An American woman is on life support with severe brain damage after she jet-setted off to Mexico for a nose job that went horribly awry.

Laura Avila, 36, booked an appointment for the rhinoplasty procedure, estimated to be less than a third of the average US cost, October 30 at the Rino Center in Juarez, Mexico, the Daily Mail reported.

The average price of a rhinoplasty in America is US$7500, according to RealSelf.

Avila's supportive fiancé, Enrique Cruz, travelled along with her for the operation and was by her side before it began.

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Enrique Cruz travelled along with Laura Avila for the operation. Photo / Facebook via Daily Mail
Enrique Cruz travelled along with Laura Avila for the operation. Photo / Facebook via Daily Mail

The anticipated appointment, however, was a nightmare from the start when Avila was administered anaesthesia via her spine.

The anaesthesia travelled to her brain, instead of down throughout her body.

Within moments, she went into cardiac arrest and doctors were forced to place her in a medically induced coma to prevent further brain damage. Her fiancé was not informed about the severity of the situation at the time.

A distraught Cruz told WFAA: "I was really concerned... I got upset because they wouldn't let me see her."

He said doctors initially told him her blood pressure dropped, and that they could not move forward with the surgery.

The patient's sister, Angie Avila, told the station her sister was drawn to do the procedure in Mexico because "the price, compared to those in US, was less than a third."

The real estate agent, who is also a singer and dancer, was under care at the Mexico clinic for four days before she was transported to a university hospital in El Paso, Texas.

Avila has been refused care by three Dallas hospitals because she is not insured.

Her family said officials at the Rino Center gave them a hard time about leaving because they did not pay the bill.

Avila's sister told WFAA: "The hospital in Mexico basically held us hostage because we wouldn't pay the full amount."

The anaesthesia travelled to Laura Avila's brain, instead of down throughout her body.
The anaesthesia travelled to Laura Avila's brain, instead of down throughout her body.

When Avila and her loves ones arrived at the Texas hospital, doctors confirmed she had severe brain damage.

Angie Avila told the station the damage was so horrific that "she will never be our Laura again".

Cruz, who has been in a relationship with Avila for 10 years, told ABC 7: "We got married by God... no matter what happens, I want her to know [she] has a special place in my heart."

He also captioned a Facebook profile photo of the two: "I love you so much, I'm so lost with out you."

Avila' sister and fiancé could not be reached for comment.

Angie Avila has set up a GoFundMe page, which has reached nearly US$70,000 of its US$150,000 goal as of late Tuesday.