Dr. David Kirsch Kleiman
Plastic Surgeon
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View from the Top

No Shortage of Work for Cosmetic Surgeons

Wed, 09/09/2015 - 12:42

Q: What has been your experience of the cosmetic surgery industry in Mexico and how has it evolved?

A: I have been performing plastic surgeries for 35 years and have treated thousands of cases. A passion for plastic surgery will always motivate me in this field. When I first began practicing in Monterrey, there were only three main plastic surgeons working in the city, however over the years this number has grown and we have become overworked. My approach has been to allow my consultations to run as long as needed to ensure I understand the needs of my patients. I also provide insurance to cover any follow-up surgical costs and hospital care, should a problem arise after the surgery.

Q: What are the most commonly requested plastic surgery procedures in Monterrey?

A: Cosmetic surgery is the most common type of surgery in private practices while reconstructive surgery is more commonly found in emergency rooms and the public system. Within cosmetic surgery, the most popular operations depend on the age of the person. Teenagers usually request nose and ear jobs or breast augmentation, although some do approach my practice for breast reductions. Young women tend to favor breast enhancement and liposuction, and later in life reserve consultations to discuss surgeries that reduce the appearance of ageing, such as facelifts. Recent mothers may want to have tummy tucks and liposuction on the abdomen. I have patients who continue to consult me well into their 80s, for example, I have an 87-year-old client who traveled from New Zealand so that I could operate on her face, breasts, and abdomen. I consult many unique patients and provide all kinds of cosmetic surgery.

Q: Have you seen any significant interest from medical tourists?

A: In the past, I received more patients from the US than from Mexico, due to lower prices here and a broader acceptance of plastic surgery in the US. Until now, private clinics in Mexico offered surgeries cheaper than public hospitals. However, these hospitals have realized what a promising market they are missing out on and are now trying to attract patients too. The evolution in technology has also helped us. Surgeons used to do facial surgery manually and with replacement tissues, which was very invasive. Advances in laser technology mean that such operations can now be performed quickly, less invasively and with less scarring. Many of my patients hear about me through word of mouth. Cosmetic surgery remains a taboo among Mexicans and they are unlikely to openly discuss procedures they have undergone. Nevertheless, if they are satisfied with the result, they do recommend their surgeon to their friends and relatives. However, although US patients insist on quality, as plastic surgery becomes more popular in Mexico, a new problem has arisen. Patients are not looking for the best surgeons but for the most affordable options and we must be careful to ensure the supply of cosmetic surgeries meet standards approved by the FDA. This needs continued attention and support from the authorities.

Q: What should medical tourists do when choosing a plastic surgeon in Mexico?

A: First of all, they should go to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. It is very difficult to enter its ranks so it stands as an excellent guarantee of quality. The Society holds records of Mexican members and recommendations made by their patients. Patients must always check the track record of their surgeon and many potential patients from the US call me to confirm my credentials and whether I can perform the surgery they need before traveling.

Q: What other problems does Mexico need to solve to be a respected plastic surgery destination?

A: Mexico needs serious, well-trained, and dedicated plastic surgeons. Anyone in this profession must respect the control and supervision of the Mexican Association of Plastic Surgery ,all their results must be supervised and any problematic cases must be reviewed in front of a jury of their peers. Transparency is the only way for Mexico to truly become a first-class plastic surgery market. National and local associations would also benefit from being more proactive in collecting data about operations, so as to identify problematic areas and evidence of our successes. Finally, it is crucial to be fully open with their patients about the type of products to be used in their procedures.