What is lap band?
Lap band is a form of bariatric surgery that is intended to treat obesity, diabetes, and other related conditions. It involves the insertion of an inflatable device around the upper part of the stomach that creates a small upper portion and a large lower portion, with only a narrow opening between them. 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 $14,000 to $17,000 for a lap band,
$12,000 to $15,000 in Canada,
$11,500 to $17,000 in Thailand,
$8,800 to $13,000 in Costa Rica,
$6,000 to $10,000 in the U.K.,
$5,700 to $8,000 in Mexico,
$5,400 to $9,000 in India.
What are the common complications if the procedure is performed abroad?
Lap band is a major surgery, so even under optimal conditions it carries risks of major complications. These include infection, vomiting, hernias, chronic acid reflux, and blood clots.
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. In the case of the lap band, this includes periodic adjustments of the band itself.
In 2010, an American woman got lap band surgery in Tijuana, Mexico. Upon returning home, she realized that the pain she was experiencing was abnormal. It was discovered that the band was improperly placed, and was rubbing through the wall of her stomach. Getting the problem fixed in the U.S. cost her more than $30,000.