All-Inclusive Weight Loss Surgery in Mexico
Mexico Bariatric Center: Process & Patient Orientation Guide2024-02-28T16:37:36+00:00

Our Patient Process and Travel Itinerary

If you’re nervous about getting weight loss surgery in Mexico, don’t worry! With Mexico Bariatric Center, you are paying for convenience. We take care of everything, so you don’t have to. All you need to do is fly to San Diego. Leave the rest to us!

Steps to Scheduling Your Surgery Date

If you have any questions or need help, contact our California-based staff at 855-768-7247.

Preparing for Surgery

Once you are scheduled, your coordinator will send you an email with specific guidelines to book your flights, follow pre-op diet instructions, and which home medications you may continue/discontinue before your surgery. You will also receive a Surgery Consent Form which must be completed 14 days before surgery. Ensure to include information regarding any potential accommodations you may need, such as additional hotel reservations, companion details, emergency contact information, and your flight itinerary.

Required Travel Documents

A valid Passport is highly recommended for all individuals in your party. If you do not have a passport or it’s expired, we suggest ordering an expedited passport application/renewal before your departure to Mexico.

*You may use ONE of the following in lieu of a conventional passport only upon approval from your Patient Coordinator.

  • Passport ID Card
  • REAL ID OR Enhanced Driver’s License
  • Valid Driver’s License AND Original U.S. Birth Certificate (no copies). *Bringing your social security card and recent utility/cell phone bill that matches your license/ID helps the process go smoother
Patients Together at Mexico Bariatric Center

What is Needed Prior to Surgery?

  • 1

    Complete the Consent Form: The link will be sent in your booking confirmation email.

  • 2
    Upload a Copy of your Passport/Identification: To ensure crossing the border is smooth, we verify your identification which you can attach to the consent form.
  • 3

    Send Us Your Flight Itinerary: Make sure to have your arrival time before 12:00 PM (noon) and departure time after 2:00 PM.

  • 4

    Proof of Final Payment or pay online (21 days prior)

What to Pack for Your Trip

Packing List: Pack lightly, and ensure that any laptops, notepads, or electronic devices are in travel cases with your name clearly on them. The hotel and hospital have standard U.S. outlets, free wi-fi, and free phone while at the hospital. Make sure to pack a loose, comfy nightshirt, a soft sports bra, and any medications you regularly take in the original prescription bottles. It is not necessary to bring any food or drink with you to Tijuana – you can buy any sports drinks/juices once you arrive at the hotel.

Check out our Patient Recommended Packing List

Travel Itinerary

Karla - Tijuana Patient Coordinator

Day 1: Arrival in San Diego

Book your flights To/From San Diego, CA International Airport (SAN). Flight instructions include;

  • ARRIVAL DATE: Before 12:00 pm (noon)
  • DEPARTURE DATE: After 2:00 pm

Once you arrive in San Diego, our private transportation will pick you and fellow patients up outside the airport and drive you 20 minutes across the border to the hotel. We have a medical lane pass, meaning we don’t have to wait with normal commute traffic. At the hotel, you will meet Karla, our Tijuana patient coordinator who will be by your side the entire time. You will give Karla your final payment (cashier’s checks) as needed to pay for the balance of your surgery.

You will be given an MBC directory with all phone numbers for anything you need during travel. Coordinators will check in with you to ensure you are doing great and will give you the time to meet back in the lobby on the morning of your surgery for a fun shuttle ride to the hospital!

Patients with Dr. Christian Rodriguez in Mexico

Day 2: Surgery Day

Once you arrive at the hospital, you’ll meet the patient 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 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 your surgery, and you will sleep for several hours post-op. Make sure 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.

Recovery at Hospital

Day 3: Recover at Hospital

*Gastric bypass, mini gastric bypass, duodenal switch, and some revision surgeries patients stay one extra night at the hospital.

On day three they will take you upstairs for a quick tummy scan to check for any possible leaks. The doctor(s) or their surgical assistants will be checking in on you daily. Make sure to walk, walk, walk post-op to help improve recovery, gas, and healing.

Discharge from Hospital

Day 4: Departure

The morning of your release, the physician(s) will check on you and remove any drain tubes. The nurses will dress your wounds, and you will be given a bag with antibiotics, pain medication, the CD of your leak test, post-op paperwork, and procedure verification which includes the doctor’s names, and email addresses. These important documents will be included in your MBC giftbag before you leave the hospital.

The driver has an exclusive license and dual insurance, allowing him to take you through the border in a special medical tourism lane that can bypass traffic. Plan your departure flight after 2:00 pm.

Departure Date Checkout of Hospital

Day 5: Gastric Bypass & Duodenal Switch Only*

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 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.

Post-Op Diet (Back at Home)

We recommend patients take 2 to 3 weeks off work starting from surgery day. However, most patients are able to return to work sooner. Please let us know if you need paperwork signed for medical leave from work.

A good rule of thumb for the post-op diet, starting from your date of surgery;

  • Phase One (Week 1): Continue with clear liquids only.
  • Phase Two ( Week 2): Add thick liquids to your diet.
  • Phase Three (Week 3): Add pureed foods and soft solids to your diet.
  • Phase Four (Week 4+): Add solid foods slowly. Remember to give your stomach time to heal and reduce swelling.

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 64 ounces of clear fluids (like water) daily. Ask your surgeon when to start daily vitamins, biotin, calcium chews, and sublingual B-12. Your stomach may be rumbly for several weeks! Refer to the post-op diet plan for foods to incorporate into your diet.

If you have questions regarding your post-op diet, you can email them to our dietitian/nutritionist at nutrition@mexicobariatriccenter.com. Any medical questions should be directed to the doctor or our surgeon liaison at jen@mexicobariatriccenter.com. Your patient 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.

Am I required to do a PCR test before coming to Mexico?2023-05-26T18:59:13+00:00

Not required at this time, but it is highly recommended to do a PCR test (or at-home kit test) before departure.

What can my companion do while I am at the hospital?2023-07-06T17:29:19+00:00

Due to COVID-19, visitors are not allowed to stay in the hospital. There is free complimentary breakfast in the hotel for your companion.

We currently do have hospital visiting hours so that companions can visit patients at the hospital. Transportation is included for these visits.

Hyatt Place Tijuana Complimentary Breakfast in Lobby

Besides that, there are still plenty of activities your companion can do to stay busy. There are many amazing restaurants within walking distance of the hotel. They can also visit nearby attractions like casinos, parks, shopping centers, and beaches. Keep in mind your companion will be in charge of arranging their own transportation (unless they are visiting the patient at the hospital during visiting hours), which can be easily done through Uber (affordable and popular in Tijuana), the free Hotel Shuttle, renting a Taxi, or with our drivers if possible.

Resources

How Do I Schedule My Surgery Date?2024-02-28T16:32:54+00:00

In order to schedule your surgery date, we first need a security deposit. The required deposit is $200 (non-refundable) or $500 (partially refundable). You can pay your deposit here. After you make your payment, please reach out to your patient coordinator to get your surgery officially scheduled.

If you need to change your surgery date, we do allow 1 reschedule. If you reschedule more than one time, we require an additional $200 (non-refundable) deposit which is also applied to your final balance. You must make your final payment or have proof (if cashier’s check or cash) 21 days prior to your surgery date!

Related Resources

Which hotel will I be staying at?2023-08-25T18:35:30+00:00

In Tijuana, we have an amazing relationship with the Hyatt Place Hotel. They are currently rated #2 out of 69 hotels in Tijuana on Trip Advisor. Hotel stay is included, although if you bring a companion, they will need to stay at the hotel during your hospital stay, given the COVID-19 pandemic. They offer top-quality service and consistently provide around-the-clock support for both patients and companions.

If you are a patient traveling to Guadalajara, we use the Malibu Hotel.

Related Resources

What is the Travel Itinerary? How Long Will I be in Mexico?2023-08-25T18:35:49+00:00

Here is the standard Travel Itinerary for our weight loss surgery packages. Due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, this may vary slightly based on your procedure. Please make sure you check with your patient coordinator. Once you schedule your surgery date and secure your deposit, you will automatically receive your complete booking details.

Day 1: Arrive in San Diego

One of our drivers will be waiting for you upon arrival at San Diego International Airport. Make sure your flight arrives before 12:00 pm PST (before noon). It is usually a 20-minute drive from the airport across the border using our medical lane pass. A few blocks across the San Ysidro border is our Hospital and Hotel. You will get pre-op testing and then be driven to check-in at the #2 rated Hotel in Tijuana. Our staff will help you check-in and answer any questions you have!

● Bloodwork Pre-Op Labs and EKG
● Stay the night at the Hyatt Place Hotel

Day 2: Surgery Day

You will be picked up from the hotel early for your surgery. Stay the night in the hospital.

  • Pick you up and take you to surgery. The time of surgery is in the morning, and you will be notified of the surgery time the day before
  • Stay 2 Nights in Hospital for gastric sleeve

Day 3: Recovery at Hospital

Recover in hospital—Post-op testing and recovery. Make sure you walk around and drink a lot of water!

  • Post-op testing is completed before discharge

Day 4: (**for Gastric Sleeve Surgery**)

The driver will pick you up from the hospital and take you to the airport for departure.

  • Drive you to the airport
  • Plan flight after 2:00pm

Day 4 : (**for Gastric Bypass, Mini Bypass, Duodenal Switch, and most Revision Surgeries**)

On Day 4, you will remain at the hospital for an extra night to recover.

  • Final night stays at the hospital

Day 5: (ONLY for Gastric Bypass, Mini Bypass, Duodenal Switch, and some Revision Surgeries)

The driver will pick you up from the hospital and take you to the airport for departure.

  • Drive you to the airport
  • Plan flight after 2:00pm

Related Articles

What is the Entire Patient Process from Start to Finish?2023-02-21T00:25:07+00:00

Step #1: Get Approved for Surgery

  1. healthcare questionnaire - Mexico Bariatric CenterFill out Healthcare Questionnaire (Medical History Form)
  2. 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.
  3. 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

  1. 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).
  2. 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

  1. 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.)
  2. 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.
  3. 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

  1. Keep in touch with your patient coordinator for changes in your medications, health status, travel plans, or concerns.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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

  1. 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
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Finally, make sure to schedule a follow-up appointment with your primary care doctor within ten days of returning home.

Related Resources

Can I bring a Companion? What if I want to come alone?2023-10-20T21:47:14+00:00

Can I Bring Someone With Me?

Yes, but we have been forced to make certain changes due to COVID-19. For the safety of every patient and hospital staff, companions are not allowed to stay in the hospital. However, we currently do have visiting hours so that companions can visit patients at the hospital. Transportation is included for these visits. This reduces the risk significantly for everyone, including you. You (or your companion) must pay an additional $245 to $390 for their entire stay at the hotel, depending on the surgery procedure.

Can I Come Alone?

Absolutely. Many patients would rather go alone than have to worry about their companion. We have staff that will guide you along the way from airport pick-up to airport drop-off. You can also meet friends on our Support Group with the same surgery date as you, so you will never be alone!

Related Resources

What expenses will I have while there in Tijuana?2023-08-25T18:36:42+00:00

This is entirely up to you and your experience.. tipping and any extra things is completely optional but there is no additional expenses if you don’t want to pay for anything extra. The hotel provides you with your aftercare liquid diet. If you want, you can bring extra vitamin water, Gatorade, etc.

Related Resources

How is Transportation Arranged When I Arrive/Depart?2023-08-25T18:36:37+00:00

Approximately 24 hours before your departure, our driver will call you to confirm all of your flight/parking information. You should schedule your flight arrival before 12:00PM (noon) and departure flight after 2:00PM.

Victor Cabrera is our full-time driver who will coordinate all transportation from arrival to departure and everything in between.

Option #1: Flying in/out of San Diego International Airport

  • If you are flying into the San Diego, CA International airport, the driver arranges to pick you up at the airport and take you straight into Tijuana, Mexico.

Important Tips for Flying:

  • Make sure whether you drive or fly back from San Diego to move your feet frequently!!! Stop and stretch out your legs or if flying 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 on the airplane, ask for assistance.

Option #2: Driving to/from San Diego Airport

  • If you are driving into the San Diego, CA International Airport (or somewhere local within San Diego), here is a link that will guide you right into the airport: Driving directions to SD airport.
  • Traveling towards the Border – Our driver will cross you through the San Ysidro port of entry to Tijuana. You might want to check out BorderTraffic.com – where you can view the traffic (via live feed) of all the different entry points in Mexico.

Option #3: Driving yourself into Mexico

  • If you plan on driving into Mexico, certain vehicle documentation will be needed in addition to your passport; i.e. permits, Mexican insurance, etc.

For detailed information on these requirements, please see: Requirements for driving your car into Mexico and Info about Mexico Car Insurance

Related Resources

What do I Bring to Mexico? What Do I Need to Pack in my Suitcase?2020-10-25T09:59:17+00:00

Use a carry-on, wheeled suitcase (if possible) for traveling. If you must check luggage, use a wheeled suitcase to avoid unnecessary lifting. Do not lift anything greater than 30 pounds for 6-8 weeks post-op. Have someone assist you once you arrive at your home airport.

  • Leave jewelry (which must be removed before surgery as well as any metals, piercings, etc) and valuables at home.
  • Bring lightweight clothing (pajamas and a few outfits) with elastic bands, some slip-on shoes, personal hygiene items, and all your current prescription medications in their original bottles.
  • Audiobooks, a portable DVD player, a small laptop, or iPods are great lightweight items for your travel to/from Mexico and throughout your post-surgical recovery period. Most of the television stations in Mexico are all Spanish speaking programming!!
  • Only 1-2 smaller sized suitcases should be brought. You will be in the hospital for the majority of your stay. The drivers do not have extra room for excess luggage and packages.
  • Do NOT forget your Passport (Unless your Patient Coordinator authorized you to bring a Drivers License AND Birth Certificate instead)

Read a complete packing list of what our patients recommend

Suggested Items

Below are comfort items to consider but NOT mandatory for your hospital stay and ride home:

  • Sleep Aids (Earplugs, Sleep mask)
  • Entertainment (Music player, DVD player, laptop, tablet, smartphone, etc. Batteries/Charger electronic devices. Books, magazines, or other reading material.)
  • Clothes (Slippers, Clean robe – the hospital will provide a gown, A loose-fitting outfit, robe, jumper, or dress to wear home, Flip-flops to wear in the shower, Clean underwear, and socks
  • Hygiene (Personal toiletries such as toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, and hairbrush. Female sanitary towels – tampons may be too uncomfortable to use/apply)

Other Suggestions to Bring

  • Notebook and pen to take notes and help remember questions to ask
  • Pillow for the ride home and in case hospital pillows are uncomfortable
  • Throat lozenges
  • Chapstick for dry lips after surgery
  • Gas X Strips suggested for gas relief medication

Helpful Articles

Do I need a Passport? What Documents are Required?2023-09-01T15:31:56+00:00

A current passport is advised for all individuals in your party. If you do not have a passport or your passport is expired, we suggest ordering an expedited passport application/renewal in order to receive your passport prior to your departure to Mexico.

If you do NOT have a passport

If you are crossing the border, you may use one of the following instead of a conventional passport only upon approval from your Patient Coordinator.

  • Passport ID Card
  • Enhanced Driver’s License (Currently only the following states that provide these are: Washington, Vermont, Michigan, Minnesota, and New York)
  • Both a Valid Driver’s License/ID Card AND Original U.S. Birth Certificate (no copies). It is also highly suggested to bring your Social Security card as well as a recent utility/cell phone bill that matches your name and the address shown on your license/ID (in combination with License and original U.S. Birth Certificate)

The more documentation you have, the better off you will be, so be prepared!

Or you may call:

  • 1-877-487-2778 US State Department– American Travelers Services
  • Link to: US Embassy in Mexico – American Travelers Services while in Mexico

Helpful Articles