The decision to have weight loss surgery may take several visits to the surgeon's office as well as consultation with more than one doctor. You may want to research weight loss surgery on your own via the internet or through your local library. As with any search for medical information be sure that your sources are responsible and come from recognized experts in the field that you are investigating.
Steps to Take
Steps to take in researching the most appropriate weight loss surgery procedure:
- Talk to your doctors—your general practitioner and any specialist that is involved in your care.
- Make liberal use of this web site, some of its links and all other web sites that you deem appropriate to obtain additional information on the various weight loss surgeries available.
- Talk to patients like you who are in the research phase of their quest, are waiting to have their surgery or have already had an operation. Support groups, word of mouth etc. are good ways to start.
- Create a risk/benefit analysis for each of the surgeries you are contemplating based on your own particulars (BMI, comorbidity, ability to follow the behavioural modifications required by each surgical procedure once performed, etc.).
- Lastly, consult with an experienced bariatric surgeon who is familiar with the surgery types that you are interested in. Avoid “one operation” clinics and surgeons. For example, if you are comparing the pros and cons of laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding to the laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass then you should talk to a bariatric surgeon who can perform both procedures with equal skill and one that has extensive experience with each surgery (ask questions as suggested below). Only then will you get an unbiased opinion as to the risks and benefits of each procedure which you can then use in reaching your decision.
Questions to Consider
Questions to consider during your research and to discuss with your bariatric surgeon at the initial or subsequent consultations:
- What is the primary reason you cannot keep your weight off?
- Are you prepared to find another way to reward yourself other than food?
- What are the health implications if you do achieve your weight loss goals?
- Are you willing to put in the maintenance required to make your operation a success once it is done?
- Can you travel easily to the “home base” of your bariatric surgeon for the required post-surgery follow-up or band adjustments?
- How fast do you want to lose the weight? For example, do you urgently need knee replacement surgery and must lose weight relatively quickly?
- Are you prepared to face the altered body image induced by massive weight loss? If not, are you willing to undergo further plastic surgery such as the so-called body contouring?
- Is a minimally invasive approach (some call this laparoscopy or lap) important to you?
- What is the risk of the worst possible outcome—Death, with each procedure?
- What are the short-term complications (within 30 days of the surgery) of each procedure?
- What are the long-term (basically for the rest of your life) complications of each surgery?