Choosing a Bariatric Surgeon
Even after you have decided to undergo bariatric surgery – a decision that requires plenty of thought – the important milestones in your journey before surgery are not over. The next important decision to research is your choice in surgeon. Bariatric surgeons and practices come in varying shapes and sizes and there is no best surgeon for everyone. Since bariatric surgery is a highly personal and individualized procedure, the best surgeon is the one that fulfills your most important needs. Experience, personality, support and many more factors are all part of this decision. That said, there are several universal tips that can help with this choice:
- Choose experience.A surgeon experienced in the procedure you wish to undergo will usually result in better outcomes and fewer complications. Bariatric surgery has become very safe over the decades it has been performed, and today, the risk of death is as low as a simple gallbladder procedure. However, risks still do exist and an experienced bariatric surgeon will know how to avoid them, or, if they occur, manage them swiftly and appropriately.
- Education. A surgeon’s education, including their continuing education, can reflect on their dedication to the industry. Surgical techniques are changing rapidly, and your surgeon should be well aware of the latest trends in the industry. Further, being abreast of the latest and surgical technology offers you as the patient the most options in your surgical journey.
- Time spent with you. Bariatric surgery is complex. It is one of the most intense surgical processes, both before and after surgery. Before surgery, you will see your surgeon and their staff many times to ensure that you are a good candidate for the procedure. After surgery, you’ll communicate with your bariatric surgeon for the rest of your life. Be sure that your surgeon commits to spending the appropriate amount of time with you, to give you the best chance of success in your weight loss and disease improvement journey
- Support. Since so much of the success of bariatric surgery rests with the patient after surgery, it is important that the practice have a solid support system to help over the long-term. Attend a support group and learn more about the support resources offered by the different practices.
- Personality. While the surgeon’s personality falls quite a distance behind their skill, it is important to remember that you will be seeing your surgeon on a regular basis during the first two years after surgery. Having a good rapport with your surgeon is important. Some patients like the warm and fuzzy, while others like direct and clinical. Either way, there is the right surgeon for you.
Choosing a surgeon is not easy and taking the time to evaluate each practice in your area is good advice. Spend time attending seminars and support groups at each and speak to the practice’s former patients. You will not regret spending time researching the best surgeon for you.