November 3, 2008

Botox Treatment in Thailand

One of the fastest growing business sectors in Thailand -- particularly in Bangkok and Phuket -- is medical tourism. Some centers are full service. They have tourist packages that pick you up at the airport, take you to a fine hotel. You have your face lift, recover under pampered care, see the local sites and are off again. You can get gastric bypass surgery, knee or hip replacements. etc. While with any medical procedure, you must verify the qualifications of the physicians and hospital. Cruising the internet, one finds that many individuals are trained in the U.S. or among the finest schools in Europe. U.S. as well as Thai board certifications are common.

Having had a Botox treatment in the U.S. for the price of $600-$700, I decided I would try to get the procedure done in Thailand. One of the concerns in having Botox is ensuring that they are using botox rather than the generic alternatives produced in China. While the Chinese product is viable, it is also diluted and it takes twice as much to attain the same effect as Botox manufactured by Allergen.

After checking various blogs that I have found have useful information, talking to students and personnel, I decided to visit an APEX Profound Beauty center. Centers are located at the Siam Center, Bumrangard Hospital and the Emporium. I chose the Emporium Center because I was told the founder who is board certified in the U.S. as a dermatologist and laser surgeon worked at this center.

I did not have an appointment so I had to wait a bit. That was useful as I got to observe the types of people who come to the center. I struck up conversations with the staff and several consumers. There was an owner of a spa in Melbourne, Australia. She was here to get thermage treatments on stomach and get some help with what she insisted was a perpetual weight problem. IMO, she looked beautiful. There were several men getting treatments, one in his 30s seeking botox, another getting treatment for acne, another older businessman who in our discussions expressed he'd had various treatments in many countries but liked it here. He was back for thermage after two years. I was surprised how many men were there and how young some of the women were. Botox and facial treatments seem to be as routine in Thailand as getting a Thai massage --provided you have the baht. It seems as routine to them as getting a hair cut and color. Yes many men in Thailand dye their hair.

Okay, now it was my turn. The assistant takes me into a consultant room. I indicate I would like a Botox treatment for the deep "professor" thought lines between my eyes and my growing number of frown lines. "Just a minute" she says. The physician, a lovely vibrant Thai woman in perhaps her 40s came in to talk with me. She suggest botox would help and said if I wished the full treatment to reduce the effects of aging and bags under my eyes (a family curse), then ideally she would recommend thermage and a fraxel laser resurfacing just around the eyes. This would last many years and mean I would not have to have surgery.

Okay, the big issue, so how much would each treatment cost? I knew that Botox cost about $600-$800 in the U.S depending on the units used. I had researched thermage which varies in cost depending upon the amount of area of the face or body covered.

Thermage uses Capacitive Radiofrequency (CRF) technology to heat the skin's under layer and the web of collagen in the inner layer, causing tightening as well as new collagen growth. Local numbing cream and anesthesia is used particularly around sensitive areas such as eyes and mouth. Cost is between $1000 and $4000, average $2000.

Fraxel Laser Treatment produces esurfaces the skin by removing damaged upper layers of skin until unaffected skin is revealed. It's a little like sanding your skin. It is used to resurface skin, get rid of tattoo's, acme scars and yes the ravages of aging. Local numbing cream is applied before the laser is used. The cost of laser skin resurfacing is $2,378.
Botox from a physician is around $600-$1200.

Okay, without thinking about pain or anything else, I decided to for the works. The Thermage was 30,000 baht (about $850), the fraxel laser resurfacing was 10,000 baht special combination deal ( $294), and botox for laugh lines and forehead, frown lines was 12,000 baht ($352). So utilizing the services as a triple board certified dermatologist in Thailand resulted in saving at least half the cost of the same treatments in the U.S.

Now about the treatments. Botox is botox. Even with some numbing cream, it stings. But the results are almost immediate and visible within 3 days. I had the Thermage the same day. In addition to numbing cream, I had local anesthesia. But it still hurt. I tried deep breathing; and they distracted me with rubbing my legs. But darn it hurt. It was like a being stung by a swarm of wasps. The area around one's eyes is sooo sensitive. So if you have pain aversion, this treatment is not for you (at least around the eyes which is suppose to be the most sensitive area). Had I done more research on the pain (wasp stings around the eyes), I might have been more prepared. But maybe it was good I had not. The good news is that the overhang on my upper eyelid seems a little less and the baggy under eye area a little tighter.
I'll let my American friends decide when I get home.

I came back on Saturday for the fraxel laser resurfacing. Once again, numbing cream was applied and I waited 45 minutes for it to take effect. I was prepared for this time for it to hurt, but it really didn't. It felt like a dry skin brush going across the eye areas a few times briskly. Nothing more.

I would recommend you bring a good concealer or sun glasses after this treatment. I went into the rest room and the area around my eyes was really, really red. Wow. It really surprised me. Now I know why she had me come back on Saturday so I would be a red eyed monster to teach my students. The area burnt a bit for about two areas. After applying some heavy duty concealer to the area around my eyes, I was good to go. The redness was gone by the next day. The area felt flaky and a bit rough for about 5 days but the physician had told me it would. I just kept some moisturizer on it and all was good.

So would I do this again. I would definitely trust use this doctor and go to this facility. I had a nice long talk with the physician and plan to write about her as a entrepreneur for my book on Women Working. She was medically skilled and enterprisingly skilled as well. It was professional, sterile with very nice people. I'd definitely do the botox and the fraxel laser resurfacing. Luckily, you aren't suppose to need thermage for several years. So maybe, maybe by then I would do it again. But definitely not tomorrow.


tanyaa said...

In thailand, when a patient chose Botox injection treatments, a doctor will inject the Botox into the muscles surrounding the eyes to reduce the wrinkles around the area. This will make the muscles at the area become paralyzed and the wrinkles will temporary gone.

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Great to know about the botox treatment in Thailand! Is this a permanent solution to reduce the wrinkles?

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