It's very important because most of the other hospitals are very different in their 'standards' when compared to those which have them. (Just a note to see if you can find anywhere to fit it in)  
 
 
The Samui Clinic

From a reader in October 2006.

I strongly discourage people to even consider this option in Thailand, the hospital has little to offer and the nurses have problems understanding English when I'd visited. The problem with surgery outside Bangkok is that patients has little option left if they run into problems/ complications – there's no 2 nd clinic in Koh Samui who can attend to you immediately if unforeseen situation arises.
 
When questioned at the counter, the nurse isn't aware of the website dedicated to Samui Clinic. It's also strange that the Samui Clinic's website is totally different from it's Official website: http://www.sih.co.th, official email: info@sih.co.th.

The Koh samui website is: http://www.bandonhospital.com, email is info@bandonhospital.com, I think it was said somewhere that the person managing the koh samui website is already dead. I'll forward you the link once I found it.

Patients are recommended to consider Bangkok first over any other destination for Transition, for the Thailand option.

Note: I received the following from another reader on 19 November 2006, in response to the reader information posted above:

"I would just like to say that the Samui Clinic is as far as I am aware still fully operational as it has been since its inception some 6 years ago. Currently it is operated by Nick Connor who has done so for the past three years.

Initially when the clinic first opened it had a hospital presence which consisted of an office with a reception area within the Bandon Hospital. The hospital where the safe and efficient procedure were carried out by Dr Choomchoke and other competent surgeons..

As the site operates solely online Nick Connor decided to forgo the office and continue to operate online and take referral only from that source any other referral went direct to and are dealt with by Dr,. Choomchoke who as far as I am aware still operates out of Bandon International Hospital Koh Samui and Bandon Hospital Surat Thani where he is Medical Director.

What I find misleading about the comments are the following. The writer goes all the away to Koh Samui and then the hospital (Bandon International Hospital I presume) - not the other mentioned which is relatively new. The writer then speaks to a receptionist who could have joined the hospital staff a few days earlier and then signs the clinic off as non-existent or suspect.

Did anyone for instance enquire or request that they speak to Dr. Choomchoke who has always been associated with the Samui Clinic that I suggest may have been a wise move. The writer then goes one step further and mentions that Koh Samui has not any medical facilities to speak of. Let me assure you and say this Koh Samui has treacherous roads and had when I lived on the Island over many years up to 7 traffic accidents a day of which one was a fatality or required serious hospitalisation. The medical care and attention was provided for efficiently by the The Bandon International Hospital and later shared along with the Chaweng Hospital then the newer facilities".

Dr. Sanguan

From a reader in October 2006.

Dr. Sanguan uses Phuket International Hospital, which is modern and not accredited. He also uses Bangkok Phuket Hospital which is accredited and patients should request for it. Bangkok Phuket Hospital has an advantage of having regular physicians flown in straight from Bangkok (so intervention can always happens if requested).

He is a student under Dr. Preecha for Genitals Reassignment and is board certified under the Thai reconstructive & plastic surgery association.

The problem with surgery outside Bangkok is that patients has little option left if they run into problems/ complications. There has been a particular well-known incident (publicized by Dr. Lawrence's website) with Dr. Sanguan and it's going to be the patient has no options in the end but just to be unhappy. It's going to be potentially dangerous if she wants to seek other help/ opinions from other GRS physicians in Bangkok.

Patients are recommended to consider Bangkok first over any other destination for Transition, for the Thailand option.

Dr. Preecha

From a reader in October 2006.

Dr. Preecha has indeed pioneered sex change surgery for Thailand and is the teacher to all (under Thai Reconstructive & Plastic Surgery association) except another Thai guru - Dr. Somsak (Somsak is the teacher to another board certifying board, Thai Academy of Cosmetic Surgery & Medicine). However prospective patients who contact his clinic may not really see him at all - most of the time they'll meet other surgeons publicized on the PAI website. Those surgeons listed on PAI's website will be a lot more cheaper/ affordable if they do a search of their name in the Search engine to look for them in another hospital . If the candidate wants to see Dr. Preecha - make sure he highlights it on the email to PAI.

Dr. Preecha uses Bangkok Nursing Home, a modern hospital and fully accredited. The hospital has rooms that are alot more like a hotel. Dr. Preecha remains as one of the safest choice 1 can consider for GRS (although we can't say much about FFS with him).

The plastic surgery center he owns (PAI) is institutionalized, Dr. Preecha functions more like a 'consulting' surgeon than a 'operating surgeon.

PAI is like a middle-man who employs surgeon & charge a 'mark-up' price for those procedures & surgeon's services. For more affordable GRS from the same doctors under his PAI Team, patients can 'goog' their name & locate them in another hospital.

Dr. Chettawut

From a reader in October 2006.

Dr. Chettawut is also a student under Dr. Preecha & is a nationally board-certified surgeon – he is one of the better option available on the internet (considering how limit the option Thailand has, when she has 170 active GRS surgeons).

Dr. Chettawut uses Vibhavadi Hospital, also a modern private hospital but not accredited. However under the existing Thai law, it's not neccessary for psychiatric evaluation (although the doctors will practice SOC accordingly). He charges USD300 for an psychiatric evaluation - none of the psychiatrist I know will charge that price...

Apichai Angspatt

From a reader in October 2006.

For example, Dr. Apichai Angspatt, Thiti Chaowanalikit (who is equally active in PAI will be alot more affordable at Saint Louis hospital. www.saintlouis.or.th <http://www.saintlouis.or.th/>

Dr. Wimon Sirimaharaj

From a reader in October 2006.

Website: www.drwim-plasticsurgery.com <http://www.drwim-plasticsurgery.com/>
Email: wsirimah@mail.med.cmu.ac.th  <mailto:wsirimah@mail.med.cmu.ac.th>
Address: Clinic Dr Wimon
               288/10 Changkhan Rd
               Chiang Mai
Tel: 053204742
 
An excellent GRS surgeon who who had experience in Stanford medical center, USA & Switzerland. She's a female surgeon who practices in Chiang Mai & uses Ram Hospital, Chiang Mai.

Jirapong Poony

From a reader in October 2006.

He is not the GRS surgeon at Pattaya International Hospital. The hospital has none active GRS surgeons & only if there're patients, Dr. Choochart is their (the hospital) plastic surgeon may operate for them.

Vichai Surawongwin

From a reader in October 2006.

There is a change of website. He is no longer at Pattaya International Hospital, he is at the following address:

Website: http://www.thailandsurgeryholiday.com/  <http://www.thailandsurgeryholiday.com/>

Address: THAILAND SURGERY GROUP
               33/47 WALL STREET TOWER 11th FLOOR, SURIYAWONGSE, BANGRAK, BANGKOK, 10500 THAILAND
               TEL: (662)632-6881-4 FAX.(662)200-0289

He is now in Bangkok, Thailand not Chonburi (Pattaya)

Witoon Wisuthseriwong

From a reader in October 2006.

I'm not totally sure why he was listed. But he has done less than 10 GRS. He is however, TS friendly, when it comes to Breast augmentation. For vaginoplasty, when patients contact him, he'll do the procedure with another government physician he can get at that time.
 
Bhumsak Saksri

From a reader in October 2006.

http://neopsc.com  <http://neopsc.com/> is not longer working.

http://thaidoctoro.com/cosmatic_5.htm <http://thaidoctoro.com/cosmatic_5.htm> is not longer working.

http://www.vibha2-plasticsurgery.com/index/index11.php  <http://www.vibha2-plasticsurgery.com/index/index11.php> is not longer working.
 
Somsak Kunachakr

From a reader in October 2006.

He offers a "Total Transition" package which includes a full FFS treatment, GRS & Breast augmentation for a 30 day programme under 1 price: approximately USD25,000.


Liposuction and body contouring

From a reader in October 2006.

I was writing an email to a TS 1 day when she had wrote the follow: "S__ was her usual self, which has always been something of a puzzle to me.  She is post op, but because she must have had a very masculine appearance, still looks rather andogynous, and dresses in as nondescript a manner as I do.  She offers no gender cues, and never got breast implants.  While she seems pleased with the results of her surgery, I can't get over the feeling that she has less interest in being a woman than in being a transsexual.  Similarly, she's been putting on weight again, and the extra pounds are all going to the belly -- masculine fat distribution.  I would have thought that after surgery, while still taking hormones, would result in a more feminine pattern of deposition, so this seems like bad news. "  
 
When people think of the
lovely ladyboys, they tend to have slight frames, which are relatively rare in the United States. Americans eat too much. I've attached a photo of what the procedures can acheive for you to have an idea how it's like (which cannot be used on the website, because Dr. Somsak didn't get the patient's consent to publish her photos online) .
 
----------------------
 
Unfortunate not many girls are blessed with good 'hardware' to begin their transition with and not many girls get the most from HRT, some girls are on hormones but are on the western diet which tends to be fattening & may also has a 'masculine' fat distribution where all the fats goes to the tummy. It's difficult, and, sometimes impossible - to establish a 'passable' gender statement like that.
 
Dermatolipectomy are procedures like Forehead lift, Facelift, Necklift, Armlift, Backlift, Tummy Tuck, Butt Lift, Thighs lift, Calves lift – which in combination can bring down a person's entire body frame, head to lower body to a smaller body size.
 
With a combination of liposuction, dermatolipectomy (the removal of excessive skin), fats transfer (modern technique, lipo.ed fats are purified & re-injected into the body – which is permanent, unlike, the conventional fat transfer which isn't permanent) , Hydrogel injection (relatively new 'fillers' which to date hasn't have much reported side-effects) and Breast augmentation – it is possible to do a body re-sculpture and achieve a better or in some cases achieve a passable body contour.

Breast augmentation can play an important role in the long run, especially, if unfortunately at a later stage of womanhood - many TS may end up having the masculine fat distribution & the breast no longer gives out a gender cue as a woman, but, an unfortunate over-weight male. Even the smallest implant seems to be beneficial for a girl's image on the long run.

Obviously the procedure is not for everyone, especially, if a girl is slender.

Advantages

For some girls, it means to finally be able to wear feminine skirts.

For some girls, it means easier to pass & get less noticed.

For some girls, the procedure can achieve the waist/hips proportion.

Disadvantage

There'll be some large, permanent scars (some scars will be well-hidden) which may require LASER or steroids injection   (to remove those scars) in the future to achieve a desirable result.

For some girls, if they want to do it together – it means a long absence from work (approximately 1 mth). The procedures will be separated apart for safety reasons & after surgery the mobility can be restricted.

There's a higher risk for complication (although most are small complications which can be controlled)

These procedures can be done by most reputable plastic surgeons at any part of the world, it's commonly performed on people who had undergone massive weight loss from diet, exercise, lap band surgery or gastric bypass surgery. It will take some additional concern from any plastic surgeon (who had seen many similar cases from the main-stream patients).

External links:
Somsak Kunachakr's commercial site, Body Feminization Surgery: http://www.kasemrad.net/bodygrs.html
IngentaConnect: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/fd/os/2004/00000014/00000008/art00009


Yanhee Hospital

In February 2007, a reader sent this information on Yanhee Hospital, where she was employed:

Here are the links that work to our website that we have now for both M2F http://www.yanhee.net/eng/btct/btct_dct_sex.asp
 
and also F2M, http://www.yanhee.net/eng/btct/btct_dct_sex02.asp