Bariatric Surgery Travel Program
Why travel to Mexico when you can have quality, high value bariatric surgery in the USA for less than $9,000?
If you are coming from anywhere in the country, consider coming here, Decatur/Huntsville Alabama, for a laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy by Dr. Jay Suggs at Alabama Bariatrics. Spend a few days with us here in Alabama, and it could be the best decision you ever make. For an express work-up, you will do most of your work-up back home in advance. Initial screening and consultations, as well as approval for the program, are done via the internet or telephone. When you are ready, and Dr. Suggs gives you final for the program, then you will travel to Alabama for the week. Your surgery occurs the day after your consultation, and you travel back home 2-3 days after that. Serving the South: Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia, Kentucky, and so many more. Patients have come to us from as far as Vermont, Colorado, and California!
Why the laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy for self-pay travel patients? The lap sleeve has the best balance of risk and effectiveness of all bariatric operations. If you have no problems the first 2-3 months after your sleeve, you are unlikely to develop any problems. This is particularly important for patients without insurance coverage for bariatric surgery. Although the laparoscopic adjustable gastric band is the absolute safest procedure, it is also the least effective. And, it’s not realistic for travel bariatric patients to come back to us for adjustments.
As with any surgery, there are risks (please read the rest of the website for more details on risks). However, the rate of major morbidity like leaks, serious bleeding, infection, and pulmonary embolism are less than 1 %, some less than 0.1%.
The bariatric travel surgery price is the same self-pay price, as low as $8,995, for local patients. Your insurance may pay for labs and pre-op testing (as well as post-op nausea and pain medications). For most patient’s, most of the work up can be done in your hometown and via the internet/phone. For the express work-up, everything needs to be done in advance, no insurance is involved, and payment must be made in advance or at the initial consultation. If you have bariatric surgery coverage from your health insurance, and you want to use your insurance to pay for your surgery, you must fulfill your insurance’s requirements. This will preclude an express work-up, and may require multiple visits before your insurance approves the bariatric surgery.
Staff: EmmaLaura manages the bariatric surgery travel program, and Cathy manages the medical/clinical aspects for the patient during the week of surgery, as well as any follow-up visits or medical question calls. Our dietician Jodi Valdez does the nutrition evaluation via telehealth. Dr. Suggs, your bariatric surgeon, is also involved with every step of the process and is the ultimate decision maker.
Express Work-up: all work up including patient education, testing, initial screening/counseling, and dietary consultation can be done remotely or via the internet. Records including patient history, labs, studies, etc, are reviewed prior to the office consultation to screen for eligibility for the program.
Criteria: all patients must fulfill the same as any other bariatric patient, including doing the same medical work up, dietary evaluation, labs/studies, and follow up). As Dr. Suggs always wants to do what is best and safest for the patient, THERE IS NO GUARANTEE OF HAVING SURGERY, EVEN IF YOU TRAVEL FOR THE CONSULTATION/PRE-OP VISIT ALL THE WAY TO DECATUR/HUNTSVILLE.
Exclusions: Patients with previous bariatric or gastric surgery, including history of Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Banding with subsequent removal, are not candidates for the express work-up. Some patients may be deemed too medically complicated to qualify for the travel program. This would include patients at high risk for a deep venous thrombosis (DVT). Patients must have a BMI less than or equal to 60. Patients utilizing their insurance to pay for the surgery do not qualify for the express work-up. You should be able to travel home via car or air about 2 days after surgery. Must be able to do most of the work-up remotely by phone or internet.
Costs: the same as any self-pay patient. We suggest you pay for the surgery in advance, but there are no charges incurred until you (and we) commit to surgery on the day before surgery. There is no charge for the consultation with Dr. Suggs or any of our on-line or telephone consultations if you do not have surgery (if you have a consultation with the dietician, there will be the usual charge). For self-pay patients, we work with Prosper to finance the surgery, if necessary. COMPLICATIONS OR ADDITIONAL NIGHTS IN THE HOSPITAL ARE NOT COVERED. You may want to consider purchasing additional complication insurance.
Where: consultations take place at the Decatur office of Alabama Bariatrics. The surgery is at Crestwood Medical Center in Huntsville. The post-op visit is at our Huntsville office. We suggest that you stay in a hotel in either Madison or Huntsville. Alabama Bariatrics can give you some suggestions.
- Initial contact with EmmaLaura, usually via phone call or email, but possibly via webinar.
- You will be referred to the website to view the seminar, look at other educational materials, learn about financing surgery, and fill out our forms (which should be faxed, mailed, or emailed back to us). All of our forms are found on our website. Also check out the webinar schedule.
- EmmaLaura also does your initial free phone consultation, screens for eligibility, discusses costs and process.
- Initial record review by Katie, CRNP. If eligible as a candidate, we will mail/fax/email the lab form to you.
- Secondary review of labs and studies. Decision by Dr. Suggs to accept as a patient under the Bariatric Surgery Travel program.
- Consultation/Pre-op with Dr. Suggs is scheduled the day before surgery. This consultation, and subsequently the bariatric surgery, usually can then be scheduled very quickly.
- Nutritional evaluation will be completed with our dietitian, Jodi Valdez, via phone anytime before surgery.
- Monday: AM office consultation/pre-op visit with Dr. Suggs. Clear liquid diet that day, fill prescriptions, and COVID-19 test near the hospital (instructions will be given). Patient must report to PAT or preregistration as well as pay the anesthesia bill in that afternoon. Patient stays in a local hotel overnight.
- Tuesday: report for surgery that AM at Crestwood Medical Center.
- Wednesday: counseling by the Crestwood Bariatric Coordinator and post-op visit by Dr. Suggs. Patient discharged around lunch time. Patient stays in a local hotel overnight.
- Thursday: post-op visit/wound check in the Huntsville office.
- 1 week post-op: follow-up phone call. Patient texts or emails a picture of abdominal wounds to the office. Dr. Suggs reviews the image, and then the image is deleted. It is not printed or permanently kept.
- 1 month visit: follow-up by phone by Katie, CRNP.
- 3 months: follow-up by phone by Katie, CRNP.
- 6 and 12 months: Follow-up visits may be in person at the office, or conducted by phone/internet. Labs done in advance at home.
- Annual visits: Need to be in person. Note that the first year follow-up is free, but subsequent years will be the customary charge.
- Note: if you are having any difficulties or complications at all, follow-up should be done in the office in Decatur or Huntsville rather than by telephone.
**Surgery can be offered on Thursdays as well. The week of surgery details will look a little different but details can be given upon request**
Ready to change your life? Call Alabama Bariatrics or email us today. We’ll help you get started on your weight loss journey.