Lap-band. medical tourism, India

I am looking at three major things I would like your input on.

  1. I am considering getting the lap-band procedure. I am a 5’ 1" 38 year woman who weighs 200 lbs. leas than 15 years ago, I weighed between 98-105. I have been diagnosed with high blood pressure this year and am having difficulty sleeping. For those of you that have had the surgery, what were the results? Was there more/less pain than you expected? What was it like emotionally? How quickly or slowly did the weigh came off? How much (if any) weight came back? Anything else I should know?

  2. **Medical tourism ** - Ever hear of it? It is defined as “the act of traveling to other countries to obtain medical, dental, and surgical care.” What are your thoughts? I can have the surgery in Mumbai India at less than half of what it would cost in America? No, my insurance will not pay for any type of bariatric surgery. They will, however, pay for the complications of obesity.

  3. Anybody ever been to **Mumbai (formerly Bombay) ** India? What can I expect? I would like to go a few days early and take in some sights, but have never been to India and have NO idea what to expect. I am not sure if I will be traveling alone. My mother or sister may go with me, but it will depend greatly on the expense.

I believe anyrose has a lap band. Hopefully, she’ll come in and post. It’s my understanding that, statistically, with a lap band, you can expect to lose about 50% of your excess weight.

I had a weight loss surgery called the duodenal switch, back in June. I’ve lost 106lbs.
I had the surgery done in Baltimore. But when it comes time for my plastics, I’m going to have to have some of them done in Brazil (the ones my insurance won’t pay for); I know a number of people who’ve had plastics done in Brazil, and been very pleased.

A few questions for you: Are you contemplating going out of country because your health insurance won’t pay? If this is the case, will your insurance pay for follow up care you’ll need? You’ll need labwork pretty regularly, to make sure you’re getting enough nutrients. You’ll also need adjustments and fills to the band itself, I believe this is on an average of once a year (but I could be wrong).

Have you looked at the other forms of weight loss surgery, too? Duodenal switch, Roux en Y (both distal and proximal)? If you’re going to do something radical, I’d suggest you do enough homework to make sure you’re having the right procedure for you.

Why India, specifically? There’s a website called MedNetBrazil that specializes in, well, medical tourism in Brazil. One of the largest hospitals in Curitiba, Brazil, has the third lowest infection rate in the world. The website can give you price estimates for what you want done, and help you book reservations, etc.

Good luck!

I had a lap-band put in a little less than four years ago. In my case, I’ve lost 80% of my excess weight without having to “diet” (just smaller portions and exercise). I’m extremely happy with my results and would highly recommend the lap-band to anyone who is obese.
My recovery was pretty quick and uneventful. The suffering I experienced during my years of being fat was far, far worse than the mild discomfort of recovering from the surgery.

As long as you have checked into what kind of track record the doctor has (have you had any contact with his other patients?) and know there will be adequate medical equipment available if you have a complication from the surgery, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with going to another country for this sort of procedure.
Have you looked into getting the surgery done in Mexico? That’s where a lot of Americans go for the lap-band, because there are some extremely experienced lap-band surgeons down there (my own American surgeon was trained by a Mexican surgeon on the technique for the lap-band).
AND, equally important - make sure you have a doctor lined up in your home country who will be willing to fill/unfill your band for you. Having the right amount of “fill” in your band is the whole key to success, so you don’t want to have to fly to India every time you need an adjustment!
If you want to talk to more folks with the band, I recommend http://www.lapbandtalk.com
Good luck to you!

I had a laparascopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass in May 2006. Best thing I ever did! I’ve lost about 100 pounds and I’m still losing. I’ve gone from a size 26 to a size 10 and if my present steady rate of loss continues, I expect to be a size 8 by the time my one year anniversary rolls around. I had no pain or complications after the surgery and my scars are tiny.

Most US insurance companies will pay for the surgery if you have a BMI (body mass index) of 40 or above. Yours is 37.8. I used the BMI calculator at http://www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi/ to figure this out.

Most companies will pay for your surgery if you have a BMI of 36 or 37 and a co-morbidity. Common co-morbidities are sleep apnea and diabetes. Sleep apnea isn’t that hard to establish; most middle-aged, overweight people have it. You have to spend a night in a sleep lab to establish a diagnosis. Your insurance should cover this. Diagnosing diabetes, as you know, is done with simple lab tests.

Very few insurance companies say yes to obesity surgery the first time you request it. Fight the ins co. Don’t take no for an answe. If you can find a surgeon in your area who specializes in obesity surgery, his/her office staff will be able to advise you on the best way to present your case to the ins co. My surgeon had a specialist office worker on staff who did nothing but make appeals to the ins cos, and she usually won.

A really useful form is http://www.thinnertimesforum.com/ It’s a board for people who have had the surgery, or are contemplating the surgery, or who - like you - desperately want it but are encountering problems from their ins co. I recommend posting there and asking for advice. There are a lot of friendly, helpful people who can steer you in the right direction there.

Please don’t consider medical tourism until you’ve gotten some info on how to present your case to your ins co and then, if they say no, how to appeal the decision.

My health insurance won’t pay for the procedure. I can get much of the lab paid for as related to my high blood pressure and other health issues.

I have just started looking at the procedures, and at first glance, lap band seemes most appropriate, I will continue to research the others though.

I read some really good things about medical tourism in India. I have also read good things about Brazil, but they seem to focus primarily on plastic surgery.

I will go look at the website you mentioned.

Thanks!

Congratulations. I looked at Mexico and the prices didn’t seem much lower than in America. I found a place in Mumbai that was 7,500. There is a doctor in Dallas (300 miles away) that does fills for patiensthat have had surgery elsewhere. My problem is, I live out in the middle of NOWHERE!!!

The problem I have with that is that I work for an INCREDIBLY small school system and we are self-funded for the first 80 grand, I am a first year teacher, and don’t want to make any waves.

A couple of things:

Lap-band prices in America range right around $10K (at least from what I have seen/heard), so your cost in India is pretty close. I know my surgeon (in TN) recently started offering the lap-band for right around $10K.

There is a great (if you can ignore the bad grammar, spelling and general idiocy you find on such sites) site called obesityhelp dot com where you can find excellent information about all the different weight loss surgery types as well as having the procedures done in and out of the country.

I have spoken to at least one person who went to India for her procedure (she had RNY, though) who had an excellent experience. With the lap-band, however I would suggest doing a lot of research first. Not becuase I am against it (I did have the RNY in April 2005 and have lost 214 lbs, gone from size 34 to 00 and lost all my co-morbs), but because many doctors will not do your fills post-op if you go out of the country for the surgery. I know several people who went to Mexico for the original surgery who did not line up post-op care first and who ended up having major issues trying to get fills. Be sure of who will do your follow-up care before you go out of the country for surgery.

I absolutely encourage you to do your research thoroughly, but wish you luck in this.

As to your other questions – yes, there is a growing trend for medical tourism (many people go to South America for plastic surgery as there are resorts where you can get some of the world’s best surgeons and a vacation at the same time!). Me? I would do it provided I had enough information about the doctor/clinic/procedure and the money. Of course, as with any surgery, there is always the possibility of complications, so be aware that you may end up spending longer than you originally plan in India – make arrangements accordingly.

The lap-band? Yeh, it works for a lot of people. It would have worked for me, but 1) I needed to lose 200 lbs and I wanted to lose it quickly, and 2) my insurance didn’t cover the band. I am very happy with my decision to have WLS, and in particular the RNY, I have done amazingly well and have had little by way of complications. (I did find out I have gout – thanks to rapid weight loss and a high protein/low carb diet and I had to have my gallbladder out, due to same issues, but that is it as far as complications go) Remember that with the lap-band, the hunger is still there and is still real – it takes some self-control, since you can still eat all the same high-fat/high-sugar foods you can eat now. Heck, I know of at least 3 people who have lost over 300lbs with the band – it works for those who work it!

Never been to India – but if you have room in one of your suitcases, I am up for an adventure anytime!

I’ve been to India, though never to Mumbai. From what I hear Mumbai is very modern, almost like NYC, and hardly looks different.

India itself is a curious mix of old and new, side by side. Much more than any other country I think. They have leapt into the 22nd century with both feet but unfortunately some people still got left behind.

My brother and his wife are flying back to India today and how I wish I could go. I can’t say much about the medical tourism thing, but I think visiting another country is almost always enjoyable and a treat.

Is there anywhere to go to get reasonably-priced dental work done? I simply can’t affrod what they want to charge for crowns, etc. My own dental insurance is fine for basic things like extractions, x-rays and fillings, but not for the major things.

StG

I don’t have specific info, StGermain, but you may want to look at France. There’s so many french dentists all over the EU I sometimes wonder if they just print 'em. I know people who’ve gone to France for dental work but of course for us it’s basically a hop across the border.

If you live near a university with a dental school, you can get dental work done for a much more reasonable price.