Male to Female Transition Surgery Experience in Mexico
My Surgery Experience with Dr. Lazaro Cardenas and His Surgery Team.
My name is Jamie and I have had two surgery procedures performed by Dr. Cardenas Camarena in Guadalajara, Mexico. The first time was for rhinoplasty, cheek implants and liposuction on my neck area I had this done on August 5, 2010. The second time was for breast implants and liposuction of my tummy area and lower back area with fat transfer to my hips (body contouring feminization) performed September 6, 2010. Up to this point today, I've had five surgeries: Two with a doctor in Monterrey, Mexico, one surgery with a Dr in Boston,MA., and most recently two surgeries with Dr. Cardenas Camarena. I think it's safe to say that I have some pretty good experience with male to female transition surgeries. I am delighted to report that I'm extremely satisfied with the results of both surgeries recently performed, as well as the high quality of care and treatment I received at The hospital Angeles Chapalita in Guadalajara, Mexico.
I pass off really well as female now even without make up. In fact if I go out wearing men's clothing, shoes etc with no makeup I'm almost always recognized in the female gender, called mam, her, she etc. First it’s important to point out that I had Facial Feminization procedures performed by a Dr. in Boston on January 26, 2010. This Dr. performed a brow and forehead reconstruction, upper lift lift, jaw and chin contouring. He recommended that I also have rhinoplasty and cheek implants in order to achieve maximum feminization but at that time I lacked the funds to pay for all the procedures, and for what I had done then at BMC, the cost was around $24,000 including the cost of airfare, food and the hospital and fees paid to a friend to take care of me and escort me back to my hotel (Dr. in Boston requires patients to have an escort traveling back to the hotel whereas Dr. Cardenas referred me to Don Jose who for a nominal fee, accompanied me back to my hotel and carried my backpack containing my purse and overnight stuff and made sure I was safe).
I was very pleased with the FFS results performed by Dr. in Boston and after I recovered I still realized that I really needed rhinoplasty and cheek implants to completely feminize my face. It would have been nice to have done all the procedures in Boston with the Dr. But I now realize I could have done everything with Dr. Cardenas and right now I would have so much debt since I financed part of the surgery. The only negative comment about the overall experience with Dr. in Boston, besides the cost is that I made it really clear that I have I have the propensity to vomit from the anesthesia immediately after surgery once I’m in the recovery room and I vomited something like eight times before the aftercare nurse (in the middle of the night) at BMC got approval from the Dr. to administer an anti nausea medication. Other than that the feminization results were excellent. It is also noteworthy to mention the high cost of cosmetic surgery in the USA.
I think I could have gotten the same results or possibly even better and saved a great deal of money had I elected to get all my FFS procedures with Dr. Cardenas Camarena at the Angeles Chapalita clinic. In 2006 I went to a doctor in Monterrey, we'll call him Dr. of Monterrey, and had rhinoplasty, eyelid surgery, some liposuction and a trachea shave, and that time I was only trying to look more feminine not complete feminization and that's pretty much what I got. That time I hired a nurse, recommended by Dr. of Monterrey and she took good care of me at the hotel.
The hospital staff was good but not excellent. In 2008, a returned to Monterrey to this same doctor and had another rhinoplasty, buttocks implants and what he said would be total feminization of my face which was supposed to include jaw and chin contouring. The doctor was also supposed to do fat transfer to my hips with the fat from my tummy. That time the recovery and level of care at the hospital in Monterrey was substandard, and even though I made it clear about how I often vomit after surgery, well I sure did vomit (horrible dry heaves) numerous times and there was only one nurse on duty and she was really crabby towards me and I felt hopeless that whole night! And the next day I was put in a taxi alone and driven back the hotel alone and having to fend for myself, carrying my overnight back by myself up to my room. It was then that I realized that the fat transfer to my hips was not performed, and was not until several months later when I returned to visit Dr. of Monterrey that he confessed not performing the fat transfer, even though I was charged for the cost of the procedure. Dr. of Monterrey also failed to send a nurse to my hotel until three days after the procedure to check up on me.
When the nurse finally showed up and helped me clean my surgery wounds I was completely frustrated and desperate. Keep in mind I was paying her an hourly rate and was expecting service for free. When I asked her to go to a local DHL shipping office to ship an important envelope for my work, she came back almost four hours later still clutching the envelope and saying she couldn’t find the DHL office. I had to go by myself, all bandaged up and invalid, and to my chagrin, the office turned out to be only ten minutes from my hotel. It also became clear that my face was still very masculine and I could not pass. Long story short, I wasted something to the tune of $12,000. I also felt really let down by having to pay for fat transfer to my hips that didn’t get done. I’m not saying Dr. of Monterrey is bad surgeon, but it does not understand facial feminization despite telling me that he did. I had to live for two more years looking like a man, but living as a female enduring the stupid and hateful comments, the dirty and funny looks, being call sir etc.
While wearing makeup and female attire. I had hoped that the next step was to get breast implants and then GRS, but because of my inability to pass I decided I didn't want to look like a guy "with boobs stuck on". In 2008 I travelled to San Francisco to meet with a famous Dr. for a FFS consultation. While I was extremely impressed with his knowledge and extensive experience performing FFS, I could not come up with $43,000 cost he required. In 2010 after doing extensive research on FFS—US doctors, Thailand, etc. and saving up some of the money (I financed part of the cost), I had surgery with Drin Boston on January 26 and as I mentioned previously, I lacked the funds to pay for the much needed rhinoplasty and cheek implants, I even convinced myself that rhinoplasty and the cheek implants were not necessary in order to pass and as it turned out I still passed well, even without make up and while wearing male clothing. I had rhinoplasty, cheek implants and liposuction on my neck area performed by Dr. Cardenas on August 5, 2010. Scheduling the surgery turned out to me much easier than with Dr in Boston’s office. I was able to get in with only a three weeks advance notice, which to me was awesome.
I simply went online to Dr. Cardenas website and paid the 20% deposit and I was all set to go. I was able to book a flight to Guadalajara from Austin, Texas for only $420.00 round trip. I stayed at Hotel Posada Guadalajara, one of the hotels Dr. Cardenas recommended and it turned out to be a good choice, especially since it was within walking distance from Angeles Chapalita Hospital. Comparing the cost between Dr. Cardenas and Dr. in Boston for the same procedures including hospital charges, airfare, etc. allowed me to save more than $8,000.00 Dr. in Boston’s quote didn't include liposuction of the neck area. Having the neck lipo done was Dr. Cardena's recommendation and it turned out to be worth the extra money it for sure! Keep in mind that airfare from Texas to Boston is about the same to Guadalajara, but the cost of food is significantly higher in Boston. Hotels cost more in Boston especially during peak seasons. For my breast implant surgery I paid only $77/night and got a junior suite at Staybridge Suites.
For that low price, I get free breakfast and dinner as well and the location was still convenient to the clinic and directly in front of The Plaza Del Sol shopping Center and numerous restaurants. For my FFS I stayed at Hotel Posada Guadalajara. It's not bad but Staybridge is definitely better. It is very noteworthy to keep in mind that Dr. Cardenas and his team perform a wide range of procedures: FFS, body contouring, breast implants and most of the well known FFS doctors only do FFS. And in my experience they do all the procedures really well! I love the treatment I received for both visits to the Angeles Chapalita Hospital. I feel I received a higher standard of care than I’ve ever received at a US hospital, contrary to the belief many American have about medical care in Mexico. The nurses who cared for me were always responsive and professional and the relaxed, laid back atmosphere of my recovery room really put me at ease. The food is way better tan food served to patients in US hospitals and It's fresher.
For example they served me pancakes that tasted homemade, sandwiches made from fresh bread and lettuce and tomatoes. For dessert I got flan equal in quality to upscale restaurants. In the USA hospitals you get prepackaged, processed food. It's hard to sleep in a hospital, especially after a major surgery but the nurses at Chapalita were very courteous about all the" little things" like making sure the lights were off so I could sleep, providing me with the right medication to alleviate pain and avoid vomiting, adjusting the bed the way I liked it, not making me wait long for assistance when I pressed the buzzer. Everyone at the hospital was very kind and helpful.
Dr. Cardenas and his wife Dr. Tere Cardenas are both surgeons and they work together as a team. They also have Dr. Fernando Silva on their team a surgeon who I found to be qualified and helpful with my recovery and when I went back for my follow up later on that week, Dr. Tere Cardenas informed me that she did the work on my nose (rhinoplasty) and I am extremely happy with the results! I am happy to report that I did not vomit either of the two times I had the procedures performed. I think this is due to their Anesthesiogist, Veronica, who listened carefully to my concerns about my nausea issue and she adjusted the IV dosage to prevent me from vomiting.
At the time that I'm writing this review I'm still recovering from breast implants, liposuction and fat transfer procedures. This is only day three of my recovery and I must say that everything is going well and I can't wait to send an update describing everything about the experience! I am certain that I’ve saved a small fortune by choosing Dr. Cardenas as my surgeon for the breast implants and body contouring procedures. This morning I bathed and I was able to remove the special medical bra and the elastic wrap/cotton around my chest and I was able to see for the first time how nice my new breasts, hips, tummy appear, even though there is still some normal swelling and some bruises. It's amazing! As to the price I paid for the procedures, I’m totally satisfied. The breast implants Dr. Cardenas put in me are "Cohesive Gel" implants and they average between $8,000 to $10,000 in the USA.
They are more lifelike and they don't lose the liquid contents from evaporation like saline implants which average around $4000-$6,000 in the USA. Dr. Cardenas explained this to me and also told me that saline implants when they evaporate over time, you can hear them splashing around when you are jumping or playing sports. Who would want that? The best part is I paid the cost of saline implants and got the top of the line cohesive gel implants. One final thing to think about is that there is a great deal of negative press concerning safety in Mexico due the drug cartel related violence that is occurring only on the border. This is blown way out of proportion and you can talk to just about any Mexican you meet in Guadalajara and he/she will tell you how very safe it is Guadalajara and most other major Mexican cities. You can go to any major Mexican resort area or Mexican city and you will find thousands of Europeans having a great time and not worried at all, yet in recent years there are less Americans visiting Mexico and I’m totally convinced this is unnecessary. I can’t wait to send an update after I’ve completely recovered from breast /body contouring surgery!
Jamie C, Austin Texas
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