What is gastric sleeve?
Gastric sleeve is a form of bariatric surgery that is intended to treat obesity, diabetes, and other related conditions. It involves the surgical removal of most of the stomach. After undergoing the procedure, the patient physically unable to eat nearly as much as before.
What countries are the most popular destinations for this procedure?
Mexico, India, Costa Rica, Thailand, and others.
What is the range of prices?
An American can expect to pay between $16,500 and $20,000 for gastric sleeve surgery,
$12,000 in the U.K.,
$11,500 in Costa Rica,
$9,000 to $15,000 in Thailand,
$6,000 to $12,000 in Mexico,
$4,500 to $10,000 in India.
What are the common complications if the procedure is performed abroad?
Gastric sleeve is a major surgery, so even under optimal conditions it carries risks of major complications. These can include infection, leakage of the stomach contents into the body cavity, nerve damage, and bleeding.
This is especially true when combined with the stress of international travel after surgery. Complications are also more likely if the procedure is performed in a facility that lacks international accreditation or fails to meet accepted standards of hygiene, modernity, or professionalism.
Another factor to take into account is the importance of follow up care after bariatric surgery. Even if the patient found a world class doctor and facility abroad, proper follow up in the weeks, months, and years following the surgery are next to impossible.
A 2018 news story describes the ordeal of an Arizona woman who traveled to Mexico for gastric sleeve surgery. Her extensive bleeding was an early warning sign that something had gone wrong, but things only got worse after her return home. She was rushed to the emergency room, where it was discovered she had a severe infection, in addition to her spleen having been cut during the operation. She has since spent close to half a million dollars in medical fees, and may never be healthy again.