Several Americans go on a one day trip to Tijuana in Mexico which is right across the border, for bargain shopping amongst other things. A discreetly rising trend here is the number of American patients travelling to Tijuana for plastic surgery.
The story of Gladys Coronado, San Diego is one such. She started gaining weight after becoming a mother of two children five years ago. Nothing really seemed to help too much, though she tried several diets as well as exercising regularly. The enormous amount of weight that she had gained post pregnancy was just too hard to get rid of. She finally decided to go in for a tummy tuck. One of her friends referred her to several clinics and she started researching on them.
Finally she came across Dr. Alejandro Quiroz, a plastic surgeon in Tijuana. Far removed from the luxurious offices of Beverley Hills, Dr. Quiroz’s office was a modest, unassuming place and she was a little sceptical about him in the beginning. However, she gained faith in him as she went ahead through the various stages of her surgery. She remains a satisfied customer since then. Unlike the Beverley Hills surgeon who had asked for $25000, Dr. Alejandro Quiroz charged her $7500.
Dr. Quiroz’s clinic has state-of-the-art facilities. It is not uncommon for the clinic’s waiting room to be full of American women, all waiting to see a plastic surgeon. “When you walk in the doors you don’t realize you are in Mexico” says one plastic surgery patient.
All his staff is bilingual. He himself has practised both in Mexico as well as the United States. He says that it is not surprising for him that 70% of his patients are American women.
Plastic Surgery in Mexico – Is It Safe?
“Bad surgeries can and do happen anywhere, in Tijuana or the U.S.”, says Dr Quiroz. He is a board Certified Surgeon in both he US and Mexico. He continues:
“People think when they come across the borders that the offices will be irregulated and not well equipped, and the physicians will not be appropriately trained. But that is a whole bunch of misconceptions.”
When asked why he works in Tijuana when he has the required credentials to work in the U.S., he says that his overhead costs in Mexico are about half of what they would have been in the United States. And he is not alone. Many big corporations are heading south to build their manufacturing units. Donald Trump does the same with his real estate business.
Plastic Surgery in Mexico – Is It Risky?
Susan Gail, a cosmetic surgery consultant and author, explains that going to a different place away from home to get a surgery done can be risky at times.
“Do people go down to Mexico and have surgery and have excellent results for far less money? Yes, the do. Are they taking a risk, may be more of a risk than they should to save that money? Yes, they are.”
Being a is a patient advocate, Mrs Gail agrees to how patients go down to Mexico and get their surgery done in half the amount that they would have spent here. She however says that the risk involved may sometimes be more than the amount of money saved.
Mrs Gail doesn’t ever recommend or endorse a place to a client, Mexico or otherwise. She helps them gather information on various doctors, explore their options and then take a conscious, well informed decision.
According to Gail, it is safer to get the surgery done in the United States, because in Mexico the patient does not have recourse if something goes wrong unlike in the United States. She says:
“After a face lift or after an abdominal plastic surgery, the first 3-5 days you are not even moving. Why would you want to be in another country? You want to be in your own home, in your own safe enviroment, where the doctor is a phone call away”
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons has also mentioned several reasons for not going abroad for plastic surgery on their website.
This does not stop people like Gladys Coronado who says she would go back to Dr. Quiroz in case she decides to undergo plastic surgery again.
What to Research When Considering Plastic Surgery in Mexico – Your Plastic Surgery Homework
What both Susan Gail and Dr. Alejandro Quiroz agree upon is that choosing a surgeon is all about doing your background research well. It is very important to have information about three things:
- the Surgeon’s background,
- Certification and
- License status.
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons offers information on such surgeons.