Guide to Weight Loss Surgery in Mexico


Ultimately choosing the proper medical facility or hospital will ensure your safety when having bariatric surgery overseas and in Mexico. There are different certifications including Joint Commission International (JCI). JCI is the most demanding hospital accreditation agency within the United States. Their international unit accredits hospitals with rigorous standards. In order to receive certification, the hospital aboard must pass testing for nearly 300 standards with 1,200 different data points including care of patients, assessment of patients, anesthesia and surgical care, medical management, patient and family education, patient and family rights, prevention and control of infections, facility management, staff qualifications, just to name a few.

When looking for a place to have weight loss surgery in Mexico, it’s important to ensure that they are certified to make sure you are the safest as possible. Also many hospitals will partner with American hospitals which will give you and other weight loss surgery patients added confidence. This allows patients to see a surgeon when they return home for follow-up appointments. It’s important that whether or not the facility you choose is connected with a U.S. hospital that your primary care physician is made aware of your trip for surgery so that they can remain in the loop about your treatment.

What To Consider

First consider safety. It’s important to understand your risks before and after surgery when travelling to Mexico. Next, understand the cost of the surgery. Often times surgery will be more cost effective in Mexico than in the United States, which attracts many patients. Also, arrange to have a travel companion with you during the process to help you travel back to your hotel after leaving the hospital and to travel home safely and comfortably.

Planning Your Trip

If you smoke, stop as soon as possible. Increased risk of blood clots occurs when tobacco has been in the system up to six weeks before surgery. Also, flying on an airplane so close after surgery will increase the risk of DVT too. Also lose as much weight as possible before travelling as the lower your BMI the less of a risk of DVT and other surgical complications. Discuss with your doctor on stopping any hormone replacement therapy or birth control pills, which can thicken the blood.

Cost of Weight Loss Surgery in Mexico

Tijuana on Map
Tijuana on Map

It’s no secret that weight loss surgery is much cheaper in Mexico than in the United States. Tijuana, Mexico offers the most affordable prices for the best care and surgery outcome. Lower cost, however doesn’t mean you are receiving less care. The cost is lower because of lower administrative and labor costs from a lower cost of living. Also, malpractice costs and insurance is lower in other countries. Thirdly, the cost of maintaining facilities overseas is less driving the overall cost of bariatric surgery down too.

Generally the cost of weight loss surgery in Mexico includes pre-operative tests such as an EKG, chest x-ray, doctor evaluation, anesthesiologist evaluation, CBC, urine test, travel costs, nutritionist fees, use of a telephone to the United States, hospital fees, surgeon fees, anesthesiologist fees, pain medicine and other prescription drugs, post-operative costs and any post-operative tests. Some things that may not be included in the overall cost include any costs associated with complications, food for the guest, airfare and hotel costs before and after the surgery and hospital stay.

Process of WLS in Mexico

Tijuana, Mexico Border
Tijuana, Mexico Border

First a patient will contact a health travel agent or qualified surgeon in Mexico. That medical professional will review the patient’s medical history. Next the surgeon or agent will review the recommended bariatric surgery type who will coordinate a call with the patient’s primary care physician and the surgeon to discuss the patient. Next the surgeon will come up with an all-inclusive charge for the hospital stay, the surgeon consultations, nurse visits and follow up calls and treatments. The hospital will load all of the patient’s information into their system while the patient travels to the destination and receives the surgery. Depending on the type of surgery, the patient may need to go to a post-treatment facility or resort (mostly cosmetic surgery) with a 24/7 nurse. If not, they will be discharged and will remain in a hotel for a day with their guest and travel home to the United States where they will complete their follow-up visits with their primary care physician and a nutritionist.

Weight Loss Surgery Compared to Diet and Exercise

Obesity is a global epidemic and is contributed to:

  • Impaired glucose tolerance (pre-diabetes)
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High cholesterol or triglyceride levels
  • Hypertension – High blood pressure
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Sleep apnea
  • Fertility problems
  • Gout
  • Fatty liver
  • Complications in pregnancy
  • Stress incontinence (leaking urine laughing, coughing, etc)
  • Gallstones
  • Cancers – colon, breast and endometrial (uterine cancer), etc.
  • Chronic diseases, like Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Emotional health and the ability to be physically active

Aside from Genetic Predisposition, Environmental Exposure and Developmental History, the obesity disease can be linked to modern environment:

  • Nutrient Content of Food
  • Inactivity and Lack of Exercise
  • Stress
  • Sleep Deprivation
  • Weight-Gaining Medications

Bariatric procedure is the most effective long-term option for obesity and obesity related disease. Diet and exercise alone are NOT proven long-term solution. Read More: Set Point Theory

It’s important that one makes a commitment to an overall lifestyle change before embarking on weight loss surgery. Bariatric surgery is not a quick fix to obesity. One must remain committed to their post-operative diet and work out regularly when healing occurs. Expected weight loss will not occur if both of these are not done continuously. It is also important that all vitamins and minerals are taken regularly, the post-op diet is followed closely and all post-op visits are attended for the best result.

Contact Mexico Bariatric Center patient coordinators for any questions.