Mexican Medical Care

Mexican Medical Care

Yesterday I had a cheilectomy surgery in a Mexican hospital. Due to arthritis in my big toe, and no soft tissue between my toe bones, I had developed a number of bone spurs on the tops of my toe bones, causing walking and daily activities to be very painful. A cheilectomy involves opening the toe, moving the tendon that attaches the bones and scraping off the spurs. I was in lots of pain yesterday, but today I'm much better moving from the hard drugs down to Advil.
Feeling just fine before I went in!

I need to stay off of it and keep it elevated for awhile.

We feel fortunate to live in a place where the health care is top notch, affordable, and easily accessible. Doctors often give out personal emails and WhatsApp numbers and reply directly to questions. There is no need to call a nurse who will play middleman. Medical staff is very professional without being pushy. As a family, we have used a variety of health care professionals and always been pleased.

How the Mexican health care system works

The Mexican government has established a comprehensive system for providing public healthcare to all its citizens, as guaranteed by their Constitution. The cost of public healthcare is partially or fully subsidized by the federal government, depending on an individual's employment status.
Funding for public healthcare comes from monthly contributions made by employees and employers to the IMSS (Mexican Institute of Social Security). Additionally, the federal government contributes funds raised through general taxation. A standard visit to a doctor's office typically costs around 400 pesos or approximately US$20.
Mexico's healthcare system comprises a combination of government-operated hospitals and clinics, as well as private hospitals. The cost of treatment is usually provided upfront, preventing unexpected large bills at the end. Surgeries and procedures typically cost about one-third of the price compared to those in the USA. Many doctors in Mexico are proficient in English, often due to their training experiences in the United States. The quality of care is generally excellent. However, there is a significant difference in hospital nursing care. In government hospitals, it is expected that friends and family will provide general bedside care, including meal service, as professional nursing staff may be limited.

We are fortunate in Banderas Bay to have a health professional, Pam Thompson, who helps foreigners find and schedule appointments with reputable private doctors and clinics in the area. Pam has helped us find many of the procedures below, including yesterday's surgery.

Medical Care We've Used in the Last 5 Years

Cheilectomy Toe Surgery

Cost in Mexico: $108,000 pesos = $6,300 USD - unfortunately the exchange rate has changed over the past few months - if I had done the procedure a few months ago $108,000 would have been closer to $5,400 USD.

Included in the cost: pre and post op appointments, surgery, anesthesia, anesthesiologist, all materials, hospital pre op and recovery room and nursing care, and follow up x-rays.

Cost in the States: Averages $5,000-$10,000 for just the surgery


Cost in Mexico: $70 USD consult, including EKG.

I needed this appointment prior to my toe surgery to make sure I was fit to have the procedure. I was able to get an appointment in 2 days with an english-speaking heart surgeon.

Cost in the States: Average $200 USD - tests will add to that cost


Cost in Mexico: $325 USD

Included in the cost: All pre op appointments, a follow up appointment with the doctor who gave me the diagnosis of H Pylori and color photos and CD of my procedure, medication, anesthesiologist, hospital recovery room

Cost in the States: $2000, before hospital fees/medication/anesthesiologist/ follow up appointments

Dental work

Cost in Mexico: $50 USD

Included in the cost: Check up with X-Rays. The cleaning is done by the actual dentist, not a hygienist, with state of the art technology. Fillings cost $50 USD each. It's easy to get same week and often times same day appointments.

Cost in the States: Average $125 for check up and cleaning - more for X-Rays
Pat - getting his teeth cleaned!


Cost in Mexico: $50 USD

Included in the cost: A one hour full body check up. Our dermatologist is harder to get appointments with because she is so popular, so we schedule in summer when all of the snow birds go home.

Cost in the States: Average $150 for initial consult


Cost in Mexico: $20 USD consult, $40 USD cortisone shot, $25 USD laser treatment

Included in the cost: Hi-tech technology helps identify how weight is distributed on the foot. Over the years I've had cortisone shots, laser treatments and insoles made.

Cost in the States: $50-$300 USD for a consult

Lab work/X-rays

Cost in Mexico: blood type $15 USD, full work up $250

Included in the cost: Labs are wonderful here, in that you don't need an appointment or even a doctor's referral. If you think you need an X-ray or want to check your cholesterol level, you just go into a lab and ask for it. I did a full work up when I was looking into stem cell treatment and that included a Complete Blood Count (CBC) and SMAC test which is a regularly ordered group of tests that gives important information about the current status of your health including glucose or blood sugar levels, kidney function, cholesterol, sodium and potassium levels' and more.

Cost in the States: $50 - $1000 depending on what tests are performed - The full work up I did would have been over $600 USD in the states


Cost in Mexico:$100 USD

Included in the cost: Mammogram procedure with state of the art technology, immediately followed up with an analysis with a breast cancer doctor. This meeting included state of the art AI tech that could predict where one MIGHT show signs of cancer in the future. Fortunately I had no future indicators. Cost included a follow up MRI if the doctor thought it was necessary - which it wasn't for me.

Cost in the States: $150-$300

Stem Cell Treatment
Cost in Mexico: $1,250-$5,000 USD
Included in the cost: I looked into this before my toe surgery. I met with a surgeon, which cost me nothing for the consult. After looking at my X-Rays he determined I wasn't a good candidate because I did not have enough soft tissue in my toe joint. The stem cell treatment was going to be $1,250, but goes up to $5000 when you add the pre and follow up hyperbaric chambers, which are recommended for optimum healing.
Cost in the States: $5,000-$50,000


We are fortunate in the region to have monthly clinics at reduced rates through Pam Thompson's programs. While she offers many each month, that include health care coverage, end of life decisions in Mexico, hip and knee clinics, eye clinics, dermatology clinics, hearing clinics and many more. We have attended (or will soon be attending) the following:

Shoulder Clinic- $50 for a consult with an orthopedic surgeon and x-ray analysis. The surgeon gave me a diagnosis and physical therapy to do at home.

Mens clinic- Full analysis for male related issues. This includes a prostate antigen test, abdominal ultrasound, chest X-Ray, EKG with interpretation, and a full blood and urine test among other tests. All with a bilingual physician. $300 USD

Cpr/first aid- This will be an English class next month - never hurts to review!

Ear clinic - This clinic was literally just to flush out the ear of built up ear wax! $25 USD

Mexico is especially popular as a medical tourist destination. People are drawn to the excellent quality of private care available at a more affordable rate than in many other regions. We will definitely be taking advantage of our access before leaving Mexico in a few years!


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