Weight Loss Surgery Choosing Surgeon

Contemplating bariatric surgery can be a scary proposition. The procedure requires massive lifestyle changes, and the list of possible complications and side effects is long. To reduce your risk of experiencing these daunting side effects, find a bariatric surgeon who is experienced and knowledgeable about the latest research.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Surgeon

When choosing a bariatric surgeon, first realize that you might have to interview several doctors before finding one who suits you. This is part of the surgical process and is just as important as the actual procedure. When you interview potential doctors, consider the following factors:

  • certification: You can rule out surgeons who arent board-certified right away. Not only should your surgeon be board-certified, he or she should also be a member of the American Society of Bariatric Surgery. Ask about the educational institutions he or she attended. Also inquire about how long has he or she has been in practice.
  • cost: You might be attracted to a particular office because of a low initial cost compared to other practices. However, many times lower cost means less experience on the part of the bariatric surgeon. Weight loss surgery is one case in which you can help ensure a successful surgery by paying more.
  • knowledge of technology: Before you go into the office for the first time, research the latest bariatric surgical techniques. This way, you can ask the surgeon about his or her knowledge regarding specific techniques. Some surgeons are not familiar with important advances in bariatric surgery, such as laparoscopic techniques. The one you choose, however, should be.
  • rate of success: Is this bariatric surgeon familiar with obesity issues similar to your own? How many of this surgeon’s patients suffer from complications? Frightening as it might be, go ahead and ask about the mortality rate in this surgeons patients, as well as the number of surgeries he or she has performed.
  • references: Once the bariatric surgeon has cleared the certification hurdle, you can ask for references from former patients. Many times the surgeon will have testimonials on file, ready for knowledgeable patients like you. Other times, you can ask to speak to members of the postoperative support group for your surgeons practice.

Similarly, choose a practice that offers its own patient support group so that you don’t have to seek one separately. Other things to look for in a quality bariatric surgeon include:

  • a comfortable, relaxing atmosphere
  • a knowledgeable nursing staff that treats you well
  • an anesthesiologist
  • modern, well-run surgical facilities.

With this checklist met to your satisfaction, you can proceed with your bariatric surgery with confidence.

Post-Surgery Care

Any surgeon you choose should know that care for bariatric surgery patients does not begin and end with the actual operation. Postoperative support is a contributing factor in the success of the overall process. While part of essential post-surgery care is to find a dietician and/or nutritionist to help you adjust to your new, postoperative eating habits, many surgeons also offer a lifetimes worth of follow-up care to their patients.

Resources

Bariatric-Surgery.info (n.d.). How to Find a Qualified Weight-Loss Surgeon. Retrieved April 22, 2008, from the Bariatric Surgery.info Web site.

DocShop (2008). How to Choose a Bariatric Surgeon. Retrieved April 22, 2008, from the DocShop Web site.