Fernando García
Tijuana Bariatrics
View from the Top

Aesthetic Surgery to Complement Weight Loss

Tue, 09/06/2016 - 12:30

Q: How can your surgery help with the severe Mexican obesity crisis?

A: Obesity is a public health problem, for which Mexico holds the top spot after the US. It is a risk for the development of diseases previously known as hereditary but that we now know are directly related to obesity, such as diabetes mellitus, hypertension, respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. In addition, there is the psychological effect on patients that as doctors we do not always take into account. Surgery is not the complete cure but a tool to cause lifestyle changes in patients.

Q: How popular is the follow-up plastic surgery after bariatrics surgery? How many patients choose to undergo this additional surgery?

A: It gives us great pleasure when a patient requires aesthetic surgery because our principal objective is for people to lose weight, so when a patient turns to plastic surgery it is because they have already reached a point where they have lost 30, 40, 100 kilograms and are ready for aesthetic surgery. About 70 percent of patients will require aesthetic surgery after their bariatric procedures. This is an extra service we can offer to patients, of the same excellence and quality, and we recommend it be performed after 18 months to two years after the bariatric surgery so that their bodies have time to adapt and recover after the procedure, which is major surgery.

Q: How do your dentistry services fit in with the bariatric services and how does it impact your operations?

A: Our dental service is high quality and can be aesthetic or reconstructive. It is slightly less frequently required but we offer a complete service to the patient and their family members. We offer dental services to bariatric patients when it does not detract from their principal objective. We offer services such as cavity cleaning, oral hygiene appointments and dental prosthesis. We have a dental surgeon specialized in these areas.

Q: What percentage of your revenue can be attributed to each area such as aesthetic and dental? What growth do you foresee in the coming years?

A: We are seeing an increasing number of aesthetic surgery patients. Around 15 to 20 percent of our revenue could be attributed to plastic surgery. This is due to patients returning for a second surgery. Generally, we do not do plastic surgery at the same time as bariatric surgery as they are different specialties. Dental services represent around 5 percent of our revenue. Most probably 98 percent of our patients are international and only 2 percent are domestic. Our business is geared toward foreign patients, all our publicity is aimed at helping people come to Mexico and making their stay easier. Most are from the US but we also get patients from Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Dubai.

Q: What differentiates you other than the insurance you offer?

A: As a company and as a team, we have been working together for many years. We believe we offer a service of higher quality and it is based on the experience and attitude of the staff. We give patients the confidence and sense of comfort necessary to come to Mexico: we send a chauffeur to the airport, we communicate with them even before they come, they know where they will stay, the timetable, we agree on flights and we respond quickly on social media. We have a nutritionist who visits them twice, once in the hospital and once in the hotel. This is necessary because lifestyle changes need to be made after surgery. We call them over Skype, we have an online support group where patients support each other and answer each other’s questions and this has been a great success. The group and the nutritionist have been our greatest assets.

Q: What plans do you have for 2017?

A: We would like to expand Tijuana Bariatrics, in which case we would require more surgeons to ensure we maintain quality of service and the human touch. It is a project of ours to grow to other cities, especially as some patients wish to go to a touristic spot where they can recover. We have been thinking of Cancun and also Puerto Vallarta, as it is an international port. Although we aim to expand to other touristic areas, our principal objective remains the quality of care. We would rather strengthen the three areas we already work in than expand to new areas.