Why consider Thailand for SRS?

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January 2023


I did this little essay for another and thought if appropriate to post here.

Why consider Thailand for SRS?

I’d like to clear the air a bit in my feelings about selecting Thailand for your SRS – and of course why I did choose to go there.

First of all, I am not one to advocate that Thailand is THE very best place for this most important and life changing surgery.  It is not!  I have some very close friends that have found marvelous care both in the US and Canada.  They all rave highly about their selections and compliment their surgeons highly.

But they all found they had higher costs, a more difficult time to schedule their surgery (some needing to schedule over a full year in advance and with a significant deposit) and in general spent less time either in residence or close proximity for post op recuperation.  I can’t stress this high enough noting the recent case of an infection following surgery on the way home traveling.

This was important to me as in my eleventh day following my surgery I developed a urinary infection.  I was still living in the hotel section of the Bangkok Nursing Home where I still had my private room and telephone – but lacking full time nursing service – and I merely had to pick up the phone and receive immediate service.  I was rushed to the ER and given all the necessary tests and then transferred back to the nursing wing for two nights.  I charged this additional service (about $660) to my credit card and was later reimbursed by my HMO as simple needed service away from home.  My SRS companion, Robin, at about the same time had a skin allergy reaction and was able to do the same.

Trust me, infections like urinary and skin allergy can and do occur at the very best hospital facilities worldwide.  And many Thailand hospitals rank with the very best in the world.  It is as much a commercial attraction for Thailand as their well-known tourist industry.  This was a national progress initiative inaugurated over a decade ago.
It pays in my experience and talking to others to remain in residence for at least three weeks so that care can be given – and overseen and monitored by your surgeon.

That criterion adds to the cost of your surgery and must be taken into consideration as well.

So let’s face it, probably the most attractive thing about selecting Thailand is cost!  It certainly was mine and I did have a lot of frequent flyer miles to let me afford business class travel for both my companion and me.

Second, Robin and I scheduled our surgery at our select times and in the same day.  Yes I was first in the morning, age before beauty, but the date was specifically the day we wanted and fitted our airline reservations perfectly.  We were having lunch together one day and the spirit hit us so we picked a date to fit her very busy business schedule and into a holiday season.  I made an email contact and within two days we had our schedule to work to.  We needed that to get our travel and passport documents in order as well as our personal arrangements at home.  It also matched our HRT and RLT objectives to a “t”.

My third selection was based on the experience of the surgeon.  It gave me a lot confidence to know how many successful procedures my candidate had performed.  There are more surgeons in Thailand that satisfy this than in a similar area.  It’s even been said that Thailand is capital for SRS.  I’ll not debate this but I found the preponderance of others believing this to be consistent.  I’m in the aviation business and there is a saying that stays with me.  “A pilot is faced with hours of sheer boredom followed by seconds of panic when an emergency strikes.”  Nuff said if an emergency might occur during surgery.  I’ve noticed a concern for such a condition by another in this group.  Another aviation philosophy, “Practice makes perfect!”

Fourth I had visited Thailand previously over the years and I wanted to go back and get my elephant ride.  I did not get that and found my desire had diminished greatly after my surgery and adjusting to my circular rubber balloon in sitting.  My cardio and a nurse he was dating took Robin and me for a most private dinner on the river for our last night there. He looked very handsome that night wearing his NYFD tee shirt and our nurse was as adorable as ever!

I also wanted to find a surgeon who I felt confident with for reasons due to particular health requirements– heart consderations in my case.

I hope that you notice that I am not suggesting that one Thai surgeon as THE very best.  That’s your choice and I do recommend that you consider all of the above including hospital and living conditions according to your pocketbook and comfort zones.  My selection was Dr. Preecha for all of the criteria above and a personal recommendation of a local SRS post op of his, a friend here at home in Michigan.  I have mentioned the Bangkok Nursing Home. I liked its location, availability of local services like the beauty parlor across the street where I could get my hair washed and styled for $2.00.

Best to all with hugs,