The importance of choosing the right bariatric physician cannot be emphasized enough. The risk of complications after bariatric surgery can be minimized greatly by choosing the physician with care. The year 2005 saw around 150,000 people in the North America alone who chose to lose weight with the aid of bariatric surgery.
All doctors who present themselves as bariatric physicians are not really experts in bariatric procedures. Just having your MD and a business card certifying yourself as a bariatric physician does not give you the expertise required to perform surgery free from complications.
As the demand for bariatric procedures expands, self-certified bariatric physicians are becoming dangerously common around the country since some hospitals hire new doctors to set up obesity clinics. Hospital administrators look at bariatric weight loss clinics favorably because these clinics create a demand for many other services, like follow-up care, nutritional consultations, X-rays, and in case of unqualified doctors, additional surgeries.
There is immense pressure on the hospital to convince potential patients of bariatric surgery being their only alternative. As a result of this pressure, a lot of severely obese people honestly believe that surgery is their only option even when this isn’t the case.
What’s more, bariatric surgery only makes it all the more important to diet. Even after surgically reducing the stomach, a single gastric bypass can bring all of the weight back if they don’t diet carefully and don’t exercise –this happens in about 1 in 20 cases.
Bariatric surgery is nearly never the right option for a young teen or pre-teen child.
So how can you ensure that you’ve chosen the best bariatric physician for you?
First of all, look for lots of experience. Both the bariatric physician as well as the hospital (it’s always best to get bariatric surgery done in a hospital that’s equipped to deal with complications) should have operated on at least a 100 patients successfully in the last two years.
Secondly, beware of a bariatric physician who tries to convince you that you are a candidate for surgery without even giving you a thorough physical and psychological examination. You must to be in good physical condition for the surgery to avoid complications. If your bariatric physician advises you that you have absolutely no alternatives and that your insurance company has to pay his or her fee of twenty thousand dollars, thirty thousand dollars, or more, ask how the physician can be so sure that no other method of weight loss will work.
Even if you don’t ask this question, your insurance company definitely will.
Finally, don’t commit yourself to any bariatric weight loss program that refuses to make a commitment to give you up to two years of care. When you undergo the operation, you’re only starting to lose weight. You will still need to diet for the rest of your life. And you will also need nutritional monitoring for the rest of your life.
Bariatric surgery is a life-changing operation that requires a life-long commitment. Choose a program that ensures a life-long commitment to your good health.