We compared the costs of Gastric Sleeve surgery abroad in 15 different countries vs the US
Ps: Check also the Youtube channel The Expat
Some years ago, I was spending holidays with my wife in Brazil (which is also the place where I was born and lived for a good part of my life).
One thing that she noticed is that the prices of dentists in Brazil (at that time) were much smaller than here in Europe. This happened for a few factors:
1st — Devaluated currency,
2nd — Taxes,
and, most important:
3rd — A much higher ratio of dentists per capita. In fact, Brazil has the largest number of dentists per 10.000 people in the world.
Since we realized that, often when I travel to Brazil to visit my family there, I schedule a visit to the dentist and do whatever needs to be done.
This helps me to save some money.
But this article is about something more complicated than going to the dentist.
Traveling somewhere for medical treatment while looking for affordable prices is an increasing practice, called medical tourism. Patients (or medical tourists) can find in other countries private clinics that use modern techniques, and often doctors abroad speak English.
The example of the dentist prices I gave abroad is just to illustrate the reasons why a certain surgery that is gaining extreme popularity may be so much cheaper broader than in the USA.
I am talking about an aesthetical surgery that is often difficult to convince health insurance providers to refund.
What is gastric sleeve surgery, also known as bariatric surgery?
Gastric sleeve surgery, also known as sleeve gastrectomy, is a weight loss surgery that involves removing a large portion of the stomach and turning it smaller, into the shape of a banana.
It is a major surgical procedure and should only be considered after other weight loss methods, such as diet and exercise, have been unsuccessful. Gastric sleeve surgeons use general anesthesia and advanced equipment to perform small incisions in the patient.
This surgery is typically recommended for people who are severely overweight or have obesity-related health problems. One of the considered thresholds is that only patients with a body mass index above 35 should consider a gastric surgery.
When the surgery reduces the size of the stomach, it limits the amount of food that can be eaten at one time, which can help individuals feel full faster and eat fewer calories and less food. Frequently, obese people after the surgery quickly lose extra pounds and recover their self esteem.
It is important to make clear that gastric sleeve surgery is one type of bariatric surgery (a term that encompasses other procedures intended to reduce body weight). But not the only one.
It is also important to remember that this surgery is not efficient in all cases of obesity problems. Sometimes it also doesn’t work.
Would I submit myself to bariatric surgery? No, because right now I don’t need it.
Would I recommend it to someone? Also not, but just because I am not a doctor but just a random guy on the internet that loves statistics about different countries (proof of that is the time I spent comparing Uber prices in different capitals).
And this is what brought me to the idea of researching the price of this surgery in different countries.
Bariatric Surgeries are among the most popular procedures nowadays, but they are expensive
Differently from the example of the dental treatments I gave at the beginning of this article, plastic surgery like a gastric sleeve operation is a much more complicated procedure and way more expensive. Often health insurance companies in Western countries do not cover such treatment in a private clinic.
The price differences across multiple countries are big enough to define if someone can afford weight loss surgery or not.
Our Sources for Costs of Gastric Sleeve Surgery Abroad
If we are going to compare costs, it is also important to define what is included in this price. In this article, the cost includes:
The average cost of gastric sleeve surgery is $9,350.1 This cost generally includes the following associated fees:
- Hospital fee
- Doctor and Surgeon’s fees
- Exams before the procedure (lab and X-ray).
- Follow-up care
The Cost of Gastric Sleeve Surgery Inside the US
In the US, according to NewChoiceHealth, the average cost of gastric sleeve surgery is US$16,750.
Since the US is a huge country with big differences in terms of salaries, taxes, and other expenses, naturally there is a large deviation from the data when we analyze individual states.
Some examples of local prices for these types of weight loss surgeries inside the US:
- Tampa, FL: price ranges from $9,420 to $15,840.
- Baltimore, MD: price ranges from $9,560 to $16,390.
- St. Louis, MO: price ranges from $10,260 to $17,710.
- San Diego, CA: price ranges from $10,500 to $22,550.
- Boston, MA: price ranges from $12,320 to $26,510.
So inside the US, the same procedure may cost for the pockets of bariatric surgery patients three times more depending on the city.
The Cost of Gastric Sleeve Surgery Abroad
The prices are from WhatClinic.com and are shown together with the name of the clinic that offers the procedure. If the hospital or clinic provided a price range, we consider the higher end.
The author of this article has no relationship with any of these clinics, was given no incentive to mention them, and cannot personally recommend them, as he has never had bariatric surgery. All data is public.
For the list below, we selected only clinics that were listed in a recognized directory of clinics (WhatClinic.com) for treatment abroad and most of them have positive reviews from international patients.
You will notice that many of these places are also among the best countries to study medicine abroad. This is not a coincidence: when you have good medical schools, you form plenty of bariatric surgeons so the prices for treatments and procedures like laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy decrease.
With no further ado, below are the prices of bariatric surgery abroad, considering 14 different countries.
U.A.E — Dubai
Hospital or Clinic: Tonic Surgery Dubai
Price: From US$12111 to US$14802
Comparison to the US average price for a gastric sleeve surgery: 11.6% cheaper.
Portugal — Porto
Hospital or Clinic: Instituto Medico Privado
Price: From US$8615
Comparison to the US average price for a gastric sleeve surgery: 48.6% cheaper.
Thailand — Bangkok
Hospital or Clinic: Thailand Gastric Sleeve Center
Price: Up to US$8113
Comparison to the US average price for a gastric sleeve surgery: 51.6% cheaper.
The fact that this country is so inexpensive in terms of medical procedures is one of the reasons so many people choose to retire to Thailand.
Malaysia — Petaling Jaya
Hospital or Clinic: Andrea Bariatric Surgery
Price: From US$7805
Comparison to the US average price for a gastric sleeve surgery: 53.4% cheaper.
Brazil — Belo Horizonte
Hospital or Clinic: Hospital São Lucas
Price: Up to US$7568
Comparison to the US average price for a gastric sleeve surgery: 54.8% cheaper.
Ireland — Dublin
Hospital or Clinic: Belgium Surgery Services
Price: From US$6569 to US$7108
Comparison to the US average price for a gastric sleeve surgery: 57.6% cheaper. Dublin is also one of the cheapest cities to fly into Europe from America.
Czech Republic — Prague
Hospital or Clinic: Prague Medical Institute
Price: From US$5923 to US$7000
Comparison to the US average price for a gastric sleeve surgery: 58.2% cheaper.
Belgium — Ypres
Hospital or Clinic: ECFS Obesity Solutions
Price: From US$6246
Comparison to the US average price for a gastric sleeve surgery: 62.7% cheaper.
Mexico — Monterrey
Hospital or Clinic: Monterrey Gastro & Bariatric Group
Price: From US$5800 to US$6100
Comparison to the US average price for a gastric sleeve surgery: 63.6% cheaper.
The low private healthcare costs are one of the reasons that made Mexico an interesting destination for retirement abroad.
Lithuania — Kaunas
Hospital or Clinic: B&W Medica
Price: From US$5920
Comparison to the US average price for a gastric sleeve procedure: 64.7% cheaper.
Poland — Nowy Targ
Hospital or Clinic: Allmedica
Price: From US$4826 — $5056
Comparison to the US average price for a gastric sleeve procedure: 69.8% cheaper.
A curious non-related fact: Poland also has one of the cheapest Uber rates in Europe.
Cyprus — Nicosia
Hospital or Clinic: Cosmetic Surgery Cyprus
Price: From US$4686
Comparison to the US average price: 72% cheaper.
Egypt — Alexandria
Hospital or Clinic: Dr. Islam Abdelkhalek Clinic
Price: From US$3043 to US$3164
Comparison to the US average price: 81.1% cheaper.
Turkey — Istambul
Hospital or Clinic: APERA Clinic
Price: From US$2434 to US$3104.
Comparison to the US average price: 81.5% cheaper.
Table with the Costs of Gastric Sleeve Surgery Abroad
|Country||City||Clinic Name||Price (From)||Price (To)||Price Difference to the US|
|The United States||National Average||–||16,750||16,750||0.00%|
|U.A.E||Dubai||Tonic Surgery Dubai||12111||14802||-11.60%|
|Portugal||Porto||Instituto Medico Privado||8615||-48.60%|
|Thailand||Bangkok||Thailand Gastric Sleeve Center||8113||-51.60%|
|Malaysia||Petaling Jaya||Andrea Bariatric Surgery||7805||-53.40%|
|Brazil||Belo Horizonte||Hospital São Lucas||7568||-54.80%|
|Ireland||Dublin||Belgium Surgery Services||6569||7108||-57.60%|
|Czech Republic||Prague||Prague Medical Institute||5923||7000||-58.20%|
|Belgium||Ypres||ECFS Obesity Solutions||6246||-62.70%|
|Mexico||Monterrey||Monterrey Gastro & Bariatric Group||5800||6100||-63.60%|
|Cyprus||Nicosia||Cosmetic Surgery Cyprus||4686||-72.00%|
|Egypt||Alexandria||Dr. Islam Abdelkhalek Clinic||3043||3164||-81.10%|
If you enjoyed this article about the costs of gastric sleeve surgery abroad, here are a few other travel tips and reading suggestions for you:
Levi Borba is the founder of The Expatriate Consultancy, creator of the channel The Expat, and best-selling author. Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, meaning that the author will have a commission for any transactions.