Advice on Choosing a Bariatric Surgeon
Making the decision to have bariatric surgery is a very big deal. For many, this is one of the first steps to engaging in a healthier lifestyle. For others, this is an effort to turn life-threatening diseases around and add years back to their life. While choosing to pursue the surgery is the biggest decision you need to make, just next to that decision should be who you are going to have perform the operation. There are several kinds of bariatric surgery options available and all have their own risks, so it is important that you find a surgeon that is suited to perform the procedure you have chosen as best for you. Consider these four pieces of advice before making any decision as to where and by whom you will have your surgery performed.
- Experience. Surgery comes with many risks. The only way to truly lower risks associated with your operation is to choose a surgeon that has performed the procedure at least 1000 times before. Also, it is important to pick a surgeon that specializes in bariatric surgery, rather than a general surgeon that performs bariatric surgery on the side.
- Volume. If the surgical center is small and no-one you know has ever heard of it before, there is a large chance that this center does not have a lot of experience. On the other hand, a massive surgical center that performs around 700 bariatric surgical procedures a year is going to be able to offer the experience, knowledge, and comfort necessary for the exact procedure you are having done.
- Bariatric Center of Excellence. This title is only bestowed to bariatric surgical centers that are deemed as safe and is recommended by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) and the Surgical Review Corporation (SRC). This title comes with very high standards, and if the surgical center you are considering meets these qualifications you will be in very good hands.
- Complication rates. While information about the center is crucial, it is also good to know specifics about the surgeon that will be performing the operation on you. Ask your surgeon his complication rate, if it is very high, you may want to look somewhere else. A surgeon with a low complication rate will be proud to share that information, so if your surgeon appears to not want to disclose this to you, that may be a sign to move on.