The decision to have bariatric surgery is a significant one. And who you choose as your bariatric surgeon — and their associated program and staff — may be the most important choice you make. Here are some questions to ask as you look for the right surgeon for you.
Questions To Ask Yourself
How close to home do I want my surgeon and hospital to be?
You will have many appointments with your surgeon and medical team before and after your surgery. Consider your schedule and time available when determining how far you are willing to travel.
How comfortable am I with the surgeon and his/her staff?
It’s important that you feel comfortable talking with your surgeon and asking any questions you may have. You should also feel comfortable with the medical staff, who will be working with you on your entire journey toward weight loss.
Will my health plan cover the costs of surgery?
Some health plans may require that you have surgery in a hospital which has a national accreditation, or is seeking accreditation, from the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP), which works with the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS). Ask if your health plan will only cover a MBSAQIP-accredited facility.
Questions To Ask Your Surgeon
Are you board-certified by the American Board of Surgery or the American Osteopathic Board of Surgery?
Board certification by these boards indicates that the surgeon has completed a training program and met certain predefined standards.
Are you a member of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS)?
ASMBS membership suggests that a bariatric surgeon is board certified and has performed a minimum of 25 bariatric procedures as the primary surgeon within the past two years.
How many procedures have you performed?
The number of procedures your surgeon has performed will give you an idea of how much experience he or she has with a particular procedure.
Are you trained in robotic-assisted surgery or minimally invasive techniques?
Minimally invasive surgical techniques typically result in less pain and a faster recovery.
Do you have fellowship training in bariatric surgery?
A fellowship trained bariatric surgeon has specific training experience in bariatric surgery.
Does the hospital have staff trained specifically to care for weight loss surgery patients?
Overweight and obese patients may have different health needs than non-obese patients. It’s important that the facility you choose has experience meeting these needs. Ask about specialized equipment such as sufficiently sized blood pressure cuffs, hospital beds, wheelchairs, floor-mounted or supported toilets, gowns and operating tables. Obesity may increase the risk of complications from anesthesia, so it can be beneficial to have an anesthesiologist who has experience with obese patients.