Case study: VANITY; Location: BANGKOK; NipTuck and Frequent-Flier Miles

How Thailand as a developing country in an economic crisis and floundering economy and a significant H.I.V. problem managed to turn it all  around and become a world centre for medical tourism is a fascinating, yet in typical Thai- style they did it in a rather odd and roundabout kind of way.  If you know anything about Thai culture you will know what I mean, and this is what makes this story and this strategy cooked up by Thai tourist officials at TAT and hospital administrators all the more brilliant!

They came up with a strategy when Thailand found itself in the economic crisis of 1997 based on their strengths. Their strategy was to market Thailand as a place you would actually travel to for plastic surgery and maybe even other medical procedures as well (like dental) as well as other medical procedures. They started on the one plastic surgery procedure that Thai doctors have come closest to perfecting —  the sex change operation. 

They thought, Thailand had doctors who earned a fraction of what their western counterparts do, though many of them had studied in the U.S. or Australia. It had highly trained nurses who were paid around $600 a month, a culture with a tradition of massage and other spa-worthy healing practices and in Bangkok and Phuket, at least, a lot of high-tech medical equipment purchased during the economic boom and now sitting idle. Medical tourism would have a better rep than sex tourism, and it could easily be as lucrative. But the sex-change industry was the beginning of medical tourism in Thailand, as it make sense to start here and  build on some obvious strengths.

Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT)  issued new directives to travel agents, suggesting that they offer their clients health-tourism and medical-tourism packages and offered Famil’s each year to agents. I went every year – it was a great!

And media was invited from the US and Australia including NBC,  MSNBC and ABC veteran anchor and journalist and multi Emmy awarder Kendis Gibson who has worked for all three broadcasters — ABC News, NBC News, and CBS News & Stations, where they were advised and introduced to the ”fine hospitals” throughout Thailand at the hotels they provided.

Thai travel agents talked up the country’s medical bargains, and hospitals found new ways to advertise and the hospitals and clinics in Bangkok and Phuket pitches to attract foreign tourists, esp. plastic surgery and advertises itself as a ”breakthrough integrated medical rejuvenation center providing spa, medical and fitness facilities.”

Hospital’s websites began to target westerners, featuring  opening page features a sun-dappled photograph of a handsome Caucasian couple, explains that ”in Asia, retaining that youthful look is important. This has, in turn, led to the development in Thailand of cosmetic surgical techniques that are the envy of the medical profession in many G7 countries.”

Plenty of people in Thailand — from government officials to hotel owners to doctors and nurses — banked on the country’s new status as an international capital of discount plastic surgery. All this investment to payed off as Thailand became the number 1 medical tourism destination by volume of care in 2014 and attracted over 2.4 million foreign patients in 2017.

Westerners, or Ferangs, as they are called in Thailand were a good fit for Thailand as medical tourists. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED- HUGE SUCCESS!!!!!!  

But then, politics.  It was the Chinese tourists that Thailand was now interested in woowing…… Some Western countries had downgraded their diplomatic ties when the military seized power back in 2014 and the Thai government was seeking to strengthen ties with Beijing.   And of course, China is a top trading partner…..

And back on the Gold Coast Australia where we were based, it became a very competitive business where clinic’s offered ‘bargain boob job’ for less than $5000 to compete with medical tourism in Asia. This was the lowest price in Australia with a discount to compete as growing numbers of women flock to Asian clinics for cheap surgery. It was competition that Thailand didn’t count on.

As a high-profile Glitter Strip cosmetic surgery promoter, Claire Licciardo, it was said I was hoping for bumper bookings for her next cosmetic surgery tour to Thailand to help pay for the damage.


And then there was covid. And lock-downs. Thailand only this year in 2023 in January welcomed back Chinese tourists. With ‘arms wide open’ as key market returns.


What a ride that was! And a fascinating insight into how Thailand became number one. In 2023 there is an increase in inflation and a lot of global competition in medical tourism…….

But let’s think back. It’s a facinatinating insight thanks to the New York Times Magazine. It’s 1999, Thai Airways International, the government airline of Thailand, began offering travelers an unusual new package-tour option. Most tourists might still prefer the old add-ons: the river cruise, the round of golf, the Thai cooking course. But others, those who were part of a new market that government officials were calling ”medical tourists,” could now combine their Asian holiday with a comprehensive physical, including abdominal ultrasound, chest and barium stomach X-rays and a complete laboratory analysis of blood, urine and stool samples. They could get a written report sent to their hotel within three days. And they could get it all done at Bumrungrad Hospital, a modern medical complex in Bangkok that had all sorts of inviting, foreigner-friendly amenities, starting with a Starbucks and a McDonald’s in the lobby.

This might not seem like a plausible promotion at all except for the fact that thousands of tourists were already coming to Thailand to avail themselves of its best-known medical attraction, discount plastic surgery. In Thailand, you can get a $2,400 face lift or a $1,200 nose job. You can get tumescent liposuction, body contouring, extra-large silicone breast implants, a buttock lift, a brow shave, a laser resurfacing of the face — and pay a fraction of what you would pay back home. At the luxurious Bumrungrad, which offers high-speed Internet access and cable TV in every room, you can choose among precisely delineated packages: liposuction, ”the thighs and love handles” package; liposuction, ”the love handles only” package; liposuction, ”the under chin only” package; and on and on. You can find Thai plastic surgeons who market these operations directly to you on English-language Web sites, where you can book an appointment online if you like what you see.

How a developing country with a floundering economy and a significant H.I.V. problem managed to market itself as a center for medical tourism makes an odd, roundabout story. It depends in part on the Asian economic crisis of 1997 and in part on Thailand’s thriving cabaret culture. Most of all, perhaps, it depends on the one plastic surgery procedure that Thai doctors have come closest to perfecting — namely, the sex change operation. Without the international transsexual grapevine, which since the late 90’s has been spreading the word about the affordable talents of Thai plastic surgeons, the new campaign to bring hard currency into the country by touting its medical bargains would never have gained momentum. And so it makes a strange kind of sense to begin this story with somebody like Michelle Moore — somebody who, it is fair to say, had never given Thailand a moment’s thought before she flew there and changed her life forever.

Moore lives in Philadelphia, not far from where she grew up in the blue-collar town of Glenside. Back then, she was known as Michael Maier. She is now 36 and for the last 18 years has operated a moving company called Maier’s Relocation Service, which runs trucks between Florida and Pennsylvania. For vacations, she likes Daytona Beach, Fla.; in her spare time, she collects and repairs old televisions and radios. Her boyfriend is the cook at a nearby nursing home. In Moore’s previous life, the subject of what might or might not be happening in a developing country in Asia just didn’t come up.

Then last spring Moore heard from a friend about a doctor in Bangkok named Preecha Tiewtranon. Preecha is a talented plastic surgeon with an unusual niche: he and two other Thai surgeons perform the cheapest sex-change operations in the world. Even before the Thai government started actively promoting the country’s medical care, the work of Preecha and his students had made Thailand a pilgrimage destination for American and European men who could not afford sexual-reassignment surgery in their home countries, where it can easily cost upward of $20,000. Moore was one of those customers. Twenty thousand dollars was more than she could afford, but $5,000 — Preecha’s going rate, plus air fare to Bangkok — was a sum she could manage. She would even have cash left over for breasts and, as Moore put it, ”fake cheekbones.”

The good thing, besides the price, was that Thai surgeons didn’t set so much store by the extensive psychological evaluations that Western surgeons demand before they will undertake a sex change. In the United States, doctors commonly adhere to a protocol known as the Harry Benjamin standards, which require sex-change candidates to have seen a psychiatrist for at least six months. In Thailand, they don’t. As long as their foreign patients have passed the ”real life” test of living as a woman for six months, they seldom throw up roadblocks. Moore, who isn’t big on roadblocks of any kind, liked this a lot. As she put it, ”I don’t want to pay some psychiatrist money I don’t have to tell me something I already know.” The convenient thing was that Thai immigration officials were by now so accustomed to their country’s brisk business in sex changes that they hardly blinked when a foreigner in a dress offered up a passport with a name like Chuck on it.

Of course, it was a long way to fly — especially with some very sore nethers and probably some bleeding and, depending on how long you decided to convalesce in Thailand, maybe an inability to urinate normally or some sort of brewing infection. But then the whole operation itself was so extreme that, in some ways, the distance and the arduousness of the journey and the strangeness of the destination seemed fitting.

Once Moore had settled on a trip to Bangkok, her biggest difficulty was choosing between the three Thai surgeons who performed sex changes on foreigners at a rate of two or three a week. Suporn Watanyusakul in Chonburi was kind of new at it, but he had studied with Preecha and his prices were great. (Besides, effused one satisfied customer in a Web site posting, Suporn was willing to provide the giant-sized breast implants that other doctors discouraged.) Sanguan Kunaporn, whose practice was on the swinging resort island of Phuket, was known for laboring hard to make a sensitive ”clitoris” from a small chunk of penis he preserved during surgery. His procedure, however, took 11 hours over two days.

Then there was Savannah, The Canadian-born Australian that had our own Dr Sanguan who is one of the pioneers in male-to-female gender reassignment surgery, and among those who are still performing this type of surgery in Thailand. This has gained him a following from all over the globe in Phuket as her surgeon in male to female gender transition

Then there was Preecha — who at 57 and with 1,200 male-to-female sex changes to his credit, the old man of the business. Having studied plastic surgery at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, he started out back in the 1978 doing sex changes on Thais, but then many of those transsexuals moved overseas (a lot of them to Germany, he says) and married Europeans. These ”lady boys” abroad were admired for their beauty, and word started to trickle out that Thailand was a place to get sexual reassignment surgery done cheaply and fairly artfully. By the late 90’s, Preecha’s clientele was made up almost entirely of Americans, Europeans and Australians. Preecha was fast — in three hours, he could do sexual-reassignment surgery, add breasts and shave an Adam’s apple — and his fans claimed he didn’t sacrifice aesthetics or sensation. He did most of his surgery at Bumrungrad, where many doctors had trained in the U.S. and the decor suggested a new Hyatt in some prosperous American exurb.

Michelle Moore picked Preecha, who first operated on her last August. When I met her, on a March morning so humid my glasses fogged over the instant I stepped outside, she was back in Bangkok to get a bit of repair work done. ”I wasn’t real good about dilating the new vagina every day,” she explained. ”I didn’t do what Preecha told me, and it kind of like collapsed on me.” In the tiny, lace-curtained waiting room of Preecha’s clinic, into which several rows of plastic chairs have somehow been crammed, rangy, raw-boned Moore was a large and incongruous presence. She was wearing jeans and a faded T-shirt with a drawing of a Formula 1 car. Her brown hair was long and a little raggedly cut. She looked a bit like David Bowie as a Philly motorhead.

Normally, Moore is a friendly sort, but at that moment she was kind of ticked off because Preecha had told her that another surgeon, whom she did not know, would be operating on her. ”I want to know who is this guy, where’d he go to school and blah, blah, blah,” she said, gesturing with a plastic fork full of a street vendor’s yellow curry. ”I’m afraid, and nobody can blame me. This is serious stuff.”

The person patiently listening to her was Eddie Chaichana, Preecha’s young nurse. Eddie is from a poor village in the north of Thailand. After he earns a little more money in Bangkok, he wants to go home and provide some much needed medical care there. But in the meantime he lives above Preecha’s clinic and deals all day long and into the night with the requirements of transgendered foreigners. Some of them want a pizza; some want a better selection of cable TV; some want advice on the best beaches to head for when they are ready to strut their brand new stuff. Some of them have never been abroad and are scared to leave the darkened hotel rooms where they are recovering.

At the moment, however, Moore was making perhaps the one request Eddie had not heard from a patient before. She wanted information on how to become a permanent resident of Thailand. She likes the people, the weather, the fact that she can get tailored suits for practically nothing. Having surgery abroad had opened her eyes to a life beyond Pennsylvania. ”I like the United States,” she said. ”But there’s too much red tape, especially in long-distance trucking.” She asked Eddie to help find her a job, maybe figure out a way around some immigration problems. It was one thing Eddie couldn’t do. It is medical tourists he had learned to serve — the people who want a new body, for a good price, to take home.

These days, there are plenty of people in Thailand — from government officials to hotel owners to doctors and nurses — banking on the country’s new status as an international capital of discount plastic surgery. The sex-change industry is only the beginning, as they see it, though it certainly made sense to start there and build on some obvious strengths

Thailand, as it happens, is a country whose male-to-female transsexuals make up an unusually accomplished and accepted subculture. There are no legal sanctions against homosexual or transgendered lifestyles, and kathoeys, or drag queens, are everywhere. In the late 90’s, one of the country’s most popular celebrities was a cross-dressing kick boxer who kissed his opponents and wore lipstick in the ring. The second-highest-grossing Thai movie ever made, ”Iron Ladies,” tells the (true) story of a transsexual volleyball team. Drag-queens and lady-boys are stock characters on Thai soaps. And the country’s many transsexual cabarets employ performers who are delicately featured marvels of plastic surgery. I visited two transsexual bars and a cabaret in Bangkok one Sunday night; talking to Iman and Bam-Bam, two pretty, gum-chewing dancers with lustrous hair and matching mauve eye shadow, it was easy to forget that they were not genetic girls. It is true that the breasts they kept flashing genially at me were perfectly spherical and their hips exiguous, but then that kind of made them look like Victoria’s Secret models, who are genetic girls as far as I know.

Given the amount of reshaping transsexual performers require in order to increase their value in the tourist-driven entertainment business, it is not surprising that there are skilled plastic surgeons in Thailand. But in a country where the per capita income is $2,000, not even showgirls have unlimited money to spend on cosmetic surgery. And they had even less of it after the Asian economic crisis and the devaluation of the Thai baht in 1997.

By then there were 131 private hospitals in Bangkok alone, most outfitted with up-to-date medical technology. Somebody had to fill all those beds and pay all those doctors, and after the baht took its plunge, not even the Thai middle class could afford private medical care anymore. (Those who couldn’t pay out of pocket went to government hospitals.) That is when tourist officials and hospital administrators came up with a strategy: market Thailand as a place you would actually travel to for plastic surgery and maybe even other medical procedures as well. Thailand had doctors who earned a fraction of what their American counterparts do, though many of them had studied in the U.S. or Australia. It had highly trained nurses who were paid around $600 a month, a culture with a tradition of massage and other spa-worthy healing practices and in Bangkok, at least, a lot of high-tech medical equipment purchased during the economic boom and now sitting idle. Medical tourism would have a better rep than sex tourism, and it could easily be as lucrative.

And so two years ago, the Tourism Authority of Thailand issued new directives to travel agents, suggesting that they offer their clients health-tourism packages — trips that might include, say, laser eye surgery along with airfare and hotel. Thai travel agents talked up the country’s medical bargains, and hospitals found new ways to advertise. At the hotel where I stayed, a regularly broadcast message advised me that I could get CNBC at ”fine hospitals” throughout Thailand. And several hospitals and clinics in Bangkok started making concerted pitches to attract foreign tourists. The St. Carlos Hospital, where you can get a full range of plastic surgery, advertises itself as a ”breakthrough integrated medical rejuvenation center providing spa, medical and fitness facilities.” The hospital’s Web site, whose opening page features a sun-dappled photograph of a handsome Caucasian couple, explains that ”in Asia, retaining that youthful look is important. This has, in turn, led to the development in Thailand of cosmetic surgical techniques that are the envy of the medical profession in many G7 countries.”

But it was Bumrungrad that took the merging of hospital and tourist accommodation the furthest. Under the administration of an American C.E.O. named Curtis Schroeder, the hospital began showing travel agents a slide-show presentation to get the word out about its bargains: $205 for an MRI, $267 for a complete physical, $1,200 for abdominal liposuction, $750 for full face resurfacing. From a medical point of view, Bumrungrad was already well equipped, with coronary care and dialysis units and sophisticated imaging technology. Now Schroeder, who is 44 and the former administrator of the U.S.C. Medical Center, set about furnishing it with the kind of lavish niceties to which American tourists are accustomed.

After the hospital’s makeover, a foreign visitor could expect five-star hotel extras: meet-and-greet service at the Bangkok airport, a multilingual personal escort to take him from test to test during physicals. And the rooms themselves were luxe and, by American standards, cheap — some just $54 a night. There were 250-thread-count cotton sheets and complimentary toiletries in baskets woven by Thai hill tribes. The hospital brought in chefs from Bangkok’s most glamorous restaurants — a new one each month — to cook patients’ menus. For customers who found the cuisine too exotic, a McDonald’s was installed in the lobby’s food court.

To advertise all these attractions, Schroeder opened outreach offices in cities across Asia. He figured it wouldn’t be all that hard to attract elites from countries whose medical services lagged far behind Thailand’s but who had the wherewithal ”to shop around for Grandma’s heart operation.” Last year, he also opened an office in London, on the assumption that the National Health Service’s waiting lists could propel some intrepid Brits halfway around the world for medical care. ”I have a newspaper article from England right here,” Schroeder told me one day, ”that shows how people can wait three years for hip replacement surgery with the National Health Service. And it’s the same thing in places like Sweden. There’s got to be a market for us there.” Schroeder handed me a newly produced brochure aimed at luring British patients to Bumrungrad. It promised what sounded like a medical paradise of ”instant” care — a place where the people (read: nurses) are ”gentle, serene and gracious” yet modern and efficient, a soothing amalgam of Buddhist compassion and Western infrastructure.

All this investment is beginning to pay off. Bumrungrad saw some 165,000 foreign patients last year. Schroeder knows that the kind of people who can afford plastic surgery or executive physicals in the United states are not necessarily the most price-sensitive, but he figures that everybody likes a bargain, especially if it can be combined with a vacation to a warm, tourist-friendly country. ”We’ve got one couple from New York who comes here every year for their physicals,” he said. ”They love Thailand, and it’s just an easy way for busy people to kind of multitask.”

Walking through the lobby at Bumrungrad one morning, past the lush ficus trees and the splashing fountain, I ran into Ruben Torral, a bouncy American who is Schroeder’s right-hand man. We ordered two Starbucks lattes, and Torral recounted a couple of his sample pitches for surgical vacations. To promote the month’s special on Lasik surgery, which corrects near-sightedness, Torral said he told prospective customers, ”Have the surgery and see beautiful Thailand — get it?” And for face lifts and such, Torral said the anonymity afforded by a hospital so very far from home might be an incentive for some Americans. ”Look, you can come here, get a face lift and spend five days vacationing on the beach, and it’s still going to cost you 30 or 40 percent less than it would if you had the same procedure in L.A. or New York. And guess what? Nobody at home needs to know what you’ve been up to. They just say, ‘Wow, you look rested.’ And you say ‘Yeah, Thailand’s great!”’

Personally, I find it hard to imagine spending any vacation time in a hospital if I can help it, let alone flying 24 hours to a country where vaccinations are recommended, the H.I.V. rate is 2 percent and the nurses don’t speak my language just to get an operation I could get at home. I worry about surgical complications discovered in Economy Class somewhere over the Pacific. I envision having to ask a flight attendant for 9 or 10 yards of gauze and a shot of morphine. I think about less exacting imitators of the doctors at Bumrungrad trying to cash in on the foreign market and ruining, oh, say, your face.

And most American plastic surgeons would agree with me. They take a dim view of all the sun-and-surf-and-nip-and-tuck destinations: Central America, Mexico, Thailand. Follow-up visits are a problem, they point out, and cultural ideals of beauty differ — and more importantly, so do medical credentials and standards of care. ”These are third-world countries — what more do I really have to say?” said Daniel Morello, the president of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. ”All the best plastic surgeons in those countries come to the U.S. to train. So why would an American go there for surgery?” Every year, Morello said, ”I am beset by 10 or 12 patients who went abroad for surgery and who have problems they want me to fix. These are people whose phone calls have not been answered, who have been abandoned by the doctor they saw.” Morello added that many plastic surgeons here are reluctant to take such patients on, because ”these are angry, disappointed people who tend to transfer that anger to you. You feel badly for them, but you feel they’ve been dumb, too. The notion of a vacation and surgery of any kind — they really shouldn’t be mentioned in the same sentence.”

There may, however, be less risky strategies for coaxing well-heeled Westerners into the Thai health system. After my coffee with Torral, I made a brief stop in a public bathroom where yellow roses float serenely in a marble bowl by the sink and then took the elevator to Curtis Schroeder’s office on the top floor.

Schroeder is a tall, well-tended man with sandy hair slicked back from his forehead and a youthful, pink complexion. The day we met, he was wearing a pearly gray suit and waxing enthusiastic about his latest project, something called the Vital Life Wellness Center, set to open this month. Schroeder leaned forward, elephant-print silk tie dangling. He thinks the center will be a big attraction for Americans into vitamin therapy, and he may be right. The lingo sounds spot-on, and ”wellness” sounds like a smart direction for medical tourism to go in: ”nutraceuticals,” prevention, treatments that are trendy and costly and nonsurgical — and, like plastic surgery, not covered by insurance at home. ”We’ll do body fluid assays, check for vitamin deficiencies, anti-oxidants, free radicals,” Schroeder promised. At the Wellness Center, doctors analyzing data about a client’s body would create ”custom compound” supplements for him. ”Some people now are taking 30-40 vitamin pills a day that they’re buying at the local mall, and they don’t need it,” Schroeder explained. ”It’s passing through them, and all they’ve got is the most expensive urine in the world. Well, we don’t want expensive urine here! We’ll give you exactly what you need to take and no more, and then you’ll come back and we’ll test you again.”

So savvy and so neat was this vision, so far removed from the messy work of turning a man into a woman, that I nearly lost sight of the fact that, so far, the most successful Thai medical tourism — the root of it all — was sexual reassignment surgery. Curtis Schroeder, it was made clear to me, did not wish to talk about sexual reassignment surgery. Before I interviewed him, I met with a woman named Yadda Aparaks, the business director of Bumrungrad. She is a petite, impeccably groomed and rather obdurate person with whom I had the following conversation:

Aparaks: ”We do sex changes, but we are not going to speak about that. We don’t want to be known for doing sex change operations. Sex tourism, sex change, nothing like that.”

Me: ”But you have a whole section of your Web site on sexual reassignment surgery at Bumrungrad.”

Aparaks: ”No, we don’t have that.”

Me: ”Yes, you do.”

Aparaks: ”Well maybe somebody looking at our Web site can pull that up. If they’re looking for that. But we’re not going to talk about that.”

It seemed fruitless to press the point, so that was that. But later that day I met a man who knows intimately just how important sex changes are to the whole boom in medical tourism, who has made quite a nice living on them himself and who just chuckled when I told him what Aparaks said.

Not much seems to bother Preecha Tiewtranon. He gives off an aura of quiet jollity, as though he had just heard a good joke or eaten a warm, tasty meal. And his vast and tolerant bemusement takes in all sorts of phenomena discomfiting to other people. Just for the heck of it and kind of expecting an oh-don’t-be-silly reply, I asked him whether something I had read in a guidebook was true: namely, that penile reattachment surgery was performed more often in Thailand than in other countries and that Thailand was, in fact, the international capital of penile reattachment.

”Oh, yes,” he said. ”We have many wives and girlfriends cutting off the husband’s penises here. A few years ago, you had that Bobbitt, and everybody in America was so excited. And in Thailand, we though what’s all the excitement? We have that all the time. We got very good at the microsurgery for reattaching the penis; it’s a specialty for us.” Preecha chuckled heartily. I joined in rather more hesitantly.

Long ago, Preecha said, he had thought ”transsexual people were kind of dirty people and I looked down on them.” But then he started seeing a few transsexuals as patients, people who came in with horribly botched surgery to be repaired, and he felt sorry for them and thought, If they are going to do this anyway, somebody good should do it so they don’t mutilate themselves. And after a while and to his surprise, he found that he liked his transsexual patients. Maybe even especially the foreigners — those blundering Americans who didn’t know the first thing about Thailand but who trusted him.

In the end, what he liked was that the sex-change patients were grateful, which ordinary tourists, and people in general, so often weren’t. ”You know, someone you do stomach surgery on, maybe it’s very hard for them, and you do a good job, but the patient is just saying, ‘Oh pain, pain, pain,”’ Preecha said. ”The sexual-reassignment surgery patients are always happy. They don’t complain! They say they are born again here in Thailand, and they are happy.”

A version of this article appears in print on May 6, 2001, Section 6, Page 86 of the National edition with the headline: 6. CASE STUDY: VANITY; LOCATION: BANGKOK; Nip, Tuck and Frequent-Flier Miles.

Big boob boom- Where it all began back in 2008!!!!

Young women rush overseas for enlargements from the Gold Coast

Published 13 Feb, 2008, Annelies Gleeson for The  Gold Coast Sun Qld.

YOUNG Gold Coast women seeking `hot looks’ in bikinis through cheap overseas cosmetic surgery have fuelled a breast-enlargement boom. The number of Gold Coast models going under the knife has soared from 5 per cent five years ago, to 40 per cent today, said director of Lush Models, Rebecca Lush.

She said the the Gold Coast’s first medical tourism agency in Bundall, had influenced the surge. “Breast enhancements in Australia have always been out of most of the girls’ price range, but now with the much cheaper procedures in Asia it’s become a lot more common,” she said.

Breast implants on the Coast cost between $10,000-$15,000, but in Bumrungrad International Hospital, Bangkok, they are between $3000-$4000. Surfers Paradise model Bronwyn Gendall said it cost her $6000 for surgery, flights and 10 days of five-star accommodation.

“It was quite scary heading to another country for surgery, especially with the horror stories of people having botched jobs done over there, but then dodgy operations happen here too – they’re just not as publicised,” she said.

“Within 12 hours of arriving the breast implants were all done, nothing went wrong and the nurses were so lovely; they came in to check on us at the hotel.” Company Director director Claire Licciardo said women needed to choose carefully to avoid cosmetic disaster.

Bed, board and a new pair of boobs

NIP-TUCK holidaymakers booking again!

NIP-TUCK holidaymakers booking in again post-covid for cut-price cosmetic surgery in Asia in record numbers are being greeted with at five-star hospitals.

A Sunday Mail investigation in Thailand a decade ago found Australians are using our partnered pkush hospitals complete with chandeliers and the full VIP service!
Our patients can wake up with new breasts or a trim tummy the day for up to a third the price of surgery at home.

Queenslanders are among the patients flocking to the cosmetic surgery hotspot for new breasts and flat stomachs for as little as $6500.

Some hospitals the Courier Mail visited operated like well-oiled machines with highly trained surgeons  some managed by US and Australian management teams,   leading impressed patients to “upsize” from a single procedure to a range of extras, including botox, dental work, eyelid lifts or liposuction.

Group Tours are are back again with Australians are signing-up to cosmetic surgery group tours popular again.

Pre-covid, in the country’s south, Phuket International Hospital was treating 1000 Australians a year  20 times the number four years ago.

The hospital estimates 10,000 Australians a year are flying to Thailand for cosmetic surgery.

“When you are talking about plastic surgery, it is doubling each year,” they said.

Queenslanders make up a quarter of the patients at the hospital, mostly women having breast enlargements.

In Australia, implants can cost between $8000-$17,000.

That compares to about $5000 in Thailand at a major hospital, including surgery, flights and accommodation.

University of Technology Sydney senior lecturer Dr Meredith Jones and researcher on the Sun, Sea, Sand and Silicone project said more Australians were considering cosmetic surgery only after hearing about the cheap price overseas from their girlfriends.

“They were getting it because it is cheap not because they decided I have to have this, now what is the cheapest option?” she said.

Original story published in The Courier Mail


Dr. Narongrit Havarungsi, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of BDMS Group 6 and Hospital Director of Bangkok Hospital Phuket, along with BDMS Group 6 management and Mr. Ho Kwon Ping, Executive Chairman & Founder of the Banyan Tree Group has officially opened “Laguna Wellness by BDMS Phuket” in the presence of distinguished guests and press members.

The new facility offers a wide range of healthcare services and holistic personalized wellness solutions, including preventive healthcare and screening, cutting-edge regenerative medicine, further underpinning Phuket as a premium wellness hub in the region for local and international clientele.

Phuket Vice Governor Danai Sunantharod presided over the grand opening ceremony on 12 June 2023.

The new medical and wellness facility Laguna Phuket, is Asia’s premier integrated destination, and owned by Bangkok Dusit Medical Services (BDMS), the most prestigious private hospital network in the Asia-Pacific region, formally signed a memorandum of understanding on 11 August 2022 outlining the plans to develop a world-class medical and wellness centre within Laguna Phuket.

Scheduled to open early next year, Laguna Wellness by BDMS Phuket will complement the destination’s collection of hotels, resorts, residences and spas along with a golf course and recreational facilities. The new facility will be situated at the heart of Laguna Phuket in the retail and community services hub of Canal Village and will offer residents and medical tourists healthcare and wellness support, including world-leading regenerative medicine, rehabilitation and preventive cardiology services.

Unprecedented in its scale and scope, the new facility will position Laguna Phuket as a premium medical tourism hub in the region, as well as giving the Laguna Phuket residents access to the latest medical technology and the expertise of world-class medical professionals.

“We are delighted to announce this expansion of our long-standing partnership with BDMS. Since the formation of Laguna Phuket over 30 years ago, our on-site emergency clinic operated by BDMS has been integral to the Laguna Phuket lifestyle. 

We are very excited to build on it to offer tourists and residents alike access to a world-class medical and wellness facility,” said Mr. Ravi Chandran, CEO of Laguna Resorts & Hotels. “This development will be a game-changer and further cement Laguna Phuket’s reputation as Thailand’s leading integrated destination for tourism and residential lifestyle offerings.”  

BDMS Phuket is very keen to put efforts in the project in the Laguna Wellness by BDMS Phuket as it would align with Phuket’s Strategy as Medical & Wellness Destination. We will also collaborate with BDMS Wellness Clinic, our pioneer model based in Bangkok, for their wellness and regenerative expertise” said Dr. Narinatara.

The services planned by BDMS include regenerative medicine, preventive cardiology, sport medicine, rehabilitation, aesthetic, dermatology and mental health.

*Stay tuned for more information about Laguna Phuket and the upcoming Laguna Wellness by BDMS Phuket.

Plastic surgery and medical procedures in Thailand: Why more of us are doing it

TRAVELLING for medical procedures is a growing industry but what’s it really like? 

The changing face of healthcare in Australia.

Australians are racing overseas for cheap medical and cosmetic surgeries, after a long pause amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

From dental surgery to face lifts and Botox, these surgeries are generally considered to be much cheaper in locations such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, and are often coupled with relaxing, resort-style vacations.

Now you know a medical procedure you needed could be done at the same quality but half the price internationally, would you jump on a plane to have it done?

Prior to covid- it was estimated that around 15,000 Australians are heading overseas for nip tuck holidays every year, spending a total of $300 million on medical procedures — some of them life saving.

It’s called medical tourism, and it’s having a significant impact on global healthcare, including in Australia, where our health system is straining under the weight of an ageing population and long waiting lists for elective surgery.

Pre-covid Thailand was leading the world as a medical tourism destination. Of the 26.5 million people who visited Thailand in 2013, 2.5 million came purely for medical reasons. That number has been growing at an average of 15 per cent a year over the past decade.

“It’s changing the landscape in terms of price; in any facet of our life people want value for money,” says one Sydney based plastic surgeon.

“Medical tourism has been around forever when people would travel for procedures not available in their country. Now people are going to underdeveloped countries for things that are offered in Australia because it’s cheaper,” he says.

So what are the risks involved when travelling to a foreign country for medical treatment? And why is the Australian Medical Association and Society of Plastic Surgeons staunchly against it?

“The biggest risk I think is the post operative care. You might get two to four weeks of care overseas but in Australia you would see your plastic surgeon at least four to six times over the following 12 months,” says Dr Rizk.

However Thailand is changing this image dodgy backyard jobs and unqualified surgeons by offering a select group of world class hospitals, state of the art technology and internationally trained physicians.

And then there’s the value. A trip to the dentist for a filling in Australia will set you back around $150, in Thailand it’s $30. Breast implants will cost at least $8000 at home, compared to around $3000-$4000 in Thailand. It is this reality that is changing the medical landscape, as Australians and travellers worldwide are lured by cheaper costs, no wait lists and technology often better than what they’d find at home.

The hospitals — what they’re really like

The two biggest hospitals targeting medical tourists are Bumungrad International Hospital and Bangkok Hospital Group, both located in the country’s largest city.

The impressive private hospitals look more like hotels, which is important when they’re trying to cash in on the huge business of medical tourism.

Bumungrad International Hospital treated more than one million patients in 2013. Forty per cent of these were international patients, including around 8500 Australians.

The country’s move into medical tourism started as a survival strategy in 1998, after Thailand was hard hit by the Asian financial crises. It has transformed the way they deliver healthcare.

The 9/11 attacks were a big turning point, as Middle Eastern patients who once travelled to the US for surgery found it harder to get a visa, so they turned to Asia. Primarily Thailand.

Bumungrad hospital went from treating 10,000 Middle Eastern patients each year pre 9/11 to more than 120,000 today.

Walking into the hospital today like PPSI, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a five-star hotel rather than a hospital ward. Lounge areas offer free (non alcoholic) drinks, check-in desks look more like civilised bank tellers, in-house travel agents organise visa extensions and a whole wing is dedicated to interpreters offering translator services for its international patients.

Then there’s the hospital rooms. The top of the line rooms are like small apartments with a living room, bathroom and kitchen all tastefully decorated, offering Wi-Fi, and room for partners or family to stay.

Yes, this is actually a hospital room.

All the comforts of home and room for visitors.

Bumungrad has invested heavily in technology, there’s even a pharmacy robot that dishes out medication into pre made packs to reduce the chance of human error.

Bangkok Hospital tells a similar story. It treated 800,000 patients in 2013, of which 200,000 were medical travellers, including around 2600 Aussies.

Australians and Russians are the biggest customer groups for this service,” Bangkok Hospital Phuket’s director Dr Narongrit Havarungsi.

They can combine the trip to the service with a stay in a four- or five-star hotel,” Narongrit said.

More than 1,000 people, most of them foreigners, visit the Bangkok Hospital Phuket each year for breast augmentation.

The service costs between Bt120,000 and Bt170,000.

He believed foreigners come to his hospital for the service because it was relatively low in cost and good in quality.

People travel here for more than cosmetic surgery. Chronically ill patients are hoping an operation in Thailand could save their life.

A revolutionary Novalis Shaped Beam Surgery is used for cancer treatment, and a less invasive form of open heart surgery, known as OPCAB is also successfully treating patients.

An entire wing is dedicated to sports injuries, where Australian soccer players, AFL stars. and boxers have been treated.

Attached to a shopping mall, it is anything but clinical. Ironically, both hospitals even have a McDonalds to cater for their international visitors.

Cancer patients are choosing Thai hospitals for their revolutionary equipment.

The anti-gravity treadmill treats our injured sports stars.

Then there’s the patient nurse ratio. In Australia the patient to nurse ratio is 8:1, in Thailand it’s 4:1. “The only time the nurse didn’t come was when their buzzer had broken,” said Jackie, a 31 year old professional from the Hunter Valley in NSW who travelled to Thailand for a breast lift, construction and augmentation.

Costs — why is it so much cheaper?

Thailand’s medical procedures are around 30 to 40 per cent cheaper than we’d pay in Australia and up to 50 to 70 per cent less than in the US. While there’s no difference in the cost of medical technology and drugs, it’s the difference in labour costs that make it so competitive.

A nurse can expect to be paid around $17,000 in Thailand compared to $70,000 in Australia. Doctors earn around $50,000 in Thailand compared to $150,000 plus at home. Malpractice premiums are far less too. Doctors may pay around $1000 in Thailand, compared to the US where annual premiums have sky rocketed to $100,000. Then there’s the competition that keeps prices low, as the market battles for the international tourist dollar.

Surgery costs: Australia v Thailand

Breast implants: Australia — $8,000-$12,000, Thailand — $3,000-$4,000

Facelift: Australia — $9,000-$10,000, Thailand — $4,000-$5,500

Tummy tuck: Australia — $7,000-8,000, Thailand — $5,000-$5,200

Dental implant Australia — $3,500-$7,500, Thailand -$2,300

Knee/hip replacement in Australia — $20,000, Thailand — $12,000 -14,000

Fees in Thailand do not include airfares or hotel accommodation (needed for recovery once patients are discharged).

Why are Australians choosing Thailand?

Every patient spoke to had a different story for why they are sitting in a five star Bangkok hotel waiting for surgery or recovering from a procedure.

“It’s like the Athlete’s Foot of the boob,” said Michelle, a 33 year old media professional from the Hunter Valley in NSW who had breast implants, teeth whitening and fillings.

Michelle says her experience in the Bangkok medical system was better than anything she had at home. From the doctor patient interaction to the compassion and care of the nurses, the biggest difference was the after-care. She spent three days in hospital and eight days in a five-star hotel after her procedure. She compares this to a friend at home who paid $12,000 for breast implants and was discharged from hospital the same day.

Michelle post breast implants and dental work.

Then there’s 30-year-old Calli from Subiaco in Western Australia, who flew over for rhinoplasty and breast implants. After having her nose fractured twice when she was 19, she booked her surgeries 12 months ago after hearing about it from a couple of friends.

“There’s a get ‘em in, get ‘em out attitude in Australia,” she says. “After one night I wouldn’t have even be able to lift a glass to have a drink of water,” she added, relieved she had longer to recover in a Thai hospital.

From breast implants to whole body transformations, patients range in age from early 20s to 60s.

The end result was worth all the pain for Calli.

Jaye, a 20-year-old recruitment manager from Bunbury in Western Australia paid $2000 for veneers and to have her wisdom teeth removed, and says she is finally confident to smile again.

Tracy, a 51-year-old Australian mother, googled “cosmetic surgery in Thailand” and two hours later it was a done deal. Recovering from an arm, face and neck lift, as well as a tummy tuck and liposuction she paid $20,000 after being quoted more than $80,000 at home.

“It’s been a confidence lift, I did it to make myself feel better,” she said. Two surgeries and seven days in hospital, she said the support has been unbelievable. “They are more interested in what your expectations are here compared to Australia.”

Jaye, a 20-year-old recruitment manager from Bunbury in Western Australia paid $2000 for veneers and to have her wisdom teeth removed, and says she is finally confident to smile again.

Tracy, a 51-year-old Australian mother, googled “cosmetic surgery in Thailand” and two hours later it was a done deal. Recovering from an arm, face and neck lift, as well as a tummy tuck and liposuction she paid $20,000 after being quoted more than $80,000 at home.

“It’s been a confidence lift, I did it to make myself feel better,” she said. Two surgeries and seven days in hospital, she said the support has been unbelievable. “They are more interested in what your expectations are here compared to Australia.”

Michelle can’t stop smiling after having her teeth whitened for a quarter of the cost in Thailand.

Her friend agreed” You’ll forget you’re in a hospital!”

“I’d go back to the hospital just for the service, it was like a hotel,” said Jackie.

“It was the best experience of my life.”

Young women rush overseas for enlargements Big boob boom

YOUNG Gold Coast women seeking `hot looks’ in bikinis through cheap overseas cosmetic surgery have fuelled a breast-enlargement boom.

The number of Gold Coast models going under the knife has soared from 5 per cent five years ago, to 40 per cent today, said director of Lush Models, Rebecca Lush.

She said the the Gold Coast’s first medical tourism agency in Bundall, had influenced the surge.

“Breast enhancements in Australia have always been out of most of the girls’ price range, but now with the much cheaper procedures in Asia it’s become a lot more common,” she said.

Breast implants on the Coast cost between $10,000-$15,000, but in Bumrungrad International Hospital, Bangkok, they are

between $3000-$4000.

Surfers Paradise model Bronwyn Gendall said it cost her $6000 for surgery, flights and 10 days of five-star accommodation.

“It was quite scary heading to another country for surgery, especially with the horror stories of people having botched jobs done over there, but then dodgy operations happen here too – they’re just not as publicised,” she said.

“Within 12 hours of arriving the breast implants were all done, nothing went wrong and the nurses were so lovely; they came in to check on us at the hotel.”

Company director Claire Licciardo said women needed to choose carefully to avoid cosmetic disaster.

My experience with NipTuck Holidays

My experience with NipTuck Holidays began in 2013 when I travelled in a group tour for a breast lift and augmentation,  after being referred by a friend who had travelled the previous year. From the outset, Claire was so knowledgeable and made the process of booking everything so easy.

I had never been overseas so having surgery as well was a little nerve wracking, but my mind was at ease after having everything taken care of. Claire was available to answer any questions or concerns I had, which were few. The hospital and its facilities are world class and I had such a great experience the first time, I booked again in 2014, 1 year later for dental treatment.

Not only was I saving thousands of dollars each time, I was provided world class care and treatment by highly skilled doctors and nurses. Having been treated at many different hospitals in Brisbane, I can say that nothing compares to the facilities in Phuket. It’s now 9 years later, and I have decided to have revision surgery and more dental work. I’ve had absolutely no issues with my breasts, it’s merely a change in shape and size that I desire. I’ve unfortunately fractured the root of one of my teeth and also need fillings and crowns.

The cost in Australia is astronomical and I have chosen to have NipTuck Holidays plan this trip for me again. All I’ve had to do is provide images, travel availability and the rest has been organised for me. Claire is very down to earth and is a wealth of knowledge of the medical tourism industry as well as having long standing relationships with the hospital and their staff. I am leaving in 10 days and am so excited to be welcomed back to Phuket.

Countries that have reopened for medical tourism 2021 – 2022

First published in The Thaiger

By Cita Catellya

Friday, November 19, 2021 15:54

As a sector that’s heavily reliant on international travel, medical tourism was badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. However, with countries finally reopening, the medical tourism market is now slowly recovering.Medical tourism companies such as NipTuck Holidays and medical centres catering to international patients are resuming their operations and adapting to the new normal.

As a result, the number of people seeking treatment abroad is finally increasing again!

And now countries are reopening and travelling for medical purposes is possible, choosing the best country to visit can be challenging. You’re probably unsure about which country is open and the entry requirements you need to fulfil. So, to help you decide which country you should visit for medical care in 2021, The Thaiger has compiled the top 5 countries that are the new leaders of medical tourism! They all offer top quality medical care at prices much cheaper than in the USA and Europe. Nip Tuck Holidays offers 3/5 of these country’s to our clients!

1. Turkey

The first country that have reopen for medical tourism is Turkey. This country has been one of the most popular medical tourism destinations for many years before the pandemic. People from all around the world come to Turkey for a wide range of procedures, from complex orthopaedic surgeries to cosmetic procedures like hair transplants.

Turkey offers numerous benefits to medical tourists, such as highly trained medical professionals, internationally accredited medical centres, and affordable treatment prices compared with Europe or the USA.

The Turkish authorities are currently in the process of reviving the country’s regional and health tourism economy. Thus, Turkey has one of the easiest entry requirements for Covid-19 around the globe.

Vaccinated international visitors are allowed to visit the country without any restrictions. You also don’t have to undergo quarantine upon arriving in the country. All you have to do is obtain a negative 72-hour PCR test result and proof of vaccination. If you were diagnosed with Covid-19, be sure to provide proof of recovery as well. In addition, every international visitor needs to have travel insurance covering Covid-19.

2. Thailand

Thanks to its advanced and affordable healthcare system, Thailand is one of the top destinations for medical tourism globally. From Bangkok to Phuket, thousands of people flock to this country to combine first-class medical care with a luxury holiday. Most of the highly capable medical professionals in the country received their education in Europe or the USA.

In addition, the country is home to a high number of JCI-accredited hospitals, including the first hospital in East Asia to acquire prestigious accreditations. Whether you’re looking for cosmetic treatments, infertility treatments, or orthopaedic treatments, you can be sure to receive affordable but high-quality care in the Land of Smiles.

After nearly two years of closure, Thailand is finally ready to welcome medical tourists again. As of 1 November 2021, fully vaccinated foreign visitors from low-risk countries can now enter the country by air with no quarantine requirements. You will have to show that you are free from Covid-19 by showing a PCR test before departing to Thailand.

Once you arrive, you will have to take another PCR test. While you don’t have to quarantine, you have to stay at least 1 night at a SHA+ or Alternative Quarantine hotel while waiting for your PCR test result. Another thing you need to have to enter Thailand is travel insurance covering Covid-19.

3. Ukraine

Ukraine can be your top choice if you’re looking for a medical tourism destination in Eastern Europe. Although medical tourism in Ukraine is relatively young, it’s developing rapidly. A large influx of international patients in the country come from Western European and Arab countries. Many people are attracted by the exceptional quality of medical care at affordable costs that Ukraine offers. The medical centres in the country are widely known to be equipped with advanced technology and employ skilled medical professionals. Dental treatments and infertility treatments are particularly popular in Ukraine.

Today, Ukraine is open without restrictions for vaccinated medical tourists all around the world. If you want to visit this country, be sure to obtain a negative PCR test result. You should also provide proof of complete vaccination with vaccines approved by the WHO. These include AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, Sinovac, Sinopharm, and Johnson & Johnson. Additionally, you’ll have to obtain medical insurance that covers you for the entire duration of your trip, but you don’t need to quarantine.

4. Costa Rica

Over the past decade, Costa Rica has become one of the most famous medical tourism destination in North America, especially among patients from Canada and the USA. Compared to these countries, the cost of healthcare in Costa Rica is about 30% to 50% lower. However, the quality of medical care is similar. Besides, the medical professionals in the country carry out their practices according to the law, so you don’t have to worry about getting scammed. In addition, you can easily combine your medical care with a fantastic holiday.

Before entering Costa Rica, the first thing you need to do is complete Health Pass, a digital form for incoming international travellers. Be sure to attach your vaccination certificate to this digital form. Costa Rica accepts tourists vaccinated against Covid-19 with Pfizer/BioNTech, AstraZeneca, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. If you’ve been vaccinated with vaccines other than that approved by the Costa Rican authorities, such as Sinovac, you need to obtain travel insurance covering Covid-19. The insurance should cover accommodation for quarantine and medical costs for Covid-19 treatment.

5. Mexico

Before the pandemic, millions of medical tourists chose Mexico as their top medical tourism destination. Today, the country attracts an even larger number of international patients. Mexico is now experiencing the most significant medical tourist flows globally, and it’s easy to see why.

The country offers the highest standard of medical services. The WHO stated that medical centres in Mexico are comparable to those in the USA. From medical professionals to medical equipment, you can be sure to receive affordable, high-quality treatment here. Most people come for dental treatments thanks to the exceptional quality and affordability that dental clinics in the country provide.

Mexico is now open to visitors from all countries. If you’re planning to visit Mexico, you need to register on the Mexico Vuela Seguro Platform. You don’t need to quarantine or do Covid-19 testing. However, you might still want to prepare a proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test for your airline. It’s also a good idea that you obtain health insurance covering Covid-19.

The five countries we mentioned on this list are the new leaders of medical tourism. They all offer top quality medical care at prices much cheaper than in the USA and Europe. Still, it’s important that you do your research on the best hospitals in the country so you can get the best and safest treatment. If you don’t know where to start, it might be helpful to get the help of medical tourism companies such as Nip Tuck Holidays

And if you don’t we do have payment plans starting from just $40 per week now! Get a free quote or more info:

Interested in a Brazilian Buttock Lift?

With Phuket back in reopening in a few days and back in the game, it’s time to start talking about plastic surgery again in Phuket and we couldn’t be more excited! But Phuket as you have seen is emerging different than how we remember it with it’s new facelift! And instead of everything boobs like it was a decade ago we are talking about butts! BBLs to be exact. I mean 10 years the BBL just wasn’t a thing!!!!

Continue reading to find out how much Brazilian buttocks lift costs and options where you can get it, and what result you will receive in Thailand, Mexico and Turkey…

Phuket has had a facelift and instead of the change from the obsession of everything boobs a decade ago we are talking about butts! BBLs to be exact. I mean ten years the BBL just wasn’t a thing!!!! Either using implants or harvesting fat from other parts of the body and adds it to the buttock in order to give the body a more hourglass shape.

Have you done your research here in Australia and checked out the prices? If you wonder about the cost of Brazilian butt lift and want to save money, we have better options overseas with Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons that are far more experienced and highly trained than they are in Australia! Here you will find a combination of experienced doctors and affordable prices. Continue reading to find out how much Brazilian buttocks lift costs and options where you can get it, and what result you will receive.……


This material has information purposes only and aims to tell about the most cost-effective skilled inpatient care. Please understand though as per normal this is basic information with starting basic with starting prices, and every Plastic Surgeon will require you to complete your medical forms so we have your individual medical history and submit photos so he can assess if you are a good candidate for this procedure and give recommendations on the best surgery to achieve the best results and confirm the price. The choice is yours.

All prices, saving rates, and other cost information given below have 3 independent sources and more information can be found about the procedure on our website.


  1. Our partnered hospital teams, representatives, who are responsible for price relevance and other info on the clinic
  2. Our partnered Plastic& Reconstructive Surgeons and medical teams


Why do people choose Mexico for the Brazilian butt lift?

Mexico is among the top most popular countries for plastic surgery in the world. According to ISAPS statistics, over 1 million plastic surgeries are performed here annually. This amount of procedures would be enough to make over a big city like Barcelona.


So, people choose this country for the BBL due to the following reasons:


  • Low price. The cost of Brazilian butt lift in Mexico is about 2 times lower than in the USA. The price starts from $4,500 in Mexico and about $8,000 in the USA. Such a low cost is explained by general price policy within the country and high competition between the local plastic surgery clinics.
  • Experienced doctors. A lot of highly-professional doctors work in Mexico. They have decades of experience, practice in the leading world’s clinics, and are members of the international organizations to interchange the experience and find out about new techniques in plastic surgery.
  • Convenient location. It takes about 2 hours to get to Mexico by plane from the USA. So, American patients often choose Mexico for plastic surgery due to low prices and favorable location.

If you have any questions on receiving Brazilian butt lift in Mexico, submit a request to get consultation. This option is free.

Book an online consultation


Costs of BBL in different countries

Here are the starting prices of BBL and are general prices are not taking into account individual needs to the client. The final cost is estimated by Plastic Surgeon are client has submitted their medical forms and photos for their assessment.



Country Cost
Turkey $5,000 USD
Mexico $4,500 USD
Australia $12,000 AUD ($9,000 USD)
Thailand $5,600 USD
USA $8,000 USD
South Korea $8,600 USD
*Prices are approximate and may change according to the clinic’s internal price policy and exchange rates. ** Note that the final cost is estimated by treating physician.


How to choose the clinic for Brazilian butt lift?

The success of the Brazilian butt lift directly depends on the clinic where you are going to have the procedure. NipTuck Holidays have have very select criteria to ensure the highest standards in each country, all covered with international insurance and Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons with years of experience. They also include:


  • The clinic’s brand reputation. Better to choose the clinic for Brazilian butt popular with international patients and that has got international accreditations.
  • Patient reviews. Search for the reviews on a clinic to learn more about the experience of real people. The feedback will help you to understand the level of service and plastic surgeries success rate.
  • Doctor’s experience who will perform the procedure and a doctor’s professionalism is much more essential thing. Check out a doctor’s CV, his/her experience and education.
  • Social media.
  • Recommendations of past clients, good results,
  • Before and after photos. One more point that will help you to make the right decision is to see the result of BBL procedures performed in a clinic.
  • We will provide you with all info confidentially based upon your assessment including prices, doctors, portfolio and before & after photos.


Is it safe to get BBL in Mexico?

Any change of your appearance or body with plastic surgery requires responsibility from you. Our network of hospitals and plastic surgeons are carefully selected comply with the highest level of medical services according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery In Mexico, our plastic surgery services that work under international treatment protocols and serve medical tourists from over the globe comply to these guidelines.


And like anything else when deciding on having a Brazilian butt in Mexico, you should find as much info as possible on it — reviews, before and after photos of customers, doctor’s CV, awards. If you have any difficulties BBL in Mexico or would like to compare options in other destinations like Thailand or Turkey we will answer all questions. This option is free.


Turkey? Why you should get Brazilian butt lift in Turkey

Brazilian Butt Lift which over the recent years has become incredibly in demand in Europe and America is one of the most popular treatments performed in Turkey. The procedure attracts the attention of many young people, especially from England. Whether you are getting buttock implants or injecting the fat extracted with liposuction into the buttock area by the BBL Turkey doctors. As a result, the fat from different parts of the body such as abdomen, waist, and back area is transferred into buttocks or hips to achieve an uplift effect.


With its high standards, innovative technologies, and experienced doctors, Turkey ranks very high in the cosmetic surgery sector. Due to this, Turkey has become a popular destination for Brazilian butt lift operations. Every day, dozens of people come to our country to have a Brazilian buttock lift in Istanbul. Thanks to experienced doctors, international patients achieve amazing results and return to their country 100% satisfied.

Turkey is one of the safest and most reliable destinations for Brazilian butt lift operations as it offers a winning combination of high-quality services and reasonable prices to people from foreign countries looking to get the procedure abroad. International patients who have to pay up to five times more for the same operation in their home countries gladly take advantage of low prices on Brazilian buttock lift in Istanbul.


We offer special service packages to foreign patients who decided to undergo a Brazilian butt lift in Turkey. These include a discount on Turkish Airlines flights with all bookings, four or five-star hotel accommodation, airport and local transfer in VIP cars, English speaking host, etc.

All you need to do is: to send your pictures for assessment (buttock area and area for liposuction) to us and complete the medical forms.
Get your customized treatment plan and package offer and took your ticket with our discount and fly! Inquire now for a free consultation


Buttock Implants in Thailand?

After getting your quote and determining your suitability for this procedure, upon arrival in Thailand during your initial visit to your consultation with your plastic surgeon prior to surgery, our surgeon will evaluate the shape of your buttocks as well as the shape you want to achieve. He will then recommend the best  shape of the implants  in Thailand that will enable you to get the result that you want.

There are different options for you to choose from when undergoing butt augmentation in Thailand by silicone implant, for instance, for the shape, we have the round and the oval; for texture, we have cohesive silicone and solid silicone; and for surface, we have the smooth and textured. The size of the implant will also be discussed during this visit.

Upon deciding on the implant you want to use, the incision site will then be discussed. There are 2 possible sites that we offer; one is the vertical incision down the center of the sacrum or a horizontal incision along the folds of your buttocks. Most of our patients choose the incision on the sacrum (tailbone area) for more inconspicuous scarring.

Placement will also be another factor because  implants can be placed either on top, or underneath the muscle. In our surgeon’s experience with this procedure however, we found out that intramuscular (underneath the muscle) placement is still more superior in terms of long term result for Butt Augmentation in Thailand as it is less prone to migration and sagging and it gives a more natural result.  One factor we always have to consider however is the condition of your butt whether you have enough fat and a lot of other factors. Your surgeon will go through the pro’s and con’s of each of your options and recommend whichever will work best for you.


There are cases when your surgeon will recommend Vaser liposuction around the area surrounding the buttocks and/or the removal of excess fat and skin for those patients with sagginess on the lower part of the buttocks to compliment the implant that will be used for your butt augmentation in Thailand. Sometimes, our surgeon may also recommend fat injection (Butt Augmentation by Fat Transfer in Thailand ) in cases where an implant may not be enough to achieve the result that you want.

The final decision will always be yours but out surgeon will certainly give you all the information you need regarding the surgery before we confirm your procedure.

Click here to get your free quote and assessment!


What happens during a buttock augmentation?

Buttock Augmentation in Thailand will be done under GA or sedation; this will also be discussed during your consultation. The surgery proper will take about 1-2 hours, though it will take longer if liposuction or fat transfer should also be done in one procedure.

You will be placed in prone position (lying on your stomach) the entire time of the surgery. Depending on the choices you’ve made during your consultation, the surgery may vary in technique but the common thing is, before closing, our surgeon will make sure your buttocks look as symmetrical as possible, and the incisions, as inconspicuous as possible.



How long is the recovery in Thailand?

Generally depending on your surgeons recommendations and the technique, you be required to sleep on your stomach anywhere from a week to 3 weeks.  Ambulation is encouraged as tolerated, and sitting though not prohibited, is discouraged for at least 2 weeks. If sitting cannot be avoided, post-operative patients are encouraged to just sit for a few minutes at a time.

No garments will be necessary with our new technique for butt augmentation in Thailand, therefore, you will not feel restricted after surgery. Normally, the implant will settle in 2-3 months so we make sure that patients understands that during the first few weeks, their buttocks will be swollen and they may not be able to appreciate the result of the surgery.


Songkran without the splash

As the nation gears up to celebrate a muted Thai New Year, this year promises to be a very different Songkran Festival, Laughs, smiles and love are still there from visiting family and friends however the traditional water fighters and splashing thats famous in the scorching April heat with streets and bars spilling with tourists is missing. But…it’s better than nothing.

 The Public Health Ministry have taken the ‘song’ out of Songkran for 2021 so there won’t be any foam parties, no water fights, throwing or water pistol battles. The government is promoting traditional Songkran celebrations for 2021 at odds with the massive water battles that have become the norm over the past few decades.


Many people have no plans to spend extra during the holidays, some even cancelling plans altogether and preferring to have staycations in the city with Mo Chit looking unusually quiet for this time of year with 26.5% out of 1,000 people interviewed by the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) said they planned to stay home.

Our partnered hotel in Phuket partnered luxury resort in Phuket DoubleTree by Hilton Phuket Banthai Resort was full last night with locals and expats enjoying the celebrations!

Carparks are full right now- celebrating beachfront at the brand new beach bar at our partnered luxury resort in Phuket DoubleTree by Hilton Phuket Banthai Resort!

 FTI vice-chairman Kriengkrai Thiennukul admitted that the ban on water-splashing activities — the highlight of the festival — will affect its joyous atmosphere. “We still have a positive outlook. with more money that will at least circulate during the festival because people have more time off than in previous years,” said Mr Kriengkrai.

It is expected Songkran to be less enthusiastic, but business leaders and state tourism authorities have said holding the festival with health guidelines in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19 is better than nothing.

Bangkok however authorities decided to prohibit celebrations, including water splashing, concerts and foam parties, in one of the popular destinations for Songkran revellers. The move aims to contain the spread of coronavirus, but could mean less of a party mood for the New Year celebrations. The news hasn’t been good with a second wave and infection rates up by around 900 plus per day.


We can’t help but to take a moment to reflect on this time in Thailand and all of the changes over the years! Songkran is one of our absolute favourite celebrations. Going forward we together with our partnered hospital and hotel teams, we are ready when travel does re-open even bigger and better than ever re-branded and expanded with a brand new website and more to offer our clients.

Today Nip Tuck Holidays is very happy to continue to work with our long-term hospital partners and new hotels as well as Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and government schemes to together stimulate domestic tourism. Together we will play our part in assisting in the reactivation and stimulation of Thailand’s cosmetic tourism and medical tourism markets and to help related businesses by promoting Thailand by offering our services to locals, expats and international travellers as borders open.

We love Songkran, and we are have some fabulous memories of our April Group Tours at Songkran! They were one of our favourite times as the hot April weather in Phuket and Easter was a time symbolic of transformations and new beginnings!!


Madeline was one of the ladies that shared with us how excited she was as we counted down for our April Group Tour in Phuket!!!!! Oh Goodness the memories feel like they were yesterday and thinking about Phuket we cannot wait for travel to re-open and host these Group Tours to Phuket again as well as other destinations!


“I am really excited about the trip and it’s crept up so quick I started to freak out a little for a moment with having everything organised but then I thought about it and all I have to organise is getting my bag packed!

 So there has been no need to be stressed/freaked out/or whatever else!

“The best thing ever has been having Nip Tuck Holidays organise it all. I can say that if I hadn’t of had Claire to speak with and organise my trip, I definitely wouldn’t feel as confident as I do about it all and to be honest I probably wouldn’t be getting it done. “

Fun times with girls in raincoats post-op to protect their bandages from getting wet at Songkran!

The other girls on this trip agreed saying the service and standard of medical care they received as well as so much fun. “The service I have received from this company has been great, and  hearing what she has to say and all her knowledge in the area of medical tourism, I feel great. “

“Claire is passionate about her job and you can tell this the moment you hear her speak about it which makes me confident I am in safe hands.

I’ve wanted to have breast surgery for a few years and now that it’s finally happening, I cannot wait! For anyone wanting this, I would highly recommend going through Nip Tuck Holidays!”

The focus of what we offer to our clients is the medical procedure and physical transformation and I would like to thank you for the opportunity of myself and our company being of service to you.  For a lot of our clients it is something that you have thought about for a long time. We understand first-hand how you are feeling, because we have been through this ourselves!   I have personally had breast augmentation surgery at our hospital in Phuket and I am happy to share with you my personal experience, just as many of our happy clients have.

 We are all about making the way you look on the outside match how you feel on the inside.

Happy Songkran everyone and stay safe! We look forward to sharing more of our past client experiences on both individual and Group Tours while we await travel re-opening in Thailand. We have so much exciting news to come about new destinations and Group Tours scheduled when it does so please keep up to date or let us know if you have any questions or would like a free quote or assessment!