Thousands of Americans are Seeking Weight Loss Surgery in Tijuana, Mexico
Americans fed up with the healthcare options in their state, travel to Tijuana, Mexico for bariatric surgery.
Weight loss surgery is also known as bariatric surgery, which is only to be reserved for those as a last resort to fight obesity. However, an increasing trend is for people who are not clinically qualified for the surgery, per the National Institute of Health recommendations, travel down to Mexico for quick weight loss surgery.
The National Institute of Health (NIH) recommends a body mass index (BMI), a value derived from an individual’s height and mass ratio, of at least 40 and at least 100 pounds overweight, or a BMI of 35 with a severe health problem linked to obesity. However, one patient of a Mexico facility said they were approved in a little as a few days after consulting with the Doctor and reviewing their health history. The process was streamlined, and not a difficult process like the United States’ insurance systems have constructed to avoid approving patients who are in dire need of weight loss surgery.
One reason why so many Americans travel south is the cost of surgery. According to Renew Bariatrics, a provider of these surgeries in Mexico touts the price of weight loss surgery can cost $4,000 in Mexico, while the American can cost $19,000.
“I got denied by my health insurance for the gastric sleeve procedure. I was super depressed, so I tried to find a new health insurance but calculated it would cost me $7,000 in new premiums, doctor visits, and co-pays,” says Samantha, a Los Angeles native who traveled to Tijuana for weight loss surgery. “I saved a lot of money, and my sanity by going to Mexico. For all those people I know who doubt it, It was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life.”
Although there is a benefit for individuals, health experts warn about the dangers of traveling to Tijuana for bariatric surgery. Most experts warn about the continuity of care for post-operative patients, and some experts say the standards of care cannot be there for all doctors offering weight loss surgery.
According to one estimate, there are hundreds of Americans traveling to Mexico for weight loss surgery per month. With the obesity rates continuing to soar, I don’t think that number will not decrease anytime soon. With all the potential negatives of traveling for care, Mexico bariatric surgery is here to stay.
Patients that have actually traveled to Mexico for surgery also report the level of care received by the Doctors and caregivers in Mexico while having weight loss surgery is superior to that which they have previously experienced in their home country.