Weight Loss Surgery in Mexico: Risk Without Reward?

Let’s face it. We all like a good deal. Black Friday beckons us like Sirens in the sea, and Americans flock to door-busting sales, nearly helpless to resist.
Buying a discounted flat-screen television makes sense. Getting discounted surgery? That’s another story.

Many people desperate for weight-loss surgery feel stymied by the cost. As they research money-saving options, online threads with subjects like “Bariatric Surgery in Mexico Saved Me Thousands” pop up, and soon they’re searching for “cheap flights to Mexico.”

Sometimes a deal is worth it, but when it comes to your personal health, saving money doesn’t come before your well-being.

Here are some of the risks you’ll face if you choose to have weight-loss surgery in Mexico:

  1. Mexico lacks many of the stringent healthcare regulations the United States requires, which means you’re walking into a lot of unknowns when you elect to undergo surgery there. Any surgery, no matter how minimal, always carries some level of risk for the patient. Morbid obesity automatically increases your risks. When it comes to surgery, you want the lowest risk possible. Eliminate some risk by having your surgery performed in a properly regulated facility in the United States.
  2. You won’t receive the post-operative care necessary to achieve optimum results. Weight-loss surgery is one step in a long process for the patient. A huge part of the success in these surgeries depends on the post-op teamwork between doctor and patient. If you lack this communication, you’re much less likely to achieve the weight loss goals you’ve set. You could see all the money you spent on travel to Mexico, surgery and hotels completely wasted if you don’t get lasting results.
  3. The risk of complications is greatest within the first few weeks of your surgery. If you undergo surgery in Mexico and subsequently experience serious complications back in the U.S., you won’t be seeing the same doctor who performed your surgery. To make matters worse, insurance won’t necessarily cover these complications. You’ll end up with astronomical medical bills, spending more money than if you’d have undergone the surgery in the U.S. to begin with.
  4. Adjustable gastric banding often requires frequent visits post-surgery for adjustments. If your surgery is performed in the U.S., your surgeon will include these adjustments in the price of the surgery. If your surgery is done in Mexico, the post-op adjustments will be performed in the U.S., and will likely end up costing you additional hundreds of dollars out of pocket for each visit. This type of surgery really necessitates continuity between doctor and patient.

Bottom Line:

While saving money on a surgical procedure is incredibly enticing, the risks outweigh the benefits.

Your best bet is to look into financing options in the United States with a doctor who will work together with you throughout your entire weight loss journey. The surgery itself is only a small part of the equation that goes into helping you achieve your weight loss goals.