|Nanci Walsh and Brie Puleston went to Puerto Vallarta for vertical sleeve gastrectomies.|
The reason is that the waiting time for weight lost surgery is too long. It's not uncommon to be on a waiting list for 4 years or more, even when the surgery is needed for medical conditions, such as risk of diabetes and high blood pressure. To make matters worse, the number of bariatric surgeries has dropped by 50% in the last 4 years.
Having these procedures done in Canada is not a possibility for most people. And in the US, the price is very high. A vertical sleeve gastrectomy costs anywhere from 18,000 to 30,000 Canadian dollars. In Mexico, the procedure costs around $5,000 Canadian dollars.
Preparing for the trip
That still doesn't mean that Mexico is a cheap and forget-about-the-problem solution. Many patients are attracted by the price and the idealized figure they expect to have. Before going to Mexico, a patient has to know the requirements and follow-up care. As with all types of surgery, there are risks and there may be complications. A patient is expected to study and analyze these risks before the procedure.
Dr. Daniel Birch, a doctor who kept track of medical tourists who suffered complications said in a study:
""It's never a pleasant experience to be staring in the eyes of a patient who clearly had not thought this through and is now faced with some very challenging decisions."
Dr. Birch says that one of the main reasons that patients go to Mexico for this operation is because obesity is not usually recognized as a chronic disease.
In order to be better prepared for bariatric surgery and to obtain information about doctors and hospitals certified by US authorities, I recommend Monica Rix Paxson's The English Speaker's Guide to Medical Care in Mexico.