Bariatric Surgery in Thailand

The Ultimate Guide to Bariatric Surgery in Thailand

Last fact-checked: 2 January 2020

Bariatric surgery in Thailand is an effective, safe and affordable way for overweight patients to lose weight by having the size of their digestive system decreased or restricted. 

The phrase "bariatric surgery" actually refers to a number of different weight-loss surgeries, some of which are permanent other semi-permanent. Gastric band and gastric bypass, two of the most common procedures, restrict food intake and thus what the body absorbs, resulting in significant weight loss over a relativity short period of time.

For patients who have been unsuccessful in shifting the pounds through a diet and exercise, bariatric surgery is a drastic but proven solution. Find out why undergoing this procedure in Thailand could be a suitable option for you. 

Why Undergo Bariatric Surgery in Thailand?

Thailand is still a developing country by Western standards, but the quality of its health and medical care often surpasses standards in the west – certainly if you are used to public rather than private healthcare.

Thailand is one of the world’s leading medical tourism destinations, having it opened its doors to international patients in the 1990s. Its increasing popularity has seen huge reinvestment by the Thai government, with high-quality, purpose-built, state-of-the-art facilities opening throughout the Kingdom, attracting thousands of patients every from all over the world.

Top destinations for medical tourism in Thailand include the capital, Bangkok, as well as Pattaya (a popular seaside town around 90 minutes' drive away), the northern city of Chiang Mai and the southern island province of Phuket. 

Drawn initially by cost – the low cost of living means that patients often save in excess of 50% compared to prices at home. As well as low prices, patients are often pleasantly surprised by the high standards of medical expertise, patient care and comfort of the facilities.

Thailand now has more than 40 accredited Joint Commission International-accredited facilities, considered to be the gold standard in global healthcare.

Bariatric Surgery in Thailand: What Are My Options? 

Patients traveling to Thailand for bariatric surgery will be presented with the most up-to-date techniques currently available, including:

  • Gastric bypass surgery, particularly the Roux-en-Y bypass which divides the stomach and small intestine, creating a smaller stomach pouch to which the end of the small intestine is joined. As a result, food enters the pouch and bypasses the larger stomach and most of the intestine.
  • Sleeve gastrectomy surgery, where 80% of the stomach is removed, leaving a small tubular pouch for food to enter.
  • Gastric band surgery, which is the only reversible bariatric procedure. An inflatable band is placed over the top part of the stomach and inflated to section it off from the rest. The more the band is inflated, the smaller the opening is between both parts of the stomach.

All of these work to reduce the amount of food a patient is able to consume, thereby restricting calorie intake and promoting weight loss.

How Long Does Bariatric Surgery Take to Perform?

Most bariatric surgeries are performed using a laparoscope (i.e keyhole surgery), meaning wounds are relatively small. The surgery may take several hours and is performed under general anesthetic. It's important to remember that this isn't a quick in-and-out treatment; you will need an initial consultation in Thailand beforehand and will need to stay overnight at a minimum (as explained below).  

What Is the Recovery Time From bariatric surgery?

Depending on what type of bariatric surgery you have, you may be discharged within 24 hours. However, it could be between two and five days before you can head back to your hotel. 

You will not be allowed to eat for a few days to give your digestive system and stomach time to heal. After that, you will start on a liquid diet, progressing to liquidized or soft food, like mashed potato, before returning to normal foods. You will be given a diet regime to follow for several months (both following the surgery in Thailand and once you are back home). Once the weight starts to drop, exercise is always advisable.

As a major procedure, your health will be monitored closely by the surgeons and nurses at your chosen clinic or hospital in Thailand. You will probably need to spend around two weeks’ in Thailand after the surgery to fully rest and attend check-ups.

How Much Can I Save on Bariatric Surgery in Thailand Compared to Australia and New Zealand?

The cost of bariatric surgery in Thailand varies depending on the exact procedure, but on average it costs AUD $10,000 (US $8,000, CAD $10,000, £5,000 GBP, €8,000)

This can be compared to Australia, for example, where the procedure may set you back approximately AUD $28,000, (US $20,000, CAD $24,000, £13,000 GBP, €18,000)

[Please note that these are approximate, averages prices collated at the time of writing.]

Getting Started

Get started now by checking out the highly rated Phyathai 2 International Hospital in Bangkok which offers a range of bariatric procedures. This hospital has been fully background checked by Medical Departures, and our comprehensive listing page includes a range of useful information including patient reviews, prices, photos, surgeon profiles and booking options. 

If you’re ready to book, or have any questions about bariatric surgery in Thailand, see below for further details on how to get in touch.


Gastric bypass (Roux-en-Y). Mayo Clinic. Website last accessed: 2 January 2020.

Bariatric Surgery. Mayo Clinic. Website last accessed: 2 January 2020.

Thailand, third biggest medical tourism destination in the world. The Thaiger. 1 November 2018.

Joint Commission International. Website last accessed: 2 January 2020.