Lap Band in Tijuana, Mexico is emerging as a lucrative option for people unable to bear the cost of weight loss surgery in their native countries. The cost of bariatric surgery or weight loss surgery in Mexico is estimated to be 30-40% of that in the first world countries.
According to a report by Horowitz, Rosensweig & Jones approximately 750,000 Americans traveled abroad for medical treatment in 2007.
More and more people are flocking to this Latin American region, attracted by the sophisticated infrastructure, world class surgeons, reduced costs and negligible waiting periods.
Getting a lap band in Tijuana also gives tourists an opportunity to experience the rich culture and serenity of this beautiful Latin American city.
What is Lap Band Surgery?
Nearly 12 million Americans suffer from clinically severe obesity, a chronic disease which can lead to various health risks and complications. Dietary and behavioral modifications may not be sufficient for such patients to lose weight, which is where surgery comes into play.
- Lap Band surgery involves the placement of an inflated silicone band on the upper part of the stomach.
- This results in the stomach being compartmentalized into a smaller upper pouch which stores the food and a larger lower pouch.
- The tightness of the band limits the food intake and hence the patients eat less and stay full for long, after the surgery.
- The band is inserted by a minimally invasive Laparoscopic procedure under general anesthesia, with the entire operation lasting for between 30mins to 1 hour.
- This band is adjusted via a subcutaneous port and saline injections can be used to alter the size of the stoma subject to the weight loss goals of the patients.
Alternate names for Lap Band Surgery – Laparoscopic Gastric Banding, Gastric Banding Surgery, LAGB, Laparoscopic adjustable Gastric Banding.
Selection Criteria for Lap Band in Tijuana
Since FDA approved the procedure in 2001, approximately 300,000 Lap Band surgeries have been performed worldwide. The American Society of Bariatric Surgery Consensus defined the selection criteria for gastric banding to include the following:
- BMI (Body Mass Index) of over 40 or patients weighing 100 pounds more than their ideal body weight.
- BMI between 30-40 in the presence of co morbidities which may improve with weight loss like diabetes, high blood pressure, painful arthritis etc.
- Patients between the ages of 18-55 years.
- Failure of weight loss through dietary modifications despite trying for a year.
- Stable obesity for over five years.
- Comprehension of procedure by the patient and willingness to go ahead with it.
- No history of alcohol or tobacco addiction.
- Acceptable operative risks.
It is estimated that an average of 40-60% of weight can be lost through this procedure in a span of 2 years.
This surgery is however contra indicated in patients with the following ailments:
- Glandular diseases such as hypothyroidism.
- Inflammatory disease of the gastrointestinal tract like inflammatory bowel disease or Crohn’s disease.
- Cardiopulmonary illness.
- Allergic reaction to implants.
- Mentally retarded individuals.
Gastric Band Surgery – Pros and Cons
- Minimally invasive technique with lower mortality rates (0.1%) than any other bariatric procedure.
- Does not involve cutting or stapling of any part of the gastric tract.
- Fully reversible procedure. The stomach returns to its normal size once the band is removed.
- Short hospital stay and patients can return to their normal activities within a week of the surgery.
- The band can be adjusted without any additional surgery.
- Fewer malabsoprption issues and vitamin deficiencies.
- Absence of anemia.
- Absence of dumping.
- Nausea, vomiting.
- Minor complications of surgery like infection or bleeding.
- Band related complications like erosion, slippage etc.
- Gastric perforation.
- Incisional hernia.
Gastric Banding After Care
- Following the placement of a gastric band in Tijuana, you may need to re-visit the clinic, or ask your surgeon for local follow-up care.
- A number of precautions need to be taken to prevent infections and other complications from setting in.
- A multi disciplinary team of doctors comprising of endocrinologists, nutritionists, psychologists and general physicians are required to carefully monitor the patient.
- The doctors guide the patients through the entire post surgical period step by step and also provide intensive follow-up care as well as information for home care.
- This surgery should however be considered as the first step towards their ideal weight by the patients, who should augment their weight loss procedure by adopting healthy eating and exercise habits.
Why Lap Band Surgery in Tijuana – Mexico?
According to a report by the Health Digital System 50,000 medical tourists sought treatment in Mexico in 2009 and this number has been increasing annually at the rate of 25%. The total revenue from this sector, which was $650 million in 2009, is expected to cross $1 billion in the coming years.
There are a number of reasons why medical tourism in Mexico is on the rise, a few of which are mentioned below:
- The cost of lap band surgery in Tijuana is estimated to be less than half the cost of similar procedures in the first world countries, even after airfare and accommodation expenditure has been taken into consideration. You can even ask for a quote to plan your itinerary.
- The leading hospitals in Mexico have state of the art infrastructure and technology and are affiliated to various organizations like the Health Council of Mexico and JCI (Joint Commission International).
- International accreditation makes it imperative for these hospitals to observe rigorous standards of healthcare and hygiene.
- Physicians, surgeons and nurses are highly qualified & experienced and provide a high level of medical care at par with that delivered in US, UK or Canada.
- The health personnel are fluent in both English and Spanish, which contributes to the comfort and peace of mind of medical tourists in Mexico.
- The negligible waiting period for scheduling any surgery in Mexico is a real boon for medical tourists flocking to Mexico from countries with overburdened healthcare systems where patients have to wait for weeks at a stretch to merely be able to consult a specialist.
- The increased number of daily flights has made traveling to Mexican cities like Tijuana both easy and inexpensive.
Combining Sightseeing with Healthcare in Mexico
- Mexicans are warm and welcoming people and you can expect a comfortable stay in the country.
- Before and after the Lap Surgery in Tijuana, medical tourists get a chance to experience the rich culture, ancient heritage, warm hospitality and traditional food of the Mexicans.
- Right from the flea markets to the shops at El popo market and Cira’s arcade, shopping in Tijuana is a unique experience, not to be missed.
- Amigos del Artes and the Tijuana Cultural Centre both provide an insight to the city’s intriguing past.
- One can also relive the days of yore in Teotihuacan and marvel at the architectural splendor of the Guadalajara Cathedral.
- A medical vacation in Mexico gives tourists an opportunity to travel and enjoy the beauty and splendor of this vibrant country, while at the same time experience high quality affordable medical care.
Tips for Medical Tourists in Mexico
- Those traveling for lap band in Tijuana must carry their passport and all documentation necessary to travel to any other country by air or road.
- Beyond the border zone (20-30km strip of land along the American border), US citizens need to obtain a tourist card to facilitate their stay.
- Tourists should get in touch with a reliable medical tourism agency or a hospital in Mexico to clear all their doubts regarding the procedure prior to their arrival in the country.
- Take extra care of belongings and valuables at crowded places.
- Tourists must take care to respect the traditions of the city and its people.
- Smuggling of drugs is a serious offence in Mexico. Avoid dealing in any such activities while there.
The reduced prices of Lap Band in Tijuana, Mexico coupled with the high quality of care administered have all contributed towards making Mexico a hub for patients seeking bariatric surgery from all over the world.
Mexico Health facilitates affordable medical treatments at various hospitals under our network in Mexico. For more information and FREE quote, submit the estimate – request form on the right.