Gender Reassignment in Thailand

The Ultimate Guide to Gender Reassignment in Thailand

Last fact-checked: 1 September 2020

Gender reassignment (also known as sex-change surgery or gender-reaffirmation surgery) has become increasingly more common around the world thanks to improved medical techniques as well as a better understanding of this often-stigmatized issue. Despite this, the cost of the procedure is out of reach for many people who require surgery.

When traveling to Thailand, however, patients can reduce their waiting time dramatically and save between 60% to 70% on the cost of their surgery, which can be as much as $30,000 in countries like Australia and the US.

Use Medical Departures to find and book in with a world-class surgeon in Thailand, one of the leading destinations for gender reassignment in the world. 

What Is Gender Reassignment Surgery?

Gender reassignment surgery is the term given to the medical procedure (or procedures) that are utilized to alter the function and physical appearance of a patient’s existing sexual characteristics. Sometimes referred to as Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS), the treatment is designed to provide the patient with the physical appearance of their identified gender. The process is also known as sex realignment surgery, gender confirmation surgery or genital reconstruction surgery.

There are many procedures that fall under the gender reassignment umbrella, and these surgeries differ between trans men (female to male) and trans women (male to female):

  • For trans men, genital reconstruction usually involves the construction of a penis through either a metoidioplasty or a phalloplasty.
  • For trans women, the surgical construction of a vagina usually entails a penile inversion or a process known as the sigmoid colon neovagina technique.

For both trans men and trans women, any genital surgery will usually involve other procedures, such as a vaginectomy, mastectomy, penectomy or an orchiectomy.

What Is the Quality of Treatment Like in Thailand?

The continued growth in popularity of medical tourism in Thailand has seen the emergence of a plethora of world-class facilities, staffed by internationally-trained medical experts, springing up throughout the country. It is also worth noting here that Thailand has been a pioneering country for gender reassignment; the first surgery carried out here in 1975, and today around 90% of the patients undergoing surgery in Thailand are welcomed from abroad. 

The Medical Departures team takes the necessary time to research the finest hospitals and doctors available, performing background checks to confirm doctor qualifications and verifying associations with professional medical organizations such as the Joint Commission International (JCI) and the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS).

Our website contains exclusive listings of reputable clinics and surgeons that are available throughout Thailand. We have performed site visits to ensure that equipment and facilities are of the highest standard, and we conduct regular reviews with patients that have attended our clinics to ensure that they have received a first-class service.

Take a look now at these select facilities in Thailand that offer sex-change surgery to international patients:

What’s Involved in Male to Female Gender Reassignment Surgery?

Ultimately, male to female surgery entails reshaping the male genitals into a form that has the appearance of and, where possible, the function of female genitalia. Before any surgery can take place, patients are usually required to undergo hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and, possibly, facial hair removal. Other procedures that a patient may decide to undertake include breast augmentation and facial feminization surgery.

Genital surgery, or vaginoplasty, involves the removal of the testicles before the skin and foreskin of the penis are inverted, keeping the blood and nerve supplies intact to retain sensitivity. A section of the glans penis can also be used to create a clitoris that is fully supplied with nerve endings.

Once this procedure is complete, further surgery known as labiaplasty is usually undertaken. This is usually carried out once the surrounding tissues, nerves and blood supply have recovered from the vaginoplasty and is designed to enhance the aesthetic appearance of the newly-created outer vulva.

Apart from genital surgery, patients may opt for other procedures to enhance the overall results. These can include:

  • Breast augmentation–otherwise known as breast enlargement, can be utilized if hormone therapy fails to yield the desired results (normally with the use of implants)

  • Facial feminization surgery–a range of cosmetic surgeries designed to modify bone or cartilage structures in areas such as the cheeks, nose, forehead, brow and jaw to give a more feminine appearance

  • Voice feminization surgery–a procedure used to alter the range or pitch of the patient's vocal cords

  • Tracheal shave–the reduction of cartilage in the throat to reduce the size of the Adam's apple, giving a more feminine appearance

What’s Involved in Female to Male Gender Reassignment Surgery?

Unlike the male to female procedure, many trans men considering female to male surgery do not always undergo genital reassignment surgery. There is usually more focus on altering the existing physical female anatomical traits to conform to a more masculine appearance. However, it is usual for a patient to undergo hormone treatment using testosterone before any gender reassignment surgery takes place. Procedures usually include having the internal female sex organs removed (hysterectomy), undergoing a bilateral mastectomy (breast removal) and attaining a more typically male shape to the chest through chest contouring techniques:

  • Mastectomy–sometimes referred to as "top surgery," this involves the removal of the breasts, repositioning of the nipples, and subsequent reshaping of the chest to give a more masculine, contoured appearance.

  • Hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy–a hysterectomy is the removal of the uterus, whilst a bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (BSO) is the removal of both ovaries and fallopian tubes. For some trans men, this is undertaken to alleviate the discomfort of having female internal reproductive organs, but for many, it is done to reduce the risk of cancer.

  • Metoidioplasty and phalloplasty–these are genital reconstructive procedures (GRT) used to construct a new penis, either by enlarging the clitoris with androgenic hormones (metoidioplasty) or through using tissue grafts from other parts of the body in conjunction with an erectile prosthetic.

How Much Can I Save by Undergoing Gender Reassignment in Thailand?

For many patients, the cost of undergoing gender reassignment surgery in their own country can be quite prohibitive. By choosing to undergo treatment in Thailand, the procedure becomes a much more realistic and attainable dream.

The overall cost will obviously depend upon the extent of the work to be carried out but, as a general guide, a male to female sex change operation in Australia could cost as much as AUD $30,000; in Thailand, it is available for as little as AUD $9,000–a significant saving of 70%.

How Do I Get Started?

Booking through Medical Departures maximizes your savings thanks to our Best Price Guarantee which ensures that you pay the lowest rate possible for your treatment. We can even help with additional medical insurance by putting you in touch with a number of independent insurance providers who can offer you preferential rates on their policies.

In Thailand, gender reassignment is affordable and delivers outstanding results. To find out how much you can save, get in touch with a member of our Customer Care Team now and start planning your life-changing surgery today.

Our full list of verified clinics can be found here.

Sources:

How Thailand Became a Global Gender-Change Destination. Bloomberg. 17 October 2015.  https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2015-10-26/how-thailand-became-a-global-gender-change-destination

International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Website accessed: 12 March 2020. https://www.isaps.org/

Joint Commission International. Website accessed: 12 March 2019. https://www.jointcommissioninternational.org/

Brazier, Yvette. What you need to know about breast augmentation. Medical News Today. 3 April 2017. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/263567.php

Vaginoplasty and Labiaplasty. WebMD. 19 April 2019. https://www.webmd.com/women/guide/vaginoplasty-and-labiaplasty-procedures