Bariatric surgery, commonly referred to as weight loss surgery, is a specialized field of general surgery. Bariatric surgery is not cosmetic surgery. If you are interested in the LAP-BAND® procedure, you will want to make an appointment with a bariatric surgeon, a doctor who specializes in the surgical treatment of obesity.
Choosing a LAP-BAND® Doctor
When selecting a LAP-BAND® doctor, experience is one of the most important factors to consider. Choosing an experienced LAP-BAND® surgeon can significantly improve your surgical outcomes, while a doctor who has minimal experience in the procedure can increase your risk of complications. Some of the questions to ask your LAP-BAND® surgeon should specifically be about his or her qualifications, how many surgeries he or she has performed, and what outcomes he or she has had with previous patients.
It is also important to find a doctor that is committed to meeting your needs both before and after surgery. Your doctor should be willing to answer all your questions about weight loss and various surgical treatment options, discuss your expectations, and explain the medical concepts and risks of surgery. It is your doctor's obligation to provide you with the information you need.
Your doctor should also offer advice and provide support with diet and exercise following surgery. Make sure you feel comfortable with your surgeon and that he or she is the right doctor for you. A doctor that you can talk to and rely on to help you thru the process will help make weight loss success more likely. Follow-up care and band adjustments are an important part of LAP-BAND® surgery so it is necessary that you can work together with your doctor and his or her staff comfortably.
Referrals and Recommendations
If you are looking for a reputable and experienced bariatric surgeon, there are several ways to get a referral or recommendation. First, talk to your primary care doctor and see if he or she can make any referrals for a weight loss surgeon. Ask your family and friends if they can recommend a doctor or know someone who has had the surgery that you can talk to. The internet is also a great resource for gathering information on bariatric surgeons and reading patient testimonials. Search for weight loss forums and personal websites where you can read about other people's LAP-BAND® experiences. Also, contact medical associations and see if they can make any recommendations.
The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) is a professional organization that may be helpful to you in finding a bariatric surgeon. The ASMBS was founded in 1983 to support and educate surgeons and health professionals. They also have resources for patients including a directory of member bariatric surgeons.
Questions to Ask About Your LAP-BAND® Surgeon
Reputable doctors should be willing to let you talk to a few of his or her previous Lap-Band patients. This opportunity may be available at a bariatric support group meeting hosted by the doctor for existing and prospective patients. When given the opportunity, ask current or previous patients about their experience, how the doctor handled any complications, how well the doctor answered their questions and concerns, and how much support is provided after surgery. While every doctor may have the occasional dissatisfied patient, talking to several patients will help you determine if this particular surgeon is right for you.