Wondering if Medical Tourism is safe in Mexico? You may have already read both positive and negative articles online about people’s experience with Medical Tourism in Mexico.
While many in the U.S. and Canada view medical tourism as risky, others disagree: several commenters on CTV News noted that those who suffer complications from bariatric surgery in Mexico are the exception to the rule. “[My vertical sleeve gastrectomy] was completely effective, no complications whatsoever,” a commenter writes. “More importantly, the medical care I received from the doctors and nurses was the best I’d ever had anywhere…I’m sorry for those who’ve had complications, but it’s not the norm.”
Why U.S. Patients are Going to Mexico
Bariatric surgery in Mexico is a good option for U.S. patients who don’t have health insurance that will cover their surgery. Most patients have had success and saved money from having their bariatric surgery in Mexico. However, regardless of the country, there are inherent risks associated with any surgery. There are also risks associated with Medical Tourism that patients should be aware of prior to traveling for surgery. These risks can be easily avoided with the proper preparation.
The Bariatric Journal recommends the following quick tips for anyone getting weight loss surgery in Mexico:
- Never book your surgery on Facebook Groups or Discussion Forms – or from people you’ve met on those sites.
- Most are blatant advertisements, sometimes from people in India or the Philippines, where individuals get a commission for booking your surgery.
- Most of the ‘patient coordinators’ on those groups are people who have never even meet the surgeon, let alone come to Mexico.
- Beware, low-cost providers.
- You can’t get the price too low, without sacrificing on experience, equipment, or facility.
- Consider medical travel insurance.
- Research your surgeon.
- Research your hospital.
- Never pay anybody in Mexico directly.
- Have realistic expectations.
- Bring somebody, if they’re supportive of your decision.
This is a great guide to follow when booking bariatric surgery in Mexico. We broke it down to the most important things to research prior to making decisions about your surgery and where to find the information.
How to Prepare for a Successful Surgery in Mexico
- Research the Surgeon
- Research the Facility
- Select the Best Medical Tourism Company
1. Research Bariatric Surgeons in Mexico
What to look out for
- Up-to-date medical & specialty licenses to perform surgery
- Certification in bariatrics (from either ASMBS or CMCOEM)
- Read their Patient Reviews on Google, Facebook, etc.
When selecting a surgeon, it’s important to first verify that their medical and surgical licenses are up-to-date. They need their medical license to practice general surgery and a specialty surgical license in bariatrics.
What the ASMBS (American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery) recommends:
At TreVita, we heavily researched every bariatric surgeon in Baja California, Mexico to ensure patients make the best choices when they go down for bariatric surgery.
Why this is important
If you’ve read news articles about deaths associated with medical tourism, an un-certified or un-qualified doctor is usually the culprit.
For example, The San Diego Union-Tribune recently reported 3 women had major complications after having Cosmetic Surgery in Tijuana.
The women had gone down for Liposuction and Tummy Tucks, but it turns out their doctor wasn’t qualified to do any surgery. Their doctor was an esthetician, when you need to be a certified Plastic Surgeon in order to operate.
Had the patients known this prior to surgery, they would have been able to select a more qualified surgeon for their operation.
2. Research the Surgical Facilities
When selecting a hospital, you need to ensure it meets cleanliness and safety standards. There are modern, state-of-the-art hospitals to choose from for surgery in Mexico that are just as good as any hospital in the U.S. However, there are also facilities that don’t meet U.S. standards.
What to look out for
- Photos of the hospital, patient rooms, and operating rooms
- Online reviews (Google, Facebook)
- Certifications (JCI or SRC, if any)
Why this is important
When traveling outside of your home country, you become susceptible to new bacteria. Plus, during the COVID pandemic, it’s important to keep your hands clean and to stay in clean in public areas.
You may have encountered news articles about a “Super Bug” called Pseudomonas aeruginosa (CRPA) that patients visiting Grand View Hospital in Tijuana (now shut down) contracted. Patients contracted this while getting weight loss surgery back in 2019 and there have been no recently reported cases since.
Avoid surgical facilities with negative cleanliness reviews to avoid any potential risks. Also, looking at the patient reviews & photos will help prepare you mentally for what to expect when you’re planning a surgery in Mexico.
3. Select the Right Medical Tourism Company
You may be wondering why we recommend using a medical tourism service for scheduling surgery abroad. It certainly isn’t required, you can manage and coordinate all the details yourself.
However, a lot of people find it challenging coordinating surgery, travel, and hotel accommodations in a foreign country they haven’t visited before. If you find yourself in this position or you simply don’t have the time to do the in-depth research on your surgery, then definitely consider using a medical tourism concierge.
But how do you select the right concierge? To make it easier for you, we’ve compiled the top negative reviews from former patients who used a medical tourism companies so you know what to look out for.
What to look out for
- Everything included in their Surgery Package
- Read online reviews on Google and Facebook (look out for FAKE reviews)
- See if they provide good customer service after they booked the surgery
- Agreeable Terms and Conditions
- Return / Cancellation Policy
TreVita provides All-Inclusive Surgery Packages to take the headache out of planning surgery for patients. We connect U.S. patients with our network of certified bariatric surgeons and reputable surgical facilities so patients can have an easy, seamless, surgical experience.
Important Notes Regarding Medical Tourism
There’s a lot of information online regarding Medical Tourism in Mexico, but just remember that just because it’s online it doesn’t make it true. Take everything (positive or negative) with a grain of salt and try to verify information advertised in articles or marketing messages from other 3rd parties.
Look at the author of the content
When reading negative press or reviews about medical tourism, try to consider all the facts regarding the content (what information is proven, what isn’t, who’s publishing the content).
You’ll notice a lot of bad press about medical tourism in Mexico comes from U.S. Bariatric Centers (see example below)
Here’s another example from a Bariatric Center in Las Vegas called Blossom Bariatrics. They advertise bariatric surgery in the U.S. for the same price you can get in Mexico, but after reading their patient reviews you quickly realize their surgery costs aren’t as low as advertised:
This company also has a webpage dedicated to explaining Medical Tourism in Mexico. They shared a list of links / negative reviews regarding Medical Tourism:
After reading the articles, we noticed the majority of the content was duplicate information being told by different sources. Let’s review the list after consolidating it down to unique information:
To summarize, the majority of the links on this page are not relevant to bariatric surgery, a duplicate story, or a rare “one-off” case that happened years ago.
On average, you only hear about 1-3 major complications happening in Mexico annually. This is a very small percentage of the total volume of bariatric patients they have helped. Those major complications have usually come from an unqualified doctor or an unsafe hospital.
We highly encourage those exploring Medical Tourism in Mexico to thoroughly research every aspect of the surgery and to select the right medical tourism company so you know you’re in good hands for your transformational journey.
If you have any questions about medical tourism, please don’t hesitate to contact our team today. Otherwise, click the button below to see if you pre-qualify for a bariatric surgery.