Step #1: Get Approved for Surgery
- Fill out Healthcare Questionnaire (Medical History Form)
- Once completed, our medical liaison and the requested surgeon receive an electronic copy. If you didn’t specify a surgeon, it will be reviewed by the surgeon that best fits your health and medical needs.
- You will be immediately notified by email of your results or if there is any additional information needed. Your patient coordinator will then call, text, and email you to discuss moving forward as well as any recommendations the doctor(s) may make.
Step #2: Schedule Your Surgery Date
- Once approved, you can book your surgery at this time or check availability for a specific date. Your patient coordinator checks the calendar for the selected doctor’s availability (we can usually accommodate your date of choice unless the time is already booked or the doctor is out of the office).
- You will need to follow a pre-op diet based on your BMI (anywhere from 2 days to 8 weeks prior). This includes a 2-day clear liquid diet immediately before your surgery date. (The pre-op diet is protein-based and not difficult to follow. It is required primarily to shrink your liver).
Step #3: Prepare for Surgery Date
- Once scheduled, you will receive a Booking Confirmation Email entitled “Your Surgery Date is Scheduled” and it will include specific guidelines that you will need to follow regarding booking flights, pre-op diet, and medications you may continue or discontinue before your surgery. (NOTE: Most medications for High Blood Pressure, Heart Issues, Hypo or Hyperthyroid, Diabetes, Depression, & Anxiety, etc., should NEVER be stopped or titrated down without specific instructions from the surgeon or your Primary Care Physician.)
- We require you to submit the following documents. Instructions are within your Booking Confirmation Email to upload/complete ALL documents including;
- Consent Form, copy of Flight Itinerary
- Passport copy OR Drivers License & Birth Certificate
- Final Payment or Send Proof of Cashiers Check 21 days before surgery
- Sign a COVID Consent Form. Include information regarding potential accommodations you may need such as additional hotel reservations, use of a wheelchair or assisted device, your emergency contact person’s information and phone number, your flight itinerary, and signature at the bottom of the form.
- Your coordinator will save all of the appropriate documents in your file (ie: FMLA paperwork, time off request for your employer if requested, copy of cashiers’ checks and consent forms in your file).
Step #4: Preparing for Surgery
- Keep in touch with your patient coordinator for changes in your medications, health status, travel plans, or concerns.
- Make sure your passport/travel documents are up to date, read the pre-op and post-op diet instructions, and stock up on the items you will need for the first couple of weeks when you return home.
- Pack lightly, and make sure that any laptops, notepads, or electronic devices are in travel cases with your name clearly on them. The hotel and hospital have the standard U.S. outlets, free wi-fi, free phone while at the hospital, and a safe to lock up valuables.
- Make sure to pack a loose, comfy nightshirt, the role of medical tape, gauze, or larger bandages for sensitive skin, also a soft “sports bra” and take any medications you take on a regular basis with you in the original prescription bottles. It is not necessary to bring any drinks or foods with you to Tijuana; you can buy any sports drinks or juices once you arrive at the hotel.
Step #5: Arriving in San Diego
- The Tijuana patient process officially begins! One of our private drivers will pick you up take you directly to the hospital for prior testing and then the hotel, just 20 minutes from San Diego Airport, a few blocks from the San Ysidro border in Tijuana.
- At the hotel you will meet the patient advocates/coordinators, they will assist you in checking into your room. Checking into any hotel will require that you have a credit card; it will not be charged for anything unless you charge something to your room number.
- They will give you an information sheet with their phone numbers in case you would like to contact them while at the hotel. It is not necessary to dial the 011-521 numbers first because those are only the international numbers. Please give the Tijuana coordinator’s any cashier’s checks you may have taken to pay for the balance of your surgery. Periodically the coordinators will check in with you post-op to make sure you are doing great. They will also inform you what time to meet them in the lobby the morning of your surgery for a fun shuttle ride to the hospital.
Step #6: Surgery and Recovery
- Once you arrive at the hospital, you’ll meet the patient advocate/coordinator, you might have a small wait in a general waiting room area and have a chance to talk and get acquainted with the other patients that are scheduled for surgery on that day.
- Our patient advocate/coordinator will escort you to your hospital room, where you’ll be given a hospital gown, and have lab work done. The surgeons, anesthesiologists, and an internist will come in and do the pre-surgery consults. This is a very good time to ask any questions you might have for the doctors about restarting medication, vitamins, wound care, diet, and exercise. Then you will have your procedure done.
- The process times will vary depending on which surgery you have, and you will be sleeping for several hours post-op. Make sure that you tell your family members back home that you will call them when you wake up, but you may be sleepy for several hours post-op. It is not customary for the hospital staff to call family members for you. You can use the phone for free at the hospital, just ask the nurse for the phone.
- Make sure to walk, walk, walk post-op. The following day they will take you upstairs for a quick scan of the tummy to check for leaks. You will be given a small cup of contrast media (gastro graphene) to drink and also a CD of this scan to take home with you.
- The doctor(s) or their surgical assistant will be the person checking in on you daily. The morning of your release, the physician(s) will check on you and depend on which doctor you have for your procedure; they will remove any drain tubes, but sometimes the surgeon may decide to leave the drain tubes in place for another day or two. The nurses will dress your wounds, and you will be given a bag with antibiotics, pain medication, the CD of your leak test, procedure verification along with the doctor’s names, and email addresses. Make sure that you receive this bag “Before” you leave the hospital because it is tough to obtain medical records once you leave the hospital. You will then take the shuttle back to the airport along with your new “surgery buddies.” Plan on booking your flight back home after 2 pm.
Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, we want to reduce any risks of having you stay an extra night at the Hotel. Therefore, at this time (9/7/2020), we will return you to the airport in San Diego to fly home after you check out of the hospital.
The driver has an exclusive license and dual insurance which will allow him to take you through the border in a special medical tourism line that lets us “Hopscotch” to the front of the line, but depending on the day and the time it will vary on the amount of time it will take to cross back into the United States.
Step #7: Flight/Drive Home
- Make sure whether you drive or fly back from San Diego to move your feet frequently!!! Stop and stretch out your legs or if traveling walk to the restroom often and make sure to keep hydrated.
- Do not try to lift your bag into the car or overhead storage compartment, ask for assistance. Drink juice and water for the flight home. No coffee or tea.
Step #8: Post-Op Diet
- A good rule of thumb for the post-op diet, starting from your surgery day;
– 1st Week continues clear liquids
– 2nd Week add to your diet with liquids
– 3rd Week adds pureed foods
– 4th week adds soft solid foods
- Restart your medications as instructed by the doctors. If you are diabetic and use insulin, you may have to adjust the amounts as your dietary needs have changed. Make sure to sip fluids all day long.
- Make sure to discuss with the doctor when to start daily vitamins, Hair, Skin & Nails (biotin), calcium chews, and sublingual B-12. Your stomach will be rumbly for several weeks!! Refer to the post-op diet plan for which foods to incorporate back into your diet.
- Go slow when starting on solid foods again, remember you are trying to give your tummy time to heal and let the swelling go down. If you have any questions regarding your post-op diet you can email them to the Mexico Bariatric Center, Dietitian/Nutritionist who can be found on our staff page. Any medical questions should be directed to the doctor or their assistants. Your surgery coordinator can assist you in sending your questions to the physician.
- Finally, make sure to schedule a follow-up appointment with your primary care doctor within ten days of returning home.
- Hospital Mi Doctor
- Hyatt Place Hotel in Tijuana
- Patient Process
- Traveling to Tijuana, Mexico
- Passport Requirements
- About Tijuana
- Is Tijuana, Mexico Safe?
- What should I pack?
- Advisory Board
- Do I Qualify for Weight Loss Surgery?
- Do you accept credit cards?
- What expenses will I have while there in Tijuana?
- How is Transportation Arranged When I Arrive/Depart?
- What Additional Fees Can I Expect?
- Which hotel will I be staying at?
I am scheduled to have gastric sleeve surgery on 3/26/2021at Mexico bariatric center in Tijuana Mexico. I wanted to get in touch with a nutritionist to discuss what I need to do for the surgery and for how long I will have to do it.
Do I have to have a passport?
It is the most useful document to traveling to Mexico. However at this point in time (May 6, 2022) we have patients crossing the border with no issues using just a Drivers License and Original Birth Certificate.