Getting Started, The New Patient Process to become a Bariatric Surgery Patient
- Fill out Health History which will take you roughly ten minutes.
- Once you complete the form online and submit it, we receive an electronic copy
- Our surgeon liaison will forward your Health History form to the doctor that you choose.
- Once the doctor reviews your health history form, they will send an ”Approval” notice to your coordinator, the coordinator will then call or e-mail you the decision of the doctor if you are or are not a Bariatric Surgery Patient along with any recommendations the doctor(s) may make.
- Depending on each’s personal medical history the doctors may ask for any previous tests that you may have already done. For example; the surgeon may request any E.K.G.’s, cardiac treadmill tests, glucose panels, PTT/INR (clotting times), hematocrits or hemoglobin. Also, depending on the surgery, doctor and your current weight/BMI, they may ask that you follow the pre-op diet for one up to 8 weeks along with a clear liquid diet for two full days before your surgical procedure.
Once Approved as Bariatric Surgery Patient :
- Once approved, your coordinator will send you an official “Approval” e-mail asking about which date(s) you are interested in for your procedure.
- After you choose an appointment, the 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). Note: Some of our surgeons travel from Guadalajara and are in Tijuana only on specific dates.
After you are Scheduled:
- Once you are scheduled, the coordinator will send you an e-mail entitled “Upcoming” and it will include specific guidelines that you will need to follow regarding the booking of flights, instructions for Bariatric Surgery Patient pre-op diet, information about which home medications you may continue or may need to discontinue before your surgery. Note: Most medications for High Blood Pressure, Heart Issues, Hypo or Hyperthyroid, Diabetes Type 1 & 2, Depression & Anxiety, etc., should never be stopped or titrated down without specific instructions from the surgeon or your Primary Care Physician.
- Your coordinator will also send you a surgery consent form (12 pgs.) This form must be completed and returned to the coordinator before your surgery. Make sure to include information regarding potential accommodations you may need such as additional hotel reservations, use of a wheelchair or assisted device, your 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 forms, including lab results, family leave forms, photos of cashiers’ checks and consent forms in your file.
Preparing for Surgery:
- Keep in touch with your coordinator if you have any changes in your medications, health status, travel plans and any questions or concerns. Your coordinator will be happy to assist you in any way they can to assure that you are very prepared for your procedure.
- Do take this time to make valid passports (book or card) are up to date, read the Bariatric Surgery Patient pre-op and post-op diets and stock up on the items you will need 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 US outlets, free wi-fi and free phone while at the hospital.
- Make sure to pack a loose, comfy nightshirt, the roll 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 take any drinks or foods with you to Tijuana; you can buy any sports drinks or juices once you arrive at the hotel.
Once you arrive in San Diego:
- The Tijuana patient process will begin and one of our drivers will take you directly to the hotel, either the Hyatt Place Tijuana or Pueblo Amigo (depends on the capacity of the hotel) about a 30-minute drive, just across the 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 also 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 coordinator’s any cashier’s checks you may have taken to Tijuana to pay for the balance of your surgery. Periodically the coordinators will check in on 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.
While at the Hospital:
- 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 Bariatric Surgery Patient 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, anesthesiologist, and an internist will come in and do the pre- surgery consults. This is a great 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 procedure 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 member’s 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 asks 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 depending 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, OTC 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 hotel along with your new “surgery buddies”.
Back at the Hotel:
- Once back at the hotel you will “check in” again as your post-op patient process begins and you will have one night to rest and relax!! Remember that you will receive three bowls of broth, 3 Jellies and two bottles of water daily while at the hotel. The restaurant is lovely, and we encourage patients to have their broth in the restaurant. The patient coordinators will instruct you when to meet in the lobby for your return trip back up across the border.
- Double check your room before you leave for any personal items. You will be required to check out before you leave and turn in your room key card. There is a kiosk in the lobby to print your boarding passes for flights.
- The driver has an exclusive license and dual insurances 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.
- 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, ask for assistance. Drink juice and water for the flight home. No coffee or tea.
Back at Home:
- A good rule of thumb for the Bariatric Surgery Patient 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 and 4th week add soft solid foods. Restart your medications as instructed by the doctors. If you are a 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, Dietician/Nutritionist Prudence at firstname.lastname@example.org and 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.
We hope that this information regarding our patient process has proven useful to you. If you would like to get started, feel free to click on one of the buttons below, or Contact Us anytime