How to Choose a Bariatric Surgeon
Deciding to undergo weight loss surgery is an important and life-altering decision. It is also a decision that should be made with care and serious consideration. However, it is not the last of the major decisions you will have to make as a potential bariatric patient. Choosing a surgeon is also an extremely important part of the eventual success of the procedure. While there are benchmarks for every profession, bariatric surgery is a highly personal and ongoing journey. That can sometimes complicate the decision of which surgeon to choose. While experience and education are very important factors, so too are bedside manner and attentiveness. Remember this is a life-long relationship you are entering. The following are some criteria to look out for when choosing a surgeon:
- Surgeon’s experience – It has been proven that a surgeon experienced in a particular procedure will usually have a lower complication rate than a surgeon with very little experience.
- Referrals – Word of mouth referrals from your primary physician and other bariatric patients may be very useful in getting insight into the practice.
- Center of Excellence – The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery confers its Center of Excellence designation to practices and surgeons with exceptional outcomes and patient care. While this alone is not a reason to choose a surgeon, it does offer an independent third-party voice.
- Education – Medical school and post-graduate education is a very important part of the decision making process. So too is a surgeon’s dedication to continuing education.
- Bedside Manner – While you may not be able to figure this out from the get-go, attending a seminar, follow-up appointments and consultations can offer insight into your surgeon’s personality.
- Follow Up Program – The ultimate success of a bariatric procedure revolves around long-term weight loss. Support and aftercare is no small part of that. Make sure your surgeon has a well-developed, comprehensive aftercare program for patients.
This is not a complete list of qualities to look out for in a surgeon; however it should be helpful in narrowing down your choices. Ultimately, there is a best surgeon for you and with some patience and persistence that surgeon can be found.