Weight Loss Surgery and Medical Tourism

Weight loss surgery patients are taking advantage of medical tourism. Many cross the border and seek operations in Mexico, since prices are lower. Bariatric surgeon Dr. Jaime Ricardo Ramos-Kelly sheds light on the growing trend.

Bariatric surgeon Jaime Ricardo Ramos-Kelly is based in Tijuana, Mexico, but he operates on many American patients.

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This continuing trend is seeing growth for financial reasons, and because patients can receive operations not available in the United States.

But Kelly separates himself from less professional surgeons and promises the same level of care one might find in America, at a discount.

“We provide the same services as in the United States,” he said, adding that his surgical center follows American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) guidelines, even if others don’t. “We are at the border and it’s very convenient for the patients to come and see us.”

Kelly offers gastric band, gastric bypass and gastric sleeve surgeries. The gastric band surgery, in fact, was approved in Mexico before reaching America. Surgeons from the United States received training for this procedure in Mexico until U.S. based programs became available.

“The surgery is the first step, only the first step,” Kelly said. “The after-care is even more important than the surgery. But you have to perform the surgery first very efficiently. And then we work with American doctors and American companies that can provide the follow-up.”

He added that he conducts annual follow-ups on all his patients who come from the States, and coordinates with American healthcare providers called “fill centers” to help his gastric band patients.

“You have to interact with the patient for a long time,” Kelly said. “If I just place a band and I don’t know what happened to that patient, then nothing happens – that’s patient’s going to fail.”

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