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UCSD collaborates with weight-loss surgical center in Tijuana

Surgeons from UC San Diego Health traveled to Tijuana on Thursday to announce the start of a new partnership with a weight loss surgery center located in the northern part of the border city.

Although horror stories abound For medical tourists who have been to Mexico for weight loss procedures, supporters of this new partnership say medical tourism is here to stay.

“We can either fight it or align ourselves to improve patient care on both sides of the border,” he said. Santiago Horgan, Professor of Clinical Surgery at UCSD, was one of the leading physicians in the new collaboration with the International Institute of Metabolic Medicine. , or IIMM for short.

Weight loss surgery, also known as bariatric surgery or gastric banding, aims to help people struggling with obesity lose weight by significantly reducing the size of their stomach.

Cost is usually the main determinant for medical tourists who decide to cross the border for procedures, but some people travel to Mexico to receive procedures that are not eligible in the United States.

The IIMM Surgery Center was accredited by the Joint Commission, a US-based non-profit organization that accredits healthcare organizations and programs around the world. It will follow the instructions of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, according to Horgan.

“What happens is that many patients do not qualify for insurance or do not have insurance. “For example, if you have a BMI (body mass index) of 37 and you are 80 kilos overweight, but you do not have diabetes, insurance will not cover you,” Horgan explained. “But if you do nothing, you will have diabetes. “So these patients can come here and have surgery at a much lower cost, in a safe environment approved by the Joint Commission, with the same standards.”

UCSD doctors said they would have no direct oversight of the IIMM and did not support the results because the collaboration is not an overall clinical collaboration.

“Right now, it’s an academic collaboration,” Horgan said. “And will it increase in the future? We hope it will happen. ”

Dr. Ariel Ortiz, CEO and Founder of the International Institute of Metabolic Medicine, speaks at an event highlighting a new partnership between the Tijuana facility and UC San Diego Health.

(Wendy Fry / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Cross-border cooperation was organized organically. Horgan said that Dr. Ariel Ortiz, the founder of IIMM, taught him the “lap-band” process about 20 years ago in Chicago and the two remained close friends. Laparoscopic gastric banding is a surgery in which the surgeon places a tape around the top of someone’s stomach to create a small pouch to hold food.

Ortiz said the hospital in Tijuana focuses on educating, training and advancing surgical technicians, as well as providing quality care to patients.

Dr. Bryan Clary, Professor and Chair of Surgery at UC San Diego, said this is an important collaboration between the UC San Diego Department of Surgery, the Department of Minimally Invasive Surgery and the International Institute of Metabolic Medicine. A ceremony was held Thursday afternoon at the brand new, two-story IIMM hospital facility at Calle Paseo de los Héroes, near the Mercado Hidalgo in Tijuana.

“We are celebrating today more than just a partnership between like-minded people who are committed to providing high quality minimally invasive surgery options for the patients they serve,” Clary said. “Indeed, today we are celebrating a fundamental and ambitious idea. “The idea that human collaborations across international borders not only happen, but can bring significant benefits to the patients we serve in our area.”

Endoscopic and surgical instruments at the International Institute of Metabolic Medicine in Tijuana.

Endoscopic and surgical instruments at the International Institute of Metabolic Medicine in Tijuana.

(Wendy Fry / The San Diego Union Tribune)

Horgan and other doctors agreed that the success of medical tourism in the region – an $ 800 million-a-year industry in Tijuana – depends on eliminating bad practices. Lack of government oversight has allowed patients at other facilities in Tijuana to undergo risky surgeries that they would not be allowed to perform in the United States. sometimes with disastrous results.

The FBI is investigating the death of a woman in Long Beach after injuring several people during plastic surgery at a clinic in Tijuana in 2021. The government of Baja California has allowed the man who runs the clinic to continue the surgery, despite the fact that he is not a surgeon.

“No question about that. There must be supervision. “This facility is state-of-the-art and out of 26,000 surgeries, there have been zero deaths, so I think it is also important to embrace these types of facilities that have this level of reliability,” Horgan said, adding that the process will force bad actors to leave the market. “Because the world will keep coming.”

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UCSD collaborates with weight-loss surgical center in Tijuana Source link UCSD collaborates with weight-loss surgical center in Tijuana

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