Weight loss surgery in Mexico:
Read and click the sections below for everything you need to know about having bariatric surgery in Mexico.
As long as you do your research on Mexican weight loss surgeons and clinics/hospitals, you can find options with an excellent safety record. Americans and Canadians have been traveling to Mexico for many years to receive safe, successful bariatric surgery, and we keep going back.
Be informed, ask lots of questions, and do as much planning as possible to minimize risk associated with medical travel.
The following are important safety considerations.
It’s tempting to believe blanket statements like “Mexico is dangerous,” but that would be the same thing as saying that “all cities and towns in the United States are dangerous.” Despite the scary news stories, much of Mexico is very safe.
Like the U.S. and Canada, Mexico is a huge country with some safe cities and some cities with a higher crime rate. And like U.S. and Canadian cities, conditions change from year to year.
The Joint Commission, the most respected and demanding hospital accreditation agency in the U.S., has an international division called the Joint Commission International (JCI) that accredits hospitals in Mexico.
To receive certification, hospitals abroad must pass detailed testing for 300 standards with 1,200 specific data points that JCI surveyors examine and score. Here is a general overview of what’s reviewed:
If a hospital outside the U.S. is JCI accredited, you know that they have passed the on-site 3 to 5 day hospital review within the last 3 years. This is an indicator you are traveling to a hospital where they put a premium on safe practice. There are a total of 4 hospitals in Mexico that are JCI approved and perform weight loss surgery.
For further information on JCI accreditation, check out their website to get a better idea of their impressive standards. (Joint Commission International accreditation standards).
Achieving JCI accreditation is an expensive, lengthy and rigorous process for a hospital. Most hospitals don’t have the means to pursue JCI. Fortunately, there is another credentialing agency that screens hospitals for excellence.
The Mexican Ministry of Health offers a reputable accreditation known as the CSG (El Consejo de Salubridad General, which means “The General Health Council”) that is modeled after JCI accreditation. CSG has a specific set of standards to address international patient safety. CSG accreditation serves as an indicator that you’re going to a well respected hospital with a safe track record.
We ran a survey on 20 Mexican hospitals and clinics that perform bariatric surgery and found that 8 are CSG accredited, which means that less than half of your options fall in the accredited category.
What if your prospective hospital or clinic lacks certification from either the JCI or CSG?
Rest assured, there are great clinics and hospitals that are not accredited for a variety of reasons. For example, if a clinic is successful and business is good, accreditation may not be worth the money, time, and stress of extensive program auditing.
However, if you choose a non-accredited facility, you should do your homework to ensure that the practice is reputable. To ensure that your practice is safe:
Weight loss surgery clinics outside of the hospital setting are common in Mexico. Clinics have the resources to perform successful weight loss surgeries, but they are not a “one-stop-shop” in the event something goes wrong. On the other hand, hospitals are usually equipped with an emergency room, intensive care unit, pharmacy and other specializations all under the same roof.
While weight loss surgery has close to a 100% survival rate, complications can arise. If there is an issue during your procedure, a clinic may send you to a hospital you haven’t researched.
If you choose a clinic, inquire with their staff ahead of time about their preferred emergency room, and do homework on that hospital’s reviews/accreditation.
Whether or not you choose a hospital or clinic is a matter of personal preference. Some patients feel better knowing they’re in a hospital setting, while others prefer the more intimate setting of a clinic. At the end of the day, the hospital adds a layer of security if something out of the ordinary happens.
Of the many countries offering medical travel, Mexico is among the best for U.S. and Canadian patients because:
To minimize your risk of travel-related complications and problems:
To reduce the risk, you should take preventive measures from the time you leave to the time you get home.…
To minimize DVT risk before traveling:
Minimize DVT risk on the plane:
Typically, US based insurance companies will not cover the cost of international surgery. The information below has been compiled to get a better idea of out-of-pockets costs associated with weight loss surgery in Mexico.
As you can see, the cost of bariatric surgery in Mexico is 3 to 4 times less than the cost of surgery in the United States.
Why the big difference?
Surgeons and hospitals in Mexico have less overhead. This does not mean a reduction in quality care, it means money flow operates differently in Mexico. Here’s why:
The following may or may not be included in the quoted fees:
Be sure to speak with the prospective hospital or clinic about what their services cover.
The best surgeon and hospital abroad is specific to each patient. In addition to ensuring that your chosen surgeon has the appropriate expertise and access to technology, you must also feel personally comfortable with them.
The best places to start are:
Ideally, set up a video conference with your surgeon so you can see each other while talking (these are free via companies like Skype and Ekiga). If you don’t walk away feeling confident with the surgeon, move on to the next one.
See our 4 Steps to Find the Right Weight Loss Surgeon page to learn the necessary homework and how to interview your potential surgeons.
For a comprehensive list of questions for your prospective surgeon, click here.
By facilitating a relationship between medical staff at home and in Mexico, you’re taking the necessary steps to ensure the safest possible outcomes.
Before you leave for surgery, find a provider who will agree to manage your postoperative care. This may be more difficult than it sounds because many doctors do not want to assume the liability for any issues caused by a provider outside of the United States or Canada
Some patients returning home work with a primary care physician instead of following up with a local surgeon. If a primary care doctor feels comfortable providing the follow-up care and you can’t find a surgeon, this may be your best option. It is also more cost-effective.
If you’re having trouble finding someone on your own, as your Mexico surgeon for help. They often have relationships with providers in the United States and Canada.
Surgeons abroad can provide your local doctors with detailed medical information summarizing the clinically important information learned during your trip to Mexico. For example, they may provide you with a CD or digital file that includes your medical summary, vitals, doctor notes, x-rays, sonograms, etc. This is enough that your doctor back home will be able to pick up where your surgeon in Mexico left off.
Click here for feedback from two surgeons about receiving follow up care when you get home.
Some weight loss surgery clinics in Mexico, such as the clinics listed in the directory at the bottom of this page, will coordinate all travel plans and travel insurance for you and your travel companion.
For those clinics who do leave travel planning to the patient, medical travel agents and medical travel insurance can reduce stress and improve your travel experience.
Medical travel agents will help you choose the right surgeon, hospital, arrange all of your travel details, and link you to a variety of resources in Mexico. This option is ideal for those traveling to clinics or hospitals that do not provide comprehensive travel services.
Not only are medical travel agents knowledgeable about top surgeons, but their insight is also based on feedback from prior patients. This allows them to steer you toward surgeons and facilities with the best recommendations.
The best agencies and hospitals/centers will:
Ask your chosen medical travel service directly about their services and charges, as each is different. They are usually paid through a fee that is bundled into the packaged price negotiated for your medical treatment.
Medical travel insurance is another safety measure available that can protect you from expensive emergency situations abroad. If an accident occurs or you get sick, they typically provide coverage. However, this form of insurance usually does not cover complications from your surgery.
Policies differ between companies and plans. Consider the following details for each plan before making a selection:
Following is a list of Medical Travel Insurance companies. We have not worked directly with any of these companies and this list does not imply any recommendations or endorsements. Talk with your surgeon abroad for their recommendations and experiences before making a selection.
Have you worked with another medical travel insurance company related to weight loss surgery in Mexico? Please contact us.
Following is the typical medical travel experience after you have chosen your Mexico weight loss surgery clinic:
If you still have questions about weight loss surgery in Mexico, our experts are happy to answer them. We (and other patients) would also love to hear about your experiences.
Please use the form below to share your experience or ask a question.
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