Sunday, February 24, 2013

My Million Baht Body -- or -- The Exclamation Point (Part 14)

So what did I have done in Phuket, and how much did it cost?

Until now I have written only in general terms, so let me  get specific for anyone who may be considering surgery through the Phuket International Aesthetic Center (PIAC) at the Phuket International Hospital (PIH).  (Note:  Dr. Sanguan Kunaporn has his own site in addition to the PIAC site at

Gender confirmation surgery (GCS) with Dr. Sanguan Kunaporn cost $11,000 USD.  I prepaid this fee directly to Dr. Sanguan's account both for OD and for myself.  There is an additional $2000 charge if an extra skin graft is required.  As it turned out, one of us did require the extra graft -- I won't disclose whether it was was me or OD -- this graft being taken from the top of the leg.  We paid the extra cost by credit card on the spot.

Breast augmentation (BA) with Dr. Sanguan was $4000 USD done in conjunction with GCS.  Both OD and I had been uncertain about BA before going to Phuket and made the decision only after we were in the hospital.  We paid for this also by credit card.  Of all the surgeries we underwent, it is BA that provides the nearest thing to instant gratification.  Prior to BA, I was not quite a 36B/38B.  After 250ml implants, I am a full C cup.

Then we come to facial feminization surgery (FFS).  OD, lucky girl, had no need for FFS of any kind, but yours truly knew she could benefit from some degree of FFS.  The question from the beginning was, how much?  The FFS surgeon at PIAC is Dr. Rushapol Sdawat, to whom I sent a series of photos some six months before surgery and from whom I received a number of recommendations.  After meeting me in person in Phuket and after looking at photos of my sisters, Dr. Rushapol modified his recommendations, in particular dropping his earlier recommendation for a chin implant.  The guiding principle was that I needed to come through FFS with it still being evident that my sisters and I are from the same family of Scotch-Irish heritage.  This is the final list of procedures that we agreed upon along with prices in Thai Baht --
  • Forehead lift -- 215,000
  • Lower face and neck lift -- 200,000
  • Lower blepharoplasty -- 28,000
  • Reduction rhinoplasty -- 150,000
Thus the total fee to Dr. Rushapol was 593,000 Thai Baht,  approximately $19,900 USD.  I was not the first person to learn on this journey that FFS is generally more expensive than GCS.  I had transferred more than this in advance to the PIAC account used by Dr. Rushapol, and PIAC was very professional about refunding the overpayment.  (Note that payments to Drs. Sanguan and Rushapol go to separate accounts.)

FFS was the greatest gamble in all the surgeries I underwent in that one does not truly see the results until two, three, or more months after surgery.  As I write, my face is still swollen, a work in progress to be evaluated come summer.  All I can say at present is that I see good movement in the right direction since the days immediately after my surgeries.  

I can also say that I felt myself in good hands with Dr. Rushapol, who was both professional and gentle at all times.  I will never forget how he stood by my bed in the intensive care unit and personally fed me my first post-surgery meal the way a mother would feed a child, mouthful by mouthful.  Bandaged and without sight, I could not feed myself.  Although Dr. Rushapol could have called for a nurse, he took the time to do this himself, speaking soothing words about the results of the surgery that he could see but that I could not.

I will write separately about the care and service at PIAC.  In fact, I will have quite a bit to say, most of it positive but with a view to giving others advance information based on our personal experiences.  I will also give some hindsight consideration to the question of whether I should have undertaken quite so much surgery in such a short period.

First Post-FFS Day with Makeup
At the moment, however, I am remembering my last day at the PIAC office when we went over the final financial accounting.  Kat, one of PIAC's coordinators for international patients, took me through the paperwork line by line.  When she got to the last page, she paused.  She looked up and said, a bit in awe, "You spent over a million Thai Baht!"  

For those who prefer USD, I spent in the vicinity of $35,000-37,000 USD for all surgical procedures.  As to total trip cost, add $3160 USD each for round-trip business class tickets from Bucharest to Phuket and $1925 USD for our two days at the Aspasia resort before our surgeries and another twelve days after our release from PIH.

I am now recovering slowly at home in Bucharest.  I had intended to return to work tomorrow, but instead, I was felled by a virus that must have found its way into my system during our nearly 24 hours of flights from Thailand back to Romania.  Two days ago I was running a temperature as high as 103F (39.4C), and only today do I feel I have rounded a bend as the fever has dropped and remained below 100F.  My return to work will be delayed a few days more.  I am beginning to learn what others have learned before me, that recovery from this amount of major surgery will require time and patience.  

No longer feverish, I think back on Kat in the PIAC office and look at myself in the mirror.  I like what I see even with much of my face still swollen.  I am now the proud possessor of a Million Baht Body.

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Follow these links for more of The Exclamation Point:
Previous entry -- Vodka without Beer?
Following entry -- My Own General Contractor

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