Greetings! We’re often asked for testimonials, reviews, and references pertaining to Dr. Lazaro Cardenas, one of Mexico’s premier plastic surgeons. This new site has been established with the singular goal of serving as a hub for this information. Other sites such as Rejuvenate in Mexico (cosmetic surgery procedures) and
Some of Dr. Cardenas’ patient reviews are written by hand while these patients are still in Guadalajara. Others are submitted by e-mail or on this site directly. In either case, we will endeavor to provide an e-mail address for most patients submitting a review. This will permit you to contact the author for more information about their experience with Dr. Lazaro Cardenas.
We know that your selection of a surgeon is critical, and we hope that this site will provide you with some valuable input. So, scroll down to begin reading the testimonials.
Anne’s Testimonial – FFS by Dr. Lazaro Cardenas
As a male-to-female transsexual, the process of transition has been the most difficult, life-altering, and challenging path I have experienced within my 45 years of life. For me, very little about transition has been easy.
Very little, that is, until I made the decision to have my FFS and breast augmentation performed by Dr. Lazaro Cardenas at the Innovare Clinic and Hospital located in Guadalajara, Mexico, and to spend the next eight days thereafter at the TransOp recovery home.
To begin with, if you are reading this review and the other reviews here, then you are obviously doing your homework much the same as I did when deciding which surgeon to choose. Within the medical community that performs these types of services for trans patients, there are slightly more than a handful of internationally renown surgeons scattered around the world. Presumably, also as I did, you have or will check out the other doctors on that list as you continue your research and decision making process.
On its face, its a tough decision. I mean, there is a lot riding on the outcome and the results of surgery, particularly with FFS. It is your face, after all, and there is nothing more public or more visible than that, so you want to get it right the first time.
Being fortunate to have a number of friends in the trans community who have been there, done that, I interviewed many about their respective experiences and how they felt about the results of their surgery and the surgeons who performed the surgeries.
Granted, on that small list of recognized and well-qualified practitioners who all pop up on google searches, in internet support group forum discussions, and who visit certain trans conferences here and there and all around, the one name I kept coming back to time and time again was that of Dr. Cardenas.
In this, I have several friends who had visited Dr. Cardenas for their FFS and other transition related procedures, most of whom I spoke to directly about Dr. Cardenas. All of who had nothing but high praise and a showing of gratitude to offer Dr. Cardenas. All unequivocally and without reservation or hesitation recommended him. As for the others I knew who had visited him, having known them
Previously for the time I already had, their before and after pictures spoke volumes about the skill and artistry of Dr. Cardenas and his staff.
Still, it was a difficult decision to make as to who to choose. In the end, what really sold me on Dr. Cardenas was a really long and detailed telephone conversation I had with a close friend of mine who lives on the opposite coast of where I live in the United States. I have known her for years, and knew her before she had first visited Dr. Cardenas a few years back. So I already knew the big picture details of her transition and the surgeries and procedures that she had had, but this time we got into the nitty gritty details and hashed it all out so I would know exactly what to expect if I choose Dr. Cardenas.
Because really, one of the most difficult problems I was having in making my decision was that it was difficult for me to imagine what I could or would like like afterwards. I knew what I wanted, and I knew what I was going to do, but as a really tall transitioner who had overcompensated in a number of male dominated activities throughout the years, and who had spent many years in denial about who I really was, it was a difficult visual at best, despite how any one surgeon or anyone else may have tried to paint or frame that picture for me.
Talking to my friend, she made the compelling analogy that Dr. Cardenas is an artist and that we are the canvas. Her point to me was that Dr. Cardenas had all of the experience in the world, just as some other surgeons had, but what distinguished Dr. Cardenas from his colleagues was his vision and the full potential he saw within his clients.
And that was exactly the point that tipped the scale for me in Dr. Cardenas’ favor. By the time we had finished our conversation, I had already made my decision.
The rest, as they say, was history, and even better, it was ridiculously easy from that point on.
Making meaningful contact with Dr. Cardenas’ office and staff was easy-peasy and an absolute breeze. His people were immediately responsive and answered all of my questions in a timely and substantive manner. His staff also worked with me on scheduling my appointment and reserving my surgery. All of the accommodations and surgical recommendations were performed in advance. And all dealings were upfront, open, transparent, pleasant, and there were no surprises.
After that, with all of the preliminary stuff signed, sealed, and approved, all I had to do was show up to the airport on time with my passport in hand, board my flight, and fly down to Guadalajara International Airport, and that was it. Dr. Cardenas and his fantastic and accommodating staff did the rest upon my arrival. All I had to do was follow their lead. It was THAT easy.
Not ever having had a major surgery like FFS or breast augmentation before (I had both performed during the same surgery), I didn’t know what to expect. But given the confidence, competence, and clear dedication and loyalty of the staff, and after my personal consultation with Dr. Cardenas, I was not concerned at all. Which I thought was kind of odd, to be honest, given that major surgery is still major surgery regardless of what it was. But my excitement, my anticipation, and all that I had witnessed around me down here in Guadalajara quashed any nervousness I might otherwise have felt.
So I just went with it, and rolled with the flow. After all, I did come down here specifically to do this, so it was game on …
Laying there on the operating table on the morning of April 25, 2015, watching the anesthesiologist do her thing inserting an IV into me, I was pretty much gone to the world and out like a light immediately.
Next thing I knew, after seven or eight hours or so of surgery and some time sleeping afterwards, I woke up, and it was all done.
Although true – I initially looked like I could have walked straight off the set of The Walking Dead, I mean come on, who doesn’t look like that after such an involved procedure?
It didn’t take long, though, to begin to see the true artistry within Dr. Cardenas’ work as reflected by my new surgically reconstructed face and augmented breasts. And with each passing day since, as the swelling and bruising continues to recede, his good work becomes more and more unmistakable and clear. I cant wait to see how I will look when the swelling is all said and done!
Regardless, six days after my surgery, his staff removed many of the bandages, stitches, and wraps that had all been previously holding me together as I recovered in the recovery home. In the doctors office that afternoon, I viewed a lifesize image of myself in a mirror, seeing myself, my real self, for the first real time in my life. It was a moment that I will never, ever forget. Shortly afterwards, I was crying my eyes out uncontrollably in the midst of a big, gigantic, raw cathartic explosion of pent up feelings and emotions.
I was finally me.
After all of these years. After all of the hard work I had put in to getting to this point. After all of the sacrifices and loss and pain, and after all of the inner and outer battles I had fought to become me — I was finally me.
As I sit here typing this review, I do so brimming chock full of positive energy and hope for the future and the life I have dreamed of for so very long now.
All I have ever wanted in my life, whether I was ready to admit it or acknowledge it to myself at the time or not, was the opportunity to live my real, authentic life. And at the end of the day, I do not feel like that should be too much to ask for. However, I will forego any and all obvious social commentary relating to this very basic, intrinsic, instinctual need to embrace ones real being, inner essence, and true gender identification. Because we all know the deal, we all know what we are up against, and none of that is what this review is about.
Instead, at its core, this review is specifically about what Dr. Cardenas and his staff have done for ME.
Which is simple – they gave me exactly what I was looking for. They gave me to myself. And the thing is, in so doing, they have opened up a whole world of limitless possibilities for me as I continue to move forward into my real life.
To this end, there is nothing else I can add about Dr. Cardenas’ skill and the results I have observed to date. He gave me exactly what I wanted and what I was looking for. In fact, he exceeded the high expectations I held coming into this beforehand in every way possible. And how many times can you say that about services rendered from any place within any given service industry? In my experience, not too many. Dr. Cardenas is a clear and exemplary exception to the general rule that typically results in a lower bar and lower expectations.
As for the hospital itself, I was extremely impressed. The facilities were striking, the staff was amazing, and the technology was cutting edge.
As for the recovery home, all I can say is WOW. Just simply WOW! Its the type of place that I would love to stay at during a really nice vacation – it is THAT nice and well-tended. The food is beyond excellent, everybody goes out of their way to accommodate you, take care of you, and to ensure that all is well and all needs are tended to.
I also cannot speak highly enough about the staff at the recovery home. Given that I spent a vast majority of my time here at the home while recovering, they became my second family. I could see it in their eyes from the very get-go. They genuinely care about us here, and it becomes a lovely, enjoyable, and refreshing little community unto itself throughout the duration of the stay.
Its all a class act all the way here, from top to bottom, front to back, and side to side. If I had it to do all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing. And in this regard, I am looking forward to returning in the future for other procedures I plan on having.
The author of this testimonial is Anne Kelly. She may be reached by e-mail at the following address: a n n e 2 3 4 5 0 at y a h o o . c o m . To contact her, please remove the spaces between the letters in her e-mail address and change the word “at” to “@.” This step was added to help protect the author from spambots looking to harvest e-mail addresses.
Stephanie’s Review – FFS by Dr. Lazaro Cardenas
I flew from the
Stephanie may be reached at the following e-mail address:
Please remove the spaces between each letter and replace “at” with “@.” These steps help protect the author of this review from unwanted spam.
Daniel’s Testimonial – Surgery by Dr. Lazaro Cardenas
“I must say I do not have ANY regrets choosing Dr. Cardenas as my surgeon. I arrived
E-mail : D a n
Elynn’s testimonal regarding surgery with Dr. Lazaro Cardenas.
“It has been 8 weeks since my FFS surgery in Guadalajara, Mexico, with Dr. Lazaro Cardenas.
And by my album photos of before and after, I am happy with the results. (You can check out their services with pricing at TransOp.com.) He’s a great plastic surgeon with a great team to assist him which includes his wife Tere. His wife is an ear, nose, & throat doctor and she did my nose.
I was in Guadalajara from June 26 through July 7 and stayed at the TransOp.com’s Recovery Center which is privately owned by a former U.S. law enforcement officer and his business partner, a Mexican citizen, who has lived in the U.S. They provided all the transportation to and from the airport and all Dr.’s appointments and treatments. I had my own private room with
I met 3 other TG girls while I was there and a GG who was having breast augmentation and rhinoplasty. It was great to talk to them and make new friends. I learned a lot from them and feel blessed to have their friendships. One TG girl was from NYC and told me that Dr. Cardenas was “the” plastic surgeon that TG girls in her circles wanted for their procedures. She was a beautiful Chinese American girl, tall and slender, having hip implants. She was fun and interesting to talk to. Another girl was from W. Virginia, very attractive having FFS. The other girl was in the contracting business and having rhinoplasty. I enjoyed her stories.
Dr. Cardenas did Marion Love’s FFS and I was excited that he would be doing mine. He did not
Elynn’s e-mail address
Kendra’s review of her experience with Dr. Cardenas.
“My name is Kendra. I began my M-to-F transition with Dr Cardenas one year ago August 2011 , at age 63 ( I had to wait until my children were successful adults ). My big concern was ending up looking like an old grandma and I expressed that concern to him. He laughed and promised that would not happen. Dr Cardenas did a complete FFS with a total face lift and his wife, Dr Tere, did my nose job. Dr Cardenas also did my ‘Goldilocks breast implants’ , not too big not too small but just right. I am more than pleased. I am very happy. I’ve had many many compliments on what a beautiful woman I am. Dr Cardenas entire staff is so so wonderful. Tyler and Vincente are better than big brothers I am totally thrilled and satisfied.” – Kendra
Kendra’s e-mail address is: k p o u r s o at g m a i l . c o m
Sean’s Testimonial about his surgery by Dr. Lazaro Cardenas.
“I had a great experience with Dr. Lazaro Cardenas and his staff in Guadalajara, Mexico. The city is full of art and culture. There were many beautiful sculptures, buildings, and paintings. On the streets there were vendors, dancers, and we even saw a mariachi band. The people they were friendly and the weather was great. We ate delicious food that was freshly cooked every time. The fruit was also delicious, sweet, and fresh. The hospital staff was great! Gisela was amazing and extremely helpful and patient before and after surgery. I felt very comfortable with them there. I had never had any surgery before and it was a very good experience for my first time. Dr. Lazaro answers any questions you may have prior to and after surgery. I stayed one night at the hospital and the nurses checked on me often and even the doctors came to see how I was doing which made me feel even better. I couldn’t have asked for better care than what I received with Dr. Lazaro and his staff. It has almost been one month since my surgery and I am so happy with my results. I would definitely recommend Dr. Lazaro and his staff for surgery.”
Sean’s e-mail address
R.F. Cramer’s Testimonial
I knew that over the past several years, even when I was happy, I didn’t want to be in any group photos.
And thinking further back, I realized that as every year passed I had to go through a larger and larger pile of pictures to find ones that I liked. For some strange reason, good photos seemed harder to find. Yep, it was time for a facelift.
When Suzanne, a dear friend of mine, got a facelift a few years ago, she was elated. She looked really great. She confided to me that she felt more youthful and vibrant.
She told me that she was really happy with her
So I made the rounds for consultations in San Francisco. Every surgeon agreed I was ready for it. I liked everything I heard from them except for one thing: the price tag.
I got quotes ranging from $20,000 to $30,000. This looked to be an expensive proposition, and I just couldn’t afford to spend that kind of money for an elective procedure that would not be covered by insurance.
Undaunted, I started revisiting my research into “medical tourism,” a lower-cost alternative I had been looking into for approximately four years. I revisited my bookmarks. Again, I read that doctors in other countries were charging 70-90% less then doctors charge here for the same medical procedures performed within the United States.
I discovered that the difference in the fees was mainly due to the lack of malpractice insurance required by foreign doctors, as opposed to the staggering malpractice insurance premiums paid by doctors in the United States. No place on earth litigates like the United States.
Additionally, in the U.S. you’re paying for the doctor’s education and lifestyle. You’re also paying for a whole assortment of other things, ranging from expensive anesthesiologists to highly marked-up hospital charges on everything from lab work to EKG’s.
I had also heard the other side of the argument, that “you got what you paid for” in other countries: under-educated doctors who offered lower prices because they just weren’t qualified or properly trained to perform the surgery.
I asked friends what they thought, and they all had heard horror stories about Americans traveling to other countries to undergo surgical procedures. They had all heard stories of people who went in for a breast reduction and came out of the operating room missing a leg. Some told me stories they heard of botched procedures. Others told me stories of surgical complications that the surgeons were untrained to handle, and medical facilities lacking the necessary equipment to allow the physician to handle an unforeseen crisis.
I asked all of them if they knew any of these patients directly or witnessed anything first-hand. Not one of them could validate any of these stories. I asked if any of them had ever visited a hospital in another country. Again no one had, so basically, these all seemed like rumors to me. Apparently, there was a lack of real information.
It seemed that horror stories like these have become part and parcel of the American medical culture and belief system. In other words, we Americans believe that the medical systems and surgical procedures in other countries are simply inferior to
I read a statement by the American Medical Association (AMA) that set the guidelines for medical tourism. It included a “recommendation” that a medical tourist (patient) should only go to an “offshore” or foreign hospital that had been accredited by our own U.S.-controlled institutions, namely the “Joint Commission International,” a division of the main hospital certification board in the U.S., the “Joint Commission.” This seemed to be just another opportunity for the American Medical Association to set and control the standards for U.S. citizens traveling for surgery to all other countries in the world.
I decided it was time to do it and find out for myself.
I spent several months doing research on the Internet. I quickly found the medical tourist associations, the brokers, the hospitals and even the doctors. But that wasn’t enough; I wanted to talk directly to an American who had gone through the experience. I wanted to ask my own questions first hand about their procedure, their comfort level
I couldn’t find anyone to talk with. Everyone “knew” someone that “knew” someone that did it. Even journal articles about “medical tourism” referenced other articles when it came to the patients describing their experience.
I read Deloitte’s 2009 study on medical tourism called “Medical Tourism: Update and Implications,” which estimated that there would be 1.6 million “
I found myself determined to go and see for myself and report back the truth, be it good, bad or ugly.
I researched a number of Internet sites dedicated to plastic surgery and found three plastic surgeons I immediately liked. All three were
One was in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The second was in Rio de
Buenos Aires seemed a great choice. Rio was also great. Who wouldn’t want to go to Rio?
I chose to go to Mexico.
The flights to Rio and to Buenos Aires were 18-hour marathons, and Mexico was only a short 5-hour flight from home. I knew that complications occur in about 25% of all surgeries, no matter where they
So I decided a 5-hour flight back to Guadalajara made the most sense, as it was closer and probably faster than most hospital waiting rooms.
I selected a plastic surgeon named Dr. Lazaro Cardenas Camarena in Guadalajara. Dr. Cardenas was university-affiliated and his education, experience
I booked the surgery to take place the week before Thanksgiving. I was scheduled to arrive Thursday night. On Friday, I’d meet with Dr. Cardenas for a pre-surgical consultation, get blood work and have an EKG. On Saturday I’d have the surgery and spend one night in the clinic. Then I’d go to my hotel for a week, where I would have the services of a full-time private nurse, arranged by Dr. Cardenas. I’d receive multiple light and ultrasound therapy sessions during the week to reduce the bruising and swelling. The stitches would be removed, I would pass my final examination by Dr. Cardenas, and leave the following Monday.
I arrived uneventfully in Guadalajara on Thursday night. The people were much friendlier than I expected. It wasn’t a resort town like Cancun, Ixtapa, or Puerto Vallarta, where the real culture of Mexico is hard to find. In the non-resort city of Guadalajara, I felt comfortable and safe. The people were friendly, intelligent and kind. Many were bilingual and interested in talking with me. This was the Mexico I dreamed of visiting while I was growing up.
Friday was consultation day. I went to a lovely hospital clinic called the “Hospital Clinica Angeles Chapalita,” near my hotel. First I was sent into a room where my blood was drawn, and then came the consultation.
I met with Dr. Cardenas and his wife, who was also a plastic surgeon specializing in ear, nose
After the consultation, I took a cab to a shopping mall. While I was wandering around, I met a young doctor named Cynthia, who asked me how I liked Guadalajara. I told her I was there for plastic surgery. We had a fun conversation and I asked her if she’d be my personal physician for a week. With a laugh and a wink, I told her that I would gladly pay her for her time (I was only half joking). Cynthia told me she’d think about it and would call me back and let me know if she was available.
I went back for the EKG and was told in precise and excellent English, that my heart was perfect with no enlargements to indicate any diseases and no blockages. My heart was at the perfect angle and it was beating in a regular rhythm. The cost: $80.
I walked back to the hotel, watched a movie on Netflix and fell asleep.
The following morning I strolled over to the clinic and met with Dr. Cardenas, his three-person surgical team and his anesthesiologist. They were all cheerful and friendly. I counted to 20 and woke up four hours later.
When I awoke, Dr. Cardenas was there. He told me that the surgery had gone perfectly and explained some things to me that I was too groggy to remember. I was rolled to a private room in the clinic for observation.
A nurse came in about three times to tell me to stop walking around the halls and lie still. I said sure but really wasn’t tired.
My Personal M.D.
Cynthia called about midnight and said that she could take care of me for the week. I thought, “Getting my own personal physician is hard to beat”. She could take care of me and reassure me between appointments with Dr. Cardenas. I wouldn’t have to worry about anything. A nurse would have been fine. But a doctor could diagnose problems and respond to emergencies
Cynthia came to my room at
Dr. Cardenas had arranged for some nurses to take me back to the hotel. I asked if Cynthia could take care of me. He agreed and gave her the instructions, medications, and my treatment schedule and exchanged their contact information.
I felt very well taken care of, safe and secure. The transition between the medical team and Cynthia, my personal M.D., was perfect. I couldn’t imagine getting this kind of treatment in any U.S. hospital.
As Cynthia drove me to the pharmacy to get the medications, I asked her if she wanted her own hotel room. She replied, “No I have to be in the same room with you to take care of you.” I thanked her for it. I forgot I was the patient, I felt that good.
Sunday was the first day after the surgery. I called it Day #2. My next meeting with Dr. Cardenas was scheduled for Wednesday.
I had no idea why I felt so good but Cynthia and I both laughed about it. She said it must have been either the anesthesia or my adrenalin that kept me going, but she really couldn’t explain why I was so active and experienced no
Back at the hotel room, Cynthia looked at my lab tests and said, “You’re like a 15-year old,” which I thought was a perfect justification to get her to take me to Starbucks. I had to wear a baseball cap and sunglasses to cover my bruises and to make sure that I didn’t frighten anyone. When she wanted me to walk in the shade, I noticed her care and attention.
We didn’t go back to the hotel room until about
Although I probably shouldn’t have, I looked in the mirror. I got a bit freaked out and I asked her, “Is this normal?” She replied, “Yes, it’s great, everything is okay.” I must have asked her that same question two dozen times – or at least every time I got a glimpse of my face in the mirror. Each time, she would patiently examine my face and answer the same way, “Everything is OK, just perfect.” She reassured me enough so I could let it go, and then I felt just great.
With the fear gone, I was enjoying her company and wasn’t worrying at all. We talked and laughed like kids the entire day.
On Monday, Day #3, we went to a shopping mall and saw a movie in English with Spanish subtitles. Cynthia was picking movies she knew I’d like. I began to understand the term “medical tourist.”
On Wednesday, Day #5, I met with Dr. Cardenas and his surgical team at the modern “
Cynthia made a comment that Dr. Cardenas was better than the plastic surgeon she had interned for. I asked why she said that. She said she didn’t use the same criteria I
Next up in my recovery would be a series of three light and sound rehabilitation treatments to bring down the swelling and help heal the bruising. Then the stitches on my eyes would be removed.
The light treatment lasted 30 minutes and felt soothing. It was followed by
After my treatments were completed, Cynthia and I left and went to visit the gorgeous Andares mall. I believe this mall is nicer than any mall in San Francisco, with the same high-end stores as in Union Square. After that, we went to another movie and dinner.
On Thursday, Day #6, the stitches from my eyes were removed, and it went perfectly. At
After that, on Days #7 and 8, Cynthia and I indulged in some sightseeing, movies, more malls
On Sunday, Day #9, one week after the facelift, I went for my final examination by Dr. Cardenas, who gave me instructions for removing my stitches and strengthening my eyes by massaging them. It was simple and very easy.
That evening Cynthia introduced me to her family and we went for an hour-long drive to a lake outside of Guadalajara. It was lovely.
On Monday morning, Day #10, Cynthia drove me to the airport for my
Cynthia emailed me about a dozen times, and always asked, “How’s your face?” and told me “Everyone says hello.”
Dr. Cardenas contacted me twice to follow up, and when I contacted him to ask a few questions he replied immediately each time.
About a month later, I went into the bank to make a deposit. The teller asked me, “Have you been on vacation? You look very relaxed.” A close friend also told me that I looked 10 years younger.
I smiled, and thought to myself, the “gold standard” had been achieved.
I visited my personal physician back in the Bay Area, and without telling him where I had the facelift done, he told me that the surgeon “knew what he was doing.”
I haven’t told Dr. Cardenas this yet but I don’t think he’ll be surprised. I had a great experience and would highly recommend Dr. Cardenas.
The bottom line: would I recommend this to anyone? Absolutely. Would I do it again? Yes – in about ten years.
The testimonial noted above was published in the Journal of Medicine which is published by the National College of Physicians. The author is R.F. Cramer and he may be reached at the following e-mail address:
Testimonials written by hand