Affordability and high success rates are the primary factors influencing the growth of medical tourism for bariatric surgery in Mexico.
Bariatric surgery is a highly effective method of combating obesity and its associated co-morbidities. For severely obese or overweight people, mere diet and physical exercise may not deliver long-term results. Surgical procedures, followed by healthy nutrition and lifestyle changes, may result in sustainable weight loss.
However, bariatric surgery is expensive. The cost of weight loss surgery may vary between $7,500 and $35,000 excluding insurance. The more complex the procedure, the costlier it is. This is one of the primary reasons for rising medical tourism for bariatric surgery in countries like Mexico.
Bariatric surgery in Mexico: A rising phenomena
The rise of bariatric surgery phenomena in Mexico has come a long way – from 2017 to 2023. A group of researchers performed an online survey to understand the experience of obesity-related weight loss surgeons with medical tourism globally. This was about the number of bariatric procedures performed, country of practice, number of tourists treated, reasons for traveling, follow-up & complications, etc.
According to the survey, 93 respondents (bariatric surgeons) performed a total of 18,001 weight loss procedures in 2017. Of these 93 respondents, 64 surgeons performed bariatric surgery on foreign patients, totaling 3740 operations during this period. The survey report indicated that the most number of bariatric surgeries in 2017 were performed in Mexico – 2557 procedures.
Standing in 2023, the Mexican bariatric surgery market is poised to grow at an annual compound rate of 4.8% during 2023-2028. Today, on average, more than 10,000 surgeries are performed annually – registering a growth of 400% in five years. Over 1.2 million US residents travel to Mexico every year to undergo various surgical procedures at an affordable cost. This accounts for nearly 1/3rd of the total US population.
The numbers indicate the growing regard for bariatric surgery as an effective method for weight loss and associated health complications.
Why medical tourism for bariatric surgery continues to grow
With the demand for bariatric surgery rising at a rapid pace, Mexico has emerged as a popular destination for effective weight-loss procedures. The country has been constantly keeping up with the popularity of bariatric surgery, with numerous hospital facilities dedicated to these procedures and certified by the Medical Tourism Association.
Mexico is also home to some of the top board-certified surgeons who have vast expertise in performing both laparoscopic and advanced bariatric surgery procedures. However, affordability is the primary reason behind the growth of healthcare tourism in the country.
Here is a quick overview of why it is ideal to travel abroad to countries like Mexico for weight loss surgery:
As discussed above, the cost of bariatric surgery may range up to $35,000 in countries like the US. This is often beyond the scope of many patients who are severely obese and want to undergo weight loss surgery. In Mexico, patients can receive the same level of care but at a fraction of the cost.
The cost of weight loss surgery in Mexico typically ranges between $4,000 to $8,900, depending on the complexity of the procedure and the provider.
2. Access to best bariatric surgeons and staff
Mexico boasts some of the best bariatric surgeons who are known in the industry for their high success rates and fewer complications. They received education and specialty training from prestigious institutions across the world, and are also board-certified. The bariatric surgeons are supported by a team of experienced nursing staff, anesthesiologists, nutritionists, and follow-up care physicians.
3. Less headache with insurance
In most cases, your typical insurance plan will not cover bariatric surgery, follow-up care or corrective procedures. Mexico ensures less hassles related to insurance and approval rates are high. Many tourists also purchase additional insurance to cover their medical tourism.
4. Ease of accessibility
Choosing to undergo bariatric surgery in Mexico also eliminates the hassles of a long-duration and uncomfortable journey because it is located in proximity to the US. Also, it is well-connected to other countries via airways.
5. Reduced wait times
In Mexico, the waiting time to meet the surgeon is typically non-existent. Before reaching the country, you can contact the medical tourism representative of the bariatric surgery provider. They will manage the entire procedure and also set up an appointment as per your convenience and doctors’ availability.
When it comes to medical tourism for bariatric surgery in Mexico, Tijuana is the most popular destination that offers world-class healthcare facilities. Keeping pace with the increasing demand, the medical tourism board is adding more bariatric facilities and new hospitals in Tijuana – while ensuring high-quality care and success rate at an affordable cost.
Growing popularity of medical tourism for bariatrics in other countries
Not just Mexico, but other countries like India, Turkey, Lebanon, and Romania continue to dominate the field of medical tourism for bariatric surgery. These countries mainly see patients from the UK, USA, and Germany. Affordable healthcare, high-quality surgery practices, and budget-friendly cost of living are some of the major reasons driving the growth of healthcare tourism in these countries.
The article Medical tourism for bariatric surgery in Mexico grows 400% in five years first appeared in TravelDailyNews International.