Mario Alberto Almanza-Reyes
Bariatric Surgeon None
I wanted Gastric Plication (not the Gastric Sleeve) with Weight Loss Agents & Dr Mario Almanza. On Nov 10, 2014, I flew to Tijuana to get a Plication from Dr Almanza for $4,500.00. I was with the first group of 5 for surgery at 8:00 a.m. However, once the doctor spoke to us in broken English, it was clear that he didn't do Gastric Plications (he said he only did two a month but did 800 sleeves per month); he doesn't believe in Gastric Plications (he said I'd still be hungry so what's the point?) and there's a high percentage of folks who come back to get a sleeve (his nurse said 80% of plications are back in 6 months to get a sleeve). I wish he would've put that info on the internet & I said so. I felt it was false advertising...
Anyway, there was a lot pressure to get me to change my mind. Since I was in the first group of 5 patients, surgery was scheduled for 8:00 a.m. By 10:00, Dr Almanza started on another group of five, and so by noon he'd done 9 patients (it would've been 10 had I not walked out). The folks on my bus from the airport were not in the 10:00 a.m. group so my bet is Dr Almanza would have operated on 20 people that day. That's a LOT of surgeries, even by Mexican standards.
It was like a giant manufacturing process there. I couldn't believe the number of women who were chopping off 80% of their stomachs! Yes, they do things differently in Mexico but this is extreme. I watched the women go in, get 80% of their stomachs removed and get whisked to a group recovery room. There were 5 beds in each recovery room. No TV. The women didn't have IV's in them when they came out of surgery. Not sure where they put male patients but all 10 that morning were women. I sat in the recovery room doing research on the Gastric Sleeve they were pressuring me to get. I found out that it's not true the hunger hormones are "cut out" with a Sleeve as Dr Almanza said. The N.I.H. & several other research agencies had data that post-surgical hormone levels for both surgeries are about the same. I finally got the Weight Loss Agency get their driver (who was very rude) to take me out of there. They did offer to pay another night at the hotel to let me "think about it." Once out of there & back at the hotel, I looked up other surgeons in Tijuana who actually do Gastric Plications. Dr. Ortiz and the Obesity Control Center (OCC) came up & looked great. So I called them and liked everything they presented. They sent a car for me immediately. Bye bye Dr Almanza!
Ending up at the OCC with Dr. Ortiz was more expensive, money-wise. A gastric plication there was $6,500.00, but it was so worth the extra money. Let me tell you the difference. First Dr Ortiz speaks excellent English. Dr Almanza needs an interpreter. Next Dr Ortiz has been on GMA, The Doctors, Fox News, etc. He's very well known in the bariatric surgery community!! Dr Almanza is not in same class as Ortiz. The OCC has a registered dietician on its staff. Before surgery, she explained that I'd need to be on protein shakes and vitamins the rest of my life. They didn't mention that to me at Dr Almanza's. They have a staff Cardiologist at OCC who is very professional. Their hospital is very modern. Each patient gets a PRIVATE room at the Marriott (Dr Almanza's patients have to share a room at a subpar hotel.) Each patient gets a PRIVATE recovery room with TV. There were only 5 or 6 recovery rooms at the OCC so Dr Ortiz can only operate on 5 or 6 people maximum per day. When I awoke at OCC after surgery, I still had an IV in my arm and had it the entire night of recovery. This made me very hydrated so I got up to use the bathroom all night long. This is important as walking is key to recovery & the IV facilitated that.
It's a good thing I didn't get talked into the Gastric Sleeve at the other facility. Turned out, I had a large hiatal hernia which Dr Ortiz found & repaired at no extra charge. A hiatal hernia is when part of your stomach goes up into your chest cavity. It can wreak havoc on your heart & lungs. With 20 operations per day, I'm quite sure Dr Almanza would've skipped this repair! It would've been a disaster for me! 60% of folks over 60 have hiatal hernias! Obese people are at risk for them. Women are too as child birth can rip the hiatas. Since the repair, I found I can breath much easier. Thank you OCC & DR Ortiz & his assistant Dr Martinez!
Do yourself a favor. Please don't go to Dr Almanza... You'll be in very good hands at the OCC with Dr Ortiz. I'm very happy with my choice.
I got sleeved on May 13 2013 in Tijuana Mexico by Dr.Alberto Almanza,it was the best thing that could ever happened to me an a long time,it was fast painless and Dr. Almanza made me feel totally like he new me at the hospital right before my surgery when I told him that I did not know what it was on my stomach on the left side it was like a lump and I was afraid that when he would make the wholes something bad was gonna happen and at the end of his introduction to us he came to me and placed his hand on my stomach and told me that it may be a fibroid but don't worry I will work around it and also I never had problems in the past with it so surgery went fine it was quick painless and the staff at the hospital was so kind and nice and it didn't matter that my surgery was on Tuesday the 13 that two of my flights had the number 13 also and that my room was..Yes number 13 ha ha I have the picture of it too,everything went really good.
I went home after 10 days I removed my stitches by myself I put gloves and I was really careful and here I am. I lost about 56 pounds in almost two month total.
315 before surgery 279 at surgery day and today 259 pounds I feel fine my blood pressure is better than ever and I just want it to share my story ok,also the Costumer Service is phenomenal even now that I already had my surgery I called the other day and they really care thanks so much Dr. Almanza.
I have a few complaints . Not sure this whole thing was worth it even for the price . I met with dr almanza one time right before I went into surgery . After my surgery, I never had my bp checked . If they did, it was when I was asleep. My Iv port was not once cleaned before injecting meds. When they gave meds, they would say for pain and nausea . What if I couldn't tolerate it? I would like to know exactly what I'm given . Gloves were rarely used in giving me my meds or changing bandages . I think that the staff could be a lot more sanitary . Also, very very few nurses could understand anything I was trying to say. This made it hard . I only had one X-ray after my surgery to confirm a leak or not but the X-ray was not explained to me at all. All the tech said was no leak and that's after I asked . God help me if I have infection or complication now.March 7, 2014
Dr Almanz and his staff were awesome. It was clean and comfortable. I felt safe and well informed through the process. I completed my surgery on December 23rd 2013 and today on March 5th of 2014 I have lost 57lbs so far. From 322 to 265. I am extremely happy with the results and enjoyed the process. I highly recommend Dr. Almanz.March 5, 2014
I want to start this off with... I just had the surgery so this review is on my results thus far, the procedure, and review of the doctor, staff and facilities only. I will keep posting my new results so you can follow my journey. I promise to tell my truth, the good, the bad and the ugly. I pray that it is ALL GOOD!!!!
After reviewing several doctors for several years I decided on Dr.… Show more Almanza and Staff. Yes, I seen a few negative reviews but you have to take all reviews with a grain of salt. It's another person's experience and not yours. My boyfriend is finishing up medical school now and he tells me about the stuff that even goes on here in the states. Some of it is just going to happen, it's life, we can't control everything. As much as we want all to be and go perfectly it doesn't. So I closed my eyes and jumped towards the Doctor I felt most assured of... assured as I could be.
My experience: My oldest daughter and I decide to do it together we completed all or investigative work on the clinic (even sites that my medical background boyfriend had me check out along with him checking out things on his end) and we made our appointment for just 10 days out so I would not have the time to back out once again (I'm know from backing out of things like this). We booked our flight on Sprit only $216 round trip (no luggage) just a small carry on that gave us enough clothing for the few days we would be there.
Our cost was $4,500 because of the two of us booking together. We paid our balance a few days later and begin reading and preparing from the instructions that they would email, text or call us with. The staff in the call center is very helpful and patient because I called, emailed, text so many times my back office profile reads like a CSI Mexico novel. I know if someone can work another's nerves it would be me! No one time did any of the support staff act or show annoyance with me at any time.
Both my daughter and I had to do a 3 day liquid diet darn boring but we made it through. Early Sunday morning we left for the airport and we were the first to arrive. Slow each patient showed up and Michelle or Melissa stayed in touch with me and answered each one of my calls confirming arrival of each patient and when the shuttle will be there to pick us up. Two patients where running late because of their flight so we were off schedule by about 30 minutes or so, but the shuttle came right after the last person arrived and off we drove across the border in to Mexico straight in to our new life where after Monday morning there was no turning back!
Crossing in to Mexico was no hiccups at all (just don't take out your camera and start taking pictures) that may cause problems there are warning signs posted. Once in to Mexico the shuttle took us straight to the hotel. I don't know if they will still be using the hotel for recovery by the time you read this but if so... YOU WILL LOVE IT!!! It was not what I was expecting. I like nice things and I always stay in 4-5 star hotels when I travel, but for this I was trying to keep my little snooty ways in place and not expect much, times have changed for me, money is very tight and I could not allow myself to be disappointed because of the recovery house. I was going to go through with the procedure even if I did not like the hotel and had to pay to stay somewhere else if it was just that bad. I was so surprised, pleased and very happy. The Hotel Ticuan is so nice. My daughter had already looked at the reviews and pictures on line but I have traveled so much and became very skeptical about hotel reviews over the years. A lot of them would not be as nice as the pictures so I just hold my breath and wait until I'm there. Well no worries at all with this location. New, modern, nice, great staff, great restaurant that they give you as much free broth as you like. Now right outside the hotel is a different matter. My daughter and I would not go outside the hotel without one another, however when we did venture out a few times everything was all good. No one bothered us, a few cat calls and that was that.
I was asked if I wanted to be the first patient for the day and I quickly said yes and my daughter second. I told my daughter if I was not out in 45 minutes not to do the surgery and come looking for me (still a little scared and not trusting especially when it comes to my children). The took me and my daughter and one other person to stay the night at the clinic Sunday night after we had paid for out one night paid stay at the hospital. So make sure if you are going to be the first patient of the day that you do not pay that extra day. We did not get a refund. Any way went stayed the night at the clinic, yes it's in an old shopping center but once you get in the small clinic you do not even think about our notice where you are. The clinic is very small but very clean. I have never seen support staff clean up soooooo much. Smells clean, looks clean it is clean. I felt safe and I slept well.
They prepped us with our IV's and off to bed I went. I slept well, I was not worried or anxious like I thought I would be. They came in to get us around 5:30 AM and Dr. Almanza came to speak with us. Yes he is very handsome like everyone says and I could understand his English well. He gave us all the needed information and then I was off to OR. All I remember is I did not have time to get scared and worked up. They strapped my legs and arms down, Dr. Almanza ask if I was comfortable or nervous the anesthesiologist introduced himself as he was putting the solution in my IV and that's ALL she wrote. I don't remember anything else until my daughter was asking me questions later that morning. Actually I don't know what time it was, my daughter had her surgery and was recovering also but she was much more alert than I was. All I wanted was to go back to sleep.
We stayed there over night they watched us hour on hour and was there at every beck and call. The next morning they took us back to the hotel to recover and go through the rest of the days as scheduled. The only incident I had that pissed me off was someone stole money out of my daughters wallet. Could she have dropped it yes, but I don't think so because everything else was there. So the only advise I would say is keep your money and cards with you or ask for a locker to lock them up in and don't take no for an answer because they did not offer anything to rectify or satisfy us. We are just out of the money even though it was a small amount it was ours and not for the taking. I'm not holding that against Dr. Almanza because I'm sure staff comes and goes and if they do find out who is doing that they would not have any problem letting the go, I doubt they want that kind of image.
We paid for a VIP service to get back to San Diego faster and in a private car instead of the shuttle, yes that is well worth it! I did not have to ride in a bumpy shuttle after surgery, the line was 100 times shorter through the boarder and it was not hassle at all. I would recommend paying the extra $20 per person for that if you have it.
Just don't go expecting things to be so detailed as we are here in the states. They keep it quick, simple, safe, clean and affordable. That's what I wanted. I did not need to be treated like a princess even though I felt that way with them (you get a free message). I just wanted a safe procedure. Safe from beginning through end for the rest of my life and that what I think Dr. Almanza has given me. If things change I will post it here to let you know.
after losing 40ish pds into the 1st few months i began gaining weight again 5-6 months after surgery
i was able to eat much much more than the 1st few months . after 3 years , i decided to seek out a surgeon for consultation. i brought my xray to the new dr that the former dr gave. in reading the xray, my new surgeon said that the former dr never took out my " fundis" so long story short i am having a revision in a few weeks i am so angry i paid out of pocket for nothing.
my 1st impression of Dr Almanza was that he is quite handsome and he smelled really good. he introduced himself to me and explained exactly what he was going to do.
i felt at ease imemdiatly as we joked he then asked me if i had any questions.
the staff at Jerusalem and the guest house is Excellent ive never felt more at home.
from the patient coordinator Sarvelle to the woman and men nurses to our cook Terry
absolutly amazing there wasnt anything that i did not like . all i can say is take the time and get to know everyone they are a wonderful group of people i didnt stop asking all kinds of questions from personal to business. the after care was precise they gave you all the meds that were needed for at home and written instructions. we all know that there are risks in any surgery that was addressed as well. i rate him and the staff overall a 10 i thought both bedside manner and surgical competence to be great. the only thing that i would have liked if i could have seen Dr Almanza once more after my surgery ,but DR Brenda was at the guest house every night , and i figured he was busy with other surgeries.
first impression - professional, tried to make everyone comfortable. sleeved 7-24-12. no patient education, such as post op deep breathing. we had no IDs on our person. Dr Almanza-Reyes took a picture with each patient prior to entering the OR. meds were never explained to us. the night staff was loud. recovery house was nice. my sleeve was fine. but it appears that my phrenic nerve was irritated during surgery -no amount of meds could relieve my upper left chest/shoulder pain. the hub of our IV (hep lock) was never wiped prior to administering meds. we had no IV fluids after surgery. my BP was taken once after surgery. on august 8th i phoned to let them know i had a fever and new flank pain. they were on vacation (til the 6th). i called the recovery house and the nurse said call back in the morning. we called my coordinator - melissa - she never called back. they encourage us to call them before turning to our local health care iproviders - but i ended up with a 38 day hospital stay. sub acute leak,exploratory lap surgery at home,abcess over spleen tunneling to my liver, hospital aquired pneumonia, pleural effusions. chest tube drains, JP drains, every procedure to identify the problem. 5 antibiotics later and a jpeg - feeding tube - i am finally feeling better. my main problem with hosp. J is that no one called me back to check on me. as a nurse, i researched this for months. i chose him - i cannot blame the staff for the complications, but poor follow up- ignoring my panicking messages of 104 fever, etc. made me sad. i never saw him after surgery - in fact, no doctor was brought to us. i just wanted a response..... so, as long as one can self-monitor for complications - go for it. if you do not have any type of common sense or medical background, this might not be your best choice.Nov. 5, 2012
I've been reading the reviews and they have been very helpful. However, I found out that there are a few reviews on here that are from the doctor's offices themselves. Please beware they are working for the doctors and trying to deceive you! I've been doing a lot of research and having surgery in a strip mall is not safe. Our health is important and I know that we have to save money but cutting corners on our health by going to a cheap clinic is not worth it. I met someone's family member who is now in a hospital because they had cheap surgery in a clinic. They're having to spend 5 times more of what they spent in Mexico! If you're going to have weight loss surgery abroad at least make sure it's in a hospital!Sept. 13, 2012
my lap band surgery is scheduled for Sept. 10. I am very nervous but reassured by the positive reviews that I have read. Any tips or comments to help relieve my anxiety would be greatly appreciated.Aug. 10, 2012
He was great. The hospital was clean and he made me feel at ease about getting my sleeve.May 24, 2012