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1,350 are certified and 20,000 are quacks

Cosmetic surgery in Mexico: buyer beware is the watch phrase

There are 1,350 doctors certified to practice cosmetic surgery in Mexico but another 20,000 are charlatans, according to the association of plastic surgeons.

And even in plastic surgery the infiltration of organized crime has become evident, says Alfonso Vallarta, president of the Association for Plastic, Esthetic and Reconstructive Surgery (AMCPER).

The charlatans who are passing themselves off as plastic surgeons are creating “a grave problem for public health at the national level,” says Vallarta, for the complications, illnesses and even deaths that result.

He claims too that new schools have been opened to offer courses in cosmetic surgery from which hundreds of “pseudo-surgeons” are graduating after just 10 months of study, which can also be completed on line. He charges that those schools are linked to organized criminal groups.

Vallarta described the situation as “very dangerous.” He cited one school that is graduating 200 students a year, four times the number who graduate within the national health system and its program of certification.

The AMCPER website stipulates that a plastic surgeon must first complete about six years of study to be a surgeon followed by three or four years studying general surgery. The process is completed with another three years studying plastic surgery itself.

Vallarta said the problem is not a new one. Health authorities were warned 15 years ago about ill-trained individuals practicing cosmetic surgery, but the issue was not given much importance because patients of cosmetic procedures were not considered ill.

“But the phenomenon has grown a great deal.”

In recent years Mexico has attracted growing numbers of visitors seeking low-cost but high-quality medical services, and is now second only to Thailand as a medical tourism destination.

For tourists seeking cosmetic surgery or any other medical treatment, the watch phrase is buyer beware.

Source: El Diario (sp)

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