CHOOSING THE RIGHT BARIATRIC SURGERY PROGRAM What are the 5 things to look for in a Bariatric Surgery Program? Weight loss surgery has now been proven in numerous scientific publications to be the only safe and effective way to achieve and maintain substantial weight loss for those individuals suffering from severe obesity. The benefits of successful weight loss surgery include improvement or resolution of Type 2 diabetes mellitus, hypertension, sleep apnea, and osteoarthritis. Weight loss has also been associated with decreased risk of cancer and heart disease. Studies have also shown increased life expectancy for those severely obese individuals undergoing weight loss surgery. Choosing the right Surgical Weight Loss Program can mean the difference between success and failure. Choosing the wrong program can mean lack of proper guidance and support in your use of the weight loss surgery as a tool, resulting in lack of weight loss, frustration, and failure, not to mention preventable post-operative complications. Choosing the right program can maximize your chances of successful weight loss and long-term maintenance of the weight loss. To avoid the painful consequences of choosing the wrong program and get the benefits of choosing the right program, here are 5 things to look for when choosing your Bariatric Surgery Program. 1. The program should be designated an ASMBS/ACS Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence a. This signifies that the program has undergone and passed careful evaluation by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) and the American College of Surgeons (ACS) in regards to volume and quality of care. b. Higher volume has been shown to correlate with better outcomes 2. The program should provide very specific dietary guidelines and provide very specific instructions regarding eating techniques, and also the required supplements for healthy weight loss a. Weight loss occurs as a result of running a deficit of energy intake against energy expenditure. Any program that states that you may eat what you like is misleading you. b. The weight loss surgeries require a different set of eating techniques to deal with the restrictions placed by the surgeries on patients. Learning to eat with the various surgeries is not intuitive, and requires formal training c. Generally, this advice is best provided to you by Registered Dietitians or Nutritionists specializing in weight loss, as well as by your surgeons and nurse practitioners. 3. The program should have a full complement of clinical staff in all the disciplines necessary for comprehensive management of the bariatric surgery patient, including expert surgeons, bariatric nurse practitioners, bariatric registered dietitians and nutritionists, certified bariatric nurses, and bariatric mental health specialists. The program staff should provide you with all of the following: a. A thorough initial history and physical to accurately assess your current state of physical and mental health, and suitability for weight loss surgery b. A formal education program to properly assist you in selecting the right procedure for you, and provide you with the necessary training in the proper use of the surgery as a tool to help you with your weight loss, including dietary, lifestyle, exercise, and emotional aspects. c. A personalized and attentive hospital experience for the day of your surgery and the following days in the hospital as needed, in a dedicated Bariatric Surgery Unit within the hospital. d. Excellent surgical care by expert bariatric surgeons with extensive experience and a record of safety e. Excellent life-long post-operative follow-up care by a multi-disciplinary team 4. The program should be easily accessible to you both in time and geography. a. You should be able to contact your program at any time, day or night, weekends and holidays, if you have questions or problems, and expect a call back within 30 minutes by a member of the professional staff. b. You should be able to get to your program within a reasonable driving distance of under 60 miles or driving time of under an hour and a half. 5. The program should be committed to your long term success a. The program should encourage you to follow-up on a regular basis for the rest of your life b. The program should offer support groups at various locations and various times at no cost to you So to avoid the painful consequences of choosing the wrong Bariatric Surgery Program, use these 5 tips to find the right program for your needs.
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