Gastric Sleeve Surgery in Mexico: Is it Safe?

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Over the last decade, Mexico has emerged as the world’s leading medical tourism destination for a variety of surgical procedures, including gastric sleeve surgery. Thousands of women and men from the US, Canada, Europe, and other parts of the world undergo gastric sleeve in Mexico every year with excellent results. The country has several highly rated hospitals and bariatric centers led by top qualified weight loss surgeons who perform gastric sleeve surgery and other procedures.

However, many people in the US and Canada are still concerned about the safety and efficacy of gastric sleeve in Mexico. It is natural to have these concerns because vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG) is a complex procedure, and involves certain risks like any other surgery. The good news is that the feedback from medical tourist patients who choose to have an affordable VSG surgery in Mexico is largely favorable, which encourages others to consider having their bariatric procedure in Mexico.

Who is Your Medical Tourism Service Provider?

To ensure the safety of your gastric sleeve in Mexico, the primary issue to address is the reputation and reliability of your medical tourism company. Unless you have direct local contacts and knowledge of the medical systems in Mexico, you should join hands with a good medical tourism provider that will facilitate your procedure at an affordable cost in Mexico.

Performance Track Record

Make sure that your provider has an impeccable reputation and a demonstrable track record of successful bariatric surgery procedures in Mexico. Ask whether they work with full-service hospitals and licensed bariatric centers, and which hospital or surgery center they would recommend for your surgery.

What do the Patients Say?

Request the medical tourism company to share with you past patient success stories, patient testimonials and reviews, (including video testimonials) and gastric sleeve before and after photos. This will provide you valuable insights into what has been the experience of other patients with the company.

Hospital Quality Standards and Reputation

  • Hospital Website: While a majority of hospitals and bariatric centers in Mexico that accept patients from the US and Canada maintain high standards of care, it is important to evaluate their capabilities and reputation. Review the hospital website to know the kind of medical infrastructure they have. Check with your medical tourism provider whether it is a full service hospital with all essential surgical facilities.
  • Surgical Facilities: Some of the best hospitals for gastric sleeve surgery in Mexico have high-end operating rooms, advanced surgical equipment imported from the US or Europe, in-house diagnostic and testing facilities, fully stocked pharmacy, and multi-specialty departments to treat various medical conditions. For overnight stay, the hospital should have well-appointed rooms and round the clock nursing care.
  • Certification and Compliance: The hospital should be certified by the medical authorities in Mexico and must operate in compliance with the safety guidelines established by the government. You should check for how long the hospital has been in existence, and whether they provide all types of weight loss surgery procedures. Find out from your medical tourism facilitator whether the hospital has medical specialists to handle any unforeseen emergency in the operating room. 

Qualifications of Your Bariatric Surgeon

  • Training: Gastric sleeve in Mexico is an intricate procedure, which should only be performed by a fully trained and qualified surgeon. During your initial consultation, feel free to ask the surgeon whether they have received specialized training in bariatric surgery or have obtained a fellowship or done certificate courses in bariatric procedures. Some of the surgeons may also hold a board certification in bariatric surgery from the medical council in Mexico.
  • Experience: The most important factor that will make a difference to the final outcome of your gastric sleeve surgery is your surgeon’s skill and experience. Be prepared to ask your bariatric surgeon how many years of training and experience do they have in different types of surgical procedures, including weight loss surgery. Check whether they have previously performed gastric sleeve surgery procedures, and what has been their success rate.
  • Patient Feedback: While the surgeon’s professional credentials are important, it is equally important to assess whether their past patients are satisfied with the surgeon’s performance. You may request your surgeon to share with you patient testimonials, if any, as well as gastric sleeve before and after photos of past patients. This will give you more confidence about the surgeon’s rapport with patients and their performance ability, and you can make an informed decision.

Look for the Red Flags

The government of Mexico has taken several major steps in the last two decades to bring the safety profile of the country’s healthcare system at par with international standards. However, it is still important to be alert to any signs that indicate a red flag when you are looking for a dedicated medical tourism provider and surgeon for your gastric sleeve in Mexico.

Your provider should be transparent and upfront about sharing information about the hospital or bariatric center where your surgery will be performed. They should be willing to set up a free virtual consultation for you with the bariatric surgeon so that you can directly ask them questions and address your concerns.

If the hospital’s licensing status is unclear, or the surgeon’s qualifications are vague (such as “world famous surgeon”), or the surgery package price does include certain major costs – these are red flags that should raise a concern. If the medical tourism company is unable to share patient testimonials, reviews, pictures, videos, and success stories, you should proceed with more caution.

Final Word

Whether in the US, Canada, Mexico, or elsewhere, all hospitals are not alike and all bariatric surgeons are not alike. Your goal should be to make a well-considered and dispassionate decision when selecting a hospital and surgeon. For your gastric sleeve in Mexico, your safest bet is to find a reliable and committed medical tourism provider who has a reputation to protect. The rest is going to be easy, and you will be able to complete this life-changing surgery in a safe and affordable manner.  

The Mazatlan Post