Medical Tourism

Historic collaboration between Tijuana and San Diego brings first world technology for medical tourism

The association will bring new medicine and minimally invasive procedure breakthroughs

A historic collaboration that will set an important precedent on the region’s medical tourism and represents, at the same time, a significant event in new procedure and surgical technique breakthroughs took place last June 2nd in Tijuana.

This is the association between the Minimally Invasive Surgery Division of the Department of Surgery at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) and the International Metabolic Medicine Institute in Tijuana (IIMM).

This international alliance between both borders will benefit not only patients, which will receive first rate care, but also bring forward new knowledge to the research field, teaching surgeons around the world better techniques with help from advanced technology, positively helping the medical field so it can become even more high quality.

With more than 30 years of experience as a general, bariatric, and metabolic surgeon, Doctor Ariel Ortiz taught his first course in the US about weight loss surgery in the mid-90s and became a reference in his field while training his colleagues all over the world. His career includes 26,000 successful surgeries and being a pioneer on procedures such as gastric bands, gastric sleeves, and the first ingestible gastric ball.

It was Doctor Ortiz who trained Argentinian Doctor Santiago Horgan, Surgery Professor at the University of California San Diego who is also Chief of Minimally Invasive Surgery and Bariatric Surgery. Thanks to their 20-year friendship and their combined vision, this incredible association came to pass.

Horgan, who is also a Director of the Bariatric Metabolic Institute and Director for the Future of Medicine in La Jolla, stated that American insurances don’t cover certain types of comorbidities, which is why American patients end up going to Tijuana to get their operations done. In the US surgeries that cost $24,000 dollars end up costing only $8,000 here.

With very advanced facilities and a first rate hospital, superior to those in the US, the International Institute of Metabolic Medicine in Tijuana, located at Plaza Pavilion, Zona Río, has obtained the Joint Commission International Quality Approval accreditation, an organization that evaluates outpatient care and quality standards of patient care.

The center carries out 50 operations on average per week in a safe environment and constantly receives patients with obesity. It is also planning to assist those with hernia issues and reflux, as well as plastic and bariatric surgeries. 99% of these patients come from the United States and 1% from Canada.

The association, which will open its doors to national and international doctors so they can be trained on these areas, is meant to offer training, education, and new approaches to endoscopic technologies that allow an improvement in the quality of life and wellbeing of people.

Another quality and advantage that this medical center offers, besides the fair price for the same quality of care, is post-op follow up 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Conscious that patient care must be paramount, doctors are at your complete disposal with empathy and professionalism.

The association is not limited to just the surgical area, since the International Institute of Metabolic Medicine in Tijuana also has facilities with kitchens where special diets are planned by nutritionists and chefs, guaranteeing a paradigm shift on the patient regarding their diets.

This great infrastructure will keep the patient educated before and after the operation so they can achieve the best result.

Since this medical approach is multidisciplinary, an agreement was reached with the Medicine School at UABC so that students can keep learning in bariatric, metabolic, and minimally invasive surgery areas.

This enormous clinic is three stories high and it has its own television studio where webinars and online conferences are carried out with doctors from all over the world. There, they stream operations (with the patient’s consent), interviews, and creation of educational content. They also have a metabolic laboratory and, in their second or third phase, they will undertake a collaboration with Medtronics to create an academy of advanced science.

For their part, the Center for the Future of Medicine at UCSD, doesn’t want to keep knowledge to themselves but wants to share it with the world. In Doctor Ortiz’s words, the three pillars of this institute are: Excellence at Medicine Practice, Education, and Research.

The complete team involves fully capable doctors, nurses, nutritionists, academics, scientists, camera operators, cinematographers, designers, marketers, and chefs, guaranteeing high-quality care, which was alluded to by Surgery Area President at UCSD, Dr. Bryan Clary.

“What we are celebrating today is fundamentally an aspirational idea that is born from a collaboration between both borders and brings important benefits to patients.”

He highlighted Dr. Ortiz and his collaborators’ great skills, as well as the humility and honesty of Dr. Horgan, congratulating them both for always being at the forefront of incorporating safe surgery procedures.

VIDEO: Association between UCSD and the International Institute of Metabolic Medicine is announced


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