The recovery process and success of any type surgery will depend on a few things such as the overall health of the patient before the operation, the type of surgery they are having, the success of the procedure and the post-surgery aftercare. A few years ago, doctors in the US (while incredibly supportive of bariatric surgery) were not very open to carrying out post-op care for weight loss surgeries performed in Mexico unless it was a life or death complication related to the operation.
Many Americans choose to travel to Mexico for weight-loss surgery because, for starters, they do not have to wait for a long time as they probably would in the US for their health insurance to pay the life-saving procedure. Secondly, the actual price of bariatric surgery in Mexico after factoring in all other expenditures associated with it would only be a fraction of what they are likely to incur on the procedure alone in their local hospital back home.
However, one of the leading concerns is to find adequate support from a doctor who will perform follow-up aftercare once they go back to the US to aid a speedy recovery or in the case of the unforeseen bariatric surgery-related complication.
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Such concerns are to be expected, and American patients who could have gone to Mexico and paid much less but opted for a self-pay bariatric procedure at home may be still trying to pay off their hefty medical bill. Fortunately, there is one thing hopeful bariatric individuals can do to be prepared before leaving for Mexico for the surgery and aftercare once home.
When staying closer to home for bariatric surgery is not a financially practical option, in-depth research on the hospital and your bariatric surgeon in Mexico, in this case, is crucial. High-quality clinics that perform the procedure and certified bariatric practice in Mexico will always be open to speaking to doctors in the US, and for this to happen, it will require you to inform your local General Practitioner of your intended weight loss surgery and travel plans. Doing this will ensure that your doctor in the United Stated and Surgeon in Mexico can communicate on how best to attend to your post-op needs. Once you are successfully discharged from a hospital in Mexico, your surgeon and local GP will usually do the follow-up via emails, Skype or telephone contacts that you have provided them.
While surgeons and hospital staff take precautions to minimize the possibility of a complication, whether primary or minor, all surgeries have inherent risks and possible additional costs that bariatric patients must keep in mind and sometimes be adequately prepared for. Therefore, a Medical Tourism Insurance Policy is just as critical as your travel document. A Medical Tourism Insurance Policy will cover the extra medical, hospital and accommodation expenses resulting from a medical complication that may occur during or after a bariatric procedure while in Mexico.
It is also recommended for bariatric patients to remain in Mexico for about a week or two after surgery to ensure that your surgeon, an aftercare nurse or dietician can continue to monitor your recovery process and address any unexpected complications. While the main aim is to avoid any post-op complications altogether, some of the most common side effects of gastric sleeve surgery may range from very minor to significant such as:
- Staple line leaks – while they are quite uncommon, this happens when a few staples pop out of place and can allow gastric content to leak from the sleeve and into the abdominal cavity. A bariatric patient will experience fever and belly pain that increases each day. They will require a CT scan to find the staple line leaks after bariatric surgery and treat them.
- Gastric sleeve stricture – is a narrowing that may occur along the length of the stapled stomach thus preventing food to pass usually through the digestive system. Patients will experience frequent vomiting episodes, or even night time regurgitation or reflux. A stricture in some case can be dilated with a balloon, but sometimes surgery is required for persistent symptoms.
- Bleeding – this is one of the more severe complications of gastric sleeve surgery. It can stem from new staple lines, injury to the spleen or the many blood vessels around the surgical area. The source of bleeding can usually be determined and stopped by undergoing an endoscopy, and in more severe cases, an operation may be required. When left untreated, bleeding can be fatal.
- Gastric dumping – gastric sleeve surgery provides a physical change in the digestive system that helps people lose substantial weight. However, if a patient does not eat a carefully controlled and monitored diet, gastric dumping can occur and may cause nausea, cramping, diarrhea, dizziness, and fatigue. It can be remedied through a proper ingestion of liquids and food.
A complete lab work is one other important aftercare test that a bariatric patient who has been successfully discharged can have done at least 3 -4 times a year after a gastric sleeve surgery. This allows your local physician to assess and keep your cholesterol or blood sugar levels in check mainly if you have a history of diabetes or other obesity-related diseases.
Obesity is a growing health concern, and bariatric surgery has enabled overweight individuals worldwide to lead healthy, productive lives once again. The goal of a gastric sleeve is to encourage life-changing, long-term weight loss and the amount of weight a bariatric patient will lose will depend on the lifestyle changes and choices they make after the surgery as well as following their doctor and dietitian’s advice to a tee.
Therefore, having a good aftercare plan in place correctly before a bariatric surgery is important because you will receive a more personalized advice about enjoying life after a gastric surgery as you learn to embrace the new and improved you.
Is Aftercare after Weight-Loss Surgery in Mexico Concerning you? Talk with our staff to learn about how you’ll typically care for gastric sleeve surgery once you’re back home.