Is Medical Tourism Safe? What to Know Before Surgery

If you’re obese and considering bariatric surgery as the next step in your weight-loss journey, you may have considered medical tourism to save money and achieve fast results. Although it may sound good on paper, medical tourism can be extremely dangerous and ineffective.

Before you opt into surgery overseas, consider the safety of medical tourism.

What is medical tourism?

In simplest terms, medical tourism, or health tourism, is when patients travel abroad to receive medical procedures and treatment.
For years, this was most common with people traveling from less-developed countries to more developed ones to receive a higher standard of care.
Now, it’s quite the opposite, with many leaving the United States to receive a cheaper option for care in a lesser medically-advanced country.

How is medical tourism dangerous?

Unfortunately, medical tourism can be risky and even dangerous.

Obtaining a surgical procedure abroad involves working with a surgeon you don’t know, in a facility that you have not previewed, making it very difficult to review the credentials or safety record of either the surgeon or the facility.

By committing yourself to the hands of an unknown surgeon in an unknown facility, you are greatly increasing your chances of adverse complications and depriving yourself of the support structure required to make your weight loss procedure a long-term success.

With fewer regulations governing sterilization procedures, medical licensing, and surgical facilities, medical practitioners in many international communities are free to make whatever claims they choose to attract business, regardless of the facts.

Countries such as Mexico, Malaysia, and Brazil are the most common destinations for medical tourists, and none of these locations are without their risks.

By comparison, Dr. Wiljon Beltre is a fellowship-trained, board-certified surgeon. He and his staff offer the sleeve gastrectomy, Roux-Y- gastric bypass, DS, and other bariatric procedures as part of a comprehensive self-pay program designed to ensure that this incredible weight loss procedure is available to everyone who needs it!

Factors to Consider Before Opting into Weight Loss Surgery Abroad

Although international surgeries can be attractively priced, they are not always safe.

If you’re considering having surgery abroad to save costs, here are some questions you should consider:

  • Can you verify the credentials of the surgeon and surgical support staff?
  • Is the surgical center clean and sanitary?
  • Does their facility have genuine reviews?
  • Will there be a significant language barrier?
  • How is medicine regulated? Beware of counterfeit medications. It is difficult to ensure that all medications you receive while traveling internationally are what they claim to be without stringent regulations.
  • Are you having surgery in an area of high antibiotic resistance? Although antibiotic resistance has become a global problem, many countries are affected more heavily than the United States, making the risk of untreatable infection significantly higher in these regions.
  • Is it safe to fly home after surgery? Air travel after surgery can increase the risk of blood clots and will necessitate an extended stay in the host country following surgery.

While the cost of international surgeries may appear lower at first glance, after weighing the risks and additional costs involved, they are not always a better value.

Surgery in the United States is generally less risky and frequently includes more long-term care and dedication to your future wellness. We encourage you to weigh all costs and risks involved before making your final decision.

Outpatient Bariatric Program at Beltre Bariatrics

Dr. Beltre and his staff have developed an outpatient bariatric program for patients that do not have bariatric coverage or are willing to pay out of pocket.
The bariatric procedure is done at a qualified ambulatory surgery center.
The procedure is done by Dr. Beltre using the same techniques and equipment he uses in the hospital. However, the surgery can be done at a fraction of the cost with similar results.
Please contact us to learn more about our outpatient bariatric program or to schedule a free, comprehensive consultation today.

healthy plus size woman researching weight loss options on laptop

Are You a Candidate for Weight Loss Surgery?

Take our 60 second assessment and find out if you are a candidate for weight loss surgery

The doctors at Beltre Bariatrics Center for Metabolic & Obesity Surgery have reviewed and approved this content.

Page Updated: