Medical Tourism Resource Guide

Affordable Healthcare Worldwide

Bariatric Surgery in Costa Rica

Today hundreds of thousands of people are undergoing weight loss surgery worldwide to get rid of obesity. In the United States and Canada, a growing trend of individuals travels to Central America seeking healthcare in Costa Rica

Consumer Guide to Costa Rica Bariatric Surgery

Medical Tourism in Costa RicaHowever, this stigma has been proven wrong time and time again. In fact, The Joint Commission International (JCI) recommends it and deems it safe or even safer than United States hospitals.

According to the Joint Commission International, the primary goal behind the organization is to improve the quality, safety, and efficiency of health care. Ultimately, this means that healthcare provided abroad can be just as safe if not safer than healthcare provided in the United States as long as you choose facilities and providers that are backed by the JCI — weight loss surgery or bariatric surgery is no exception.

Bariatric surgery is a lifelong commitment rather than a quick fix for overweight problems. This means that you must be prepared to make permanent lifestyle changes in order to support the healthy living that the surgery aims to begin creating. The process will not simply end when the surgery procedure is complete, but instead, it must continue to promote good health and weight loss through proper nutrition and an active lifestyle.

Is Costa Rica Bariatric Surgery Safe?

There are two considerations to make when considering weight loss surgery in Costa Rica in terms of safety.

  • The second is whether or not having surgery abroad is safe.

Additionally, many hospitals and healthcare providers in Costa Rica actually create partnerships with hospitals and healthcare organizations in the United States. This adds to their reliability because it means that other organizations are holding them to high standards for caregiving excellence. Doing your homework and researching the options available to you is the best way to find a weight loss surgery provider that will alleviate your safety concerns and give you peace of mind.


The primary concern that patients have when considering bariatric surgery in Costa Rica is that by undergoing surgery abroad you are submitting yourself to unsafe conditions, poor quality equipment, or under-trained physicians. These are not the reasons why having a surgical procedure performed abroad is so much more cost-effective than in the United States. It is important to let these concerns go because they have no bearing on the actual situation.

There are also a number of weight loss surgery concerns that relate to the surgery itself rather than where the surgery is being performed. It is entirely normal to have concerns when you are undergoing any surgical procedure.

Speaking with your physician, bariatric surgeon and other healthcare professionals can help to undo some of these fears and concerns. It is vitally important that you educate yourself about the procedure, the results, and the safest expectations so that you can go into the operation feeling as safe and secure as possible.

Patients are also concerned with complications that can arise after the surgery such as infections around the surgical site and venous thrombosis or blood clots. Staple lines from the incision in the stomach can also leak in some types of bariatric surgery.

While these complications are possible, they are not common, and physicians will go to great lengths to prevent them and to teach patients how to continue preventing them during the recovery period. Venous thrombosis or blood clots, for example, can be prevented by exercising the leg muscles through walking during the recovery period.

The Process

Here is a breakdown of the entire process of having bariatric surgery performed in Costa Rica:

  1. The patient will contact a qualified surgeon or hospital in Costa Rica or goes through a health travel agency to find an appropriate hospital in Costa Rica. The chosen surgeon will review the patient’s medical history and will choose an appropriate form of weight loss surgery accordingly.
  2. The patient, local physician, and surgeon abroad come to a conclusion about the travel plans, which typically incorporate an all-inclusive charge for the entire stay. This should include all of the surgeon’s work, the hospital stay, the room amenities, prescription medications, nurse visits, and any necessary follow-up.
  3. The patient undergoes the surgical procedure. The surgeon will explain the procedure in depth before putting the patient under anesthesia. This will include an explanation of the recovery process post-surgery.
  4. The patient will be moved to a private room after the surgical procedure. This way, we make sure there is no complication after the procedure.
  5. During the recovery process, the patient should collaborate with both the surgeon and his or her local physicians in order to make sure that everything is being done to prevent complications and promote healing and recovery.
  6. Even after the two-week recovery process, lifestyle changes must continue to occur to promote weight loss. The patient is urged to continue seeing physicians for help with the health and weight loss process following bariatric surgery in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica Travel Tips

There are several suggestions before and while traveling for those embarking to Costa Rica for medical tourism. These recommendations have been proven time and time again to lead to a greater success rate of less or no complications after surgery.

Preparing for Surgery

One of the best things one can do while preparing for weight loss surgery abroad is to coordinate between the surgeon abroad and your primary physicians at home. This allows you to get the best possible care during and after your surgical procedure. It is also essential that you do not travel alone, instead of bringing at least one additional travel companion who can help you with the entire process.

Notify your primary physician that you are having this surgery and have the information for your physicians and surgeon abroad. They should be working with your surgeon to help you plan your trip to Costa Rica and the surgery so that when you return home your primary physician can continue to treat you as necessary.

Make sure that your surgeon in Costa Rica has all of the contact information for your physician or physicians back home. This way they can continue to communicate with your normal medical team about your condition during and after the surgical procedure.

The Bottom Line

Traveling anywhere during your recovery period can lead to the potential for complications. Surgery closer to home may generally be easier due to travel risks and the potential difficulty of obtaining follow-up care.

The cost differences can make having surgery abroad worth a small amount of additional risk. Weight loss surgery, like all surgical procedures, is inherently risky, so accepting a small amount of additional risk may be well worthwhile for significant cost savings.

Weight loss surgery may be the answer for you if you are struggling to lose weight on your own. Weight loss surgery in Costa Rica can make the entire deal even sweeter if you want to save some money and explore a new country during the process.

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