The Millennium Cosmetic & Laser Institute in Tijuana, Mexico… a full-service cosmetic surgery spa offering an impressive set of surgical procedures for prices that are less than 50% of what you could expect to pay in the US. Sounds great, right?
Actually, it does sound pretty good. And why shouldn’t it. It’s got an impressive name (it’s an “Institute”), they offer a full set of cosmetic procedures, and you won’t break the bank paying for them. Before jumping to this conclusion, which is an easy one to make if you really want liposuction or a tummy tuck but you really don’t have the money to pay for it, think about what you’re doing. You may save a few thousand dollars, but you also may end up paying the ultimate price!
The Millennium Institute is currently shut down because a patient who traveled there for liposuction died of complications from the routine procedure. A team of investigators found multiple health violations throughout the facility, and is questioning the director, Dr. Louis Villanueva, about his medical credentials.
Shady centers like this are popping up all over Mexico, South America, and even in the United States, in an attempt to take advantage of the current state of affairs in the world of cosmetic surgery. Surprising at it might be, there are very few regulations that protect consumers from unqualified doctors performing unsafe surgeries in unaccredited “institutes”.
As more and more doctors, who may or may not be trained plastic surgeons, or even actual doctors for that matter, are hanging shingles that say “Cosmetic Surgeon”, it’s becoming a truly “fatal” mistake to make a decision to have surgery based on the cheap prices alone. Even in the United States, where you would not expect this kind of thing to happen, over 40% of the “cosmetic surgeons” in the state of California have NO SURGICAL TRAINING at all! That’s a staggering figure, but it’s even more staggering that there is no law that prevents this from happening.
After the death of Kayne West’s mother, Donda West, California took a step in the right direction by passing the Donda West Law which mandates preoperative medical examinations for everyone undergoing cosmetic surgery. The problem is that this law still does not prohibit untrained doctors from performing surgical procedures that they are not qualified to perform. It doesn’t matter how thorough the preoperative medical examination is… if the “surgeon” is not qualified to perform the procedure, and to handle any possible complications, bad things can happen. Case and point… this liposuction death in Tijuana.
It’s a shame that someone had to die to prompt an investigation into this facility, but it’s even more of a shame that We The People still don’t know any better.
Be Smart and Be Safe! Do your homework on the facility, and on your surgeon. And if you really can’t afford the price to have your procedure done by someone qualified, just put the brakes on, open a savings account, and save some money to get it done safely. No amount of money is ever worth your health, or your life!
Nicholas Vendemia, M.D. Plastic Surgeon, New York City MAS / Manhattan Aesthetic Surgery www.ManhattanAestheticSurgery.com
Photo Credit: iStockphoto
NOTICE: None of the celebrities or individuals discussed here have ever received treatment, surgery, medical advice, or evaluations from any author, physician, surgeon, or representative of this blog. All images and photos in this article represent models only. No actual patients or clients are shown.