Mexico continues to cement itself in the world as one of the best countries for top-tier healthcare at a reasonable price.
According to recent statistics, projections show $240 million will be spent on medical tourism in Mexico in 2023, and US-based patients can expect to save 40-65% on medical procedures.
That’s why I want to continue my current trend of promoting offshore health optimization by giving the spotlight to Dr. Luigi Palermo, founder and medical director of the Timeless Beauty clinic in Playa Del Carmen.
He is a world-class cosmetic surgeon who was responsible for Monica’s recent and successful breast augmentation surgery… the results speak for themselves!
On top of being a successful entrepreneur, he is also a true being of the Light and someone I am proud to call a friend.
I wanted to personally interview him and understand what makes his aesthetic medical practice one of the most sought-after in all of Mexico (if not the world).
Keep reading and you’ll see why you should personally work with him 1-on-1 for anything and everything related to reconstructive surgery.
***Special Note*** I will be undergoing Gynecomastia Surgery for my left breast with Dr Palermo on May 4th of this year.
Be ready for more on this story and the peptides, medications and supplements I’ll be using to massively accelerate my healing process.
The Path Towards Aesthetic Medicine
Q: I’m always fascinated by the infinite paths a person can take towards becoming a doctor and choosing their specialty. How did you find yourself in the wacky world of aesthetic medicine?
A: I’ve always been interested in how the human body works from a very young age.
I used to read a lot of magazines centered around men’s health in high school and I wanted to learn how our biological systems work together in harmony.
When I started university in Italy, I majored in biology and then shifted to medicine.
After two years, I took the leap and spent an entire year doing an exchange program in Spain… let me tell you there are few thrills in life as great as moving out of your home country (Italy in my case) and learning how to speak several different languages.
Things really picked up when I moved to the Western hemisphere – inspired by my gynecologist uncle in New York City – and I did an internship at Colombia University in the New York Presbyterian Hospital.
I was accepted there for medical school but it was very economically difficult for me to afford to live in the United States as a student.
So I had two choices: Either return to Italy, or go to Mexico and finish the remainder of my studies.
I ended up in Monterrey, completed a residency in surgery and obtained my Master’s degree in aesthetic medicine.
Q: Let’s talk about aesthetic medicine for a bit. There’s no question that it’s a field revolving entirely around cosmetics and vanity. What inspired you to transition from traditional medicine toward something far more superficial in nature?
A: My initial dream in medicine was to become an interventional cardiologist.
However, I happened to do a lot of work with plastic surgeons and assist them in their procedures during my studies and internship, so that’s where the shift happened. You could go as far as to say it was a turn of destiny.
I think a lot of people truly underestimate the cosmetic branch of medicine because doctors are known for saving lives.
But I would argue that aesthetic medicine is life-saving in its own way because it revolves entirely around how everyone lives their lives.
There are patients who, after getting a procedure (surgery, injection, etc.) start accepting themselves more, feel more confident about how they look, sell more products and services, and perform better in the workplace…
Seeing these transformations with my own eyes, in addition to being a master with my hands, convinced me to specialize in aesthetics.
Setting Up Camp in Mexico, The World’s Fastest-Growing Medical Tourism Destination
Q: So now that we’re at the point in your timeline where you’ve established Mexico as your home base, how did you come to build and grow your reputation as a cosmetic surgeon?
A: Roughly 11 years ago, a friend of mine convinced me to move to Playa Del Carmen.
He was opening up a practice called “Life Extension Clinic” and wanted me to work together with him.
I stayed there for about a year before moving to a new practice within the city called “Ageless Clinic” in 2014.
After 8 amazing years of working there as a medical director and eventually a co-owner, I eventually split ways with the owners and opened up my own medical spa called “Timeless Beauty”.
Q: When I first met you, you were working at Ageless Clinic and you had spent an enormous amount of time and money building it up to the largest aesthetic medical practice in the city. Why did you branch out and start your own independent clinic?
A: To start off, I have nothing bad to say about my amazing colleagues and workers at the Ageless Clinic.
What it came down to is an unfortunate reality of business: Partnerships can get incredibly complicated.
When one or more parties are unhappy and tensions are high in the air, you have to make a decision about how you’re going to handle the frustrations.
The other co-owners and I came to a mutual agreement to end the partnership… we did everything the right way and the legal way, I paid what was necessary to get out, and we parted amicably.
I remain grateful to Ageless Clinic for making the painful process of opening up my own medical spa a much easier process.
Thanks to the reputation we had built online and offline, people were already following me for a long time and I had a reliable roster of patients upon launch.
Q: So as an independent medical aesthetic practitioner, and as an entrepreneurial founder, are you the one who personally carries out the surgical operations?
A: It’s a weird thing with how my accreditations work. Despite having my Master’s degree in aesthetic medicine and being trained in New York City for aesthetic procedures, I cannot directly perform surgical procedures.
All I am allowed to do are injectables (ex. lip fillers) and small surgeries.
So every time my team does an invasive procedure such as a breast augmentation surgery, I have to be accompanied by a board-certified reconstructive surgeon.
But I’m able to do this in large thanks to my mentor and good friend Dr. Carlos Oaxaca, one of the best plastic surgeons you’ll ever meet in your entire life.
He taught me everything I have ever learned about the art and science of reconstructive surgery, which allows me to hire and supervise a highly reliable team of surgeons and medical assistants.
Q: I’m looking at your website for your Timeless Beauty clinic and you offer a wide selection of services on top of plastic reconstructive surgery: Botox, state-of-the-art equipment, massages, facial spas, and more. What do the majority of your patients see you for?
A: Botox is what most of my patients book an appointment with me for, and this lines up perfectly with other statistics I’ve seen about the world’s most popular cosmetic procedures.
I would say I see an average of 7-15 patients a day who want a Botox injection and they’re fairly easy to do.
The next most-requested procedure in my clinic is the application of fillers, i.e. injectables.
As someone who is a speaker for Allergan, a medical aesthetics company that got bought out by pharmaceutical giant AbbVie for $63 billion in 2020, I’m directly on the tip of the spear when it comes to breakthrough innovations with these medical aesthetic products.
Advances in technology, alongside an expanded awareness of human anatomy, let practitioners like myself administer these injectables with next-to-no invasiveness and an eliminated need for post-operation downtime.
However, there is nothing that compares to surgery when it comes to lifting a face both drastically and permanently.
The injectable fillers last 1-2 years at most and are not permanent, which results in patients paying me an annual visit in order to re-administer them.
Q: What’s your patient breakdown look like with respect to their geographical location?
A: Riviera Maya, the area of Mexico in which Playa Del Carmen is located, is highly populated by international traffic.
I’d say about 10-15% of my total patient base are visiting from their home countries for intensive procedures and surgeries.
The next 30% are people who see me 2-3 times a year and are repeat clients – the patient asks if I’m available, they send me pictures showing what they want, they do a physical consultation with me, and then the procedure happens.
The remaining 60% consist of people who either (a) are non Spanish speaking residents who live here permanently or live here 6-8 months at a time (i.e. ex-pats), or (b) Spanish-speaking citizens who are native to Mexico.
Q: Interesting. And for those patients coming from international waters, what do they usually go for? Why would they travel all the way to see you instead of working with an aesthetic practitioner in their own country?
A: They mainly come for reconstructive surgical procedures. Facelifts are #1 followed by breast augmentation surgery
The first reason they see me, and the most important reason they see me, is pricing.
Just from the United States alone, my prices are around half of what you would pay in Miami, yet 1/3rd to 1/4th what you would pay in cities like Hollywood, Los Angeles, or New York City.
(And in recent times I’ve had LOTS of people fly in from Canada!)
The second reason would be advertising, although a lot of people hear about me through word-of-mouth. Friends of friends, friends of patients, referrals, etc.
Q: Before we sat down to do this interview, you had mentioned to me a while back that the COVID-19 pandemic led to a massive spike in worldwide traffic going to your practice. How does that work? Wouldn’t people be more inclined to stay home given the harsh lockdown rules they were under?
A: I thought the same thing too until I sat down and thought about what was happening. It’s definitely a topic of further study but I have a solid hypothesis.
Consider what an average workday for a work-from-home employee looks like. Despite being cooped up in their homes, they are spending a lot more time in front of webcams during meetings.
What does this mean? They are far more exposed to their own faces and bodies than they usually are, which means they are more likely to pick up on cosmetic defects they would have otherwise missed.
Before the lockdowns, you wouldn’t have the luxury of taking two weeks off to fly to Mexico, get your aesthetic procedure done, and recover from surgery.
But thanks to the window of opportunity COVID-19 created, this luxury is now readily available to everyone.
You can do a treatment while in Mexico and still work as long as you have access to an Internet connection. Nobody will notice you’re gone and nobody will see you while you recover (short of a day-and-night transformation).
Destroying False Stereotypes and Rumors About Offshore Healthcare
Q: Despite Mexico’s rapidly-growing international reputation as a hotspot for medical tourism, many people still hold negative stereotypes about Mexican healthcare. You’ll hear claims of treatment in Mexico being dangerous, ineffective, and shady. Why do you think people have this perception despite their irrational beliefs being proven wrong by the hard data? Where does this stereotype come from?
A: You can largely blame the media you consume and the shared culture of North America and Europe.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a movie that doesn’t paint Mexico as a poor 3rd-world country where people shoot each other point-blank in the streets and nothing of value is offered to its residents.
I won’t deny that some areas of the country are bad, but the majority of cities in Mexico are perfectly habitable and offer all of the services and amenities you could ever want.
Can you have bad experiences in Mexico? Sure, but you can definitely have bad experiences anywhere in the world.
I’ve heard of multiple operations done in the US by some of the country’s best plastic surgeons where complications arise and the patient ends up worse than before they had the surgery.
But complications can happen even to the best of people, so it’s unfair to say that one country is exclusively home to good or bad doctors.
Q: Even in my own private inner circle of clients, I’ve definitely noticed people have an unconscious sense of entitlement where they inherently believe a doctor from Europe, Canada, or the United States is by default better than a doctor in Mexico. Could you go into deeper detail about what your medical training was like to disprove this myth?
A: Sure, no problem!
At the end of the day, the books I read and studied in medicine are the same books you’ll see used in the curriculums taught in Colombia University, Harvard, and any other prestigious institution you can think of.
I will say this: No matter where in the world you become a doctor, practice is what ultimately makes the master.
The amount of medical practice you do in Mexico before you receive an official doctor’s license is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. It’s a much more hands-on experience compared to what you’ll see in other countries.
I’ll never forget how it all started… when I was in my 5th year of studying medicine in Mexico, I was already performing surgeries on people who were in horrific motor accidents.
Literally, during my very first rotation in the emergency room, a guy came in with his face completely opened up because someone smashed a rock on his head.
The attending plastic surgeon looked at me and said “You, suture him up”.
It was a frightening experience – immense pressure to perform, blood gushing everywhere – but I was somehow able to pull through and perform a successful surgery on my very first day.
When you practice in a public hospital with 500 people waiting outside in line, you’ll get your 10,000 hours in VERY quickly.
Even during my rotations in OB/GYN, I was singlehandedly delivering 30 new baby births in one month.
Because there aren’t enough medical personnel to go around, you do not have a choice but to act.
We couldn’t afford to wait for the gynecologist to arrive and do everything for us (but we still had to do things correctly).
Contrast this to my friends in Italy, who have YET to do a single hands-on surgical procedure despite being in the 3rd year of their surgical residency program!
If Medical Knowledge is Queen, Bedside Manner is King
Q: The sole reason why I trusted you to perform Monica’s breast augmentation surgery was because of your unbeatable bedside manner. What do you think explains why patients come back to you over and over again, no matter where in the world they are?
A: Many doctors always look for the hidden secret to providing exceptional patient care and pulling 5-star reviews no matter who they treat.
Here’s the secret… there is no real magic.
I work hard and try to give the best results possible to each and every one of my patients.
I am honest with people and I am as kind as I can be.
I develop such a great connection with my patients to the point where I become their friend, even going as far as to answer their questions on weekends and late nights.
I keep myself updated on the latest medical research so I can go above and beyond for my patients.
Above all else, I keep myself humble.
You have to when you consider that no medical aesthetic practitioner – not even me – is perfect.
Sometimes a breast augmentation surgery doesn’t go exactly as planned.
Sometimes the risk of complications becomes a reality.
Sometimes people just simply won’t like the end result no matter how good of a job you did.
It is only through humility and a genuine desire to help people that I am able to do all of the above.
Q: I want to dive deeper into what an experience with you and your phenomenal staff at the Timeless Beauty clinic looks like. Can you walk me through how a patient consultation typically happens?
A: The first consultation is crucial to connect with the patient, understand what they really want, and see if I can realistically give them what they want (or not).
I ask numerous questions to get a complete profile of the patient – their current state of health, pre-existing disease states, current medications being taken, allergies, past surgical procedures, and so on.
If a patient is seeing me for breast augmentation surgery and it’s not their first time getting one, I’ll make sure to get a breast ultrasound and ensure everything is OK “under the hood”.
I am very honest and clear about what can and cannot be done.
If myself and the patient are on the same channel, we go ahead and book the procedure for a set date and time.
Roughly 50-60% of all the information I need to qualify a candidate for a successful and safe surgery comes from that first consultation.
This is on top of the messages and images we exchange through text and email to clarify the details.
But let me be clear: NOTHING is 100% confirmed until I physically meet and examine the patient personally in my clinic.
All of my international patients are provided with an upfront estimate of how much the surgery will cost, how much any ancillary medications will cost to facilitate the recovery process, and how long it will take for a full recovery.
(NOTE: In the case of Monica, she was getting a breast augmentation (new polyurethane implants) and not a breast reconstruction from scratch.
Her procedure took a total of 2-3 hours, she was given 2-3 hours to recover the same deal, and then she could resume life as normal after 4 weeks of full healing and recovery).
The Most Important Thing For a Patient’s Post-Surgery Satisfaction
Q: Before I let you go, I want to get your perspective on the dysfunctional mindset that patients often have when they go under the knife of a plastic surgeon. It’s one thing to desire bodily self-improvement, and another thing when that desire ruins your emotional well-being. Someone could get a picture-perfect surgery yet end up feeling much worse than when they started. What do you think needs to happen for people to fix themselves mentally, or to put it another way, what do you do to help people gain perspective?
A: At the start of our interview, I talked about the reasons why I made the transition toward aesthetic medicine.
The rewards of my career are indeed fruitful, but we ultimately have to deal with the human side of things.
Being an aesthetic practitioner is both medically and artistically challenging.
There are always emotions, perceptions, and expectations – both conscious and unconscious – the patient has to deal with.
Another unfortunate outcome of the COVID-19 lockdowns is that people are spending a lot more time on social media.
More free time is available in the day to measure and compare yourself with all of the people on social media who are living their best life… it’s no wonder why people have never been more miserable and doubly so for young teenagers and adults.
I always tell my patients that social media is a double-edged sword: It’s without doubt an extremely profitable medium for businesses and entrepreneurs to sell their products and services to people, but it also paints a false image of reality.
We are shown these jaw-dropping before-and-after pictures of a treatment and are convinced this is normal, not even knowing the featured transformation wasn’t a result of the treatment being advertised!
Patients will often come to my practice and say “I want this” and “I want to look like that”, putting me in the tough position of having to lower their expectations to something more realistic.
Q: So what’s the difference between patients who end up being happy and have life-changing results, and patients who are forever unhappy? Is anything specific separating those two types of people?
A: As I just told you, it all comes down to keeping expectations as realistic as possible.
I am as clear as I can be with patients from the start, I have things written down, and I take the most compelling before-and-after pictures possible.
There’s only so much you can do with the human body with whatever medical technology we have right now.
Sadly, I have been in situations where there is nothing more I can do for a patient.
I will perform surgeries where a person looks objectively better no matter which angle you look at their transformation, and still they will blast me on social media for doing bad work.
After you do your part to the best of your ability, all you can do is advise the patient to see a psychiatrist who specializes in treating mental health problems that arise post-surgery.
On a more positive note, other people will see these complaints online and say “Damn… if that’s what you consider ‘bad work’, sign me up right now!”
How To Work With Dr. Luigi Palermo at the Timeless Beauty Clinic
Q: Dr. Palermo, I want to express my gratitude for the time you’ve taken out of your hectic workday to share your journey with me and my readers. Is there a place where we can see some of the wonderful work you’ve done on your patients?
Funny enough, almost all of the visual evidence showcasing my work is on other platforms and not on my own website!
I think the fact I’ve been able to maintain a 5-star ranking for so many years regardless of where I operate speaks to the level of satisfaction patients have when they work with me.
Q: Where do people find you and how do they book an appointment with you?
Thanks for interviewing me, and I hope someday your readers get the chance to experience the positive results I’ve provided for thousands of people!
Raise Your Vibration To Optimize Your Love Creation!
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It’s your greatest opportunity to fully optimize your health and gain total access to me and my network of high-level men and women living their highest and best life.