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Safe to get Mexico Weight Loss Surgery?

November 09, 2019 Medical Toursim
Safe to Undergo Weight Loss Surgery in Mexico

The surge in popularity of Mexican weight loss surgery stems from the greater affordability of the procedures, as compared to the cost for the same surgeries in the US or Canada. Traveling for the surgery makes it possible for a more people suffering from obesity and related health problems to find an efficient and safe solution.  Life-changing weight loss surgery doesn’t have to be dangerous, but it also shouldn’t be rushed into without research.

Along with the surge in Mexican weight loss tourism has come fear. Traveling out of the country is a significant experience for many people, and with the rumors of low standards, crime, and neglectful care, many potential patients avoid partaking of this life-changing surgery because of misguided misunderstandings.

Rather than knee-jerk rejecting the option of traveling out of the country for a weight-loss procedure, weigh the relevant information while making the decision.

Study of the Effectiveness and Safety of Mexico Bariatric Surgery

“In our experience at a high-volume hospital center, bariatric surgery is safe and effective, based on the low number of adverse effects and consequent weight loss and type 2 diabetes mellitus control.”

This study was authored by the Mexican Association of Gastroenterology, and looked at five-hundred patients who underwent bariatric surgery in Mexico. Over the course of the study, there were no deaths, and the overall excess with was 76.9% after 12 months, and 77.6% after 24 months.

How to Ensure the Safety of Weight Loss Surgery in Mexico

In order to verify the safety of bariatric surgery in Mexico, it’s important to look at several key factors that contribute to the overall safety including the hospital facility, surgical/medical equipment, and the bariatric surgeon.

Verify the Readiness of the Facility

The safety of the procedure itself should be your primary concern. By verifying that the facilities have all the elements required to provide a safe, comfortable, and effective procedure, you can allay the medical related concerns. Any provider should provide what’s required, and ideally, the procedure should occur within a hospital rather than an outpatient center.

Facilities must include:

  • Bariatric equipment
  • Critical care department
  • Tomographic equipment
  • X-ray lab
  • Lab for testing
  • Access to blood in case of needed transfusion
  • Operating facilities with appropriate beds
  • High tech laparoscopic tools
  • Laparoscopic screens and HD cameras
  • Anesthesia equipment
  • Qualified staff for surgery

While the facilities must meet clear standards of safety and cleanliness, the staff available at the hospital should also include an internist, pulmonologist, and cardiologist in addition to the surgeon and anesthesiologist in case something goes awry. Generally, these specialists aren’t involved in the procedure; however, when a procedure gets underway having them available just in case should always be a part of the plan.

Verify the Quality of the Medical Technologies Used for Bariatric Procedures

Some of the unfortunate rumors involved with bariatric procedures in Mexico involve a supposed substandard quality of materials. However, since only two companies manufacture quality materials for the procedure, verifying the quality of the materials is somewhat straightforward.  Simply make sure that the materials used come from either Ethicon, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, or Covidien/Medtronic). A quality surgeon will only use these quality materials; doing otherwise would put his or her patients’ health in jeopardy.

Qualifications for a Quality Bariatric Surgeon

The quality of a surgeon doesn’t find its basis in the prices charged but in the results of patient safety and effective weight loss surgeries.

In order to specialize in specific procedures and maximize expertise, we limit the procedures offered to a few:

  • Gastric sleeve
  • Gastric bypass
  • Duodenal switch
  • Gastric banding
  • Gastric Balloon

In addition to specializing in just a few procedures, the surgeon should also be trained and credentialed by reputable sources. They should not simply be marked qualified on the basis of paid for credentials. You can also consider memberships into quality, reputable associations like:

  • IFSO (International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity and Metabolic Disorders)
  • CMCOEM (College of Mexican Bariatric and Metabolic Surgeons)
  • CMCG (Counsel of Mexican General Surgery)

How to Spot an Unprofessional, Unprepared Bariatric Surgeon

To verify that the doctor and facility you choose is one of high quality, make sure that he or she checks every box. You can also consider what past patients have to say, evaluate the efficacy of the staff during initial consultations, and consider whether the process seems like a sales push or a health consultation.

Know that the adage you get what you pay for has a measure of truth in it, and steer clear from rock bottom prices since they indicate corners are being cut somewhere.

Cheap Gastric Sleeves Are Fiction

The myth of incredibly inexpensive gastric sleeve procedures are one of the reasons for the poor reputation of Mexico weight loss surgery. An extremely low price indicates a poorly trained doctor, poorly managed staff, less than stellar facilities, or low quality materials. A low price should be a red flag, making your antenna rise and your attention to the details of the procedure even greater!

Make sure that you keep in mind the difference between cheap and affordable, erring on the side of safety and healthier alternatives to the options available within your country. In addition to pre-surgery consultation and testing, the procedure should also come with nutritional guidance after surgery because following the diet is critical for successful outcomes. Some of the cost cutting could be in areas that could result in a lack of weight loss, leakage after surgery, a failure of post-operative care, or even the end of your life.

Further Reading:

Until better approaches become available, bariatric surgery is the therapy of choice for patients with severe obesity.

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