What Questions To Ask Your Bariatric Surgeon? 

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You will also want to ask the bariatric surgeons some questions as well. This will help you make the right decision on choosing a surgeon for your bariatric surgery. Some of the questions you will want to ask include,

  • How many bariatric surgeries have you performed?

You will want to know how experienced your doctor is before making an appointment. You probably do not want to choose a doctor that is just getting started in the field.

Whether you are looking to have Lap-Band or gastric bypass, you should know that complications after surgery have a lot to do with how many surgeries the doctor has done. The more surgeries the doctor has performed like yours, the better for you. If you feel uncomfortable with the number of surgeries performed or if the doctor is unwilling to disclose this number, perhaps you should look for another doctor.  

However, you should also know that with any doctor, no matter how many surgeries he or she has performed, complications can still arise and sometimes it has nothing to do with experience. If you like the doctor and he or she has good ratings and recommendations, then even if the doctor is just getting started, you should consider it.

  • Find out the type of bariatric procedures that the doctor performs.

Another question you will want to know the answer to is which type of surgeries for weight loss does the doctor perform. This is important to know because some weight loss doctors perform only one kind of bariatric surgery, while others do several different types.  

If you find that a surgeon only performs one kind of surgery, such as only the latest one, you should find out why. This may be a doctor that has moved into the weight loss field recently and is looking to find more business.  

Weight loss doctors that perform all types of surgeries might be a better option because you know that this doctor can tell you which surgery is right for you and cares about your personal success rather than making a quick buck. 

  • Is the doctor board certified by the American Board of Surgery? 

You also need to know whether the doctor is certified by either the American Board of Surgery or the American Osteopathic Board of Surgery. It is imperative that the doctor you choose is board certified. This means that he or she has meet the criteria and standards set forth to operate on patients and they have the necessary training in their field.

  • Is the doctor a member of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery?

This is an important credential that your weight loss surgeon should have. This shows that your doctor has the right training and experience necessary to perform bariatric surgery. This also means that your doctor has at performed at least 25 bariatric procedures within the last two years.  

Make sure that your doctor holds this certification and if not, then you will need to make sure you look for another surgeon to perform the procedure. 

  • Is the surgery center recognized as a Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence?

Surgeries of any kind are often performed in hospitals, surgical centers and day surgery centers, but not all of them are equipped to handle bariatric patients and their unique needs after the procedure.  

Before you choose your doctor, find out a little more about where the surgery will be performed. You will need to not only deal with the doctor, but you need to know that the place of the surgery also has nurses and staff on hand to help you afterwards. They also need to be trained in bariatric surgery.

A Center of Excellence means that the surgical center has performed at least 125 bariatric surgeries and the surgeon has also performed at least 125 procedures over his or her career.  

These stringent guidelines ensure that you are getting the best care from everyone on the staff including the surgeon, dietician, anesthesiologist, nurse and the psychologist. Look for this recognition when you are seeking out a surgical center for your weight loss procedure. 

  • Can the doctor tell you what your personal risks of surgery will be at your appointment?

Because every patient is different, this is the approach your doctor should take. Not every surgery will affect each person the same. Not every surgery is right for every person.  

Each surgery should be personalized to the person’s needs and their weight loss goals. You should find a doctor that recognizes this and takes the time to find out more about your health history and how the surgery will affect you both long term and short term 

When you meet with the surgeon, ask the doctor what your personal risks may be after surgery. If, for example, you are diabetic, you may find that you are at a higher risk of not healing as fast as others. If you have heart disease, then a high risk surgery may not be the right choice for you. Find a surgeon willing to talk to you about which surgery is right for you and why. 

  • Who will be assisting the surgeon during your weight loss procedure?

It is also a good idea to know whether or not your doctor will be performing the surgery alone or if another doctor will be in on the case. If there will be another doctor present, find out about this person’s qualifications. 

  • Is the staff on hand at the center or the hospital trained to take care of post-operative bariatric surgery patients?

Bariatric surgery is difficult. It is hard on the body and it does take time to recover properly. After you have a major surgery such as this one, you need to make sure that those caring for you are specially trained to help you.  

If the staff on hand is not knowledgeable about the ins and outs of bariatric patients, you may not get the best care or the best advice. Seek out a doctor that performs surgery in centers where the nurses and other staff are skilled and trained to help weight loss surgical patients. 

You will also want to make sure that the center is equipped with the right size equipment such as wheelchairs, beds, blood pressure cuffs, scanners and gowns. 

  • Is the anesthesiologist experienced with overweight surgical patients? 

Make sure that you ask your surgeon whether or not the anesthesiologist can handle working with obese patients. You should know that being obese can increase your risks under anesthesia and only a trained person in this field and one with experience can make sure that it is done correctly. 

It is to your benefit to have one that is trained and has experience working with the obese. 

  • Will the doctor help you find support after the surgery is over?

When you are wheeled out of the operating room, the major part for the surgeon is done, but you will still need that doctor. You need to make sure that the doctor can help you get the care you need after the surgery is over. You should also make sure that he or she keeps your post-op appointment and follow ups as well. 

  • Who will cover for the surgeon when he or she is not on call?

Your surgeon does not work around the clock. When he or she is not on call, who is taking those calls? Is it someone else who is skilled at caring for bariatric patients? If you go home and have a complication a couple of days after surgery, you need to know that there will be someone who can care for you. 

  • Can the surgeon’s office file your insurance and help guide you through the red tape?

Dealing with insurance is never pleasant and when you are having a procedure that may or may not be covered by your insurance, you may need help making sure you are getting the coverage that you need.  

Make sure that the doctor that you choose can help you obtain your insurance policy on bariatric surgery and can help you with your questions regarding insurance coverage. 

Additionally, if your insurance does cover, does your doctor take your insurance? You need to find out that information before scheduling your surgery. If you are paying for your procedure out of pocket, you may want to find out if your doctor will accept payment plans, as bariatric surgery is very expensive. 

Bariatric Surgeons

  • Do you like the doctor?

You have probably heard that first impressions mean a lot and that holds true for doctors as well. The second you walk into a doctor’s office you will get a feel of whether or not you feel comfortable with this person. Is the waiting room nice and clean? Is the staff nice and helpful? Is the doctor on time and personable? These are all questions that you will answer to yourself after you meet the doctor.  

After your initial appointment with the doctor, you will probably have a good idea if this is someone that you can trust. 

  • Is there help for follow up?

Last but not least, you should ask the doctor if he or she can give you the help you need for follow up care after your surgery. You will need help finding a dietician, getting counseling and making sure that you stay on track with your diet and exercise program.  

Your nutrition will play a huge role in the outcome of your surgery so make sure that your surgeon gives you the information and the tools that you need to make good choices after the surgery. You need to have the names and contacts for everyone that will play an instrumental role in the success of your surgery and your doctor should be the one to help you with that. 

A surgeon that fails to follow up with his or her patients after surgery probably is not too concerned about the patient individually and is instead more interested in the money it brings in. This should never be the case. If you do not follow up with your surgeon, he or she will never know if the procedure is effective. Make sure that you use a doctor that is committed to helping you reach your weight loss goals before, during and after the surgery is complete.

 

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Ask the Right Questions
What to Expect From Bariatric Surgery
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