Vaginoplasty with Thep Vechavisit
Address: Pratunam Polyclinic
425/4 Rajaprarop Road Bangkok Thailand
Opposite Indra Regent Hotel Next To Bankthai
Phone: (66)22 545333, (66)22 557767, (66)22 545888, 66-2-2552280, 66-2-6517271-76,
Email : email@example.com
Note: According to media sources, Thep Vechavisit "has no license to practice." However, he told the Sydney Morning Herald he "is a registered Thai doctor who did a two-month course in cosmetic surgery through New York University."
A note to plasticsurgery.or.th in January 2006 confirmed that Thep Vechavisit is NOT a national board certified plastic surgeon in Thailand.
He also has divulged information about prospective patients to the press (see below), raising questions about his ability to keep patient records confidential.
From a reader in August 2006:
I'm familiar with almost all the grs surgeons in Thailand as I'm in the medical surgery industry. I really don't recommend Dr. Thep Vechavist to anyone, he operates in his tiny clinic (a very street-side clinic setting *think something about Chinatown). The surgical settings make you worry about sterility (He does everything himself, from sedatives to surgery), patients can observe cracks in the walls & discolored yellow paints on the walls. The patient will be discharged from the clinic back to the hotel.
As for the matter about his license (I've a quoted email below). There're general surgeons who can do surgeries, but, Dr. Thep Vechavisit has so many complications (for his patients) that none of the Thais are willing to give hospital privileges because of his bad reputation. The so-call 2 month's course could just be a convention (remember he is a thai, he probably didn't knew how to tell the differences). Cosmetic Surgery course in New York can only be attended by board certified surgeons (usually as an update to their skills) so I doubt he attended a normal 'physician's only' shop.
As a general rule. Good surgeons don't advertise (which explains his need to constantly advertise through news papers), he attracts them. Of the many surgeons whom I'd personally meet, Dr. Thep is the only inhonest surgeon about his qualifications. I'm likely to recommend Dr. Somsak to everyone else.
Those considering Thai surgeons should research more established surgeons like Preecha Tiewtranon or Suporn Watanyusakul. For a full list that includes Thai surgeons, see the vaginoplasty main page.
According to a September 2005 Bangkok Recorder webmagazine article, Thep and others at Pratunam Poly Clinic perform vaginoplasty procedures for around US$1600, about one-tenth of the US price:
While some of Thailand’s surgeons have been vilified for lacking in qualifications, there is no denying they have the most experience. Coupled with the country's lax laws on transgender surgery, hundreds of gender-unhappy tourists and locals flock to Bangkok’s plastic surgery clinics every month.
“Most of my clients are Thai and work in bars and other entertainment venues,” says Dr Thep, a surgeon from the the Pratunam Poly Clinic, a facility specializing in male-to-female SRS operations. The Pratunam Poly Clinic charges just $1600 USD for the procedure, compared to $25,000 in the West.
The actual operation is known as “penile inversion vaginoplasty” involving castration and inverting the skin from the penis and scrotum to create a neovagina. The depth of the new vaginal cavity depends on the size of the penis. “The most common complaint is that the cavity is not big enough,” reports Dr Thep. “In this case we can perform a colon vaginoplasty six months later using skin from the colon to extend the vagina.”
The entire operation takes two-and-a-half to three hours. Six days after the procedure, patients can be discharged from hospital. Two months later they can engage in sexual intercourse, functioning as a woman by almost every definition of the term.
One Thai website notes their heavy advertising in newspapers and through pageant sponsorships:
"Pratunam Polyclinic is advertising in the Bangkok Post that they perform them for a very reasonable $US 1,625, that is an all up price."
A reader sent this 2006 price list:
Breast Augmentation 1125 US$
Rhinoplasty 300 US$
Buttock Augmentation 1250 US$
Blepharoplasty 200 US$
Lower Eye Lids 200 US$
Crow's Feet 625 US$
Facelift 875 US$
Forehead Lift 625 US$
Full Face Lift 2125 US$
Liposuction 625 US$
Abdomen 625 US$
Thigh 625 US$
Arm 625 US$
Hip & Buttock 625 US$
Calf & Ankle 625 US$
Sex Change 1625 US$
Abdominoplasty 1250 US$
Chin Augmentation 375 US$
Jaw Reduction 875 US$
A-P Repair 375 US$
Laser For Acne Scar 375 US$
Laser Resurfacing 375 US$
Cheek Dimple 150 US$
Orchiectomy (Castration) 125 US$
As Professor Lynn Conway notes on her page on Thai surgery (NOTE: graphic images)
"However, anyone going to Thailand for SRS should make very certain that they are going to one of the handful of reputable surgeons there who are doing high-quality SRS's using modern surgical techniques in the best hospitals. There has long been a tradition in Thailand of doing what superficial "Hijra-style" SRS's which do not create a full vagina. These are inexpensive surgeries (on the order of $1000 to $1500). Many Katheoy "working girls" undergo these surgeries, not being able to afford the full SRS surgeries (if someone does not need a full SRS, a Kathoey-type surgery might be an option to consider). Bottom line is that anyone going to Thailand should carefully research the latest information on Thai surgeons, and avoid going to the "lowest bidder" for such an important and life-changing surgery."
Thep Vechavisit, wannabes, and non-transsexuals
It is well documented that a group of people informally described as wannabes sometimes self-identify as transsexual, though would probably get a differential diagnosis or be rejected by most clinicians in the United States. They sometimes wish to undergo some or all of the same procedures as trans women. They sometimes get only non-transsexual orchiectomy but may wish to modify other body parts as well. They frequently travel to Thailand because of the low cost and the lax requirements for procedures. In much of the western world, qualifying for these procedures requires evaluation by two mental health professionals, which can be bypassed by going to Thailand.
In 2006, Thep Vechavisit told the press he had seen John Mark Karr as a patient. Karr was expelled from Thailand as an "undesirable person" because he had fled the United States prior to appearing in court on child pornography charges. Karr was extradited from Thailand to Boulder, Colorado as part of the investigation into the murder of JonBenét Ramsey:
Just hours before his departure a doctor at a clinic that specializes in sex-change operations said Karr had been one of his patients. But Dr. Thep Vechavisit refused to provide details of the treatment.
Thep has received considerable local publicity for his male-to-female operations and the clinic is one of the sponsors of an annual beauty pageant for transsexuals in the seaside resort of Pattaya.
A staffer at the Pratunam Polyclinic, speaking on condition of anonymity since she was not authorized to make statements to the media, said Karr had consulted the doctor about a sex-change operation. This could not be confirmed."
Associated Press (August 20, 2006). Ramsey Suspect on Flight to U.S. via New York Times
Other wannabes who have undergone some of these procedures or have been rejected after seeking transsexual procedures include Ted Kaczynski (The Unabomber), mass murderer Richard Speck, Marshall Applewhite (head of the Heaven's Gate suicide cult). Author Mildred Brown has noted that these non-transsexual motivations can include "Persons who dislike the behavior they have fallen into in their original sex —e.g. rape, child-molestation, exhibitionism, and other anti-social or criminal behavior. They want to get rid of the parts of their bodies —usually penises—that have led them astray."
Some wannabes have created a new political identity, calling themselves "autogynephiles." These people used to be described in the medical literature as pseudotranssexuals, non-transsexuals, or transvestic applicants for sex reassignment. In recent years, they have pressed to expand the definition of "transsexual" to include themselves.
Thep Vechavisit is featured in a photo catalog:
Caption: Disfigured in Bangkok - Doctor Thep Vechavisit has no licence to practise, but makes cosmetic operations at Pratunam Polyclinic, Bangkok, Thailand
See also the photos of results in this Hungarian article on "risky beauty tourism in Thailand" (Riskantni beauty turizam na Tajlandu).
Louise Hall and Connie Levett (August 27, 2006). Risky scalpel tours cut into taxpayers' pockets. Sydney Morning Herald.
Dr Thep denied there had ever been complications with his patients. When challenged, he said one Australian woman had developed deep vein thrombosis after a tummy tuck.
"There was a middle-aged Australian woman a few months ago and after the operation she would not get up and move, and she got the vein thrombosis," he said. "But that is all."