If you are interested in having plastic surgery but are trying to find the best combination of affordability and medical excellence, you may have come across a suggestion: travel south of the border to Mexico.
On the one hand, having cosmetic procedures at an affordable price is alluring, particularly since these procedures are not covered by insurance and can cost several thousands of dollars. Who wouldn’t want to save up to 80% on plastic surgery? On the other hand, there are a lot of myths about medical tourism. Who wouldn’t be cautious about having plastic surgery in Mexico when you read about prices being too low to be true, unqualified doctors, and unsanitary facilities?
We are here to clear this up: Yes, there are many myths about having plastic surgery in Mexico. However, myths are just myths, and when you do your research, the fact is that plastic surgery in Mexico can be a safe experience.
Is Plastic Surgery in Mexico Safe?
The myth: Healthcare in Mexico, including plastic surgery, is unsafe, patients are constantly at risk and medical services are not regulated.
The fact: The standard of healthcare in Mexico is one of the best in the world. Tijuana, for example, is consistently one of the top 3 medical tourism destinations in the world, year after year. This is not a coincidence: patients find medical care in their language, the city is easily accessible by land and air, clinics offer the most advanced procedures and doctors are highly trained.
What you can do about it: As we explain in further detail below, the most important thing you can do to ensure a safe plastic surgery experience in Mexico is research. There are great medical providers here, you just need to find them. Research the doctor, research the clinic, research the medical staff (nurses, anesthesiologists, lab technicians, etc).
Are plastic surgeons in Mexico qualified?
The myth: Having cosmetic surgery with a Mexican surgeon is a gamble because you don’t know if the doctor is qualified.
The fact: Plastic surgeons in Mexico need to go through extensive and highly specialized training. It’s true that in Mexico, just as anywhere else in the world, doctors that are not trained to practice plastic surgery can try to deceive patients. Nevertheless, if you know what certifications and qualifications your doctor MUST have, you will know you’re in the hands of a professional.
What you can do about it: Research the surgeon’s certifications. To begin with, ask for their medical license number, called cédula profesional in Spanish. This is not enough, and you must also ask for their Mexican Association of Plastic, Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgery (AMCPER) certification. In Mexico, this is the highest plastic surgery board, similar to the American Board of Plastic Surgery. You can verify your surgeon’s credentials in their online directory as well as check for suspensions against him or her.
In addition, you can also ask for former patient’s testimonials or look them up online in sites like Realself. This will let you know more about the surgeon’s ‘bedside manner’ and how patients felt.
Is plastic surgery in Mexico so cheap because the facilities are basic and dirty?
The myth: Plastic surgery hospitals and clinics cut corners everywhere, including the facilities.
The fact: If you look around, you are sure to find modern, state of the art facilities. Private hospitals and clinics in Mexico make an extra effort to not only be clean and safe, but stylish and relaxing for patients.
What you can do about it: Same as you verify the doctor’s credentials, check the facility’s credentials. Few clinics in Tijuana are accredited by the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities (AAAASF) or the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS), but these two certifications, while not mandatory, indicate that the clinic you are going to exceeds international standards. If you want the best healthcare available (and honestly, who doesn’t?), choose a clinic that has these certifications.
Are Mexico’s low plastic surgery prices misleading? Will there be hidden costs for my procedure?
The myth: The final price for your plastic surgery will be much higher at the end due to hidden costs and extra expenses you were not considering.
The fact: Professional and trustworthy plastic surgery clinics in Mexico will always give you an estimate for all of your procedure expenses. In order to be clear on what’s included in the price you should check for the following: surgeon fees, anesthesia and anesthesiologist fee and operating room fee. The doctor’s staff you talk to will be able to explain the estimate and help you understand what other costs you need to consider.
What you can do about it: Want to know if you are in good hands? Clear pricing is a good indicator. The best clinics and doctors will offer a free consultation with the plastic surgeon you want to work with. Upon completing this consultation, you should receive a comprehensive and itemized estimate for your surgery, where the clinic and doctor clearly explain what you are paying for. It’s also a good idea to ask for extra expenses you should plan for, like extra nights recovering and medical supplies you’ll need.
Will I be able to communicate with my surgeon in English?
The myth: Patients believe that if they go to Mexico, they are on their own and won’t be able to communicate clearly with the surgeon and the clinic’s staff.
The fact: English is widely spoken in Mexico, particularly by good plastic surgeons and internationally accredited clinics. In fact, the best surgeons will likely have trained in the US or Europe at some point in their careers.
What you can do about it: Carry all your communications in English, since the moment you first contact them. When you have a consultation or a chat with the surgeon, a nurse or anyone, speak in English even if you are somewhat fluent in Spanish. Make sure you will be communicating comfortably and effectively with the team.
Will my plastic surgeon in Mexico abandon me once I return home?
The myth: Plastic surgeons in Mexico will take your money and once they discharge you, you are on your own.
The fact: A reliable plastic surgeon will be readily available to answer your questions even from afar. Additionally, he or she should explain how you can ask questions or contact them in case you need additional information.
What you can do about it: Before committing to plastic surgery, even if you like the doctor, make sure to ask about aftercare. Discuss with the surgeon how long you need to be in Mexico, and how you can follow up when you return home. Good doctors will explain how they handle the recovery period for patients who live abroad. Great surgeons (the ones you should go to) will also offer to coordinate with your primary care physician in your hometown, send them all the information about your procedure and be available to answer questions from them as well.
At VIDA Wellness and Beauty Center in Tijuana, Mexico we strive every day to exceed our patient’s expectations. We offer the best quality of care in Mexico, with plastic surgeons, anesthesiologists, and nurses who are board-certified and fluent in English. Don’t hesitate to contact us, ask all the questions you need and let us show you what a wonderful experience plastic surgery in Mexico can be. In order to schedule a free private consultation with one of our board-certified surgeons, contact us by calling at 1-619-738-2144 (toll free) or fill out our form and one of our patient specialists will contact you.