The Five Best Questions to Ask Your Bariatric Surgeon
Choosing a surgeon to perform a major procedure like bariatric surgery can feel daunting. You likely have a million questions swirling in your head, both about how you life will change and if you trust this person to operate on you. Before your first in office appointment with your bariatric surgeon, we recommend you do some research and write down your questions. Many of your questions will be answered naturally during the appointment, but it is always nice to be prepared and leave your appointment feeling like you got the most out of it. Five questions we have found to have a big impact are listed below. These five questions can help you get insight into your surgeon and the journey ahead and lead to engaging conversation.
WHAT EXPERIENCE DO YOU HAVE IN BARIATRIC SURGERY?
This question has a few facets you may want to explore. Experience is built in a lot of ways including education, fellowships, years in practice, publications, mentors, research, cases performed, and more. A younger, or at least younger looking, surgeon may not spell inexperienced and vice-versa. Bariatrics is a sub-specialty of general surgery, so a surgeon may have many years in the operating room without much hands-on time in bariatric procedures. Further, as surgical techniques and research advance the practice of medicine, newer surgeons may have an advantage of the most up to date training and practice. But don’t forget, many seasoned surgeons keep up with the latest and greatest, while leveraging their considerable experience as well. So, don’t judge a book by its cover. Just make sure the experience, and desire to constantly improve, is there.
WHAT PROCEDURE WOULD YOU RECOMMEND FOR ME?
Surgeons are experts in surgical procedures, so take advantage of your time with them and take to heart what they share. While ultimately the procedure you choose is your decision, the guidance of a surgeon who knows bariatric surgery in and out can be very helpful. The insight your doctor can offer is a product of hundreds and even thousands of procedures – he or she may bring up points you may not have considered. There are some details about your medical history or social history that may cause them to encourage one procedure over another like a history of smoking, a high stress lifestyle, GERD, diabetes or age.
WHY DO YOU CHOOSE TO PERFORM BARIATRIC SURGERY?
On the more personal side, asking a surgeon why they chose to focus on bariatric medicine and why they continue in the field can give you insight into the surgeon’s passion and commitment. This question will often allow you to better connect with and get to know and trust the person in the scrubs. You may also find the surgeon you meet doesn’t feel like the right fit for you and another surgeon in the practice may make more sense. Remember, this is a life-long relationship.
WHAT SHOULD I TAKE ADVANTAGE OF?
Our practice offers many resources, from access to a comprehensive care team pre and post-op to a coordinated support group available for patients, but each surgeon can offer deeper, more specific insight. Overall, the most important thing you can take advantage of is the process itself. Every visit, test, and check is built to round out your care and keep you on track. Bariatric surgery is a tool, so let our team teach your ways to use it most effectively.
WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU CAN SHARE?
Our bariatric surgeons have treated a lot of patients over the years, meaning they have worked with people through this journey and recognize what makes patients successful as well as where patients tend to stumble. Take advantage of the learning experiences of others and avoid the pitfalls yourself. Beyond that, these surgeons are truly experts. They are frequently learning new things about the field and interacting with other professionals to improve the patient care we offer. Soak in as much as you can to be sure that a) bariatric surgery is right for you and b) you give yourself the best chance to hit all your weight loss and disease resolution goals.