[Note: After posting comments from Elizabeth and
Claire concerning their unsatisfactory experience with Dr. Pichet, I've
received several positive reports from Dr. Pichet's patients. Here they are,
presented with minor editing.]
R. wrote to me as follows:
September 10, 2003
Dear Dr. Lawrence,
I just have returned from Thailand where I was under Dr. Pichet's care since August 13th, after having more surgery than any previous patient of his at one time (per Dr. Pichet). I'm VERY happy with the man, his staff, and the results. I had SRS with colon segment, full facial feminization surgery, and breast implants. The FFS included full brow lift, upper and lower eyelid, complete nose reshaping, lip augmentation, jaw reduction, chin reduction, and Adams apple shaving. The breast implants were extra large size (I'm a big girl) and turned out wonderful.
Dr. Pichet really cares about you as a person. He spent 4 hours going over the surgery plan with me, and another hour or so doing an examination in his clinic the day after I arrived. I was then taken to the hospital where I had head x-rays, chest x-rays, and heart tests done. Once complete I was admitted to a fantastic hospital suite, private, 30 feet by 20 feet in size, with a mini kitchen and with a full view of the city. I had a nursing assistant assigned to me as a companion even thought my spouse came with me. This wonderful girl stayed with my spouse while I was in surgery and intensive care, even slept in the room with her to keep her company. Once I was back in my room she took care of me physically and mentally, a service that just can not be found in the USA. With Dr. Pichet you pay a flat fee for his services, the hospital, and all medical costs, so there are no other costs that you must pay for, except your hotel room once out of the hospital. The doctor even provides your meals, which you order through his staff each day (Thai food, KFC, Pizza Hut, McDonalds etc). He will not accept money for this, he tells you that he knows you are in a foreign land and need extra care to feel at ease. He and his staff come to you in your hotel as necessary twice a day, and then when youíre ready he provides a personnel taxi service to bring you to him wherever he is, the hospital or the clinic. The doctor was concerned about the length of my surgery (12.5 hours), so at no additional expense to me placed me in intensive care for a day as a precaution before releasing me to my standard hospital room, he even came and slept in a adjacent hospital room one night when I had stomach pains to be sure I was OK.
The surgeries all turned out perfect. I never ran a fever, and I recovered quickly. The doctor pays for all necessary medicines. He had me on antibiotics of 3 different kinds for 2 weeks, IV meds while in the hospital, pill form once out. My SRS results are, in my mind, perfect. I have over 6 inches in vaginal depth and I'm using a size 6 dilator (1-5/16 in.) without problems. The doctor had me dilating the 4th day after surgery and counseled me how important it was that I did so at least twice a day if I wished to be sexually active. The basic look of the neovagina is acceptable but will need a secondary cosmetic surgery if I wish it to be perfect at some later point. I have great sensation at the clitoris and feeling throughout the surgical area.
The breast implants are even and look very good, bruising was very bad initially but has healed quickly. The doctor does NOT place the implants below the muscle so if you wish that procedure you should look elsewhere.
Things to think about: The Internet reviews I've read suggests Doctor Pichet does not get great vaginal depth with a simple penile skin inversion, and he does not do secondary skin graphs. If a depth of more than 2.5 inches or so is desired he highly suggests colon segment surgery, but cautions you quite hard on the additional risks before accepting your decision to go forward. Dr. Pichet does not perform the colon resection alone, but brings in a general surgeon to harvest the colon segment and to assist him in its attachment.
If you are a smoker or heavy drinker, be ready to quit these activities before and while under his care. We all know these activities are bad for the body and it is common sense that we should not do them after major surgery. If you are overweight, than lose the weight before contacting the doctor: He will want full body pictures to evaluate your medical readiness to go through these surgeries. Common sense suggests you know these things, but the doctor gets patients all the time wanting surgery while not following these simple medical requirements.
Be ready for an adventure in a foreign country. Be prepared to talk with the doctor over and over as necessary to get your wishes clear. He speaks very good English, but some concepts don't translate well. Remember he is in Thailand and his primary language is Thai. You are contacting him for the price savings and because of recommendations such as this one, so accept the challenges that go with your decision.
Do's and Don'ts: Do contact several doctors, and get their opinion on what is possible. I contacted 7 doctors, 5 in Thailand and 2 in the US, before going ahead. Do contact the doctors' previous patients. I contacted 12 of Dr Pichet's previous patients before deciding I would trust this man with my life and my dreams. Don't expect Dr. Pichet to do anything that a US doctor will not. Don't expect that the doctor is God: Each body will heal in its own way. Plastic surgery is an art as well as a science: You very well may get an infection or heal slowly through no fault of the doctor. Don't expect that there are no risks in getting these surgeries: You could die on the table, or may not get the final results you are looking for.
Conclusion: Dr. Pichet is an honorable and caring man, and a very good plastic surgeon. I highly recommend him and his staff, and Thailand is an adventure not to be missed.
July 14, 2003
Dear Dr. Lawrence,
I would like you to post my letter about my experience with Dr. Pichet Rodchareon. I had my surgery on January 29, 2003. I had a three-hour consult with Dr. Pichet before he scheduled me for surgery. We had an extensive talk about the depth of the vaginal canal and the options available. He explained to me that without the colon surgery that my vagina would only be about 2 inches deep. I told him I wasn't all that concerned about the depth because I was a lesbian and wasn't worried about penetration like a lot of patients would be and that I didn't want the invasive colon surgery. We agreed. I then looked at his breast implant sizes and we spent a while discussing those. When we were finished and in agreement he scheduled my surgery. I did have a history of heart disease and heart surgeries, so he insisted on having his cardiologist take care of me for my stay and they ran tests on my before they would admit me. I felt that I received very competent care.
After my surgery, I was in bed for two days before he removed my bandages, and I received wonderful care from his excellent staff and the hospital nurses, who were very good. I had torn some stitches, since I didn't realize I wasn't supposed to move around as I did. The nurses kept my wounds under close inspection: While in the hospital they checked them every 4 hours or so. I never got an infection. I went to the hotel that was adjacent to the hospital and went to bed.
Dr. Pichet informed me that when he did my surgery he had discovered that my urethra was very small in diameter and that I was to be careful of it getting blocked by scar material. We decided we should leave the catheter in for a week to help keep it open while the healing progressed. He had his staff nurses come and clean my wounds every day for 2 weeks at my hotel. He would then come to my room daily and look in on me himself. On many occasions I went to the hospital, which was right next door, and consulted with him. I found him very easy to talk with, as if he were a friend. He told me to dilate after I got home and gave me a kit of stents and supplies.
When I came home I was short of funds, so I went back to work three weeks after surgery. About four weeks after surgery I started having problems urinating, and went to my doctor at home. She referred me to a urologist, who confirmed Dr. Pichet's diagnosis that my urethra was very small. She dilated my urethra up to a size 18 . I wore the catheter 24/7 for 2 weeks; then the urologist removed it, and I started cathing myself nightly to keep it open. It has now been six months, and I'm down to cathing once a week and am doing fine. I have feelings in my new vagina and clitoris, and I am very pleased with the outcome. I dilate once a day and have been able to penetrate to 3 inches (7.5 cm).
I don't feel like Dr. Pichet is getting his just credit on your page at this time. Please post this on your page to be fair to Dr. Pichet
July 14, 2003
Dear Dr. Lawrence,
Let me tell you, and anyone interested in going to Dr. Pichet, that I am very satisfied and would tell anyone to go to him. He is very good at his work and a fine doctor. He is caring and very concerned about his patients. He treated my mom and me like his personal guests, as though he had known us all his life.
As far as the outcome of my SRS, it is very satisfactory to me, and everything works just fine. I was in an odd situation, because I was intersexed. I had internal female parts already, so I did not need the colon segment. I have about 3 or 4 inches of depth and would have more if I would dilate (which I hate). Depth was not important to me, but being corrected was.
If I had to do this all over again, I am sure I would still chose Dr. Pichet for my doctor. I am also returning for a check up with him, and also to visit the nurses who took care of me. I want him to see the outcome of his work. I am sure he will be pleased.
July 13, 2003
Dear Dr. Lawrence,
In late May 2003, I had a colon segment vaginoplasty with Dr. Pichet. My result is perfect, and I had no complications of my vaginoplasty whatsoever. However, I did have complications completely unrelated to the vaginoplasty itself. You see, I am fat. If abdominal fat is cut into, there can be fat necrosis or death of the fat. This is because fat tissue does not have good blood flow. I needed an abdominal incision to do my colon segment surgery. Fat liquefies when it dies, so I had leakage from my incision. Dr. Pichet put me right back in the hospital. He examined me with the two other surgeons who assisted in my surgery. Incidentally, Dr. Pichet provided me with these two surgeons at no extra cost to me, because he knew I get nervous about any surgery and he wanted my mind to be at ease.
Anyway, it was determined that it was probably fat necrosis, but a battery of tests including a CAT Scan were done to be certain. I spent an additional two days in the hospital and then the doctor put me up for free by his clinic for two weeks to monitor me closely. Dr. Pichet charged me nothing for all this extra service. He probably made very little if anything from my surgery. Does this really sound like a man with evil intent?
Dr. Pichet has the least expensive prices. Why? One day he told me over lunch that his price is lower so he can relieve the suffering of TS women that could otherwise not afford it. You see, Dr. Pichet is a true Buddhist, and therefore strives to relieve suffering in others. Those posts from Dr. Pichetís patients damaged his reputation, and they also may have derailed the dreams of full womanhood for TS women who may have been frightened away. I know Dr. Pichet well enough to know a retraction would easily gain his complete forgiveness. Itís his Buddhist way, you see. Personally his Gandhi nature drives me nuts, but he's a better person than me.
Thank you for posting this letter. It is a matter of fairness. Incidentally, Dr. Pichet has numerous other testimonials to his fine work on his web site.
T. wrote to me as follows:
July 12, 2003
Dear Dr. Lawrence,
I have used your site for information on doctors, and I'm sure many others do too. One word from you can make or break someone's career. I am afraid that, in Dr. Pichet's case, that one word is damaging a very competent doctor's reputation.
On June 20, 2003, I was his patient for four procedures: SRS, bowel resection, breast enlargement, and lip augmentation. I am extremely happy with the results. I couldn't have wished for a better outcome. I speak from a point of view that may color my view or add credence to it: I am the daughter of a doctor. And after a month in Dr. Pichet's company, I have come to realize that he is as dedicated, caring, competent, and qualified as any doctor I have ever met, including my daddy.
I can't deny that the picture you posted is shocking and downright scary. Was this under the control of the doctor? Perhaps. But you know as well as anyone that doctors are human. Sometimes the fault lies in their being human, and sometimes it lies elsewhere. Did these two dissatisfied girls smoke against doctor's orders? Are they overweight? These are risk factors under their control not the doctor's. Did they follow the doctor's orders? In Dr. Pichet's eyes, none of these questions matters. He wants to fix anything that is causing the patient to be unhappy.
Medicine is considered an art; you have to know this. The care I received in Thailand was superior to any I have received in the States. What American doctor do you know who would to personally follow up all events on a daily basis for a month, and what surgeon in America would ever offer a guarantee, regardless of where the fault might lie?
Dr. Pichet is unfairly being painted as greedy and incompetent. It seems unfair to me that the voice of the few can carry so much weight. A few people who just happened to be at Dr. Pichetís clinic at the same time have banded together to punish Dr. Pichet. Dr. Pichet is personally invested in all his patients, and this hurts him deeply. I have seen the pain in his eyes. Would a greedy, incompetent person care like this? I don't believe so.
I want to relate a little more of my own experience. I arrived in Thailand smoking. To top that off, I had a severe case of bronchitis. Before Dr. Pichet would operate, he wanted to be sure that I was a viable candidate for surgery. At his cost, he had a pulmonologist and another doctor check on me. They took x- rays and blood tests and breathing tests and prescribed breathing treatments for me. I spent an extra couple of days in the hospital at his expense. In fact, all this was paid by him. And with each mention of money he would discount it as a necessary part of the process. After the pulmonologist cleared me for surgery and Dr. Pichet was satisfied that I could handle it, he did the four procedures. Now it is one month later, and the end result is marvelous. I am so happy.
I know that for some of us, maybe even many of us, money is of concern in getting surgery. Dr. Pichet does charge less than most, and I believe he is more capable than most. What a bargain. Please don't destroy a good man's career without all the facts. There are hundreds of us in the satisfied silent majority. Please donít let a few dissatisfied patients dissuade anyone from going to Dr. Pichet. He truly cares, and he's a bargain.