Losing Weight? Some Tried Surgery — in Mexico
Source: CTV British Columbia
Susan Fuller has tried every diet under the sun — the healthy and unhealthy ones, she says — in her 15-year struggle to lose weight.
But Susan says that she remained at least 90 pounds overweight — and decided to take a more drastic step: going out of the country for the surgery she didn’t want to wait for at home.
After an extensive search, Susan and her friend Donna went to Tijuana, Mexico to get Lap Band surgery — a weight loss procedure for people who are obese.
In the procedure, doctors make small incisions in the abdomen to help place an adjustable band around the top portion of the stomach, creating a smaller stomach so patients feel fuller, faster.
Susan paid about half of what you would pay in Canada, where the surgery costs $13,000 and there is a six month wait.
But cost isn’t the only factor, said Susan — experience counts, and the doctor had performed the procedure more than 3,500 times.
Because the procedure is minimally invasive — patients recover sooner but must adjust to eating very small amounts of food: about half a teacup’s worth, three times a day.
“We had the procedure on Friday, and we relaxed pretty much on Saturday, and we shopped for four hours on Sunday and we flew home on Monday,” she said.
Susan is not alone, more Canadians are going abroad for obesity surgery as the demand and waitlists at home continue to grow.
Dr. Waiman Leung is one of the few surgeons in B.C. who perform Lap Band surgery. He advises against having the procedure in a foreign country.
“There’s a few there that came back with infections, erosions, which they come to see me, but there is no choice but removal because there is no follow-up,” he said.
Susan’s Mexican surgeon sent her home with reports and her family doctor agreed to do follow-up care. So now she has to focus on eating well and losing weight.
“Its not cosmetic, there’s lots of health issues with overweight people and obesity,” she said.
“I’m looking to lose in the neighbourhood of 80 to 90 pounds,” said Susan. “And think — that will place me at a decent, realistic weight for my age.”