Saturday, March 1, 2008

What do you look for in a bariatric program?

I've talked to folks who went with the first surgeon they ever had a consult with. And, I've also talked to folks who went with the surgeon they "thought could get me approved." But, for those of you who saw more than one surgeon and then chose between them and the differing programs offered, what factors helped you decide who to use?

The item of the greatest concern is usually a surgeon's complication rate. You can't help but want to know how many of your surgeon's patients have died during or as a result of surgery. And, you need to know what sort of complications are common amongst your surgeon's patients. But, what should be, in my opinion, of the greatest concern in a surgeon's program is the amount and type of pre-op and post-op education you are given about the surgery, the changes to your anatomy, and how to adapt your life and eating habits in order to have the most successful WLS experience. My surgeon has a program that includes dietary learning before surgery and 1 year of post-op follow up and education workshops. This is included in the cost of your surgery and a small "education" fee ($275) that is due before surgery. It also includes the option to meet with a nurse or the dietician once a month for that year if you feel the need. They also have a support group that meets monthly in his office and it is pretty well attended (20+ at most meetings, ranging from new post-ops to folks 3+ years out). The dietician is at most support group meetings as well and is willing to stand and talk to you before or after the meeting if you have questions that can't be answered in the flow of the meeting itself.

I have been very happy with my choice of surgeon and programs. I just wondered how everyone else felt and what factors most influenced your decision...

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