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Everything You Need to Know When Doing Weight Loss Surgery Abroad

Bariatric Surgery, aka Weight Loss Surgery (WLS), can help fight stubborn obesity. But, like any other operation, it can cost a lot if done in countries like the US, UK, or Australia.

Thankfully, getting this surgery abroad can help you save thousands, despite the travel cost!

Intrigued? Let’s explore the minutest details when planning to get WLS overseas!

 Review of Bariatric Surgery, Tijuana, Mexico

Weight Loss Surgery Abroad: Is It a Good Idea?

Many people are on the fence when considering if they should do bariatric surgery abroad.

To help you make the decision a little easier, we’ve listed some common reasons why thousands chose it:

1. It’s Easier to Qualify For

If you want to get weight loss surgery done in the US or Canada, you must have a body mass index or BMI of over 40.

You could also qualify if you have a BMI between 35 and 40 but suffer from an obesity-related condition like sleep apnea, type 2 diabetes, or high blood pressure.[1]ASMBS
Who is a Candidate for Bariatric Surgery?
“Qualifications for bariatric surgery in most areas include:: BMI ≥ 35 and at least one or more obesity-related co-morbidities such as type II diabetes (T2DM), hypertension, sleep apnea…”
View in Article

Whereas in the US and Canada, a few factors like previous drug addiction and a family history of lung disease can automatically disqualify you from surgery.

This leaves a large market of patients who’d like to lose weight through surgery but can’t because they don’t qualify.

This is where medical tourism saves the day!

Many famous medical tourist destinations have less restrictive qualifications. It allows you to bypass the requirements in the US or Canada.

2. Free Online Consultations

In the US and Canada, you’ll have to pay hundreds if not thousands of dollars for a simple consultation. During these consultations, your surgeon creates a plan of action specifically for you.

However, in many medical tourism destinations, you can get a free consultation. This is super helpful because you’ll save hundreds of dollars.

3. More Affordable

In addition to not paying for the first consultation, you’ll pay far less on weight loss surgery in overseas countries compared to the US and Canada.

Some think this is because these hospitals have inadequate technologies and surgeons. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Countries like India, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Turkey offer some of the most highly trained surgeons in the world. Their governments also invest millions into medicine each year to ensure hospitals are the best.

The real reason these countries are affordable is that the cost of living is far less. For example, gastric bypass surgery costs around $23,000 in the US. In Mexico, you’ll pay only $6,400 for the same procedure.

If you travel to popular medical tourism destinations like Turkey, you can expect to pay $5,000

Now that we know why weight loss surgery abroad can be a practical option for you let’s look at how much weight loss surgery costs overseas.

How Much Does Weight Loss Surgery Abroad Cost?

If you choose weight loss surgery abroad, you’ll save up to 70% (or even more sometimes!).

For example, the average cost of a gastric sleeve in Mexico is around $5,000. In the US, you’ll need to pay $10,000 to $27,000 for the same surgery.

Let’s compare the price of weight loss surgery in other popular medical tourist destinations also.

The Average Cost of Weight Loss Surgery by Country
Country Gastric Sleeve Surgery Gastric Bypass Surgery
US $20,000 $23,000
Spain $12,500 $16,600
Costa Rica $12,650 $14,900
India $6,500 $7,600
Mexico $5,000 $6,400
Turkey $4,650 $5,000
*Prices are subject to change. Fill our online quote form for the latest prices and specials.

So on average, Turkey charges the least for gastric sleeves and bypass surgery even though it’s located in Europe, the most expensive continent.

This is because the government is partnering with the private sector[2]The World Bank
Turkey: Transforming Health Care for All
“The Turkish Government is transforming its healthcare sector so that all its citizens have access to quality services. To do this, it is partnering with the private sector on a major program to improve the country’s hospitals and healthcare infrastructure.”
View in Article
to give everyone access to quality services at an affordable price.

Mexico is the second cheapest country. If you live in the US or Canada, you can also save money on your plane ticket because it’s so close.

India, Costa Rica, and Spain are also good options for surgery. They aren’t as affordable as Mexico and Turkey because they offer some of the best surgeons in the world.

What Type of Weight Loss Surgeries Are Available?

You’ll find multiple different types of weight loss surgeries online. Some involve a balloon or incisions, and every surgery is designed for different patients.

Fortunately, your surgeon will recommend which is best for you during your consultation.

Gastric Sleeve

Gastric sleeve surgery is mainly for people with a BMI of over 40. The operation takes an hour, and you’ll be under anesthesia.

Your surgeon will create a little pouch that goes straight to your small intestine during a gastric sleeve.

The pocket that contains around 80% of your stomach is removed. Thus, leaving behind 20% of it, which will now function as the whole stomach.

This makes you eat less & lose weight.

Gastric Sleeve | WLS Abroad

Bypass Surgery

Like the gastric sleeve, bypass surgery is an effective option for long-term weight loss. It uses the same principles as the gastric sleeve.

The difference between a gastric sleeve and bypass surgery is which part of your stomach is retained.

As the name suggests, in a bypass, the intestine will connect to your stomach’s top chamber.

This procedure takes a little longer than the gastric sleeve.

Gastric Bypass | WLS Abroad

Gastric bypass surgery is a good option for those with a BMI of over 35.

Lap Band

The lap band constricts hunger and promotes weight loss by reducing the size of your stomach.

But unlike the gastric sleeve & bypass, where surgeons remove a part of your stomach, the lap band is a silicone band tied around your stomach to reduce its size.

Your surgeon places a silicone band around the top of your stomach and attaches a tube to it.

Lap Band Surgery | WLS Abroad

They’ll inject a saline solution into this tube to restrict the band and reduce your food intake.

Bariatric Balloon

A bariatric balloon is a good option for lower BMI, preferably between 30 and 35.

When doing this surgery, your surgeon places a silicone balloon inside your stomach & fills it up with saline.

After putting you to sleep with anesthesia, your surgeon places a thin tube called a catheter loaded with a deflated balloon down your throat & into your stomach.

Gastric Balloon | WLS Abroad

They’ll then inject saline into the balloon to increase its size.

What are the Best Countries for Weight Loss Surgery?

When choosing which countries to do your surgery in, ask the following questions:

  1. Is it affordable for you?
  2. Is the location safe to go to?
  3. What is the quality of healthcare in that country?

Mexico

Mexico is a famous medical tourist destination because the procedures are affordable, many doctors are trained within the US, and institutions invest millions of dollars each year into the medical industry to ensure it’s up-to-date.

Mexico is also close to the US and Canada, making flights cheaper.

Beach in Cancun, Mexico | WLS Abroad

The cost of bypass surgery is also cheaper. In Mexico, you can expect to pay $6,400, while the same procedure costs $23,000 in the US.

India

Although India is located halfway across the world, it’s still one of the most popular destinations for Americans and Canadians looking to do weight loss surgery.

This is because their surgeons are some of the best globally, and India has one of the lowest living costs,[3]World Population Review
Cheapest Countries To Live in 2021
“Top 10 Cheapest Countries to Live In (in monthly US$) – Living Cost: No 3 – India – $423”
View in Article
meaning your dollar goes much farther.

Taj Mahal, India | WLS Abroad

When surgery in India, you’ll pay around $6,000 to $7,000 for a gastric sleeve and $7,500 to $8,000 for gastric bypass surgery.

Spain

Spain’s hospitals are famous because most patients feel like a spa. They offer some of the best hospitality in the world, so you know all your medical needs will be appropriately taken care of.

And although Spain is located in Europe, where costs are usually a bit higher, Spain charges similar prices to Costa Rica. This is because Spain has one of the lowest costs of living[4]Expatica
The cost of living in Spain
“Spain is a very popular destination for expats, especially those moving from Britain. Its location on the sultry Mediterranean Sea, laid-back culture, and low living costs have an appeal that is difficult to resist for those moving to sunnier climes.”
View in Article
and the government spends over 6% of its GDP on healthcare.[5]Countryeconomy.com
Spain – Government Health expenditure
“Gov Health Expenditure% GDP- 6.45%-2019.”
View in Article

Madrid, Spain | WLS Abroad

If you’re considering Spain for weight loss surgery, expect to pay $16,600 for bypass surgery and $12,500 for the sleeve.

Turkey

Turkey ranks in the top 10 medical tourist destinations year after year.[6]Tourism Review News
TURKEY – THE RISING STAR OF MEDICAL TOURISM
“Turkey is among the top 10 destinations for medical tourism.”
View in Article
This is because of the sheer number of patients visiting their beautiful country.

A big reason why Turkey is so famous is because of its location. Turkey is central to many European countries, making it a convenient option.

Sanctuary Istanbul Turkey | WLS Abroad

Turkey is another popular destination for Americans who need weight loss surgery.

A gastric sleeve will set you back around $4,650, while bypass surgery costs $5,000.

Costa Rica

Like Mexico, Costa Rica is another destination that Americans and Canadians love visiting for surgery due to its proximity. Costa Rica’s tourism minister even announced that around 6 – 8% of all tourists are there for medical reasons.[7]Costa Rica Vacations
Medical Tourism
“The ministry of tourism recently announced that medical tourism accounted for 6 to 8% of the total of tourists who entered the country each year, including dentistry and plastic surgery.”
View in Article

Nauyaca Waterfalls, Costa Rica | WLS Abroad

If you don’t feel like flying halfway across the world to do weight loss surgery, opt for Costa Rica.

A gastric sleeve costs only $12,650, while bypass surgery costs around $14,900.

Now that we know the best countries for weight loss surgery, let’s look at the best hospitals to do bariatric surgery.

Best Hospitals for Weight Loss Surgery Overseas

Hospital Clinica Biblica

Hospital Clinica Biblica is a private hospital based in San Jose, Costa Rica.

It specializes in several operations, including weight loss surgery like the gastric sleeve and bypass.

The hospital even won several awards from the Medical Tourism Association.

Hospital Clinica Biblica | Weight Loss Surgery Hospital in Costa Rica

Max Hospitals

Max Hospitals is the leading healthcare provider in India.

With their 16 networks, they employ over 3000 experienced doctors and have around 3400 beds.

This ensures all your medical needs are met.

Max Hospitals | Weight Loss Surgery Hospital in India

You can discover more hospitals in the country of your choice with us. Schedule a call now.

Top Bariatric Surgeons Abroad

Dr. Guillermo Lopez

Dr. Guillermo Lopez | Best Bariatric Surgeon Abroad

Dr. Lopez has nearly four decades of experience in WLS. The Mexican board-certified surgeon has a successful track record of 5000+ bariatric surgeries.

Dr. Hector Perez

Dr. Hector Perez | Best Bariatric Surgeon Abroad

Dr. Perez is a Mexican board-certified general surgeon with 20+ years of experience. He has performed over 3,000 weight-loss surgeries.

Dr. Galileo Villareal

Dr. Galileo Villareal | Best Bariatric Surgeon Abroad

Dr. Villarreal is certified by the Mexican Council of General Surgery. He has performed 4,000+ surgeries with less than one percent complication rate.

Dr. Luis Cazares

Dr. Luis Cazares | Best WLS Surgeon Abroad

Dr. Cazares is a certified gastric sleeve surgeon with over 11 years of experience. He has performed weight loss surgeries on over 3,000 patients.

How Do I Follow Up after Surgery from Back Home

Following up with your doctor is recommended after a bariatric procedure. To do so with your international surgeon, you can rely on digital modes — through video calls!

You can schedule follow-ups easily and do it from the comfort of your home.

The following details will help you visualize the expected number of calls post surgery.

1. After you’re discharged, your doctor will give you two-week and four-week follow-up consultations.

2. After your four-week check-up, you can fly back home if you choose.

3. When you’re home, feel free to phone or video call your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.

4. The subsequent follow-up will be in three months. Typically, your doctor books an appointment after your last visit, and during this three-month follow-up session, general assessments are done.

5. After six to nine months, your doctor takes body measurements like BMI, body weight, body fat, and lean body mass. You’ll also visit a dietitian to ensure you’re eating the right foods.

Conclusion

Doing weight loss surgery abroad can help you save thousands of dollars. In the meanwhile, it will also buy you an affordable trip to remember.

However, it is essential that you research the best hospitals in advance for good results. We can help you with this information. Feel free to schedule a call, and we’ll be glad to help!

References

1. ASMBS: Who is a Candidate for Bariatric Surgery?
2. The World Bank: Turkey: Transforming Health Care for All
3. World Population Review: Cheapest Countries To Live in 2021
4. Expatica: The cost of living in Spain
5. Countryeconomy.com: Spain – Government Health expenditure
6. Tourism Review News: Turkey – The Rising Star of Medical Tourism
7. Costa Rica Vacations: Medical Tourism


Bariatric Procedures





  • Mini Gastric Bypass
Mini Gastric Bypass

Mini Gastric Bypass Abroad

  • Mini Gastric Bypass in  Las Vegas – USA

  • Gastric Balloon
Gastric Balloon
  • Gastric Balloon in Las Vegas – USA

  • Revision Bariatric Surgery
Revision Bariatric Surgery
  • Revision Bariatric Surgery in Mexico
    • Revision Bariatric Surgery in Cancun
    • Revision Bariatric Surgery in Mexicali
    • Revision Bariatric Surgery in Tijuana



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