Tips and information on having a Breast lift procedure in Bangkok, Thailand
This is a follow up post to my experience of having a cosmetic breast lift surgery at Yanhee Hospital in Bangkok.
When I was researching having the procedure, I couldn’t find the information that I was looking for all in one place. I wanted to know as much as I could about what it was like to have a breast lift as well as the all the little things that go with having surgery, so I could be as prepared as possible.
I was looking for lists of what I should take to the hospital, things that I might need after being discharged from under hospital care and generally what to expect.
You can read my comprehensive account of having a breast lift in Bangkok, but this post is my version of what I was looking for pre surgery.
Things to get Pre Breast Surgery:
Things I packed for surgery
Button or Zip Up Tops:
Anything that is easy to get into or loose clothing which you can step into rather than pulling over your head. You will want to avoid lifting your arms up for a while, also avoid wearing anything tight or restrictive, comfort is key.
You won’t need any clothes while you are in the hospital as you are given a hospital gown to wear, just clothes to wear to enter and leave the hospital.
Packet of Baby/Cleansing Wipes (Large Size):
These will come in handy as you won’t be able to shower properly or wet the wound area at all until after the stitches have been taken out, which is usually one week after surgery. So having some wipes to hand are good to freshen up with.
I used these a lot while I was in the hospital and for a few days afterwards. You will be lying in bed or at a 45 degree angle for some time during your recovery period, so being able to drink without moving around and sitting up will help with the healing process.
Post Surgery Bra/Or Sports Bra:
My mum bought me two Front Fastening Post Surgery Bras from an online retailer. At first these seemed like a great idea, but the seam in the cups aligned right across and on top of my scars and left big indents whenever I wore them. Also the fact that you have to fasten them from the front is a good idea if you have no one to help you put it on, but if you do, in hindsight I would have been better off with a Seamless Sports Bra with no under wire. Make sure it is one that does up like a normal bra and not one that has to go over your head.
I purchased two of these soon after I realized the issues with the post op bras and they are much more comfortable. Plus they actually look prettier.
You should avoid wearing any bras with an under wire for at least a month after surgery and remember to take a soft bra with you to your stitch removal appointment as you will need to put something on afterwards once all the bandages are removed.
Lead Up To Surgery:
Don’t wear any nail polish or jewelry on the day. You just have to take it all off. Nail polish has to be removed as does any jewelry, contact lenses and false teeth.
Personal Pre Op Preparation:
Before going ahead with the surgery it was important for me to be in the best shape I could be. I exercise everyday and had got down to 52 kilos at the time of surgery.
Once I had booked the date for the operation I concentrated my workouts on chest, arm and lower back exercises as well as general cardio. I use a number of websites for exercise plans and nearly all of my daily workout regimes come from either fitnessblender.com or blogilates.com a great Pilates website which is great for strengthening, toning and stretching exercises.
I wanted to strengthen my lower back as I anticipated that there would be some days of inactivity just laying on a bed and sleeping at an angle which would put pressure on my back.
I also worked out my arms and chest a lot in the form of push ups, shadow boxing and cardio kickboxing as I knew there would be a full month after the surgery where I wouldn’t be able to do these kind of exercises and so got them in while I still could.
I read many accounts of other individuals experiences of all different kinds of surgery, not just breast lifts on realself.com – a website dedicated to cosmetic surgery where you can find peoples real life experiences as well as hospital, doctor and procedure reviews.
There are also a lot of pre and post surgery images on here which I found quite helpful (& some a bit scary!)
I spent many hours online, researching the best foods to eat for after surgery to help with healing and recovery and I actually enjoyed it so much that it prompted me to start training as a Nutritional Therapist, I am now doing an online course on the subject.
A Research Queen
I am pleased that I did spend so much time researching and preparing myself pre surgery as once the operation was complete and I was discharged from hospital I was on my own. Apart from handing me a few leaflets, I wasn’t told much at all about the after care.
Things for post surgery recovery after being discharged from hospital:
Recovery Foods & Vitamins:
I think I possibly went a little overboard with the recovery food research. But judging by how fast the incisions are healing it was worth it. We all want an almost scar-less end result right?
Just some of my recovery foods
I bought several varieties of natural unsalted nuts including Cashews, Whole un-blanched Almonds, Walnuts & Pine Nuts. These are great for the healing of skin tissue.
I found a selection of unprocessed Pumpkin, Sesame and Sunflower Seeds. These supplement the nuts and also help with tissue regrowth and are fantastic for skin health.
I was eating fresh Pineapple, Oranges, Kiwis, Banana and Apple pieces every day alongside the other foods. These foods will help to boost your immune system and aid your body’s natural healing process.
As a meat eater and non Vegan I consumed Chicken and Eggs for my protein intake. Protein is one of the most important macro-nutrients for tissue repair. So you really need it after surgery.
Fresh Fruit Bowl
Vegetarian/Vegans could replace the meat and eggs with beans, grains, soy and pulses. Although you should do you’re own additional research for this if you are interested in diet assisted healing.
With all the high nutritious foods I was consuming I had no need for any additional vitamin supplements, apart from Zinc. Zinc is found in fishy foods but because I prefer not to eat fish I bought the daily pills instead. It is also found in the nuts and seeds, but it would require a lot of nuts to get the required amount!
My mum also sent me out some Arnica Tablets. These are an alternative medicine known for their healing powers and can help with pain and bruising around the wound site and can aid in a faster recovery time.
Healthy Light Meals:
The bulk of my lunches and dinners consisted of salads, meats, small portions of brown rice and home cooked Thai curries (without Chilli). Every meal was portioned by grams so that I could monitor how much I was eating.
It is important to have home cooked light meals so that you can keep tabs on what you are putting in your body.
I also kept an online Food Diary each day on MyFitnessPal.com, this is something I do anyway regardless of the surgery and it has been essential to my weight loss.
Eating smaller, lighter meals helps the body recover as it doesn’t have to allocate a whole load of energy to digesting large amounts of foods and can concentrate on repairing the wound areas, under less stress.
A Chicken Salad, expertly put together by my husband Jmayel 😉
Avoid spicy foods. Living in Thailand I have got used to loading my food up with chilli and lots of flavor, however spicy foods can cause inflammation at wound sites and so it is recommended that you avoid spicy meals for at least a month.
The same goes for alcohol and caffeine. I very rarely drink alcohol so this was not a problem for me however I do love a coffee, but I avoided drinking it for 2 weeks pre surgery and 4 weeks post. I didn’t miss it at all, but I am back to drinking coffee again now.
I do not smoke, but the hospital advises that you try to refrain from smoking for at least a month as well.
After breast surgery you need to avoid lifting your arms above your head or reaching up high i.e. shelves/cupboards, there should be no heavy lifting and generally avoid putting any strain on your upper body. All this plus no excessive walking or strenuous activities for a month following the surgery as it can cause inflammation and pain.
Another thing to try to avoid is getting too sweaty, having my surgery done in Bangkok, where it can get rather hot and humid, meant staying cool in our air conditioned apartment!
Sex and Contraceptives:
This was not something I had thought about until I was told by the hospital that you are required to stop taking the contraceptive pill for two weeks before the surgery as well as any other supplements, including vitamins. The reason for this is that it can cause the blood to thin and so there is a risk of triggering problems during the surgery.
As well as smoking, drinking and spicy foods, sex is another one to avoid for 4 weeks post-surgery. It counts as a strenuous activity, and so along with my daily exercise routines, sex was off the cards for a while too!
Drink as much of this as you can stomach. It is essential for your body to function!
Personal Post Surgery Care & Scar Treatment:
Saline Solution & Alcohol:
Essential for cleaning the incisions during the early stages after being discharged from the hospital. My cuts were very neat and healed nicely so I didn’t need to do too much wound cleaning at all.
I was given a bottle of this at the hospital after my stitch removal. This solution looks a lot like Iodine but it is used to help reduce redness and inflammation around the cuts and healing skin.
Large Swabs & Cotton Pads:
To Apply the cleaning solutions effectively.
Silicone Gel Strips for Scars:
I bought two packets of Cica Care Scar Silicone Gel Strips, they come in different sizes but the ones I purchased, each strip was 12 cm long, I cut them in half length ways to make them go further (do this depending on the width of your scar).
You have to keep reapplying the same strip over the scars daily. The stickiness wears off after one month and apparently they help to create the perfect healing environment for skin.
I started using these once all my scabs were off and the wounds were fully closed.
I started using Bio Oil, again, once all scabs had gone and the incision sites were fully closed up. This was around the 4 week mark for me.
Bio oil helps with scar fading and also helps with any dry skin after the scabs have gone.
Post Surgical ScarTreatments
The Day of Surgery, Broken Down:
I flew into Bangkok from Chiang Mai on the morning of surgery and was picked up from the airport for free by Yanhee hospital. The driver was waiting for us with a name card when we landed. So if you need airport pick up to get to Yanhee this can be arranged.
Arriving at the Airport with the Yanhee Rep
It took 45 minutes to get to Yanhee Hospital from the airport, once we arrived the Yanhee Rep took me through into the hospital and showed me where the international patient’s desk was. They also brought our bags in for us from the car.
I arrived at the hospital at 10am, with my appointment being 10:30am.
The staff on the International Patient’s desk spoke very good English and handed me some forms to fill in to register.
I was then given a registration card and directed to the 4th floor cosmetic surgery clinic where I needed to give it to the receptionist.
2. Cosmetic Clinic:
Once in the clinic I had my blood pressure taken as well as my height and weight documented before taking a seat.
Height & Weight Being Taken
A member of the International Liaison’s team stayed with me during my time in the clinic and she was present throughout the physical consultation with the Doctor. She helped to translate for the Doctor and generally just made sure everything went to plan.
International Liaison Team Member
If you go straight to the hospital from the airport, there is a luggage store room where you can leave bags etc while you have the tests and consultation done.
Hospital Porters then take your luggage to your room for you.
3. Physical Consultation:
My appointment was at 10:30am with Dr.Somsak but I went through at 10:50am, just a short wait with two people waiting to be seen before me.
Waiting outside the Dr’s Office
Once in the room with the Doctor he looked over my images I had sent online and explained about the scarring and the type of procedure I was having.
Then I undressed from the waist up and he examined me before drawing over my chest with permanent pen to mark out the surgical lines. He explained how the breasts would look after surgery and took a few images before I could put my bra and top back on.
The surgery was scheduled for two hours later.
You are not allowed to eat or drink anything 6-8 hours before surgery.
4. Consent forms & Payment:
After meeting with the doctor I was required to sign consent forms back out in the clinic and then pay for the procedure at the cashier’s desk.
Signing one of many forms…
5. Blood Test & Anesthesiologist:
Once everything was complete in the clinic, I was taken by another staff member to the ground floor to have a blood test which they checked for HIV as well as routine checks, like a Full Blood Count.
Me behind the frosted glass having blood taken
After the blood test I met with an Anesthetist who explained the process of being put under general anesthetic for the surgery and asked about any previous operations I had had before I signed more forms.
6. Admitted to Ward & Surgical Prep:
I was then taken up to the 10th floor wards where I was admitted into my own private room.
Up to two people are allowed to stay with you in your room. There was a sofa in the room which Jmayel slept on and they provided him with a pillow and sheets, It was comfortable for one person, though if there were two people they would probably have to sleep sitting up rather than laying down.
My Hospital Room
There is a good room service available for food and drinks while you are on the wards. Free internet is also available which kept Jmayel occupied while I was in surgery. The connection speed was rather poor, 164 download/64 upload internet speed, but adequate for emails and looking at facebook!
The nurses came around shortly after I arrived and prepped me for surgery. They gave me a hospital gown to wear and repeatedly asked if I had any contact lenses, false teeth, nail varnish or jewelry on. All of this has to be removed.
The nurse also asked to see under my armpits as this area has to be clean shaven so they can stick electrodes on you during surgery. Lucky for me I had already done it myself that morning so the nurse didn’t have to!!
They then put a cannula into my left hand and hooked me up to an IV saline drip to hydrate me before surgery.
Ready for Surgery
Just over an hour after I got to my room, they came and got me for surgery.
I was picked up from my room by a nurse and hospital porter and taken down to the theater on a flat hospital bed.
I was then kept in the recovery room area for half hour before I was taken into the operating room.
When I went through to theater a team of medical staff were in the room and I was transferred onto the operating table where I laid for 10 minutes as staff stuck electrodes on me and strapped my arms down to the bed. The anesthetist then came in and dosed me up with general anesthetic!
This was administered via my IV line rather than gas through a face mask.
The surgery took 3 hours.
When I started to come round from the anesthetic I couldn’t breathe properly and had a sore throat. I was given oxygen and stayed in recovery for one hour before they took me back up to my room.
I was back in my room by 6pm and I pretty much fell asleep for the rest of the evening. The nurses came and checked on me every 4 hours and took my blood pressure throughout the night, they gave me more saline and antibiotics through my IV line.
Nurse checking my IV Line
The Day After Surgery:
The nurses were all fantastic at Yanhee. They continued to do regular check ups on me and in the afternoon they took out my cannula and changed my antibiotics to tablet form.
The doctor came round to see me around 2pm and said everything went well and he was pleased with the results. After Dr Somsak had seen me the nurses changed my bandages expertly. They cleaned the area with saline before applying a betalene solution and then covered the wounds with gauze and an elastic bandage.
I was tended to by four different nurses during my stay and they were all very professional yet friendly with a caring bedside manner.
I felt a bit sore and my chest felt really heavy, there was some stinging and aching but the pain was minimal and I was really surprised at how little it actually hurt.
I walked to the bathroom a few times but other than that I spent the day in bed laying at an angle. It is best to sleep and sit slightly elevated as this helps with drainage around the wounds.
Come evening time I had some bad headaches which were a side effect from the antibiotics.
On The Day of Hospital Discharge:
I was told on the morning of the second day after surgery that I would be discharged that day. I was visited by a lady from the International Liaisons team. She came to check everything was OK and I was happy to be discharged. She asked if I had any questions and explained a bit about aftercare and gave me a few leaflets on the subject.
I was told to just get myself ready for leaving and to let the nurses know when I was ready. At 12pm I changed back into my normal clothes and headed to the nurses station at the entrance to the ward. They gave me two weeks worth of antibiotics as well as some strong paracetamols and sleeping tablets, I didn’t end up using the painkillers or sleeping pills.
I was booked in for my follow up appointment and given a card to bring back with me. As well as this I was given a Doctor’s certificate to say I was free to travel on an airplane and a six month warranty card for my boobs. If there were any problems with my surgery after leaving the hospital I would be able to go back and have any extra surgery or treatments for free. You are just required to cover all other costs, i.e flights/accommodation.
Outside of Yanhee Hospital
They offered me a wheelchair to take me down to the ground floor but I declined and chose to walk instead. I had a bit of backache and felt a bit sensitive, but I didn’t feel this warranted the need for a wheelchair!
Stitch Removal & The One Week Follow Up:
Having the stitches removed was something I was not looking forward to at all. Like with most things though, the lead up and thinking about it was the worst part.
When I arrived back at the hospital I went straight up to the 4th floor and one of the nurses took me through to a treatment room. I waited in there for 20 minutes for Dr Somsak to come and examine me.
He was pleased and said no further action was needed. Sometimes the wounds can separate which would require further bandages or there may be some bleeding or infection. I had none of these complications so all that was needed was the stitches taken out.
Waiting for Stitch Removal
The nurse took the stitches out as I lay on the bed, it took over half an hour to remove them all, there were a lot!
I was very happy to discover that it didn’t hurt one bit and I just felt a small pinch every now and again.
Once the stitches were removed I put on my front fastening post surgery bra, no more bandages!
I picked up a bottle of Betalene solution from the pharmacy and that was it. I was free to leave.
At the Pharmacy Counter
The Recovery Zone:
After leaving the hospital we had booked ourselves a private apartment to stay in for the week through Air bnb. This was the best option for us, by staying in an apartment rather than a hotel we had more space and our own kitchen area and fridge so we could cook our own food rather than eating out each day.
Master Chef at Work!
The price of the apartment also matched that of a hotel and we got much more for the money. It was a great little place, big bed, clean, good A/C and near to shops to stock up on groceries. It was perfect for recovery.
It was 45 minutes from the hospital though and a taxi to and from the hospital/apartment cost 110 Baht.
Our little apartment for the week
However if I was alone for this experience without my husband. I would have wanted to stay at a trustworthy hotel with western standard hospitality service. Somewhere where the staff spoke great English and understood that I may need help with certain things during the recovery process. After surgery I felt very fragile and wanted to be very careful not to damage the wounds, so I didn’t leave the room for many days. Without Jmayel there I would have wanted a hotel with room service or on site restaurant. The Air conditioning has to be good to reduce the possibility of sweating and moisture forming on the scars during recovery. The hotels below were the places I looked at before choosing to use an Air BnB Apartment. They all have room service, great reviews, English speaking staff, western standard hospitality, good beds, restaurants or coffee shops on site and free wifi in all rooms.*
There are also a few hotels that are within walking distance to the hospital (less than 1km) at a range of prices, but most of the reviews don’t sound very good:
In the week following the surgery, I spent most of the time in the apartment. I ventured out for a walk with Jmayel, 10 minutes down the road to a cafe for a drink. I was feeling a bit cooped up and wanted to get some air and get out of the apartment for a while.
In a Local Cafe
I had my first full shower 10 days after surgery. I needed help with washing my hair as it felt sore when I moved my arms. I was still quite sensitive and so stood tentatively splashing the water over me rather than standing fully under the water jets.
Summary of Having Cosmetic Surgery in Thailand:
The cosmetic procedure I underwent in Bangkok was a Mastopexy, a full breast lift with anchor technique.
I have plenty of good things to say about having cosmetic surgery done in Thailand, the staff at Yanhee were fantastic, the hospital is to a high International standard and very efficiently run. The price for my procedure was more than half price than what I would have paid to have it done in the UK.
One thing I will say is that is it important for you to do your own research on any procedure before going ahead with it. Once at the hospital there wasn’t a whole lot of advice given for after the actual surgery was complete and I was pleased I knew what I did before going there.
I contacted Yanhee Hospital online directly and it is a good idea to do this, rather than going through an agency. There are some companies set up for ‘Medical Tourism’ However after speaking with the International Representative team at Yanhee they said a lot of people that come through an agency are not given the correct information before they arrive and it is always best to arrange your surgery with the hospital directly. You will also get more of a personal touch as you can meet with the staff you have been dealing with and any problems that may arise can be sorted out easier rather than going through a 3rd party.
It is also beneficial to have someone with you when you go for surgery. As well as a hand to hold, it is comforting to know you are not alone and without Jmayel with me I would have been lost. Having his support both in and out of hospital was invaluable. (and you will need someone to carry the bags when you leave hospital!!)
My Lovely Husband (& bag carrier!)
Costs of Surgery:
The full cost for my cosmetic procedure at Yanhee was 92,020 Baht (1,826 GBP/ 2,960 USD). This price included the actual surgery as well as two nights in hospital, the follow up appointment, stitch removal, registration fees and all medications. There were no hidden charges.
As well as the surgery costs I had to pay for a flight from Chiang Mai to Bangkok which was 7,700 baht (155 GBP/249 USD) for two return flights, flying with Bangkok Airways.
Plus a week’s accommodation in the City while I waited to go back to the hospital for my one week follow up appointment. We paid 9,000 Baht (182 GBP/292 USD) for the air bnb apartment for 7 nights, which I highly recommend.
Other Procedures at Yanhee Hospital:
Yanhee Hospital is not only good for breast surgeries but offers a full range of cosmetic procedures.
See their full treatments and procedures price list here.
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*Other Useful information
Cost of Living in Thailand – We break down how much we spent in one month living in Chiang Rai North Thailand
Pet Friendly Hotels in Thailand – Looking for Pet Friendly Hotels in other parts of Thailand?
Bringing a dog to Thailand – The ins and outs of Exporting a dog from the UK to Thailand.