Mexico Minister of Health Jorge Alcocer warned the Mexican population of the risks of using biopolymers or modelers for aesthetical purposes. He said that clandestine clinics use illegal materials for aesthetical procedures that put health at risk. Since February 2022, Mexico’s Ministry of Health has closed down 78 irregular establishments in 316 inspection operations.
“This is a priority problem for Mexico’s public health as it represents a high sanitary risk,” said Alejandro Svarch, Head, COFEPRIS.
In Mexico, there is a high number of clinics that are operating outside of the legal framework. The most requested procedures at illegal clinics are the application of botox, hialuronic acid and biopolymers. Bichectomy and rhino modelling are the most demanded surgeries at these facilities.
“Clandestine clinics represent a sanitary risk because their personnel do not have academic accreditation, they lack adequate infrastructure, use non-authorized or obsolete supplies and do not have permits,” added Svarch.
Clandestine clinics tend to use illegal materials such as car oil, olive oil, bee wax, animal fat, among others. The use of liquid silicon is a very common practice among unauthorized facilities, as well. “The use of this product is considered by the international associations of plastic surgery as medical negligence,” said Alcocer.
Warnings from health authorities came after the Ministry of Health had to deny a false statement that was circulating on social media that claimed that doctors with a Master’s in aesthetic surgeries would be allowed perform those procedures. Only doctors specialized in plastic surgery, with a certificate of specialty and a valid certificate are qualified to perform those procedures, the ministry stated.
Globally, Mexico is the third country where most aesthetical procedures are conducted. Brazil, US, Japan, Italy and Mexico represent 40 percent of the aesthetical procedures performed at the global level.
After the pandemic, the popularity of plastic surgeries increased. In 2020, the global cosmetic surgery market size was US$44.5 billion and it is expected to grow to US$58.8 billion by 2028, as reported by GlobeNewswire.
Owing to the popularity of cosmetic procedures, demand for cheaper surgeries has increased. People tend to travel to get a cosmetic surgery as more accessible options might be available abroad. In Mexico, the price of plastic surgeries can be 80 percent cheaper than in the US, which is where most of the patients come from. The most common states for foreigners to get a plastic surgery in Mexico are Mexico City, Monterrey, Guadalajara, Tijuana, Baja California and Cancun. In general, medical tourism in Mexico represents over US$8 billion annually.