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Why You Should Choose a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon If You Have Your Work Done in Mexico

Updated: Jul 11

When considering aesthetic procedures in Mexico, it's important to understand the difference between plastic surgeons and cosmetic surgeons (also known as aesthetic surgeons). This knowledge can significantly impact your decision-making process, safety, and overall satisfaction with the results.

The Critical Difference: Plastic Surgeon vs Cosmetic Surgeon

If you're traveling to Mexico for an aesthetic procedure, you need to know the differences between plastic surgeons and cosmetic or aesthetic surgeons. This knowledge could be the difference between a successful outcome and a potentially disastrous one.

Plastic Surgeons' Cosmetic and Reconstructive Certifications

Plastic surgeons are medical professionals who have completed extensive training in both reconstructive and cosmetic procedures. They undergo rigorous education, including medical school, residency, and often additional fellowships.

Talented plastic surgeons in Mexico undergo rigorous and comprehensive training, which typically includes:

  1. Completion of medical school (6 to 7 years)

  2. 2 years of general surgery residency

  3. 4 years of specialized plastic surgery residency

This comprehensive training equips plastic surgeons with:

  • In-depth knowledge of human anatomy

  • Advanced surgical techniques

  • Ability to handle complex cases and complications

  • Skills in both reconstructive and aesthetic procedures

Aesthetic Surgeons' Certifications

Cosmetic surgeons, also known as aesthetic surgeons, focus primarily on enhancing appearance. While they may have medical training, it's often not as extensive as that of plastic surgeons, particularly in reconstructive techniques, because they don’t do the same surgical training afterward.

In comparison to plastic surgeons, the path to becoming an aesthetic surgeon in Mexico can be alarmingly short:

  1. Completion of medical school (6 to 7 years)

  2. A 6-month online course in aesthetic procedures

  3. Another 6 months of practical training, often involving only 10 relatively simple aesthetic surgeries

This limited training means aesthetic surgeons may lack:

  • Comprehensive understanding of surgical principles

  • Ability to handle complications effectively

  • Skills necessary for complex procedures

How Do You Know if a Mexican Plastic Surgeon is Board-Certified?

In Mexico, board certification for plastic surgeons is issued by two key organizations: the Consejo Mexicano de Cirugía Plástica, Estética y Reconstructiva (CMCPER) and the National Council for Medical Certification (Consejo Nacional de Certificación en Medicina, CONACEM). 

To become board-certified, surgeons must complete medical school, a general surgery residency, and a plastic surgery residency, followed by passing rigorous exams. Patients can verify a surgeon's certification through the CMCPER or CONACEM websites or by requesting credentials directly. 

The Danger of Complications: Why Surgeon Choice Matters

Every surgical procedure, no matter how minor it may seem, carries the risk of complications. These can range from minor issues to life-threatening emergencies. Some potential complications include:

  • Infection

  • Excessive bleeding

  • Adverse reactions to anesthesia

  • Poor wound healing

  • Nerve damage

  • Unsatisfactory aesthetic results

  • Blood clots

  • Organ damage

A board-certified plastic surgeon's extensive training prepares them to:

  • Recognize potential complications early

  • Take preventive measures to minimize risks

  • Respond quickly and effectively if complications occur

  • Manage complex cases that may arise from seemingly simple procedures

In contrast, an aesthetic surgeon with limited training may:

  • Miss early signs of complications

  • Lack the skills to address serious complications effectively

  • Be unprepared for complex cases or unexpected difficulties during or after the procedure

Cosmetic and Reconstructive Surgeries: Which Type of Surgeon Can Perform This and That?


Plastic Surgeon

Aesthetic Surgeon


Yes - comprehensive

Yes - may be limited to less invasive techniques


Yes - various techniques, including complex cases

Yes - may be limited to small areas or less invasive techniques

Blepharoplasty (Eyelid Surgery)

Yes - both functional and cosmetic

Limited - typically only cosmetic

Burn Treatment

Yes - complex cases

No - not typically qualified


Yes - both functional and aesthetic

Limited - typically only aesthetic

Botox and Fillers



Breast Reduction

Yes - including complex cases

Limited - may only perform small reductions

Breast Augmentation

Yes - various techniques

Yes - may have limited implant options

Tummy Tuck

Yes - full abdominoplasty

Yes - may be limited to mini-tucks

This expanded table provides a more comprehensive comparison of the procedures that plastic surgeons and aesthetic surgeons can perform, highlighting the broader range and depth of expertise that plastic surgeons typically possess.

Why Choosing the Right Surgeon is Crucial

When it comes to aesthetic procedures, the importance of selecting the right surgeon cannot be overstated. Here's why:

  • Expertise Matters: Different procedures require varying levels of skill and knowledge. A board-certified plastic surgeon has the comprehensive training to handle a wide range of procedures, from simple to complex.

  • Safety First: Complications can occur in any surgery. A plastic surgeon's extensive training prepares them to prevent, recognize, and manage potential issues effectively.

  • Better Results: With their in-depth understanding of anatomy and aesthetics, plastic surgeons are often better equipped to achieve natural-looking, harmonious results.

  • Customized Approach: Plastic surgeons can offer a more holistic view of your aesthetic goals, potentially recommending a combination of procedures for optimal results.

  • Long-term Care: A qualified plastic surgeon can provide better long-term care and address any concerns that may arise post-surgery.

Mexico: A Destination for Expert Plastic Surgery

It's important to note that many people travel to Mexico specifically for expert plastic surgery. The country is home to numerous highly qualified, board-certified plastic surgeons who have received training both in Mexico and internationally. Many Mexican plastic surgeons are members of prestigious international organizations and are known for their skills and expertise.

For those interested in pursuing plastic surgery in Mexico, thorough research and planning are crucial. On another note, consider joining Away Clinic's organized dental trip to Rocky Point, which offers a carefully planned journey to help you achieve your desired dental care services and allow you to have some valuable R&R at the same time!

 Stay informed about our upcoming dental and medical trips for safe and affordable procedures in Mexico.


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