Today in 2016, many individuals are intrigued about traveling for weight loss surgery in Mexico. With the attractive self-pay prices and plentiful options, it’s easy to see many people weighing Mexico. But is Mexico’s care, comparable to the United States? Is it dangerous to travel to Mexico for weight loss surgery?
Conclusion: From our research here at Obesity Reporter, we’ve found that Mexico poses a great option for those who lack insurance coverage or are underinsured, long waits for bariatric surgery, or those who face deductibles over $6,000.
Overall, Mexico bariatric industry has grown in the last few years, riding itself of poor providers and inexperienced surgeons. Today, the Mexico bariatric surgeons are regulated more by the patients themselves, than the government, which isn’t a bad thing. Forums, discussion boards, and online blogs help keep Mexico transparent and safe.
How Do I Find Quality Bariatric Surgeons in Mexico?
In the United States, some special certifications and licenses will identify a surgeon’s qualification. These requirements, specifically include the FACS (Fellow of the American College of Surgeons), the ASMBS (American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery), among others.
In Mexico, there are other certifications that you should look out for. These certifications, memberships to professional organizations, don’t guarantee that the surgeon is qualified. But it does give a better rating to
- Consejo Mexicano de Cirugia General, A.C. – The Mexican Council on General Surgery is an affiliation many surgeons in Mexico have, as they are typically general surgeons.
- Colegio Mexicano de Cirugia para la Obesidad y Enfermedades Metabolicas, A.C. – The Mexican College of Obesity Surgery was founded in 2013 with the help of the Mexican Surgical Association, CONACEM, Mexican General Surgeon Board to help certify bariatric surgeons in Mexico. Surgeon Members can proclaim they are ‘Board Certified by the Mexico College of Bariatric and Metabolic Surgeons‘.
Other certifications and memberships that are not strictly Mexican-based:
- American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) – The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) – The ASMBS is a very important non-profit organization in the field of bariatrics. There are a handful of Mexican surgeons who are members of this organization, as it’s based in the US.
- IFSO (International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity and Metabolic Disorder) – This is a very wide-reaching non-profit organization that hosts congresses around the country for bariatric education.
- American College of Surgeons (ACS) – Another perennial non-profit organization with significant stature worldwide. Mexican surgeons with affiliations with the FACS (Fellow of American College of Surgeons) are rare.
- Center of Excellence, Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery – The Surgical Review Corporation (SRC) provides ‘centers for excellence – COE’ and ‘surgeons for excellence – SOE’ programs. This is provided by a for-profit company.
ASMBS and ACS organizations unified their accreditation programs into a single program, the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP®). Surgeons experienced in Mexico can vary from those who are enticed by seeing their peers become wealthy and those who provide quality bariatric healthcare to patients.
Destinations for Weight Loss Surgery in Mexico
Cash pay (non-insurance) is offered by dozens of providers in various cities across the country. Most of them are located in the towns close to the US/Border, here are the main destinations in Mexico for bariatric treatments abroad:
- Tijuana: By far the largest home to Mexican weight loss surgeons, Tijuana is located just minutes from San Diego. Tijuana offers the most affordable bariatric surgery packages in Mexico and worldwide.
- Piedras Negras: Another border town, Piedras Negras has several surgeons operating here for those coming from Texas.
- Cancun: Known as a party destination and not typical medical tourism. But Cancun,
- Puerto Vallarta: Puerto Vallarta and Nuevo Vallarta are popular destination for tourists specially Canadians.
- Nuevo Laredo: Bariatric Surgery in Nuevo Laredo is popular from people from Texas.
- Monterrey: Less popular for medical tourists, Monterrey offers good surgeons and facilities.
- Guadalajara: It offers skilled surgeons and facilities.
What is the Cost of Bariatric Surgery in Mexico?
In Mexico, self-pay weight loss surgeries typically come in as a package that includes everything needed to undergo surgery, except for airfare or transportation. Typically, weight loss surgery brokers will have arrangements to pick up a patient in San Diego and transport them across the border. Those will be
- Anesthesiologist Fees
- Two Surgeons in the operating room with you or one surgeon and a qualified First Assist
- Pre and post-op medication
- Operating room costs
- All preoperative evaluations
- Pre and post-op instructions (Diet guidelines)
- Accommodations (Hotel or Recovery Stay)
Pricing for self-pay bariatric surgeries in Mexico varies depending on several factors including; surgery type, surgeon/center, and the utilization of medical tourism broker.
Pricing for Self Pay Weight Loss Surgery (Price Survery 2016)
- Gastric Sleeve (Sleeve Gastrectomy) Price Range: $3,700 to $8,000.
- Average Price in Mexico: is $4,500 to $4,800.
- Gastric Bypass (Roux-en-Y) Price Range: $5,200 to $8,900.
- Average Price in Mexico: $6,400 to $6,800.
- Duodenal Switch Price Range: $6,700 to $8,400.
What to do if Your Medical Tourism Broker or Mexico Surgeon is Inexpensive?
Today the market for bariatric surgeries is above $4,000, so those seeing prices below $4,000 should be concerned about the quality, surgeon’s experience, and whether there are hidden costs. If a practice is marketing themselves under $4,000 and their quality seems small, it probably is. Common sense will help you more than any guide or forum – when dealing with Mexico bariatric surgery. It’s important to do your research and find up-to-date patient reviews for the surgeon of choice.
Is It Good To Undergo Weight Loss Surgery in Mexico?
Although there are plentiful of obesity treatment options in Mexico, it doesn’t mean that all bariatric options are viable. However, there still are a lot of quality options in Mexico.
Recommended Surgeries to Undergo in Mexico:
- Gastric Sleeve Surgery: Gastric Sleeve is one of the best options to undergo weight loss surgery in Mexico. It’s technically simpler and less invasive than other surgeries, and it doesn’t require a return trip. Both are ideal when you’re considering medical tourism. In fact, in Mexico, gastric sleeve surgery is the most common obesity treatment type there is. Learn more about Gastric Sleeve Surgery.
- Gastric Bypass Surgery: Gastric Bypass is a good option, but requires a skilled and experienced surgeon. Gastric Bypass is technically more complicated and requires a longer duration in Mexico – which may be cumbersome for your schedules or/and companion. Learn more about Gastric Bypass Surgery.
Neutral Recommended Surgeries:
- Duodenal Switch Surgery: Duodenal Switch is a very powerful surgical weapon that is very invasive and allows for significant weight loss. Because of this duodenal switch requires the most skilled and experienced surgeon. There are plenty of surgeons in Mexico who are capable of performing this surgery type, but in general, duodenal switch is a riskier procedure in Mexico. Learn more about Duodenal Switch.
- Gastric Balloon Surgery: Gastric Balloon places an inflatable medical balloon in the stomach to reduce capacity. This temporary, non-surgical solution is a good option for Mexico, if you’re only looking to lose 20 to 40 pounds, and are comfortable with multiple trips to Mexico. Learn more about Gastric Balloon Surgery.
Not Recommended Surgeries:
- Lap-Band Surgery: Is technically outdated, with poor expected weight loss and high rates of complications. This surgery type is not recommended based on its efficacy, then when you add the fact of lap-band adjustments and fills (needing frequent doctor visits), it’s not a good option to undergo in Mexico. Learn more about Lap-Band Surgery.
- Gastric Plication: Gastric Plication surgery is a surgery type that mimics gastric sleeve surgery. In theory, gastric plication would allow the stomach the same restriction that gastric sleeve provides but allow for reversibility. In actuality, gastric plication is a surgery that requires two operations (one to undergo, and one to reverse) which is not ideal for Mexico. It also has limited expected excess weight loss.