Type of Surgery
Finding a Weight Loss Surgeon
Last updated: 01/28/2009
How to Find a Weight Loss Surgeon
Along with the sobering increase of obesity in Americansâ€”the Surgeon General stated in 2003 that obesity was the fastest growing cause of disease and deathâ€”there is one bright spot in the parallel increase of the number of practicing weight loss surgeons. In fact, the United States saw a 600% increase in the number of bariatric surgery procedures in the ten-year time period between 1993 and 2003. So with this dizzying array of surgeons and clinics available to choose from, how do you go about finding the best weight loss surgeon for you?
Find a Certified Surgeon
Before considering any other factors, make sure that your surgeon has been certified by the American Board of Surgery or the American Osteopathic Board of Surgery. Either of two classifications will guarantee a certain level of skill and training. In additional, you might also look for a surgeon affiliated with the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. A membership with the ASMBS is a good indicator of your surgeonâ€™s expertise in weight loss surgery: it means that he or she performed at least 25 bariatric procedures in the past 2 years.
Cost as a Factor
It can be difficult to put a precise cost on weight loss surgery because rates vary greatly depending on surgeon and region. A general trend is that weight loss surgeries cost more in densely-populated urban areas, and less in less populated areas.
However, never let your wallet be the determining factor in choosing a weight loss surgeon. Oftentimes, a steeper price is charged because a surgeon has a well-established reputation, and you are paying for the benefits of his or her expertise. In addition, the stipulations for what is actually covered by the cost of a surgical weight loss procedure are never the same. Ask potential surgeons whether they include post-op care, dietary and fitness therapy, or other forms of assistance in the cost of the surgery. Going to a clinic dedicated to bariatric surgery patients, for example, may cost more overall, but also purchases specialized care and a guarantee of experience. (Take a look at the options available near you.)
Questions to Ask Your Surgeon
You should always ask a potential surgeon for details before signing up for weight loss surgery under his or her care. Good questions to raise in preliminary consultations include: how many surgeries have they performed, what type of weight loss surgeries do they offer, what is the success rate among previous patients, what type of additional support is offered after surgery, who will be assisting during the surgical procedure, and will the surgeon assist in addressing cost issues such as potential insurance coverage? More is always better in this case; donâ€™t be afraid to put any and all concerns before your weight loss surgeon.
The Personal Touch
And last but not least, make sure you feel absolutely comfortable with your surgeon! Especially in the complex process of a weight loss surgery, you may be dealing with your surgeon for a while to come.
Last Updated: 01/28/2009
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