Thanks to a burgeoning economy and growing medical system, Thailand has transformed itself into a viable medical tourism destination. From dentistry to orthotics and even heart surgery, there are a variety of specialty clinics sprawled throughout Bangkok and a handful of metropolitan cities. As you might expect, there are a few clinics not quite up to the standards found in the U.S., so make sure you do your homework and call around before you schedule an appointment.
How much does surgery cost in Thailand?
If you’ve shopped around overseas, you know prices can vary quite a bit. In general, however, knee replacement in Thailand will usually run you as follows:
Partial Knee Replacement: $7,000
Total Knee Replacement: $15,000
About half of what you’ll pay in U.S. (out of pocket).
That price usually doesn’t include auxiliary costs (like hotels, travel, meals, etc.) so make sure you get a sound estimate on everything before deciding. There are packages you can get through medical tourism agencies that can save you upwards of 50% (they have special rates with hotels, restaurants, etc). The only downside is you HAVE to go with their partnered hospitals. So, if your top choice isn’t on their list, keep looking.
Most popular cities
As mentioned, there’s really no shortage of clinics throughout Thailand. The key is to narrow your options down to only the most reputable and highly-certified hospitals. Word to the wise: get independent reviews during this process. Don’t ask a tourism agency or the hospital itself…they obviously have ulterior motives. Try to get a hold of previous patients (most reputable hospitals will share the contact info of patients that opted to be contacted).
The internet can be a major ally as well. Look for medical tourism forums, reviews on your interested clinics and doctors, research the accreditation of the hospital and staff, etc. Bottom line, don’t travel half way across the world blind. Get as much info as you can beforehand and you’ll be at peace both logistically and emotionally.
Getting back to the local cities, here are the most popular (in descending order of number of hospitals):
Bangkok, Chachoengsao Province, Nakhon Pathom Province, Nonthaburi Province, Samut Prakan Province and Samut Sakhon Province.
Quick Tip: make sure your hotel is relatively close to the hospital. The last thing you want is to have to endure a long cab trip to your hotel after surgery and follow-up appointments.
Leading clinics in Thailand
I’ve dealt with a handful of clinics in Thailand (either directly or via patients) and here’s my top recommendation:
Bumrungrad International – situated in Bangkok, Bumrungrad is the largest (by square footage and number beds) private hospital is southern Asia. They’re ISO Certified (International Organization for Standardization) and have been in operation since 1980. Lead surgeon: Dr. Ashok Goel
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