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Tips for Planning Your Surgery Abroad

  • Choose an International Center of Excellence (COE) or Surgeon of Excellence (SOE) for your surgery: You probably won't have a chance to meet your surgeon before surgery. All surgeons and facilities in the COE Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (COEMBS) program meet standards provided by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) and Surgical Review Corporation.
  • Check your paperwork: A current passport is necessary for travel to any foreign country. It should be valid for at least six months after your planned date of return to the U.S.; Americans travelling to Venezuela are required to have their passports good for another six months. Find out whether you need a visa to your country of destination. You don't need a visa for Mexico; you do for Venezuela, but it's easy to fill one out on the plane. Americans also need visas to visit India. State.gov, the U.S. Department of State's official website, has the information you need regarding passports and visas.
  • Plan the details: Purchase your plane or train tickets, plan your accommodations and figure out your ground transportation to and from the hospital. Be sure you know where you'll be eating your meals before and after surgery. Consider what you'll do in terms of accommodations and travel arrangements in case you end up staying longer than you had planned due to complications.
  • Plan for afterward: Follow-up care is critical for your weight loss success, but you won't be able to continue your care with a surgeon located in another country. As you plan your surgery, plan postoperative care. Your surgeon may be able to recommend a bariatric center near your home that you can use for your follow-up appointments and your support group meetings.

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