Gastric Lap-Band in Mexico?
Think Twice

Thinking about Gastric Lap-Band in Mexico?

Make sure you're well informed before you make the trip. And "well informed" might mean NOT going.

There's an obvious appeal to crossing the border for gastric band surgery...


You may not have health insurance or your health insurance may not cover bariatric surgery. (Read more about insurance coverage.) Having gastric lap-band surgery in Mexico may seem like the only way to afford it.

Although gastric lap-band in Mexico may cost half as much as in the US, you can still expect to pay as much as $8,000-12,000.

However, the cost of lap-band surgery in Mexico involves more than the price of the operation. Consider:

  • Travel costs
    • Travel to Mexico for the surgery
    • Travel back and forth to Mexico for your fills
    • Travel back and forth to Mexico when you have a problem
    • Time off from work for all the traveling
  • Costs associated with complications that may arise as a result of the surgery
  • ? Potential legal costs ?

Don't assume everything will go right! And how well do you know the law in Mexico? What will you do if your doctor doesn't live up to the terms of your agreement or if things don't go as planned. Will you even have legal recourse?

Gastric Lap-Band Surgery in Mexico...Fills in the US?

If you're planning to have your weight loss surgery in Mexico and never planning to return there again, make sure you have a doctor lined up who's willing to do your Lap-Band fills in the US.

Consider that you'll be looking for a doctor who's willing to take you on as a patient for a surgery he/she didn't do, as well as for a surgery that was done outside the country.

Many bariatric surgeons will either not treat patients who had surgery by another doctor or they'll charge non-patients ridiculous prices for fills ($$$$).

You could have as many as 5-10 fills over the first 1-2 years. Cost can range from $100-$300 and up to $1000/fill if you're a patient coming from a doctor in Mexico.

How much money is gastric lap-band surgery in Mexico saving you now???

Lap Band Mexico: A Vacation?

Round trip "all inclusive packages" make the notion of gastric lap-band in Mexico almost glamorous. All inclusive package prices might include round trip airfare and a 5 star hotel room with a garden view. You get to go on a mini vacation!

While it all sounds good and you might desperately need a vacation, you must never forget that any surgery poses risks (the worst being death). The decision to have it shouldn't be taken lightly. Not to mention...

Who feels like vacationing in the days after surgery???

Is Going to Mexico for Weight Loss Surgery Safe?

Just as there are good and bad hospitals and doctors in the US, there are in Mexico too. So take time to research the surgeon and hospital or clinic you're considering. Be sure to find out:

  • The surgeon's experience: How many years in bariatrics? How many gastric banding surgeries has he/she performed?
  • The surgeon's credentials: Does he/she have special training in weight loss surgery?
  • Certified in bariatrics?
  • The surgeon's reputation
  • What other patients' experiences have been

You should also know if your surgery will be performed in a hospital or clinic. While a medical clinic may be safe and well equipped, a hospital may be better set up to handle any unusual medical complications or emergencies that might occur.

Gastric Lap-Band in Mexico: What Kind of Gastric Band is Used?

Many different types of gastric bands are used, but only 2 are approved for use in the US:

  • The Lap-Band® System
  • The Realize Band

This is important if you've somehow managed to arrange band adjustments and "fills" in the US. You'll want your band to be compatible in the US!

Gastric Lap-Band in Mexico: After Care

The actual weight loss surgery itself is just the beginning of your weight loss journey. Your surgery is simply a "tool." What you choose to do with it in the weeks and months after surgery will determine how truly successful you are.

The real work starts after the surgery. Your commitment to a lifelong change in eating habits is made possible by your surgery, but it's not a given.

Without the proper education and ongoing support, you're likely to become a "poor outcome" statistic.

If you're not going to be flying back and forth to Mexico for support, where will you get it? Can you get it? You need to know ahead of your surgery.

Final Thoughts On the Subject

All that money you saved by having gastric lap-band in Mexico in the first place, could easily get burned up if there is any problem afterward. Remember, you might be lucky to even find a local doctor who will take you on as a patient if he/she didn't perform your original surgery. If you do, you could find yourself paying out the wazoo for your care.

Hmm. Weight loss surgery? Mexico?

Run for the border? Or run away from it?

My opinion?...Run Away!

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