How Common Are Mexico Gastric Sleeve Horror Stories?



If you are considering traveling to Tijuana for the gastric sleeve procedure, you have no doubt come across highly sensationalized news stories about people who have had life-threatening complications after having gastric surgeries performed in Mexico. These horror stories are sometimes used to dissuade people from using medical tourism. 

So, just how safe is it to travel to Mexico for weight loss surgery? As a board-certified bariatric surgeon, I want to share some insights that might ease your mind. The “Mexico horror story” narrative is a false dichotomy that assumes you’re choosing between safe surgery in the United States and unsafe surgery in Mexico.

Medical horror stories happen everywhere. In fact, choosing to have the gastric sleeve procedure in the United States or Canada doesn’t insulate a patient from potential risks tied to medical incompetence. According to some reports, medical errors caused by doctors and nurses in the United States lead to hundreds of thousands of deaths each year.

Patients need to be their own best advocates regardless of where they are having surgery done. This means researching doctors, asking questions, and partnering with established, trusted hospitals and clinics. 

The Truth About Gastric Sleeve Surgery in Mexico

The success of a gastric sleeve procedure comes down to the surgeon’s expertise, the experience of the support staff, and the integrity of the hospital where the surgery is being performed. As a board-certified surgeon who has been performing gastric sleeve in Mexico for more than 15 years, I’ve worked with countless patients from the United States, Canada, and other countries.

Where do these gastric sleeve Mexico horror stories come from? They’re certainly not based on actual data. A study published in 2018 offers a good summary of the truth behind the safety of bariatric surgery in Mexico. For this study, researchers looked at the outcomes of 500 surgeries performed at a high-volume surgical center in Mexico.

Of the 500 patients followed for the study, no deaths were reported. Complication rates were quite low. Outcomes were very good, with patients achieving good control of type 2 diabetes and significant weight loss following surgery. The researchers concluded that bariatric surgery was quite safe and effective at the hospital where the surgeries took place. 

Is It Safe to Get Gastric Sleeve in Tijuana Mexico?

Absolutely! Thousands of American patients visit Tijuana’s world-class facilities to undergo bariatric weight loss surgery each year. These patients receive top-tier care from highly trained surgeons using the latest bariatric technology. 

Tijuana bariatric surgeons are at the forefront of using noninvasive methods to help patients enjoy minimal scarring and recovery time. For example, the clinics I am affiliated with specialize in being able to offer single-incision gastric sleeve surgery to patients.

Much of the worry over getting surgery in Mexico comes down to the myth that Mexico’s doctors and hospitals are unregulated, unmonitored institutions. In reality, surgeons in Mexico utilize standards of care that are nearly identical to standards in the United States and Canada. 

The educational requirements and credentialing process for surgeons in Mexico are very similar to what American and Canadian doctors go through. Many of the surgeons and doctors that will be treating you in Mexico have actually studied at American universities. In my case, I have completed medical training at the University of Miami and La Salle University.

Why Go to Tijuana for Gastric Sleeve?

Traveling to Tijuana for weight loss surgery enables patients to get the same exact procedure for a fraction of the cost. Additionally, a Tijuana medical vacation enables a patient to recover in a relaxed, luxurious setting outside of a hospital for much less than they’d pay for a stay at an American hospital. Tijuana medical tourism is geared toward creating an empowering experience for the patient by providing them with the best customer care at every step. 

Final Thoughts

Many of the 1.4 million Americans heading to Mexico for medical tourism each year are traveling for life-saving bariatric surgery that is helping them to shed weight and health issues with zero complications. 

I’m proud to be affiliated with Renew Bariatrics because I’ve seen the way this organization has benefited thousands of patients who may not have been able to afford life-changing weight loss surgery without access to Mexican doctors and clinics. 

Renew Bariatrics provides clear, surprise-free pricing that allows patients to budget their surgical costs. We use a patient-first approach by coordinating all transportation and accommodations. As a patient, you’ll be escorted to a luxury hotel just minutes from the U.S. border following surgery to enjoy your recovery instead of staying at the clinic.

My advice? Don’t let horror stories scare you from getting the information you need to make a choice. Be an informed patient. You can learn more about how to travel to Mexico for weight loss surgery at a low cost by contacting Renew Bariatrics today.