If you have been struggling with excess weight for some time and the traditional methods of diet and exercise are not yielding the results that you are hoping for, you may be considering bariatric surgery.
Bariatric surgery is the term used to describe the various surgical procedures that have the overall aim of helping the patient to lose weight. There are various different types of bariatric surgery available, with the most common being gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, an adjustable gastric band and biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch. While extremely effective, bariatric surgery isn’t suitable for every patient and there are specific requirements that have to be met to be approved candidacy for each type of procedure. You will usually discuss your decision with doctors, surgeons and potentially psychologists to ensure that you are physically and emotionally prepared to undergo weight loss surgery.
Bariatric surgery is one of the most reliable and effective methods for achieving long term weight loss and an improvement in medical problems that have been associated with carrying excess weight. However, the key to a successful bariatric surgery is to choose the right surgeon and surgical team to carry out the procedure and support you afterward.
Here are some of the questions that you need to ask to ensure that you choose the right bariatric surgeon for your procedure.
It goes without saying that you will need to choose a bariatric surgeon who offers the specific procedure that you are interested in, particularly since not all surgeons will necessarily have the same degree of experience in each type. Some bariatric surgeries can even be performed laparoscopically, which means that there is no need for a large open wound, reducing the risks associated with the procedure and enabling patients to enjoy a shorter recovery time.
Ideally, you should choose a surgeon who is board-certified by the American Board of Surgery or the American Osteopathic Board of Surgery. In order to become certified, surgeons must complete a rigorous training program and prove that they can meet pre-defined standards, which is tested through a series of examinations.
ASMBS membership also suggests that the surgeon is board-certified and has performed a minimum of 25 bariatric surgery procedures as the lead surgeon within the last two years.
Unsurprisingly, most people want to choose a bariatric surgeon who has a great deal of experience to complement their education and formal training. Research has found that complication rates from weight loss surgery depend greatly on how many procedures the surgeon has completed. Therefore, the greater the experience your surgeon has had, the lower the risk of complications and the better the overall outcome of your procedure is likely to be.
All surgeries come with some degree of risk and any great bariatric surgeon will be happy to discuss these in detail with you, outlining both the general risks and those which may be specific to you. They will be happy to answer any questions that you have honestly and explain anything that you aren’t sure about. They will also be able to explain the benefits of the procedure for your health and lifestyle and explain what you can expect from the adjustment period following your surgery.
The bariatric surgery is actually only the very first step in what will be a much longer journey that requires a lifelong commitment to changing your eating habits and adopting a healthy lifestyle. As such, support after the surgery is essential to help you adjust to making these changes. Any good bariatric surgeon will have a range of services that you can call on to help you through this transition and beyond, such as nutritional counseling, psychological support, referral to physical therapy/exercise classes/a gym and more. Find out what support will be available to you after your procedure before you commit.
Only you can choose the right surgeon for your bariatric procedure and it is important that you trust your instincts when it comes to meeting with potential surgeons and deciding who will perform your procedure. If you would like any more advice on selecting the perfect professional for your weight loss surgery, please contact our office.