Losing it, in Tijuana: What to look for if you’re heading to Mexico for Obesity Surgery

Aug 23, 2017 — by Daniel Huacuz, MD

So you’ve finally heard enough good things, family, friends and strangers online everyone seems to be singing the praises of Tijuana, Mexico as a great location for weight loss surgery. Reviews say it’s far cheaper and very much safe, closer to a short vacation than a medical trip.

For those of you who are now seeking help from abroad, for your weight related struggles, it can be extremely confusing trying to figure out where to go, and whose word to trust. This handy guide will help you understand the key aspects you’ll want to check for when planning your obesity surgery in Tijuana, Mexico.

Choosing a Qualified Surgeon

The first step is ensuring the person you pick to perform your surgery provides the necessary experience and level of care, guaranteeing an obesity surgery on par with one you’d receive in your home country. Spending your valuable time and money only to undergo costly revisions after the fact is definitely something to be avoided.

Make sure to research your potential doctor’s credentials, if possible verify them through the accrediting bodies themselves. This will give you good knowledge as to their expertise and skill in the field. In Mexico you’ll find the main bodies regulating these weight loss procedures to be:

  • The Mexican Council on General Surgery
  • The Mexican Association of Endoscopic Surgery (AMCE)
  • The Mexican College of Obesity Surgery (CMCO)

Many of the surgeons you’ll meet in Mexico will have additional accreditations and qualifications through international universities and membership bodies. If you can find proof of these then you can rest assured that your doctor has sufficient skills to be recognized worldwide. You can look for memberships to the following groups:

  • The International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity and Metabolic Disorders (IFSO) – A global network of obesity surgery educators and surgeons.
  • Center for Excellence, Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery – Provide certifications based on programs run for “centers for excellence” and “surgeons for excellence”
  • American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) – Only a handful of Mexican surgeons qualify for membership of this prestigious organization.

Look for any additional degrees or qualifications that relate to the specific type of obesity surgery you’re planning to have, as each technique is different and requires specific skills.

Tallying the Costs

Generally the obesity surgery center you opt for in Tijuana will provide all services as part of a package, these should include:

  • Costs related to your anesthesiologist
  • Two surgeons, your primary care surgeon and an assistant
  • All medication required for before and after your treatment
  • Facility costs
  • Any testing and evaluation done before the operation
  • Transportation
  • Accommodation on arrival, and during your recover
  • Meal plan & Food

If you’ve hired a broker to arrange the surgery package on your behalf make sure that costs are limited to around $10,000. This is the price point most procedures will fall under with many costing less based on the type of surgery, the surgeon and center you’ve chosen in Tijuana, Mexico.

Good Aftercare

One of the issues that make many people ponder when considering obesity surgery in Tijuana is the lack of follow-up after an operation; this especially becomes a problem if the patient has to travel back to their home country shortly after the procedure.

Before your discharge from the hospital you should be provided with an on-call number for your surgeon and/or a qualified member of the clinical team, that you can reach in case of any concerns or queries. A comprehensive list of post-surgery requirements should be provided, and your surgeon should be on hand to talk you through this list before the surgery.

Several post-surgery appointments will be needed after the surgery, either in-person or through online conferences. The surgeon must ensure proper removal of your sutures and check on the status of your recovery, ensure that this level of care is provided with the surgeon and by checking out surveys as well.

The doctor should also provide a list of dietary and medicinal requirements for you to be able to adhere to, as most obesity surgeries will entail lifestyle changes.

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