Dr. Elias Ortiz, Chief Surgeon


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Gastric Sleeve Surgery

A gastric sleeve surgery, also referred to as a vertical sleeve gastrectomy or VSG, is a laparoscopic surgery performed to remove up to 80 percent of the stomach. Unlike other weight loss surgeries that reroute the stomach and intestines to allow food to pass more quickly through them, this surgery works by significantly restricting the size of the stomach so that patients can no longer eat as much as they once could at each meal. Unlike some older weight loss surgeries, the sleeve gastrectomy is a one-step procedure that does not require any follow-up surgeries or adjustments in the future.

During the surgery, small incisions are made on the patient’s abdomen to allow the surgeon to insert his instruments. Once inside the abdomen, the surgeon will staple and further suture a majority of the stomach shut to decrease the organ’s size. However, the stomach’s inlet and outlet remain in the same place. Once this step is complete, the surgeon will close the small incisions, and the patient will be sent to recovery. Because of the ease of this procedure, most VSGs take 45 minutes or less to complete.

Because each person’s stomach is a unique shape and size, the final size of this organ will vary among individuals. However, during the procedure, the surgeon will use a measuring device to determine that the final size is healthy and ideal for the individual. Most people can fit from two to five ounces in their stomachs at one time following surgery.

With approximately 59 percent of people who receive weight loss surgery choosing gastric sleeve surgery these days, it is obvious that the benefits far outweigh any risks. Of course the most obvious benefit is weight loss. Studies have shown that nearly all patients maintain their exceptional weight loss over the succeeding years with many reporting long-term loss of at least 50 percent of their excess weight. Not only are patients no longer able to eat as much at each meal as they once were, but also they do not have as many feeling of hunger because the stomach cells that produced the hunger hormone known as ghrelin are removed. Most patients no longer feel the overwhelming urge to eat so often or so much at one time following surgery and instead finally feel full after eating only a very small amount. Unlike dietary weight loss, gastric sleeve surgery can actually positively affect the hormones affecting hunger and fullness.

However, tens of thousands of patients choose this surgery for more than just weight loss. Gastrectomy can significantly reduce one’s risk for a variety of dangerous diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, sleep apnea and high blood pressure, and may even be able to resolve or decrease symptoms from diseases that coexist with obesity.

Finally, this surgery can also significantly improve one’s quality of life by improving his outlook on life, his body confidence and his future opportunities at work or in personal relationships. Many patients feel inspired to improve other areas of their health following surgery and find it easier to exercise regularly as well.

Following a gastric sleeve surgery, patients can expect to lose a significant amount of weight.

For nearly all, this will be at least 50 percent of their before-surgery excess body weight, and many lose at least 60 percent or more.

Even more important for some is the reduction in dangerous diseases and conditions that are directly related to obesity, such as high blood pressure and diabetes.

As long as patients follow post-operative instructions, follow the recommended nutritional plan, exercise regularly and deal with any other hormonal or emotional issues that could also be affecting their weight and overall health, they should successfully meet post-surgical expectations within two years following surgery.

Ultimately, the amount of weight one loses following gastric sleeve surgery depends on his or her weight prior to surgery. All patients must have a BMI of at least 30 prior to surgery, and most patients are deemed to be severely obese with BMIs well over 40.

A majority of patients lose a great deal of weight in the first three months following surgery with 10 pounds or more typically being lost each month during this period because of the huge change in food consumption. By six months post-surgery, patients have typically lost up to 40 percent of their excess weight and will level out to losing only an additional pound or two of weight each week. By one year, numerous patients are already at their goal weights although some take up to two years to reach their maximum weight loss depending on how much weight they had to lose initially.

Most patients stay one to two nights in the hospital following gastric sleeve surgery to ensure that there are no complications and that they are responding well to the treatment. While they can return home quickly, they cannot return to their normal tasks immediately but need to give themselves time to rest and heal. Most can return to normal activities within four weeks but may need to wait even longer before performing especially vigorous activities.

Initially, patients are placed on liquid diets for the first couple of weeks before switching to pureed foods. Eventually, soft foods and regular foods can be added in slowly under a doctor’s supervision. Each meal must be very small to fit into the stomach’s newly decreased size. Therefore, patients may need to work with their physicians or with dietitians to ensure that they are receiving all of the nutrients, vitamins and minerals that they need. Patients may also need regular blood tests as well as vitamin B-12 injections.

Weight loss will begin quickly but will happen at a healthy rate. During this period of becoming used to major body changes, individuals may experience certain symptoms, such as body aches, fatigue and mood changes, that should level out within the first six months following surgery.

The cost of a gastric sleeve surgery with an inpatient hospital stay in the United States averages out at well over $25,000 for numerous patients although some can find it as low as $15,000 depending on where they live and what insurance provider they have. Costs depend on the following:

-Inpatient stay fees
-Surgical fees
-Physician fees
-Anesthesiology fees
-Laboratory work and x-ray costs
-Preliminary and follow-up appointment costs

This high cost is the reason that many people are turning to gastric sleeve procedures in Mexico rather than having them stateside.

Surgical costs in Mexico are significantly less with our all-inclusive Gastric Sleeve costing $4,595.

This makes gastric sleeve surgery in Mexico up to 60 percent less expensive for most patients than the same procedure in the United States would be.

Every surgery comes with some risks because of its invasive nature. While patients should certainly realize the risk for complications and side effects with this procedure, they should also be aware that severe complications happen with less than 1 percent of procedures.

If you’re interested in seeing what living with the gastric sleeve is like long-term, consider joining our Facebook support group to meet past patients who have lived with the surgery for many years.

The most common risks when undergoing gastric sleeve surgery include the following:

-Post-operative bleeding
-Complications from anesthesia
-Blood clots in the legs
-Breathing issues
-Leaking from the stomach staple line

However, some complications do not show up for some time following surgery. The most common long-term side effects from a sleeve gastrectomy include the following:

-Poor nutrition
-Gastroesophageal reflux
-Stomach leaking
-Intestinal blockage

Gastric sleeve surgery in Mexico is becoming increasingly popular and has swiftly become the most popular out-of-country surgery for Americans. It is particularly popular among Americans who have no insurance coverage or whose insurance does not cover weight loss surgeries.

Not only is gastric sleeve surgery in Mexico obviously cheaper than the same procedure in the United States, but also some of the best and most highly educated weight loss surgeons practice in towns just across the U.S. border, specifically working with American men and women. In particular, Tijuana, Mexico, located just south of San Diego, is a hot spot for medical tourism because travel to this city is usually quite simple and cheap. Travel to Tijuana is also incredibly safe, and most traveling here only need a passport card rather than a passport book for flying from the United States.

Other benefits of heading to Mexico for a sleeve gastrectomy include the following:

-Quick appointment and operating times
-Modern health care facilities
-Patient privacy
-Amazing sightseeing

It can be easy to second-guess an out-of-country surgical procedure, and it is certainly vital that potential patients carefully look into any doctors, clinics or hospitals that they choose in Mexico.

However, most people having gastric sleeve surgeries in Mexico have overwhelmingly positive experiences, are pleased with their outcomes and love the amount of money that they can save.

Despite all of the news about dangerous conditions in Mexico, most tourist areas remain quite safe. This is particularly true of Tijuana, which lies just over the U.S. border and which is only a 30-minute drive from San Diego.

Those beginning their medical trips to Mexico with a brief tourism interlude will certainly want to bring warm-weather apparel, swimsuits, hiking shoes and other clothing and accessories appropriate for their desired daily excursions. However, because this trip is about more than just exploring a new city, travelers will also want to bring certain items to keep them comfortable while in the hospital and for use during their trips home.

Some items are difficult if not impossible to find in Mexico. Therefore, patients will want to come prepared with over-the-counter anti-gas medication and anti-diarrheal medication to help with post-operative digestive concerns. Those who take other prescription medications at home should bring these with them because they will probably not have access to them at the surgical facility. A heating pad can also bring relief to the surgical area. Other items that can be handy for traveling or for recuperating in the hospital include the following:

-Comfortable pajamas
-A refillable water bottle
-A neck pillow
-A sleep mask
-Flushable wipes
-Insect repellant
-Credit cards
-Some cash

Of course, patients should also remember to bring their medical records along because these can be invaluable to the surgeon providing the care. These records are particularly important for those who have preexisting conditions that could affect their surgeries and recovery times. Medical records should always be carried by hand and should never be placed in checked luggage.

Keep in mind that the weather in Tijuana is usually quite moderate with daily temperatures throughout most of the year ranging from a comfortable 65 degrees to 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore, most people will feel comfortable in shorts or capris and may want to bring a pair of pants and a light jacket to cover up with during the evening. The most comfortable clothes to wear after surgery are stretchy, knit garments that have loose waistbands. For a short trip, most people will be able to fit everything they need into a carry-on and a personal item if flying.

All Inclusive Gastric Sleeve Surgery in Tijuana, Mexico

Starting at $4,350

The price includes your entire stay with Elias Ortiz & Company including your travel companion and 5-Star hotel stay, no hidden charges.

Elias Ortiz & Company is a full-service medical tourism facilitator. We provide affordable access to expert surgeons who have performed thousands of successful surgeries.

Our pricing includes pre-screening, surgery, aftercare and ground transportation:

  • One travel companion’s stay
  • Blood work, EKG, and physical
  • Ground pick-up and drop-off
  • Hotel room (one night) before surgery
  • Hospital stay (two nights)
  • Surgery
  • Anesthesiologist
  • Antibiotics and pain medicine
  • Hotel room (two nights) after surgery
  • Local sightseeing tour (optional)
  • Calls home to USA
  • WiFi
  • Aftercare support from USA based nurse

For an inside look at The Grand Hotel, visit the hotel page.

Your costs include staying at the Grand Hotel in Tijuana, a beautiful 5-Star hotel with over 3,000 reviews and a rating of “Excellent” on Google (see review here).

With Elias Ortiz & Company, you’re never alone. Our team in the USA and Mexico is with you every step of the way.

1. Our Drivers

We don’t use taxis or rideshare drivers. Our drivers are all licensed and employed by Elias Ortiz & Company. They drive company vehicles that are clearly marked with the Elias Ortiz & Company logos. They’ll pick you up at the San Diego airport and return you after your surgery. You can even go on a tour while you’re here!

2. The Hospital

While at the hospital the Patient Advocates of Elias Ortiz & Company are there to assist you and your guest. They can make a phone call home for you once you are out of surgery, or give your guest recommendations for their meals. Anything you need while at the hospital, these ladies are there for you.

3. The 5-Star Hotel

We take your comfort and recovery seriously. At other companies, once you’re released from the hospital you’re on your own. You either go to a regular hotel or go home and that may happen after only 1 day at the hospital or clinic!

Our team will make sure you have everything you need and you’re feeling well. If you need anything from your doctor our staff can connect you with him or arrange transportation back to the hospital if you request or if needed.

Your all-inclusive surgery includes your hotel stay at the 5-Star Hotel Lucerna Tijuana, a beautiful and modern resort style accommodation. The hotel has over 2,000 reviews on Google with an average rating of 4.6 stars.

4. USA Aftercare Support

Yes, you get post-op paperwork to help with your new you. But we go beyond just giving you paperwork to take home. You’ll have constant access to our aftercare specialist who is a certified RN/ BSN / CBN, Cindy Rios.

She’s located in the United States and available over email, phone and through our Facebook support group (if you haven’t joined, consider doing so).

If you need to speak to a doctor or surgeon, she can arrange that for you as well.

On average, good candidates are between 18 and 65 years old and have a BMI of over 30. If you’re below a BMI of 30 but have other health issues that could be improved by surgery, you may qualify.

Fill out the form on this page and we’ll calculate your BMI to determine if you are a good candidate for weight loss surgery.

Our drivers and support staff are always making sure that your stay with us is not only safe, but also comfortable for both you and your companion.

Millions of Americans travel safely to Mexico every month. At Elias Ortiz & Company we take your safety seriously. You have support the entire trip from when you land in San Diego to when we drop you off at the airport.

Elias Ortiz & Company has a fleet of clearly marked vans and expert drivers that cross the border several times each day. They know when you will arrive and will pick you up for the short 15-minute ride from the airport to the border.

You’re only 2 miles from the U.S. border and 20 miles from downtown San Diego. It’s about a 30 minute trip by van from San Diego to Tijuana.

Step 1: See If You Qualify For Weight Loss Surgery

Fill out the form below or call 833-781-7444

Body Mass Index (BMI) Information

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