he global statistics about obesity are nothing short of frightening – nearly one third of the world’s population, age 20 and over, is obese. In the U.S. alone, 40.4% of women, 35% of men, 29.5% of girls and 29.7% of boys are considered obese. 44% of obese people are diagnosed with diabetes, 23% with the ischemic heart disease and up to 41% (depending on the country) with cancer. Furthermore, obesity is the fifth leading risk of deaths in the world. And the most shocking aspect of this obesity pandemic is that it is preventable.
Falling ill as a direct result of obesity is a wake-up call for many people. Some decide to follow a healthy diet combined with exercise and portion sizing while some choose more radical way of losing weight – surgery. Weight loss surgery includes procedures like gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, gastric banding, duodenal switch, gastric balloon and revision surgery. Bariatric (weight loss) surgery has been gaining on popularity in the last few years and today it is worth several billion dollars. Also, it doesn’t come cheap… One of the most popular bariatric procedures – gastric bypass – costs around $24,000 in the U.S. This is one of the crucial reasons why many Americans and Canadians head south – to Mexico – for weight loss surgery.
Although, Mexico has become a favorite destination for this type of surgery for many good reasons, there are still things that patients need to be mindful of before they choose the treatment provider. Please carefully consider all of the below aspects because the success of your surgery hinges on them.
1. The price – If you choose the cheapest procedure / surgeon, the quality will probably match the price. The average cost of weight loss surgery in Mexico is somewhere in the region of $7,000 to $8,000 but some surgeons charge half of that price. Do not jump because they immediately offer a price discount either!
2. Surgeon’s skills –Ask the surgeon to show you his or hers credentials. Quite a few of the Mexican weight loss surgeons are U.S. board certified. Make sure that they are properly certified in Mexico too. It is advisable that the surgeon speaks fluent English or at least has a qualified translator with him.
3. What is included in the price? – Flights or general travel costs are usually not included in the price of the treatment but the following should be – anesthesiologist, OR costs, pre-op exams and evaluations, pre- and post-surgery diet guidelines, post-surgery care (like fill adjustments for the LAP-BAND surgery), and accommodation at a good hotel. Again, have a list of questions ready before you talk to the surgeon and make your choice only when you feel ready.
4. Ask plenty of questions – Typically, apart from the price, you might want to ask the surgeon about his or hers experience, what pre- and post-operation resources they offer, what procedure would they recommend for you, what are their complication rates (ask about major complication rates because minor ones are pretty common and tolerated), and, why should they be your number one choice?
5. Patient Testimonials / Patient Forums – These are always a good source of information and an extremely powerful tool. They can strengthen reputation and credibility or diminish them. The general rule of thumb is to go for the clinics that are tried and tested and that have high patient-satisfaction ratings.
Remember that surgery is no game and that it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Choose someone who is absolutely competent, who will not swindle you out of your money and who will behave in a professional manner from start to finish.
If you want to know more, you can always contact us!