Thousands of Americans cross the border in search of youth fountains in Mexico. They come in sweat, T-shirts and flip flops, carry cash attached to their soon to be liposuction, and flat tummy tucked tummies. They get new faces, breasts and ever bigger lips. But at what cost? That is the question.
The director of Mexico’s plastic surgeon associations, Dr. Jose Luis Romero Zarate, was recently quoted in an interview as saying, “There are some border surgeons with questionable credentials. We are concerned because this is a growing problem. I would advise potential patients to do their homework to avoid their quest for beauty gets ugly.
To be sure, there are plastic surgery appointments to be implemented in Mexico. The cost is about half the prices in the US. However, there are some scary stories coming back with American patients, stories of medications being dispensed in ketchup bottles, flies swirling around the head during surgery. A few people have turned gangrene, and compounding is common. How common is anyone’s guess, as there is no way to tell percent what to expect and there is no governing body to turn to for accurate numbers.
In fact, the trend has had an unexpected side effect on plastic surgeons on the US side, close to the border towns. All report a sharp increase in patients seeking corrective surgery from their cross-border trips. Dr. Wilkinson, a plastic surgeon in San Antonio who has been practicing for more than 30 years, said, “Doctors on the border don’t hurt,” Wilkinson says dozens of patients come to him for post-surgery repair work in Mexico.
“We see not only bad surgery, but preventable complications,” Wilkinson says. He says some doctors operating in border clinics do not have appropriate training. “They give all the excellent, properly trained Mexican surgeons a bad name,” says Wilkinson.
The number of Americans crossing the Mexico border for plastic surgery continues to increase each year as Americans seek ever-cheaper plastic surgery. But the motto seems to be buyer beware.