New Patients

To help make your first visit to our practice as smooth as possible, please read the information on this web page. You'll find all the practical information you need, such as a map and directions to our office(s), practice hours, payment policies and more. We also describe our first visit procedures. And, you can save some time by printing out and completing the new patient forms in advance of your appointment.

Mission Statement

Our practice is working together to realize a shared vision of uncompromising excellence in medical care.

To fulfill this mission, we are committed to:

  • Listening to those we are privileged to serve.
  • Earn the trust and respect of patients, profession and community.
  • Exceed your expectations.
  • Ensure a creative, challenging and compassionate professional environment.
  • Strive for continuous improvement at all levels. 

New Patient Process

Contemplating a life change as big as bariatric surgery can be daunting. There are insurance procedures, preoperative preparations, logistical concerns - it can be difficult just to figure out where to begin. South Texas Lap Band recognizes this, and our staff facility is thoroughly trained to assist prospective patients every step of the way.

First Step: The Seminar

Every month, South Texas Lap Band offers seminars in McAllen, Mission and Brownsville. Patients come from all over South Texas and beyond to discuss their concerns with our medical professionals and to find out about our services. Topics include:

Determining whether you're a good candidate for surgery. Similarities and differences between the operations we perform. The results you can expect. What you'll need to do to ensure successful results. Risks and benefits of the available procedures

Next: A Consultation

Patients who attend seminars can schedule a consultation with South Texas Lap Band bariatric surgeon, Dr. Mario del Pino. During this one-on-one meeting, you will be able to discuss any follow-up questions you may have, as well as address in greater depth the issues you must consider before surgery. You will discuss whether weight loss surgery is right for you, as well as the surgery options that might best meet your needs.

Depending on your schedule, you may attend the consult with Dr. del Pino before attending the seminar. Our goal is to provide a seamless and efficient educational process, so just let us know what is best for you.

Testing and Evaluation

After the consultation, you will undergo pre-operative testing to ensure you are an appropriate candidate for surgery. This testing includes:

  • Clearance from your medical doctor. If you don’t have one we will help you find one.
  • Cardiac clearance, if necessary
  • Dietary evaluation
  • Psychological evaluation
  • Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy
  • Lab work, EKG, chest X-ray

Additional testing may be required depending on the patient's individual medical history.


Once these tests are complete, you will be introduced to our insurance coordinator. This person will guide you through the insurance authorization process and assist you in understanding the requirements for your specific policy. You'll likely be asked for documentation of your medical history as it relates to your weight; the more information you have available, the better.

The Operation - and Beyond

After the preparation process is complete, it's time to undergo the procedure. You can rest assured that our extensive experience performing weight loss surgery has led to excellent patient care and outcomes.

After your surgery, you will be guided through the recovery process. The team members you've already become acquainted with will work with you as you adjust to post-surgery lifestyle changes. They will help you with nutrition, exercise, and any other concerns you may have. You should also attend the support groups we offer for our patients — we have seen that camaraderie and mutual support go a long way toward ensuring patients' success. Most patients require only a one night stay in the hospital.

If you have any questions about specific aspects of the preparation for surgery contact South Texas Lap Band at (956) 631-8155. Or, sign up online for a free seminar at our office. We are looking forward to helping you.

Financial Overview

You've decided to take a big step, choosing weight loss surgery as an effective means of treating your obesity. You’re determined to start on the path to weight loss. You’ve decided that of all the weight management programs out there, South Texas Lap Band offers you the best probability to lose weight fast and effectively. You’ve researched surgical weight control methods and providers, and you’ve scheduled a consultation with the doctor.

One major question will quickly arise: How will I pay for my surgery?

Cash price for Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy

Cash price does not apply to patients who have had a previous weight loss surgery procedure.

Weight Loss Surgery and Insurance Benefits

Fortunately, many insurance plans do provide for bariatric surgery, and nearly 90% of the patients at South Texas Lap Band do have coverage. The medical community recognizes obesity as a medical condition that, if treated, improves or reduces the risk of many diseases, including diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, joint pain and sleep apnea. Obesity and weight control are among the leading problematic medical conditions facing the population today, and insurance coverage makes these procedures much more affordable.

Weight Loss Surgery and Insurance Providers

Your insurance plan likely helps pay for approved treatment from a recognized bariatric surgery center. Indeed, in some states it is legally necessary. Obtaining insurance authorization can be long and complicated, but South Texas Lap Band will help you throughout the process to ensure that everything goes smoothly.

Insurance Approval Process for Weight Loss Surgery Patients

  • First, you should contact our office. Our insurance specialist will need a few pieces of basic information from you in order to confirm whether you have insurance coverage for the procedure.
  • The next step is to come in for a consultation with our bariatric team, including our weight loss surgeon, Dr. Mario del Pino. During this visit, we will discuss available treatment options and confirm whether you are a candidate for bariatric surgery.
  • Your insurance company may require that you meet with your primary-care doctor first to obtain a referral. If this is the case, we can work with your physician to ensure that this process goes smoothly.
  • Once we have confirmed your insurance coverage and you have selected a treatment plan, we will work towards obtaining your surgical clearance and insurance authorization.
  • Each patient receives a detailed list of everything they need to do, and many of the necessary steps can be completed in a single day in the hospital.

These steps vary based on your insurance plan and medical history, but generally include a medical clearance, psychological evaluation, and dietary consultation. Regardless of what is required by your insurance, we will work with you every step of the way until you are ready for your surgery.

Financial Assistance for Weight Loss Surgery Candidates in Mcallen

If you do not have insurance, or if for another reason you need to seek alternative financing, South Texas Lap Band can help. There are a few ways that people commonly finance bariatric surgery on their own: these include paying with a credit card, paying with cash, and seeking financing through an agency that specializes in financing for medical procedures like this.

Weight Loss Surgery Insurance Coverage and Reimbursement Amounts

Reimbursement varies with each individual insurance policy. The terms of your policy will determine what is covered and how much, if any, you will have to pay out of your own pocket. Consult our insurance specialist or your insurance company for more information.

For More Information...

At South Texas Lap Band, located in McAllen Texas, the health and weight loss of our patients is our focus. If you are 50 pounds overweight, have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more, call us. We provide informational seminars about their options for weight loss, tips on financing, and other related topics. Contact us at (956) 631-8155 or schedule an appointment online.

For Patients Coming From Out of Town

We recommend you taking care of the medical, psychology and dietary evaluations before coming to us and sending the information so our Doctor can review it and determine if any additional evaluations or tests are needed. If you decide to go for the cash pay offer we recommend you to have the psychology clearance before coming to us and bringing the reports.

Once your surgery is scheduled you will be asked to start a very low calorie diet (see below). You will meet and be evaluated by Dr. del Pino the day before your surgery. Most patients chose to have their surgeries on Fridays. You will be seen for a post-op check up on Monday and you will be able to return home after being seen by the surgeon.

The hospital has a team in place that can help you with hotel accommodations at a special rate. The airport is located ten minutes away from the Hospital and only 5 minutes away from the doctor’s office. Transportation to and from the Airport, Hotel and Hospital can be arranged before you come too.

Contracted & Accepted Insurance Plans

One of the major concerns of people interested in weight loss surgery is cost. Although bariatric procedures are very effective in helping motivated patients to lose weight, which likely translates into longer life and lower medical costs, bariatric operations can involve a significant up-front expenditure. Fortunately, insurance plans often cover this powerful option to treat the condition of obesity — in many places, they are even required to do so.

Contracted & Accepted Insurance Providers at Our Mcallen Weight Loss Clinic

South Texas Lap Band is a contracted provider with the following major insurance companies:

  • Anthem Blue Cross
  • Blue Shield
  • Blue Cross/Blue Shield
  • Medicare
  • Aetna
  • GEHA
  • Medicaid

We are also contracted with a number of smaller PPO, HMO and IPA plans. To find out if your health insurance covers the surgery, please contact South Texas Lap Band at (956) 631-8155 or schedule an office visit. The insurance coordinator at our center for weight management will be happy to assist you.

Recovery Time After Having Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Most patients require a one night stay in the hospital and they can be back to work in a week or so. For a few days, the body may not be used to the modification, so discomfort or nausea may occur.

Dieting After Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Your surgeon will specify what restrictions apply to eating and drinking before surgery. After the operation, you will gradually transition to eating normally, beginning with liquids and progressing gradually to solid food. As part of the postoperative educational process, the surgeon will provide you with in depth information and resources to help you through this process.

As with many weight loss surgeries, there may be some foods which you will have difficulty tolerating after gastric bypass surgery. As part of the patient education process, the surgeon will review a list of potential problem foods as well as food which should generally be avoided as part of a healthy diet.

While healthy food choices are a key to success after weight loss surgery, you should not feel hungry or deprived. The long term goal is an adjustment in lifestyle which allows you to eat what you want, but in moderation.

Curious about sleeve gastrectomy in McAllen? Call us at (956) 631-8155 for more information or schedule a one-on-one appointment.