Medical Tourism in Mexico – Not a Passing Fancy

Guest blog post by beautybloggess Mia Pratt

Ajijic, Mexico has been listed as one of the top 5 retirement destinations for weather, cost of living, lifestyle, safety, friendliness, and other factors. And that status has attracted a thriving expat community as both part-time and full-time residents, as well as a growing community of medical and other professionals to serve that market.

As more expats have moved into the area, many of the local business owners have shifted their focus to meet the changing needs of the community as well.

One of those business owners is Anne Dyer, owner of Casita Montana Medical Sanctuary. As the first woman to open a business in Ajijic 23 years ago, Anne has seen the town change from a sleepy village populated by locals and donkey carts, to a thriving community struggling to strike the right balance between its historic origins and modernity.

Anne operates a boutique medical tourism business catering to expats wanting plastic surgery and cosmetic dentistry at Mexico prices – which can be as much as 30% to 70% less than in the US or Canada. But this wasn’t a business niche that Anne chose – it’s a business niche that chose Anne.

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About 7 years ago, people started contacting Anne about plastic surgery; interest in foreign medical services was on the rise and Anne had a large list of clients from her decades of owning a local tourist B&B. To help them out, she started looking around for doctors and dentists with whom she could trust her friends and guests. From there, her clientele shifted from B&B guests, to plastic surgery and cosmetic dentistry guests. Or, as they are called now, medical tourists.

Anne has some serious words for people interested in having plastic surgery in Mexico, based on her experience in the growing medical tourism market. In the past seven years Anne has transformed Casita Montana into a boutique Medical Sanctuary with an onsite board-certified surgeon, doctor office, before-and after-care service, and has maintained a 100% safety record. In essence, she knows her stuff.

What to Expect When Coming to Mexico for Plastic Surgery

1) Do your homework. The most important things to consider with any plastic surgery experience, whether at home or abroad, are to find a board-certified surgeon, and research the risks and benefits of surgery based on your age, medical condition, and budget.

2) No secrets. For people with health complications such as heart problems, diabetes or other issues, surgery of any kind presents risks and your doctor has to know what those are, and be prepared to deal with them, if he accepts you as a patient. Hiding, avoiding or ignoring these issues and not communicating them to your surgeon can cost you your life, particularly when having surgery far away from home. If your surgeon in the US or Canada did not think it was a good idea for you to get a facelift, it can be tempting to look elsewhere – and there will always be someone willing to do it for you. Don’t give in to temptation – it isn’t worth your life!

3) Put it into perspective. Look at your overall budget, and what a facelift or other plastic surgery procedure means to you. If your idea is to take the last of your savings and spend it on a facelift, think again. Having a facelift is a wonderful transformational experience – but once it’s done, you still have to go home and face reality. A facelift won’t fix your finances or mend your marriage, or bring back your youth. Patients need to have a realistic expectation of what their plastic surgery means; a more youthful appearance and a sense well being, sure. But it won’t end your grief over a lost loved-one, or fill an empty bank account. It’s an investment in yourself that only pays off when done smartly and well-advisedly, with realistic expectations.

4) Factor in finances. When coming to Mexico for anything, from plastic surgery to a vacation experience, budget makes a difference. Casita Montana Medical Sanctuary is a boutique center that caters to anywhere from one to a half-dozen patients at a time, and its focus is on comfort, personal attention, and excellent medical service. The accommodations are modern and comfortable, the staff friendly, and the doctors and nurses are the best available. But it isn’t the Ritz; if you’re looking for satin sheets, gaming casinos and maids in frilly French uniforms, think again. Casita Montana is designed to be affordable and practical as well as well-qualified; it retains the quaint and homey feeling of a village B&B, and Anne’s patients prefer it that way. If you are looking for high-end, high-style accommodations at equivalent prices, Mexico City is the place for you.

5) Planning makes perfect. Above all, plan your trip carefully. Take your time and look at your budget, your expectations, your health, and your family needs. Research your doctor’s resume, and check out local resources such as the Chapala Web Board, and a doctor’s past patients – you should have access to at least 3 happy patients. Research seasonal airplane ticket prices, consider the weather at the time you wish to come, calculate the financial impact of spending approximately $10,000 for your full experience. If you could give that money away or spend it on another vacation without damaging your financial safety net, go for it. If not, save for another year or two – your face isn’t going anywhere without you!

About Anne Dyer
Anne Dyer is a 24-year resident of Ajijic and owner of the Plaza Montana business center and Medical Sanctuary at Carretera and Colon in Ajijic. Originally from Oklahoma, Anne has been affectionately nicknamed “the Ajijic Angel” by a loyal group of friends in response to the help she extends to strangers, guests, employees and local homeless who turn to her for support and assistance when problems arise. You can meet Anne, her doctors and staff in a video tour on her website.

About Retire Early Lifestyle

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired two decades ago at the age of 38 and began traveling the world. As recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance and world travel, they have been interviewed about retirement issues by The Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine, The Motley Fool Rule Your Retirement newsletter, nationally syndicated radio talk shows and countless newspapers and TV shows nationally and worldwide. They wrote the popular books The Adventurer's Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible.
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