The decision to have gastric bypass surgery, also called “bariatric surgery” is not an easy one. The surgery tends to be invasive and it has the potential to change your life forever. The procedure involves using surgery to restrict the degree of food that an individual can eat at one time and often results in a weight loss of 70-80 percent of one’s baseline body weight. Candidates must have a basal metabolic rate of 40 or more and must be motivated to lose weight. The work of losing weight doesn’t end with the procedure.


The biggest problem with weight loss surgery is its cost. It costs in excess of $25,000, when one includes the cost of preoperative, operative and postoperative care. Some insurance companies approve of the surgery and will pay for it but what if it doesn’t? Few people have that kind of money available to them and it’s a big loan to take out. For this reason, many people are going overseas to have the gastric bypass surgery done at a lesser cost and by qualified foreign physicians.


What are the types of Bariatric Procedures?


  • The first is the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass in which the stomach pouch is made and the stomach is put back together in a Y configuration. It can be done “open” using a big incision or “laparoscopic”, using multiple small incisions.
  • The next is the Lap Band procedure in which a band is placed around the stomach and is inflated to allow only a small amount of food to get through the stomach at the time. It is often done laparoscopically.
  • The most extensive procedure is the biliopancreatic diversion, in which the lower portion of the stomach is removed and the pouch that’s left over is connected to the end of the small intestine. It carries a higher risk of nutritional deficiencies.


Where Can I have Bariatric Surgery?


  • You can stay close to the US and have Lap Band Bariatric Surgery in Tijuana. There is at least one prestigious bariatric surgery center that has done more than four thousand lap band surgeries and is close to San Diego. They work with the a US-based aftercare program—an aftercare program specifically designed for US patients who need advice and management after their procedure. Patients generally spend two nights at the hospital and three nights at a five star hotel nearby the hospital. There is also a Cancun-based hospital and obesity center that offers a four surgeon team and a five night stay at a five star hotel, located in Cancun, Mexico.

  • Argentina is another place to travel to in order to have quality care and save money on gastric bypass surgery. The surgery, located in Buenos Aires, can involve the classic bariatric surgery, the lap band surgery, laparoscopic and gastric bypass procedures. There are Board Certified surgeons that have done thousands of procedures at a cost savings to you of 70 percent of the charges in the US or in Europe. Doctors in Argentina took place in inventing many of the aspects of the various kinds of gastric procedures and run state of the art institutions.
  • Costa Rica is a small country but with one of the best healthcare systems in Latin America. The cost of the gastric bypass procedure is reasonably priced and many doctors speak excellent English and have studied in the US, Canada or Europe. The cost of a gastric bypass procedure can be fifty percent less than the same procedure in the US, with the quality being equal. Costa Rica is an excellent location for sun, fine weather and medical tourism. The procedures are done at San Jose, which is a large city and the capitol city of Costa Rica.


How Much does it Cost?


The cost is much cheaper than in the US and financing is available. While many places don’t list their exact costs, the costs are generally half of what you’ll pay in the US, while receiving the exact care you’d receive locally. In Argentina, for example, you’ll save 70 percent over US procedures. In Costa Rica, you’ll pay half the US-based cost.


What are the Risks?


The risks are no different from that of having the procedure in the US. Because the procedure is being done on high risk patients, the risk of death is around one to two percent. There is a risk of infection, of wound opening (called dehiscence), bleeding and prolonged healing time. The opening of the stomach can be too small, leading to vomiting and inability to eat solid foods. These risks are uncommon and happen no matter where you have your procedure.


How do I go about having the Procedure Done Overseas?


You basically decide where you want to go and research the specific site. Once you’ve decided where you want to go, talk to them over the phone and get an idea of cost and decide how you’ll finance the cost. Set up a time, book your tickets and go!


For further information…contact MedPath Group for a free quote.