Medical tourism: an area of ​​opportunity for Mexico

According to health sector figures, in 2018 the size of the medical tourism industry in Mexico reached 14.1 billion dollars with a direct contribution to the tourism of 3.5 billion dollars.

Currently, Latin American countries such as Brazil, Colombia and Cuba are considered benchmarks in medical tourism as well as other Asian countries such as India.
Currently, Latin American countries such as Brazil, Colombia and Cuba are considered benchmarks in medical tourism as well as other Asian countries such as India.

According to an analysis of the Health sector, in 2018, the size of the medical tourism industry in Mexico reached 14.1 billion dollars (9 percent of the total worldwide), with a direct contribution to the tourism sector of 3.5 billion dollars.

Figures that have positioned us as the second power in medical tourism worldwide, only below Thailand.

Among the procedures, aesthetic surgeries stand out, which are up to 50 percent cheaper than in the United States.

"Beauty concepts are fully described here and in China. However, some of these canons are being added due to the role played by the media. Such was the case of the buttock implants of actress and singer Jennifer Lopez; the demand for this procedure increased almost 2,000 percent in recent years," said plastic surgeon Emmanuel Flores, a member of the International Society of Plastic and Aesthetic Surgery (ISAP).

"The obsession for beauty is nothing new, however, what we are willing to sacrifice to achieve it, yes," said psychologist Laura Diaz.

In comparison, a rhinoplasty in the United States costs about 4,200 dollars (82,696 pesos), in Mexico, it ranges between 37,000 pesos.

This important difference was one of the factors that attracted Laura Avila, a student from Texas, United States, who traveled to Ciudad Juarez to undergo rhinoplasty, a surgery where due to medical negligence, she suffered a cardiac arrest that cost her life.

"It is increasingly common for them to want access to surgery from an early age, some as young as 12. This also has to do with the pressure exerted by social networks, but we as professionals must educate the patient and not just operate for the money. If they are minors, they have to be accompanied by their parents," said Dr. Emmanuel Flores.

Information published by the Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risks (COFEPRIS) of 4,322 clinics that were reviewed last year, anomalies were identified in 510 of them and 264 were suspended.

"I have spent a little more than 200,000 pesos on the four operations I have. For me, beauty is elevating the care of oneself," said Mexican Luis Sepúlveda, who to radically lose 80 kilograms, decided to go through the scalpel to recover his figure.

"The plastic surgeries help to reach the idealization that we have for being attractive, as long as they are performed with someone certified to verify and ensure the integrity of patients, that increases the chances of having a good result," concluded Sepulveda.