Questions to Ask Your Bariatric Surgeon

When choosing a bariatric surgeon, a great deal of effort must be put into finding not only the best surgeon, but the best surgeon for YOU. Each patient will want and require a slightly different level of care; what is important for one, may not be for another. Therefore, while experience and results certainly count, the degree to which you and a surgical practice “click” should also be factored into the decision.

Most surgeons offer group setting, informational seminars. This gives patients the opportunity to ask questions, and hear other patient’s questions, that they might not have thought of.

If you are a surgery candidate, you will also meet with the staff, on an individual basis. During the waiting period, before surgery, you will have the opportunity to ask questions to the surgeon, as well. Some questions you may want to ask include:

Surgical Experience: Asking about the surgeon’s experience, with the procedure being chosen, is crucial.  Some surgeons specialize in one procedure over another. Making sure that the chosen procedure is one of their specialties, can help long-term results.

Insurance Questions: Ask your surgeon if they are in-network or out-of-network with your insurance company. Be sure to ask if the surgical facilities, and other physicians associated with your care, are in-network.

Dedication to Continuing Education: Asking about the surgeon’s continuing education can also help determine their level of dedication to their field. Do they regularly train with other surgeons and medical device manufacturers? Are they current with the latest trends in obesity surgery? Do they regularly attend symposia, conventions, and lectures? Are they abreast of the latest research regarding bariatric surgery and specific procedures? Does your surgeon participate in research, attempting to stay at the leading edge of his/her field?

Personal Attention and Care: It may be worth asking about the surgeon’s ability to follow up after surgery. Surgeons with extreme case loads may not be able to spend the time you want or need after surgery. Other patients may not need that level of personal care and may be happy with support staff answering their questions. Either way, it is important to understand how much time the surgeon will be able to devote to your particular case.

Facilities: Most surgeons will perform their procedure in an outpatient center or hospital setting. Finding out more about the quality of these facilities is important in determining the level of care you will receive. Also, ask if the facility, the assistant, and the anesthesiologist are in-network with your insurance plan. If they are out-of-network, your portion of charges can be quite high. This should be worked out in advance.

Support Programs: Asking about the practice’s and hospital’s support programs is important. Support is a key indicator of weight loss success after surgery. Comprehensive and structured support programs can help you lose more weight, more effectively, and as such, you should be sure that the aftercare provided is comprehensive. Learn more about support after bariatric surgery.

While online and offline research is vital, some questions can only be answered by the practice and by the surgeon themselves. You are encouraged to compile a list of all the questions you may have about the surgery and take the time to ensure that they are fully answered. Understanding the weight loss surgery process and educating yourself on the risks, benefits and expectations of surgery, will position you for greater success after surgery, both in the short-term and long-term.

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Surgeons, practitioners, and hospitals wishing to be included in the Bariatric Surgery Corner directory can do so by submitting their listing to us.