Guide to Weight Loss Surgery in Mexico


Obesity is a multi-factorial disease affecting all people worldwide.  Being overweight is linked to genetic predisposition, environmental exposure, developmental history, and the modern environment. Weight loss surgery offers freedom from obesity and its related medical conditions. Mexico offers a viable option to patients all over the world to get this life-saving procedure at a fraction of the cost.

Picking the right procedure and surgical center will ensure your well-being and safety when going over the border for bariatric surgery in Mexico. You must consult with a primary care physician near you to find the best procedure and make them aware of your surgery trip. Paying attention to hospital accreditations, including SRC and Joint Commission International (JCI), is crucial. Whether or not the clinic you choose is associated with a U.S. facility, you need to keep your doctor in the loop about your destination surgery.

Weight Loss Surgery vs. Diet & Exercise

  • Nutrient Content of Food
  • Inactivity and Lack of Exercise
  • Stress
  • Sleep Deprivation
  • Weight-Gaining Medications

Accumulation of excess fat in the body is attributed to the following:

  • Impaired glucose tolerance (pre-diabetes)
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High cholesterol or triglyceride levels
  • Hypertension – High blood pressure
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Sleep apnea
  • Fertility problems
  • Gout
  • Fatty liver
  • Complications in pregnancy
  • Stress incontinence (leaking urine, laughing, coughing, etc.)
  • Gallstones
  • Cancers – colon, breast, and endometrial (uterine cancer), etc.
  • Chronic diseases like Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Emotional health and the ability to be physically active
  • Susceptible to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The bariatric procedure is the most effective long-term option for obesity and obesity-related disease. Diet and exercise alone are NOT proven long-term solutions. Read More: Set Point Theory

One must commit to an overall lifestyle change before embarking on weight loss surgery. Bariatric surgery is not a quick fix to obesity. One must remain committed to their post-operative diet and work out regularly when healing occurs. Expected weight loss will not occur if both of these are not done continuously. It is also important to take all vitamins and minerals regularly, follow the post-op diet closely, and attend all post-op visits for the best result.

Hospital Accreditations

There are several world-known certifications hospital facilities can obtain. JCI is the most selective hospital accreditation agency in the U.S. Their international unit accredits hospitals with rigorous standards. To receive certification, the hospital aboard must pass testing for nearly 300 standards with 1,200 different data points, including care of patients, assessment of patients, anesthesia and surgical care, medical management, patient and family education, patient and family rights, prevention, and control of infections, facility management, staff qualifications, to name a few.

When looking for a place to have weight loss surgery in Mexico, it’s important to ensure that they are certified to ensure you are the safest as possible. Also, many hospitals will partner with American hospitals, which will give you and other weight loss surgery patients added confidence. This allows patients to see a surgeon when they return home for follow-up appointments. It’s important that whether or not the facility you choose is connected with a U.S. hospital, your primary care physician is made aware of your trip for surgery so that they can remain in the loop about your treatment.

What To Consider

First, consider safety. It’s important to understand your risks before and after surgery when traveling to Mexico. Next, understand the cost of the surgery. Often surgery will be more cost-effective in Mexico than in the United States, which attracts many patients. Also, arrange to have a travel companion with you during the process to help you return to your hotel after leaving the hospital and travel home safely and comfortably.

Planning Your Trip

If you smoke, stop as soon as possible. Increased blood clot risk occurs when tobacco has been in the system up to six weeks before surgery. Also, flying on an airplane so close after surgery will increase the risk of DVT too. Also, lose as much weight as possible before traveling as the lower your BMI, the less of a risk of DVT and other surgical complications. Discuss with your doctor about stopping any hormone replacement therapy or birth control pills, which can thicken the blood.

Cost of Weight Loss Surgery in Mexico

Tijuana on Map
Tijuana on Map

It’s no secret that weight loss surgery is much cheaper in Mexico than in the United States. Tijuana, Mexico, offers the most affordable prices for the best care and surgery outcome. Lower cost, however, doesn’t mean you are receiving less care. The cost is lower because of lower administrative and labor costs from a lower cost of living. Also, malpractice costs and insurance are lower in other countries. Thirdly, the cost of maintaining facilities overseas is less, driving the overall cost of bariatric surgery down too.

Generally, the cost of weight loss surgery in Mexico includes pre-operative tests such as an EKG, chest x-ray, doctor evaluation, anesthesiologist evaluation, CBC, urine test, travel costs, nutritionist fees, use of a telephone to the United States, hospital fees, surgeon fees, anesthesiologist fees, pain medicine, and other prescription drugs, post-operative costs and any post-operative tests. Some things that may not be included in the overall cost include any costs associated with complications, food for the guest, airfare, and hotel costs before and after the surgery and hospital stay.

Process of WLS in Mexico

Tijuana, Mexico Border
Tijuana, Mexico Border

First, a patient will contact a health travel agent or qualified surgeon in Mexico. That medical professional will review the patient’s medical history. Next, the surgeon or agent will review the recommended bariatric surgery type to coordinate a call with the patient’s primary care physician and the surgeon to discuss the patient. Next, the surgeon will develop an all-inclusive charge for the hospital stay, the surgeon consultations, nurse visits, and follow-up calls and treatments. The hospital will load all of the patient’s information into its system while the patient travels to the destination and receives the surgery. Depending on the type of surgery, the patient may need to go to a post-treatment facility or resort (mostly cosmetic surgery) with a 24/7 nurse. If not, they will be discharged, remain in a hotel for a day with their guest, and travel home to the United States to complete their follow-up visits with their primary care physician and a nutritionist.

Contact Mexico Bariatric Center patient coordinators for any questions.