Is Getting Plastic Surgery Across the Border Wise?


In early March of 2023, a North Carolina resident and three friends decided to make the long journey to Mexico to save money on a tummy tuck. She was just one of many Americans crossing the border to get cheaper medical procedures.

This phenomenon is known as medical tourism. And it might leave you wondering if getting plastic surgery across the border is a good idea.

Some sources say yes. But others speak to the contrary. And for a number of reasons.

Every Situation Is Unique

For the North Carolina woman who wanted a tummy tuck, the trip ended in tragedy. She and her friends were kidnapped. Two of her friends were murdered, while she and the other surviving friend were sent back to North Carolina to get medical care.

Of course, you’re likely to talk to many people who’ve received plastic surgery in Mexico and everything went alright. But as the numbers of Americans who travel to Mexico for procedures increases, the higher the risk they’ll run into volatile situations.

In addition, there are the real dangers to consider when it comes to the actual procedures. Since you’re entrusting your medical care to someone you’ve never met and in a place with which you’re not familiar, you could be taking some big chances.

Complications from Plastic Surgery

It’s vital that you ALWAYS choose a board-certified plastic surgeon. While there are board-certified surgeons in Mexico, it’s not always easy to verify whether the surgeon you’re considering has these credentials. Or you could be led by misinformation.

By contrast, when you choose a surgical center that’s a manageable distance from your home, you’re able visit the location and consult with your surgeon face-to-face to increase peace of mind.

It’s true that all surgery comes with complications – no matter where it’s performed. But if you believe you’re getting big savings by crossing the border into Mexico, you may want to pause to consider the actual cost that might come along with it.

Here are just some of the possible outcomes:

  1. Tummy Tuck

Though it sounds like a simple procedure, a tummy tuck involves removing fat and tissue from the abdomen area. If the procedure isn’t performed correctly, it can lead to bleeding or severe infection that would require  going back in, cleaning the wound, and then closing it again.

  1. Facelift

The facelift is in high demand in Mexico. But this is not a procedure to be taken lightly. If you’re not certain that you’re working with only a skilled and experienced surgeon, you could end up with infection, nerve damage, or even necrosis in your face.

  1. Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL)

BBL requires the removal of fat from one part of the body to be grafted to the buttocks. Again, there is a specific technique involved with the grafting and if it’s not performed correctly, it could result in thrombosis or even a stroke.

  1. Liposuction

As simple as liposuction may seem, the technique is also very specific to ensure that no fat globules travel through the bloodstream and into the lungs causing pulmonary thromboembolism. Even if that doesn’t happen, there’s still the risk of bruising and infections.

  1. Breast Reduction

While there currently are not many patients flocking to Mexico for a breast reduction, this is a procedure that should be done closer to home. The recovery process can result in keloids, or excessive scar tissue growth. Necrosis in the areola and nipple can also be a result. These would require corrective surgery.

Unexpected Outcomes

Then there are patient accounts that speak to the lack of experience an unsuspecting American may find in a Mexican operating or recovery room.

In one Tijuana clinic alone, three different women scheduled a tummy tuck with one doctor on a single day. The first woman knew something was askew when they didn’t hook her up to any machines or perform bloodwork. She was sent to a hotel to recover. But she was lucky.

The second woman, her friend, did not fare as well. And that’s putting it mildly. Without adequate oxygen and blood supply during the surgery, she died from secondary hypoxic encephalopathy.

The third woman was rushed across the border to an ER in California a few days after the procedure when her body went into septic shock.

In another case, two women found themselves at a facility in a strip mall that didn’t look at all like the images on the website. After their procedures, one was left with skin protruding from her breast augmentation incisions, while the other was left disfigured and was told by a doctor that the surgery had put her life in jeopardy.

Finally (but certainly not the last on a lengthy list), a woman who travelled to Mexico from Washington state to get a mommy makeover was left with severe burns on her fingers after heated saline bags were placed there during surgery. Her hands will be scarred for life and she’ll likely need to have an amputation on her dominant thumb.

Still Wondering About Getting Plastic Surgery Across the Border?

Clearly, getting plastic surgery across the border in Mexico is risky business. Like the old adage says, you get what you pay for.

Plastic surgery is an investment that gives you great returns such as increased confidence, improved self-esteem, and a boost in your overall well-being. It’s hard to put a price on that.

So if you’re considering plastic surgery in your future and want the assurance that comes from working with only highly qualified board-certified plastic surgeons, contact us today. And invest in yourself.