Weight Loss Surgery - Medical Tourist
12-30-2009, 02:43 PM
I am going to have WLS in 2010. I can not afford it here in the US and so I am looking at several places abroad where the cost is much, much less. Has anyone done that? What advice can you give me? Would you recommend it?
12-30-2009, 03:22 PM
Belgium and Eastern Europe is supposed to be very cheap, but if you are travelling from the US, the journey will proably cost a lot, too.
12-30-2009, 03:36 PM
I had Plastics in SLC and I live in Boise, ID. It was only a 6 hour drive and I found it a horrid inconvience and there were No plastic surgeons here in town willing to work with me because of insurance reasons.
Before you decide to do this, I would find a Dr. in your town that will be willing to do the follow ups! There will be somethings that you don't want to have to return to Eastern Europe, Mexico, or where ever you have it done, to have addressed. Even the emergency room Dr. here didn't want to help me when I had a problem with a drain that prolapsed after my PS....and my Dr. was in the US!!
Be very careful picking a Dr. here or overseas...but more so overseas because that don't have the restrictions and requirements that govern Dr.s here.
Have you looked into the Teaching clinics at the Major Univerisities near you? I found that the PS Res. clinic at the University of Utah was fabulous, the Chief Resident did a great job and it was at least half the price of the surgeons here in town! BUT Stella's right, you have to factor in the cost of traveling. Even with it only being a 6 hour drive, I had to add $1,500.00 to the over all cost.
12-30-2009, 03:51 PM
Angela beat me to the topic of some of my concerns (I was interupted in the middle of my post, so I didn't see her post), but in echo of her points:
I am not trying to be negative, I just want you to be cautious and careful. Before you pursue this, find out if you have local doctors who will agree to provide the follow-up care and treat you in the US if you would have complications (and get that promise in writing if you can).
Many of the overseas doctors are just as competent as US doctors - but unless you can afford to fly to see the doctor for follow-up care (which can end up being more expensive than having the surgery in the US), you can find yourself in a pickle - if your local doctors won't treat you. Usually the emergency room won't turn you away - but emergency room doctors are generally NOT familiar with the needs of bariatric surgery patients. They will tell you to find a bariatric surgery doctor - but very few bariatric surgery doctors will accept other surgeon's patients, especialy (apparently from what I've read) overseas doctors.
I've read many horror stories about just this situation. A person gets the surgery out of the country, and then can find no doctor willing to take them on as a patient for the aftercare (sometimes even the person's primary care physician will drop them) - and if if even the most minor of complications occur the patient can be up the proverbial creek without a paddle.
There was one lady's story I remember (I think in a magazine like Prevention or Reader's Digest) who needed to have corrective surgery (the overseas doctor hadn't made any mistakes, it was just a fairly routine complication that can happen). She couldn't find a doctor in her state that was willing to do the surgery. She even offered to sign a release document promising not to sue - but the doctors said that those documents aren't worth the paper they're printed on - because some juries see them as suspicious - why would a "good doctor" need that kind of protection? Some doctors told her that their malpractice insurance companies would drop them if they took such a case.
If I remember correctly, the woman did eventually find a doctor willing to do the surgery, but it was in another state, so her medical insurance did not cover it's cost. The cost of the two surgeries and travel expenses, exceeded what she would have paid if she'd had the original surgery in the US.
Again, I'm not trying to talk you out of this. Just saying you need to be prepared in advance. You don't want any surprises with this kind of surgery.
12-30-2009, 05:17 PM
I agree with the others- with travel and post op checkups and stuff, you'll probably pay the same. I'm not sure what you have tried in the past- but since you are new here maybe you could try to follow a diet plan/exercise plan once more? You'll find the support here is AMAZING. I know I would definitely be much bigger than I started out with if I never found this site.
Or if you just want the surgery (which I assume you know is no walk in the park) then go local- many doctors do offer payment plans with little to no interest as well. My husband spent $6,000 on dental surgery (out of pocket after insurance) and we've been paying it off for 7 months with no interest on the payments.
12-30-2009, 05:51 PM
Ditto... good advice here :yes:
12-30-2009, 06:38 PM
i went to mexico. i wind of with an infection and when i got home winded up in the icu. lucky my insurance payed for me in the hospital but i will never go out of the usa again. Now with that being said many people do it and they are great. but i will never do it again. do your homework and you should be great! good luck.
12-31-2009, 12:13 PM
I know many, many people who have traveled to Mexico, Brazil, and Spain for their Duodenal Switch surgeries. Even with the travel expenses included (and even with travel expenses for a companion included), it typically ends up being cheaper than having the surgery in the US. I did have my surgery in the US, but I have not been back to my surgeon once for follow-up; I do all my follow-up with my PCP. If you choose your surgeon abroad carefully, many understand the long-distance situation and are very willing and able to work closely with your local physician (at least for the DS, I know this to be true, as DS surgeons know they are few and far between).
01-02-2010, 05:48 PM
Croatia (east Europe) is cheep for you. I think there are flights from Croatia to NY that a cheep even for my standard so I guess it should be the way around. I think you can do it for a few 000 euros and the ticket you can get cheep, hotel also...so...Some people do arrangements for the patients for that from other EU countries...maybe you can rent a flat and get an arraignment for everything ...you can contact me ...if you can find the ticket cheep everything else can be arranged....PM to me ...and about the standards...the doctors are trained and you don’t have to be afraid of anything….they just don’t have the feeling for the “marketing and market” but for 2 years after we reach EU, the prices will be tripled…