Mexico is a popular destination for hundreds of foreigners seeking cosmetic procedures at affordable prices. However, the recent kidnapping of four US citizens in Matamoros, a city on the border with Brownsville, Texas, has alerted tourists visiting the nation for medical purposes.
According to the 2021 Index of the Medical Tourism Association, Mexico occupies the 42nd place in the world in the supply of this type of services, with an industry that is located in the tenth position.
According to the Mexican hospital chain CMQ, specialized in the care of international patients, the majority of people who travel abroad for medical reasons usually do so to be treated with state-of-the-art technology and highly trained personnel or to receive better care from their countries of origin.
In the Mexican case, the country attracts tourists thanks to its proximity to the United States and the low costs of your treatmentsthe big question is whether the industry will be able to resist the attacks of organized crime.
Medical tourism in Mexico
Mexico is mired in a security problem derived from the territorial fight between different drug cartels, even so, the country continues to be an important point for foreigners who intend to undergo medical procedures.
According to figures from the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI), during the past year more than 6 million hikers and tourists Internationals entered through the northern Mexican border for medical reasons.
The proximity between the US and Mexico makes the Latin American nation the preferred alternative for Americans seeking to perform medical procedures at a lower cost, seeking expert specialists.
In fact, the majority of visitors for clinical reasons registered in Mexico come from the US, mainly from the states of California, Arizona and Texas, while a smaller proportion of patients travel from Canada and the United Kingdom, the organization reports. Patients Beyond Borders, according to Hospitales CMQ.
Mexico is located 2:40 hours from the closest point with the US and 8:10 hours from the furthest point in Canada, reports CMQ Hospitals.
According to the conglomerate, between the main treatment destinations in Mexico are the six border statesas well as entities in the center of the country such as Jalisco, Mexico City, San Luis Potosi and Puebla, as well as paradises in the Caribbean such as Quintana Roo and Yucatan.
Plastic and aesthetic surgery persuades foreigners
International visitors who visit Mexico for clinical reasons seek to be treated for various reasons. From cancer and diabetes to depression, the catalog of medical services available to foreigners is extensive in the country. However, plastic surgery and aesthetic treatments occupy an important place within the services offered in the nation.
Mexico is at the forefront in performing aesthetic procedures. The country is located in the fourth position globallyaccording to a survey by the International Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
Among the most practiced procedures in the nation are nose surgery or rhinoplasty, eyelid lift, breast augmentation, liposuction and facial fat grafting.
While among the most popular non-surgical interventions are botulinum toxin and hyaluronic acid injection, hair removal and cellulite treatments, as well as non-invasive fat reduction procedures.
Unlike the geography of medical tourism in general, cosmetic procedures are concentrated in entities in the central region such as Mexico City and Jalisco, which register the largest number of specialists registered with the Mexican Council of Plastic, Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgery (CMCPER). ).
Although five of the six border entities are positioned in the top ten places with the most doctors and professionals in aesthetic and plastic medicine.
The costs, the great attraction
Various companies offer all-inclusive packages to foreigners willing to receive care in the country, which cover the costs of interventions, hotel stays, as well as preoperative clinical analysis, with the option of medical insurance.
The cost of the procedures varies according to the type of treatment, but regardless of the intervention, the truth is that the value of any procedure is considerably less than in the US.
Data collected by CMQ Hospitals detail what to perform an intervention in Mexico is between 36% and 89% cheaper than in the neighboring country, where a tummy tuck costs an average of 8,800 dollars, a price 50% higher than the Mexican one.
“I had a rhinoplasty, but going to Mexico City was super expensive, it was much cheaper to go to Tlaxcala to do it. From 80,000 pesos [4.000 dolares]low to 40,000 [2.000 dolares]”, a Mexican patient commented to RT.
The threat of insecurity
On Friday, March 3, Latavia Washington McGee, one of his cousins, and two of his friends traveled to the city located in the state of Tamaulipas, in northern Mexico, where they allegedly she would have a tummy tucka surgery to remove excess skin and fat from the stomach area.
The foreigners never arrived at the clinic where the procedure would take place, since they were attacked by alleged hitmen and deprived of their liberty.
For several days the whereabouts of the Americans were unknown, until Tuesday, March 7, it was reported that two of them had been rescued alive, including Washington McGee, while the bodies of the other two were recovered.
The reality is that the growing violence in Mexico has affected medical tourism. INEGI figures reveal that the number of travelers who entered the border to undergo clinical treatments fell 13.7% in 2022, compared to the previous year.
Despite the drop, data for January 2023 showed an opposite trend, with a 11.8% recoverycompared to the same month of the previous year, although the data was recorded before the kidnapping of the Americans.
The incident led to Washington asking its citizens to be careful when traveling to Mexico, while last week the State Department issued a new alert for students traveling to the beaches of Quintana Roo during summer vacation.
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has guaranteed the safety of tourists: “Mexico is safer than the US,” he has said on several occasions. However, the challenge in this area is not minor.
In 2022, 26,276 intentional murders and 25,623 crimes against personal liberty were reported in Mexico, although in the current president’s term, the number of kidnappings has been declining.
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