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Benefits and pitfalls of elective surgery in Thailand

Updated: Aug 14, 2021

The recent medical tourism boom in Thailand has been expected; the state-of-the-art facilities and expert surgeons have consistently provided some of the best healthcare in the world. However, electing to have surgery anywhere doesn’t come without its risks. Here are some of the main pros and cons to consider when choosing to undergo surgery in Thailand.


1. Low costs

Surgical treatment costs in Thailand are generally much more affordable than in other parts of the world, especially when it comes to cosmetic surgeries and plastic surgery, which are usually 3-5 times less than in Europe and the USA. For instance, the average cost of a full facelift in Thailand is $2,500 while it’s $7,500 in The US. Even with the cost of travel and daily living expenses in Thailand, getting elective surgery in Thailand is still cheaper than in America or Europe.

2. High quality hospitals and services

Thailand is one of the medical hubs of Asia for surgical treatments with up-to-date technology and effective surgical techniques. More than 60 hospitals in Thailand have achieved JCI- accreditation and its private hospital standard is ranked among the world’s top 5 destinations for medical tourism. This ensures medical tourists a good quality of service. A lot of major hospitals in Thailand provide the patient with comfortable private rooms and friendly nursing staff. The rooms are well-equipped with facilities and cohere to a 5-star hotel standard.

3. Well-trained Doctors

The number of foreign medical tourists travelling to Thailand has been steadily increasing each year. The key success factors in the Thai medical industry are treatment quality, treatment techniques and worldwide renowned exquisite, natural-looking results. Many Thai doctors and surgeons have received medical training in Western countries which has greatly developed their expertise and experience. As a result, they speak English fluently and are more than able to offer high quality services.

4. Tourist destination

Thailand has a tropical climate and a pleasant culture which is generally beneficial to the patients’ mindset and often makes them feel they can heal up faster and with less discomfort. The tourism infrastructure in Thailand is well developed, so patients can enjoy their time freely while recovering. It is also very easy and convenient to travel to other countries from Thailand.


1. Language barrier

The language barrier is one of the main issues that medical tourists face when travelling to Thailand for medical treatment. When you are browsing for information about treatments and hospitals in Thailand on websites, you will find that a lot of private hospitals do not provide foreign patients with English information. While there are still plenty of hospitals offering good value surgery, the information on their website is in the Thai language. Due to the structure of the Thai language, even Google Translate might not be useful. This significant communication problem often leaves patients with limited options at a higher than average cost in Thailand.

2. Fake doctors & Scam clinics

With regards to the competition in the healthcare industry, especially cosmetic surgeries, a lot of clinics have arisen and some of them are incredibly cheap. If you select one based on its low cost for services only, you might get a non-licensed doctor possibly resulting in poor results and high medical risks. Even in some medical centers with higher prices, you might get a licensed doctor but one without specialization, experience and authority for the specific treatment. Before choosing where you will get your treatment done, it is essential that you check on the internet or elsewhere to see if the medical center and their personnel are trustworthy and whether their services meet your medical requirements.

3. Transportation

Although Bangkok is the capital city, the public transport system does not cover all areas. Finding a taxi is easy and convenient, however depending on the time of day and area, it is usually not possible to avoid the heavy Bangkok traffic. Therefore, travelling back and forth between the hospital and your accommodation during the whole process of treatment can be a nuisance. Also, most taxi drivers do not know their way around the whole city or speak English fluently.



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