You want to make sure this surgeon devotes a majority of their practice to bariatric surgery and does not just “dabble” with an occasional bariatric procedure. You want an experienced surgeon who has credentials in bariatric surgery, not someone who is just acquiring their skills. Choose a surgeon who has performed a minimum of 50 (preferably 100) bariatric surgery procedures with documented positive outcomes.
Laparoscopic surgery is surgery performed using mini-incisions and results in less pain and a faster recovery from surgery. Open incision surgery carries a higher risk for wound infection and post-operative hernias and causes significantly more pain as well as a longer recovery. Ask how many surgeries the surgeon performs laparoscopically and how many they had to convert from laparoscopic to open incision during the procedure.
There are at least four different types of bariatric surgery that are commonly performed: adjustable gastric banding, gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy and duodenal switch. You want to make sure that your surgeon can provide you with the surgical option that best works for you. Bariatric surgery should be individualized to your medical history and your needs; it is not “one surgery fits all."
You want to make sure the covering physician is another bariatric surgeon instead of a general surgeon whose only experience in bariatrics is being on call. You want to ensure that your surgeon has an appropriate support system to provide emergency care.
You need a surgeon that will follow you after surgery and provide a dedicated team to support you through this life-changing process. Make sure that your surgeon has a plan for clinical follow-up as well as support groups.