Why Do Americans and Canadians Go to Mexico for Weight Loss Surgery?

Why Americans Go to Mexico For Bariatric Surgery

In this article we discuss, why Americans & Canadians go to Mexico for weight loss surgery.

In recent years, there has been a notable rise in Americans and Canadians traveling to Mexico for medical procedures, particularly bariatric surgery. Mexico has emerged as a leading destination for these individuals, offering a blend of quality healthcare, affordability, and proximity to the United States and Canada. This article aims to provide an insightful guide for Americans and Canadians considering bariatric surgery in Mexico


One of the primary reasons Americans and Canadians are turning to Tijuana for weight loss surgery is the significant cost savings. Americans and Canadians can save significantly by choosing to have weight loss surgery in Mexico. The average cost of gastric sleeve in Mexico is approximately $4,300-$8,900 which usually comes in an “all-inclusive surgery package“ and includes pre-op lab tests, patient meals, and more.  In Canada and the United States, weight loss surgery can cost upwards of $25,000. 

Lack Of Health Insurance 

In countries such as the United States, getting covered by your medical insurance to receive bariatric surgery such as a gastric sleeve or gastric bypass is possible. However, the procedures are priced so high compared to those in Tijuana, Mexico, that you may very well pay more out of pocket after the deductible. 

Other times, patients may not have bariatric coverage. Don’t worry, you still have options to pay for bariatric surgery without insurance. 

Skip The Wait Times In Canada

The wait times for bariatric surgery can be long in Canada. The wait can be as long as as five years. The wait is two to three years for patients in most areas. Many Canadians choose to have bariatric surgery in Mexico to skip the wait times of surgery in Canada. In Mexico, there are hardly any wait times. 

Quality  of Healthcare in Mexico

Mexican healthcare facilities, especially those catering to international patients, adhere to high standards of care. Mexico’s healthcare facilities have gained international recognition for their high standards. Many hospitals are equipped with state-of-the-art technology and staffed by experienced surgeons and medical personnel, often trained in North America or Europe. It’s crucial for prospective patients to research and choose accredited facilities with a proven track record in bariatric surgery.

Safety and Accreditation

Safety is a paramount concern when considering medical procedures abroad. Accredited hospitals in Mexico adhere to strict standards and protocols. Many patients choose to have surgery in Mexico because of the accreditation of hospitals and the credentials of healthcare providers. 

Proximity to North America

Opting to undergo a gastric sleeve or gastric bypass in Mexico eliminates the strain of an uncomfortable journey as it is very close to the US and Canada.

For patients traveling from North America, Mexico is a convenient option due to its geographical proximity. This means shorter travel times and lower travel costs, making the overall medical journey more accessible.

Tijuana, in particular is especially close for those living in the Western provinces of Canada. The city is easily accessible by air with regular flights from major Canadian cities.

Post-Surgery Recovery and Care

Post-operative care is essential for the success of bariatric surgery. In Mexico, many facilities offer extensive post-operative support, including nutritional counseling and follow-up care. However, patients should plan for their long-term follow-up care once they return to Canada or the United States coordinating with local healthcare providers for ongoing support.

american and canadians get weight loss surgery in mexico

Bariatric Surgery Options in Mexico

Gastric Sleeve

Gastric sleeve surgery, formally known as sleeve gastrectomy, is becoming an increasingly popular choice among various weight loss surgical procedures. This preference can be attributed to its effectiveness, relative simplicity compared to other bariatric surgeries, and the sustainable weight loss results it offers. The procedure involves a significant alteration of the stomach’s structure, fundamentally changing the patient’s approach to food and eating.

During gastric sleeve surgery, a substantial portion of the stomach is surgically removed. Specifically, about 75-80% of the stomach is excised, leaving behind a narrow, sleeve-like tube or “sleeve” which is roughly the size and shape of a banana. This drastic reduction in the stomach’s size is the core aspect of the procedure. By creating a smaller stomach, the amount of food that can be comfortably consumed at any one time is greatly reduced. This smaller stomach capacity leads to a quicker sensation of fullness during meals, thereby significantly limiting the patient’s food intake.

The surgery not only restricts the quantity of food that can be eaten but also impacts the body’s hunger signals. The part of the stomach that is removed is responsible for producing a hormone called ghrelin, often referred to as the “hunger hormone.” With the reduction in ghrelin levels post-surgery, patients typically experience a decrease in appetite, further aiding in weight loss.

Gastric sleeve surgery is particularly appealing because it does not involve rerouting the intestines or implanting foreign devices, as is the case with other bariatric procedures like gastric bypass or gastric banding. This straightforward nature of the surgery often results in a shorter hospital stay, quicker recovery, and fewer complications related to the digestive system.

Gastric Bypass

Gastric bypass surgery, recognized as one of the most sought-after and effective bariatric procedures, is readily accessible in Tijuana, which has become a hub for this type of medical intervention. This procedure is particularly popular among patients seeking a reliable and long-term solution for significant weight loss and management.

In gastric bypass surgery, the surgeon performs a complex but well-established procedure that fundamentally alters the digestive system. The primary objective of this surgery is to reduce the size of the stomach significantly. This is achieved by creating a small pouch at the top of the stomach and then connecting this newly formed pouch directly to the small intestine. By doing so, the procedure effectively bypasses a large portion of the stomach and a segment of the small intestine.

This reduction in stomach size serves a dual purpose. Firstly, it limits the amount of food that the stomach can hold at any given time, which naturally reduces the patient’s calorie intake. Secondly, by altering the digestive tract, the surgery changes the body’s response to food, including how it absorbs and digests nutrients, which can lead to a more significant and sustained weight loss.

The availability of gastric bypass surgery in Tijuana is supported by a robust medical infrastructure. The city’s healthcare facilities, equipped with advanced medical technology and staffed by experienced and skilled surgeons, are well-prepared to perform this complex procedure. These surgeons are not only adept in the technical aspects of the surgery but also bring a deep understanding of the holistic care required for bariatric patients, both pre- and post-surgery.

Gastric Balloon 

A gastric balloon, also known as an intragastric balloon, is a non-surgical weight loss device made of soft, yet durable silicone. This balloon is carefully designed to be temporarily placed inside the stomach to aid in weight loss. To achieve this, the balloon is filled with a saline solution, which gives it the necessary volume and weight to occupy a significant portion of the stomach once it is in place.

The procedure to insert the gastric balloon is relatively straightforward and minimally invasive. It typically involves a simple endoscopic procedure, where the deflated balloon is gently guided through the esophagus and into the stomach. Once correctly positioned, the balloon is then filled with the saline solution to the appropriate size. This process is usually done under sedation, and most patients can return home the same day.

The presence of the balloon in the stomach creates a feeling of fullness much quicker than usual during meals. This sensation is a key mechanism by which the gastric balloon aids in weight loss. By occupying space in the stomach, the balloon effectively reduces the stomach’s capacity to hold food. As a result, patients feel satiated with smaller portions of food, leading to a decrease in overall calorie intake.

This method of inducing weight loss is particularly beneficial for individuals who struggle with portion control or who feel constantly hungry. By providing a physical means to control food intake, the gastric balloon can be an effective tool for kick-starting a weight loss journey. It is typically used as part of a broader weight management program that includes dietary changes, regular physical activity, and often behavioral counseling to help patients adopt healthier lifestyle habits.

The gastric balloon is designed to be a temporary weight loss solution. It is usually left in place for about six months, after which it is removed through a similar endoscopic procedure. During the time it is in the stomach, patients have the opportunity to adapt to new eating habits and lifestyle changes, which are crucial for maintaining weight loss after the balloon is removed.

Final Thoughts 

Mexico is becoming increasingly popular for weight loss surgery. An increasing number of Americans and Canadians are choosing to have weight loss surgery in Mexico due to the lowered costs and excellence of the medical facilities. 

Mexico’s reputation as a prime destination for weight loss surgery has been steadily growing, particularly among individuals from the United States and Canada. This surge in popularity can be attributed to a combination of factors, chief among them being the significantly lower costs of medical procedures and the high standard of medical facilities available in the country.

The cost factor is a major draw for many patients, especially those from countries where medical care, particularly elective surgeries like bariatric procedures, can be prohibitively expensive. In Mexico, these surgeries are offered at a fraction of the cost compared to the United States or Canada, without compromising the quality of care. This affordability opens up opportunities for a wider range of individuals to access weight loss surgeries that might otherwise be financially out of reach.

Moreover, the excellence of medical facilities in Mexico plays a crucial role in its emerging status as a preferred destination for weight loss surgery. Many hospitals and surgical centers in Mexico boast state-of-the-art technology and facilities that are on par with, or in some cases, surpass those found in more developed countries. These facilities are staffed by highly trained and experienced medical professionals, including surgeons who often have international training and certifications.

Additionally, the proximity of Mexico to the United States and Canada is a significant advantage. For North American patients, traveling to Mexico is relatively easy and convenient, with shorter travel times and the availability of direct flights to various Mexican cities. This geographical closeness also makes it more feasible for patients to have follow-up visits or to seek additional medical care if needed.

Related Articles


Related Articles