Dr. Gilberto Ungson and Dr.Esquerra Mexicali MX

Discussion in 'Surgeon Reviews' started by Brandy, Sep 6, 2014.

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    Will2014

    Will2014 Well-Known Member

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    I too went to Mexico. Cost me $10,500 and my procedure was done by the late, great, Dr. Alberto Aceves. He was trained by Dr. Ungson and he had Dr. Campos and Dr. Beltran as his assistants. Great guys! My procedure was done in Mexicali at the Almater Hospital. I've never met Dr. Ungson but I've seen the extention of his work through these men he trained. Top notch! Has a requirement that ALL patients of his be seen by a doctor 3x's per day minimum. Now, can anyone point to ANY American docs doing that? The hospital was really clean and well staffed. Whenever you went to walk, staff rush in and cleaned the room top to bottom. I mean bathroom, floors, made bed, everything! Crazy diligence among the staff there. Anyhoo I've never met the man but give Ungson two huge thumbs up for being one of the greatest DS surgeons on this planet, and for training the next generation to be exquisite surgeons as well.
     
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    Brandy

    Brandy Freddled gruntbuggly

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    One of the things that sold me on the DS .vs. the other bariatric surgeries was that the people in the forums just seemed happier. They had a zest for life that was much more missing on the boards for the other surgeries, where strict diets and dumping topics seemed to rule the day. Even though poop seemed to be at the center of the ds board, the threads were generally filled with things you could try that would probably fix things rather than just writing it off as the new normal.

    I have wondered if it just a risk thing. That perhaps "zest" can also be called "risk takers" and by definition, the real DS is a slightly bigger risk. It is a bigger and harder surgery traded off against an easier and more successful weight loss. It is putting more money on a single roll of the dice.

    The thing is, and why I'm posting in this thread, is that I felt like any extra risk I might have picked up was negated by having Dr. Ungson as my surgeon. He is world famous for this, the grandfather that everybody respects. The idea of going to some no name local surgeon for a DS (or even advice) is kind of scary to me. So, IMHO, if you are going to do it right, get the DS and travel to one of the three or four top DS surgeons in the world. The last criteria that should be used to plan your health is physical location. Ok, last is probably what your blood sucking insurance company will grudgingly pay for so they can still line their share holder's pockets, but second to last should be location.
     
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    Pugcrazy

    Pugcrazy Active Member

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    Oh ladies, I'm so happy to see this message string! I am in the beginning stages of research for WLS and am really interested in the DS procedure as I too am a super "absorber" - ha! I've never heard the term but it sure applies here. I have done every "diet" known and just don't lose weight, most mainstream plans cause me to gain weight - and thats being 100% compliant. The only thing that keeps me from gaining weight is low carb, under 20 grams daily and tons of water. When my primary care Dr suggested WLS two years ago (he was tired of me complaining about my weight every visit) I told him that I didn't think it would work on me!!! Of course, I was thinking of "restrictive" procedures and explained that I am very capable of controlling my calorie/food intake. I know he doesn't believe me...so I sought out a medically managed weight loss program and the Director of the program told me that if she was me, she would have had WLS "yesterday." That was after I explained that I had been to fat camp, boot camp, HCG, etc. She referred me to a surgeon here in Boston, but unfortunately I don't qualify for insurance coverage as I don't have the comorbidities with a BMI of 35. *I swear its because I eat so clean and healthy, and exercise as much as I can. I need knee replacement, that stemmed from a fall and subsequent surgery/osteoarthritis - but BC/BS will not approve WLS. So I have resigned myself to Self Pay. I've had a couple of phone, Skype consultations - and most Dr's just go for the Gastric Sleeve.

    I would go to Mexico to one of the fine physicians there, Dr Ungson or his partners - but my husband will NOT hear of it! He's afraid they will harvest a kidney or I will die from complications. My main concern is the travel back to the East Coast - that is a long flight in which to be uncomfortable. I've had laproscopic procedures before for endometreosis...and I don't care what anybody says - it hurts!!!

    I've found a surgeon in Florida that does DS, Dr Dennis Smith. I'm trying to obtain self pay rates from his office, and honestly, they aren't very communicative. I go to Florida for the winter, so I'm thinking thats a great solution for me to go there and take it easy after surgery for the winter months. Stay tuned - again, so glad I found this site and people with similar issues.
     
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    Clematis

    Clematis Well-Known Member

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    Ungson is no longer there -- he works for the government now. His replacement is Tony Esquerra. He did my surgery a few weeks ago and I flew back east. It really isn't bad. (Fly first class like I did if you're concerned.) Remember, unlike US surgeons, they keep you in the hospital 4 nights so you'll be feeling pretty good by then.
     
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    Larra

    Larra Well-Known Member

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    Hey @Pugcrazy@Pugcrazy ! Good to see you here!

    Many people have found Mexico to be a great self-pay alternative for the DS. Of course, you have to be careful about which surgeon, but that's true in the USA also, as you know. Dr. Ungson has accepted a government job and is no longer available, but his practice is not under Dr. Esquerra, who worked with Dr. Ungson for several years. At least a couple here have gone to Dr. Esquerra and have had nothing but positive things to say about him and also about the care at the hospital there. There is no one else in Mexico that I would recommend at this time. So while the trip back would not be fun, esp with you living in the Northeast, you would have good care and come home with the same number of kidneys you left with.

    I hope things will work out for you with Dr. Smith, but if not, I hope you and your DH will have an open mind about Mexico. There is certainly no one else in Florida that I would recommend for the DS, and at least one surgeon there that is calling what he does the DS but it really isn't. Just goes to show that you need to be careful no matter where you go.

    Another self-pay possibility for you, closer to home, would be Dr. Greenbaum in NJ, and still another might be Dr. Gagner in Montreal, but they don't jive with your idea of the winter in Florida recovery, which I must say does sound appealing.
     
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    Pugcrazy

    Pugcrazy Active Member

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    Good to know, Clematis - thanks!!! Once I get the pricing from Dr Smith in Florida, my husband may re-think his position! Or I may sneak off and do it in Mexico anyway!!! *My husband has already warned me about that!!! Did you go alone? That would be my choice and yes, 4 days in the hospital would make a big difference!!! You feeling good???? I'm so envious!
     
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    Pugcrazy

    Pugcrazy Active Member

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    Thanks for referring me to this site, Larra - I'm still figuring out how to post - like now, it looks like I am writing in your text box? Forgive me if I mess it up, I'll get better!!!! Yes, I hope things will work out with Dr Smith - hopefully I'll get pricing info tomorrow! His office is about an hour and half from my house in Florida - sounds perfect!!
     
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    Clematis

    Clematis Well-Known Member

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    I went alone but they have a big fold out couch in each room if you wanted to bring someone. (You will pretty much sleep the first two days.) My husband would have annoyed me so he met me in San Diego afterwards and we stayed for two days. I don't think this was necessary. BTW they pick up up at San Diego airport and return you there.

    Never in a million years would I have considered MX -- when someone recommended it here I thought they were joking. I'm a little snobby. But when I researched it, I discovered this surgeon does two DS a DAY whereas my surgeon back east does 2-3 a YEAR. Experience counts. The fact that back home was $34,000 (actually a lot more), and MX was $13,000 (and that included an add-on of removing my gallbladder) was a valid reason as well. Because I was self pay I did have concerns that my insurance wouldn;t cover complications but that would have been a concern no matter where I went. Follow-up care whether in US or MX sucks anyway... surgeons just cut and almost all of their nutrition advice is just wrong... so that wasn;t a concern.

    There are 4 of us here who I know of who have had Esquerra in the past 2 months. ALL of us are doing great -- no complications. (And I am old.)
     
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    Susan in Tennessee

    Susan in Tennessee Well-Known Member

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    I was wondering if you ever got the pricing information back from Dr. Smith in Florida?
     
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    Pugcrazy

    Pugcrazy Active Member

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    No!!! They can't give me pricing, other than $38,500 - but said they are renegotiating with the hospital to try to reduce those rates. I'm not even sure Dr Smith with do the DS procedure at my BMI of 35. I have a consultation scheduled with him in January, but am also pursuing Mexicali - Dr Esquerra. I hear so many great things about him and that facility - and no hoops to jump through!
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2015
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    Carmanshriv

    Carmanshriv 3rd time is a charm!

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    I had my sleeve 8.5 years ago with The late great Dr. Alberto Aceves. I had a revision to the DS January 7, 2016. I have had zero complications and am so pleased with my experience. I have accompanied many friends and family members to Mexacali and have never had a bad experience!
     
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    DSRIGGS

    DSRIGGS Yes, that is chocolate covered bacon

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    $38,500 is crazy and better options for less money with Dr Keshishian $26k lap or $18k open is what they told me when I asked for my brother.. And Mexicali is getting great reviews so far from our recent vets. And about @14k I believe
     
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    kilaani

    kilaani Member

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    My husband had his VSG with Dr. Aceves. I'm just curious, who did your revision to DS in 1/16? I know Dr. Ungson first took over for Dr. Aceves, but I'm foggy after that.
     
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    kilaani

    kilaani Member

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    I discovered this surgeon does two DS a DAY

    There are 4 of us here who I know of who have had Esquerra in the past 2 months. ALL of us are doing great -- no complications. (And I am old.)

    Ok, so Esquerra is doing it in Mexicali, same hospital as before? We were delighted with the late Dr. Aceves and the hospital itself was very nice and clean, though, of course, not a great neighborhood, I felt safe enough to walk down the street to the 7-11 and across the street the other way for the Chinese food.

    This is good to know as I knew Dr. Ungson had a lot of DS experience and still came over to Mexicali to assist Dr. Aceves with his. I was so pleased that Dr. Aceves knew my wonderful Dr. Baltasar.

    How long has Dr. Esquerra been doing the DS? Is he getting enough experience to be considered for band to DS revisions? I run across folks needing something along that line.
     
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    Clematis

    Clematis Well-Known Member

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    Esquerra has been doing band to DS revisions and has done this for a couple of people on this board. (He is not doing RNY to DS revisions as far as I know.) He had been Ungson's right hand man for 5 years at Mexicali and had also been doing DS and other WL surgeries on his own in another city... Hermosa maybe?
     

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