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14 Things to consider when picking a Bariatric Surgeon

I will be adding to this as I go along, but I wanted to let you know my thoughts on this important lifetime decision you will make.

  • You must trust your surgeon
  • You cannot pick out a surgeon sight unseen
  • You cannot pick out a surgeon from a magazine
  • Your primary care physician who has treated you since you were born may try to talk you out of it
  • Your surgeon may have a private support group they want you to check out. These can be can helpful or pep squads.
  • Your surgeon may be part of a practice or alone, both has its benefits
  • Your surgeon must have experience, do not be their first
  • Your surgeon should specialize in this procedure. It has been going on so much, be wary of those dabbling in this complicated procedure that will alter your life
  • You may have to travel to the surgeon before the surgery, for the procedure, and for follow-up appointments
  • You may have a post surgery complication where having your surgeon close can be of great help and comfort
  • You may have an internal condition unrelated do bariatric surgery, but having your surgeon close can be of help to the treating physician in knowing what is going on inside your body
  • Some physicians do not agree with bariatric surgery
  • Some physicians are leary of patients who have had bariatric surgery
  • Almost no bairatric surgeons will take you after you have started treatment or surgery with another physician

What did you consider when you picked your bariatric surgeon?

Obesity Health Conditions to consider Bariatric Surgery

If you are diagnosed with Morbid obesity, you are at a greater risk to die. Plain and simple. You are at a greater risk to die sooner, work your organs harder, under exercise, over eat, under do and under life the one and only life you get. I do not want to scare you into having Bariatric Surgery. I want to let you know the real risks of being diagnosed with morbid obesity.

Once you have morbid obesity, you are at a greater risk for many life-threatening health problems, known as co-morbid conditions. These conditions are by themselves very serious. Many of them will sneak up on you and do their damage silently over many years before they every begin to exhibit symptoms. For example, a co-morbid condition such as type 2 diabetes may be damaging your kidneys. You do not have to know that you have type 2 diabetes, but the damage is still being done each and every day of your life.

What are the common co-morbid conditions of morbid obese people:

  • Type 2 diabetes, which can lead to kidney and liver failure, heart disease, eye disease including retina detachments and blindness, nerve damage, problems recovering from wounds and difficulty healing, nerve damage and amputation of the fingers, toes, feet or legs
  • Heart disease, such as angina, hardening of the arteries and heart attack
  • High blood pressure, which can lead to heart disease, kidney failure, vision loss and stroke
  • Cancer
  • High cholesterol, which can lead to heart disease, kidney failure and stroke
  • Depression
  • Sleep apnea
  • Acid reflux/GERD, which can lead to esophagitis, esophageal cancer and Barrett’s esophagus
  • Osteoarthritis and joint pain which together with your weight can lead to loss of mobility
  • Stress urinary incontinence
  • All the above are for men and woman. Woman also have a co-morbid conditions of female reproductive health disorder, which can lead to infertility, and sexual dysfunction

If you are morbidly obese, or getting there and have any of the above symptoms, see your physician and get them under control or treated. Bariatric surgery can have an effect on all of these co-morbid conditions

As always, do not rely upon my success or posts to guide you down this lifetime decision. You must find a surgeon that you trust to help you make the right decision of whether or not surgery is right for you. But please comment here on your situation, I would be glad to hear how things are going for you and help you on whatever path you decide as a friend who has had to make the decision herself.

Do you have any of these health conditions now?

Qualifying for Bariatric Surgery

So you have made the decision to go ahead and have bariatric surgery. You are ready to undergo a lifetime commitment to transform your health and yourself? Do you meet the guidelines to have bariatric surgery? Knowing what the requirements are is the first step in the decision making process and putting you on the road to a new you.

Patients should have the following

  • 100 pounds or more of excess weight; or a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or greater
  • A Body Mass Index (BMI) of 35 or greater with one or more co-morbid condition

Other Common Guidelines

  • You must have an understanding the risks of bariatric surgery
  • You must make a commitment to dietary and other lifestyle changes as recommended by the surgeon
  • Your physician may require you to join a dietary program
  • Your physician may require you to join a support group
    • This may be a free or pay in advance group
  • Having a history of weight loss treatments having failed the patient
  • Be prepared to document this with receipts, dates, or exercise and diet logs
  • Undergoing a complete examination including medical tests
  • This initial tests are very important to get a complete set of tests to use as a baseline for your post surgery health

As with any surgery, there are possible complications and risks that are important to know and understand. As I have said many times, do not do this because of my success. This is a major lifetime commitment.

Bribe = Breakthrough

So as soon as she opened her eyes this morning, Granuaile started crying about not wanting to go to school.  No, really crying.  Not just fake, whiney stuff.  This was the real thing, real tears, real snot running down her nose.  Ewww to the visual on that.

We dropped Eilis off and I headed for my coffee.  I had bargained with her to please not cry so I could concentrate on my driving, and then asked her to please just be quiet until I ordered my coffee, and she not only did both, but she stayed quiet long enough for me to have a quick chat with Sandi at the drive-thru window.  We drove off towards school, and while she made the occasional request to please go home, she stayed reasonably quiet until we drove past the McDonald’s on the White Horse Pike.  Then she asked for a happy meal.  I figured this was the perfect opportunity to offer her a deal, and I took it.  I told her if she tried to eat her lunch at school or tried to eat her snack, I would take her to get a happy meal after school. 

Now why would a fat woman encourage a kid to behave by offering her food?  Well, first of all, she’s little, and she wanted a happy meal.  Secondly, she has not eaten breakfast or lunch for two days straight, and I’m worried about her.  And lastly, she’s little and cute.  But really, I figured it it worked, it might help in the long run, so I’m willing to risk the fat and calories in one happy meal.

We got to school, and I just started talking.  I pointed out the polar bear painted on the window of the school sitting on a block of ice.  We talked about how cold his hiney must be.  I talked about the snowman painted on the door and the calendar by the sign in sheet.  I told her I was punching in the code for the door alarm and I showed her the babies in the first room.  We found a poster with a boy with a butterfly on his nose and a classroom that had penguins on their door.  And in the classroom, although whimpering a bit, she voluntarily took her jacket off and helped me hang everything in her cubby.  She asked me to pick her up, which I did, and I kissed her, told her I loved her and told her I’d be back in a little while to take her for her happy meal.  She climbed down by herself – to the amazement of her teachers.  She ran to her “corner” and bent over to pick up a toy, just as I was getting ready to walk out, and when she saw me, she got hysterical crying, screaming for me not to leave her, and kicking and slapping at poor Miss Kelly.  I quickly walked out the door and prayed for the best.

And when I picked her up, they gave me a picture of smiling Grace that they captions “Look How Much Fun I Had Today”!  She was happily sitting on the floor playing when I arrived and she ran over to me with a big grin on her little face.  We gathered up all of her stuff, with her teachers telling her how proud they were of her today, and they told me that while she didn’t eat lunch, she did sit at the table, drink some juice, and she did eat a little snack after naptime.  Well worth a happy meal!

Of course, the first thing she said when we got into the car was, “I’m not going back to my school again!”