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A look at Bangkok Samui Hospital Clinic’s revolutionary new process at Central Festival.

A look at Bangkok Samui Hospital Clinic’s revolutionary new process at Central Festival.There’s been a quiet revolution in the last few years. Word has spread. In Europe, America and Australia surgery is expensive. Even vital operations are put into a queue as national health services have become strained to breaking point, and yet private alternatives are priced beyond reach. But not so in Thailand. The top international hospitals are now as good as any in the West. Their equipment and standards are world-class. Their specialists and surgeons have trained and qualified abroad and have international standing. And every year tens of thousands of visitors come to Thailand to take advantage of this, on what have now become known as ‘medical vacations’.


Bangkok Samui International Hospital is probably the island’s most prestigious medical institution, partnered with sister hospitals throughout the country. And for quite a while now they have been at the forefront of medical tourism in Thailand, even running linked after-care schemes whereby patients can opt to transfer and recuperate in beachside surroundings. Their expansive modern facility on Samui is imposing; elevated and set back behind a sweeping lawn on a broad frontage on Chaweng’s main ring-road. But, of course, it’s also where they receive accident and emergency victims. Thus, bearing in mind the broad division of care and treatments – emergency and aesthetic – a decision was taken to decentralise some aspects.


It was prompted by the appearance on the island of Central Festival Samui mall in March last year. One part of this modern and airy shopping precinct is dedicated to health and wellbeing, upstairs on the first floor at the northern end, past Tops Supermarket and the food court. And the Bangkok Clinic is prominently on the front corner here, overlooking the plaza area below, impossible to miss. It’s modern, bright, and equipped to the best of international standards, as you’d expect. Essentially, it’s offering a number of cosmetic aesthetics, with laser, Botox and filler procedures, and a variety of beauty treatment packages. It even offers advice and analysis on food allergies. But it’s also now hosting one of the most revolutionary rejuvenation processes to have appeared in decades.


Think about what happens when you age. Skin becomes stretched and begins to sag. Wrinkles appear as it does so. Hoods and bags start to frame your eyes. Muscle tone loosens. And this is nowhere more noticeable than on your face – after all, it’s right out in front of you, it’s the first thing that other people see and it’s what stares back at you each day from the mirror.Page-96-2 But for the last half-a-century, the only practical thing you could do about this was undergo invasive surgery. It was a case of grin and bear it; there was no alternative. And the price you paid for taking ten years off your face was pain, stitches, black eyes, swelling, discomfort and several weeks avoiding your friends and workmates until the ‘car crash’ look started to wear off. If you were lucky, no nerves or muscles were damaged. If you were unlucky . . .


Ultrasound – high-frequency sound waves – has been used in various medical procedures for a long time – it’s by no means a new technology. Most commonly it’s experienced by pregnant women when their unborn baby is being monitored and checked. Or for evaluating the condition of the heart and other internal organs. Or even joints. All of these techniques create ultrasound images. But there are different sorts of ultrasound. And it’s now been discovered that low-frequency ultrasound has a very interesting effect on skin tissue.


The clinic’s director is Dr Norachak Koomchamnarn “The skin has four layers,” he explained. “The thin outer layer is the epidermis. It sits on top of a thicker region of dermis. Under that is a layer of fat and connective tissue. And it’s all bonded onto a thicker or thinner layer of muscle tissue beneath. Strings of collagen exist in the top two layers of dermis and epidermis, like a net of rubber bands. And as we age, this begins to reduce, making the skin become looser and less springy. The tight smoothness of youthful skin gives way to the wrinkled surface and sagging layers of middle age. But . . . ultrasound, applied in the correct way, re-vitalises the collagen bands, replenishing them and increasing their effectiveness again. In practice, this means the skin becomes tighter once more. Some of the wrinkles smooth out. Much of the bagginess – the jowls and saggy chins – reduce because of this. As one surgeon said on American TV, ‘It’s sci-fi meets beauty!’”


But note that Dr Norachak said ‘some’ wrinkles go, and ‘much of the’ bagginess reduces. Because this is not an alternative to surgery. It won’t make a notable difference to advanced aging. But it’s just perfect for when all this has just begun to happen. In your late 40s and early 50s, when those crow’s feet, jowls and saggy chins start to appear. And here’s the best part of all. To do an entire facelift – forehead, around the eyes, mid-face/ cheeks, jaw-line and under-chin – takes a little over an hour. If you want just your jaw-line and under-chin sorting, then only 20 minutes or so. Painful? For most of it, just a bit of a tingle. But if it gets uncomfortable where there is a very thin skin layer, the forehead for instance, then a mild anaesthetic gel will be used.


The ‘best part’ continues! There’s no downtime. No long recovery period. Just a mild swelling that’s gone after a day. But don’t expect to see any change immediately – the collagen will take up to 90 days to resurrect. And your friends probably won’tz notice the difference while this naturally and gradually happens. Until the day comes that one of them suddenly looks at you, frowns, and exclaims, “My God, what’s happened, you look ten years younger!” This rejuvenation will last for up to two years before the collagen slowly starts to revert. But it’s the most natural way to revitalise aging skin. And it works! Just Google ‘Ulthera’ or ‘Ultherapy’, and there are lots of You Tube features on it too.


As an introduction to this new process, Bangkok Clinic is offering discount incentives of up to 20% for the first few months. Yes, it’s marginally more expensive than surgery. But when you weigh all the benefits, there’s no real comparison!


The clinic runs a shuttle bus between the main hospital and the clinic. It is also is offering clients a free pick-up and return to their hotel, in the Chaweng area.


 Rob De Wet


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