moments before Aide Guillen went under the knife in Mexico were a nightmare.
laid me down and they start tying my hands I was like what happened, why are
they doing this to me.
local anesthesia and he started cutting right here and I felt it and I started
screaming," she recalled.
Coachella woman traveled to Mexicali in 2011 to get her breast implants
removed. She says the procedure would have cost her $3,000 in the U.S., but in
Mexico, she only paid $500.
it wasn't worth it.
felt when he put his finger in my boobie. I felt everything. I felt
my body separate from the table and he said it's okay, it's going to be
is among a growing number of patients flocking to foreign countries for cheap
call it "medical tourism." Some go as far away as Thailand for a nip
tuck. Many from the valley just head for the border.
the difference in price can be as high as 50% off. So if you're looking
at a considerable sum of money doing it for half sounds appealing," said
Dr.Suzanne Quardt, a renowned board-certified plastic surgeon who owns Dr. Q
Medical Spa in Rancho Mirage.
Guillen's painful procedure in Mexico plus another botched surgery she had here
in the U.S., she's getting a revisional breast lift and tummy tuck by Dr.
says at least a dozen people come into her office each year to fix botched
surgeries done in another country.
market it as a luxury yet inexpensive way to take care of it and the reality is
people could feel like cattle in a herd or an assembly line. Get in and
get out," Dr. Q said.
exactly how Guillen said she felt when the doctor finished her procedure there.
feel like they need the bed for the next patient. It's terrible. They didn't
give me 10 or 15 minutes to rest. They cleaned it and they said okay,
you're set to go home. I was so dizzy and worried," Guillen said.
lucky she didn't develop a serious infection from the surgical equipment. "You
don't know if it's sterilized. you don't know what kind of implants they're
using. Unfortunately there are a lot of problems that arrive from
that," Dr. Q said.
April, Mexican authorities shut down 10 cosmetic surgery offices in Tijuana for
failing to comply with health regulations. The action came after a young
Australian woman died while undergoing liposuction in
found that office and the others that closed were using expired and
horrifying. Certainly not the standard of care here in the U.S.," said Dr.
Q. If you're
shopping for a surgeon, here or in another country, Dr. Q says do your homework.
U.S., the American Society of Plastic Surgeons certifies doctors in their
fields of expertise. You can look up surgeons on plasticsurgery.dot.org.
husband says women will spend more time picking out shoes than a surgeon and
there can be truth to that," said Dr. Q. "If you're finding out at
the time of the procedure who is giving the anesthesia, what kind it is, how
it's delivered, that's a bad time because you have no chance to change your
says there are board-certified surgeons in other countries, but you'll have to
do your research to find them.
Commission International, which accredits foreign medical centers, is one place
to start. But Dr. Q
warns: those surgeons are usually closer in price to American doctors.
key is to find someone qualified and board certified in whatever area you're
seeking. Save up so you can do it safely in the comforts of your own country,
or you just shouldn't do it at all," said Dr. Q.
Guillen, it was a pricey lesson to learn. What was supposed to be one surgery
has turned into several and she's racked up thousands of dollars to feel like
herself again. "I
had a lot of depression that I can't wear a bikini, I can't show my body to my
husband," Guillen said. "I don't recommend going to Mexico to do
advice to anyone considering foreign plastic surgery: Think twice. If you
see a price that's too good to be true it probably is.