Bariatric surgery is a safe, proven life-changing treatment that can provide significant health benefits to people struggling with obesity. But so much of the success of this transformative procedure hinges on the skill and expertise of the bariatric surgeon, which means it’s really important to consider your options. Since choosing the right doctor is a critical first step toward achieving your weight loss and overall health goals, we’re sharing four qualities to look for in a bariatric surgeon.
Board Certification and Training
The first and most fundamental aspect to look for in a qualified bariatric surgeon is their board certification and training. Ensure that the surgeon is certified by a recognized board, such as the American Board of Surgery, with specific qualifications in bariatric surgery such as Fellowship designation from the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. Board certification signifies that the surgeon has completed rigorous training and has met the necessary standards for competence in the field.
The field of bariatric surgery is continually evolving, with new techniques and research emerging regularly, and a qualified surgeon should stay current on the latest advancements by participating in continuing education and engaging in research. Their commitment to ongoing learning reflects their dedication to providing the best care possible. Often the surgeon will also be publishing and presenting at these meetings and conferences.
Experience and Expertise
Experience is a crucial factor when choosing a bariatric surgeon. Look for a surgeon who has performed a substantial number of bariatric procedures, as this indicates a higher level of expertise. It’s also helpful to consider the surgeon’s specialization within the field of bariatric surgery. Some surgeons may focus on specific procedures, such as gastric bypass, revisional procedures or sleeve gastrectomy, and may have more experience in these areas.
It can also be helpful to look closely at the surgeon’s track record in terms of surgical outcomes and complication rates. A reputable surgeon should be willing to share this data with prospective patients. Low complication rates and positive outcomes are indicative of a surgeon’s proficiency and commitment to patient safety. Ask for feedback from previous patients who have undergone bariatric surgery with the surgeon you are considering. Patient testimonials and reviews can offer valuable insights into the surgeon’s bedside manner, communication skills, and overall patient satisfaction. Online reputations are not to be completely ignored, though it’s wise to take them with a grain of salt.
Take a close look at the hospital where the surgeon performs bariatric procedures as well. Verify that the hospital is accredited by organizations like the American College of Surgeons or the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS). Accreditation ensures that the hospital maintains high standards of care and safety for bariatric surgery patients.
A qualified bariatric surgeon should embrace a multidisciplinary approach to patient care. Obesity is a complex condition with various medical, nutritional, and psychological aspects. That means you want a surgeon who works closely with a team of experts, including dietitians, psychologists, and medical professionals, to ensure you’ll receive comprehensive care and support before and after surgery.
Effective communication and a patient-centered approach are essential qualities in a bariatric surgeon. A qualified surgeon should take the time to thoroughly assess your individual needs, goals, and medical history. They should discuss all available surgical options, benefits, and potential risks, ensuring that you have a clear understanding of the procedure and its implications.
Consider the surgeon’s availability and the level of support they provide throughout your weight loss journey. You should expect post-operative follow-up appointments, nutritional guidance, and emotional support to ensure your long-term success.
The Bottom Line
Making the decision to improve your health and quality of life through bariatric surgery is a monumental decision, and so is your choice of surgeon. Look for a surgeon with board certification, extensive experience, a multidisciplinary approach, and a patient-centered focus. Consider hospital accreditation, surgical outcomes, publications and patient testimonials as well. By carefully evaluating these key qualities and factors, you can increase your chances of a successful and safe bariatric surgery experience.
In Reno, the team at Nevada Surgical is happy to answer your questions about our surgeons. Contact us today to get started.