Americans seeking cosmetic procedures in Tijuana down more than 50 percent

SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — The president of the Plastic Surgeons College of Baja California says fewer Americans have visited Tijuana for cosmetic procedures since summer.

Ricardo Vega Montiel cites several factors, including the peso’s strength versus the dollar and what he calls the misperception that there is a lack of public safety in Tijuana.

He said with fewer people coming across the border, it is also affecting hotels, restaurants and shopping areas.

“There’s a lot of bad publicity about the city creating a negative perception,” he said. “The government needs to step up and invest in strategic promotions to generate a better image for the region.”

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He said that since mid-August, when the peso began gaining strength against the dollar, people stopped coming for medical procedures.

“This is very atypical, we normally have about 3,000 bariatric surgeries done per month, but right now we’re about half that number with 60 percent fewer patients.”

According to Vega Montiel, there has been some improvement during November, and he expects December to get better as the last two months of the year are normally the busiest time for cosmetic surgeries south of the border.

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Earlier this week, Maximiliano Ramos Jiménez, a Baja California State Attorney General’s Office prosecutor, said they are involved in 25 separate investigations surrounding possible malpractice of doctors and clinics that perform cosmetic procedures in Tijuana.

Vega Montiel refused to address whether these investigations are also keeping American patients from visiting Tijuana for medical care.

Two women died from complications related to cosmetic surgery last July in Tijuana.

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