The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning travelers against having plastic surgery in Tijuana, Mexico, after reporting that 11 Americans who have had surgeries in the border town recently have returned home with antibiotic-resistant infections.
According to the CDC’s Wednesday warning, those patients were diagnosed with potentially fatal Pseudomonas bacteria, also known as CRPA, after undergoing invasive medical procedures.
Most of those procedures were weight-loss surgeries, according to the CDC.
Americans go to Tijuana for medical services in search of less expensive options, but these low-cost aesthetic surgeries are too risky, says a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon.
“When people go to Tijuana, they usually come looking for cheap places, and cheap places do not follow the rules,” said Dr. Benjamin Talei.
Dr. Talei points out that lack of hygiene is often the cause of the reported infections.
“[Surgical teams] do not clean the body perfectly or the instruments, and with liposculptures they are passing a piece of metal inside the body,” said Dr. Talei.
According to Dr. Talei, this can then quickly spread the bacteria with potentially deadly consequences.
“With this bacteria you can lose a hand, you can have a lung infection, it can be very serious,” Talai said.
According to the CDC, almost half of the infected patients underwent one of these surgeries at Grand View Hospital in Tijuana, and the rest at clinics in the area.
Experts recommend that ahead of any planned procedure, patients investigate the history of the clinic or hospital where it will take place and pay attention to past complaints.
Although the Mexican government has closed the hospital where the outbreak occurred, health authorities recommend avoiding such places.