How to choose your bariatric surgeon

Choosing the right bariatric surgeon may seem intimidating but knowing what to look for in a weight loss surgeon can make it easier.

Bariatric surgery is all about care and honesty. Good bariatric surgeons will help patients choose the most appropriate procedure, carefully perform the surgery and ensure excellent aftercare to each patient.

It is important to remember that other bariatric professionals will be involved in your weight loss journey. These bariatric specialists will vary from anaesthetist, dieticians, specialist nurses and in some cases psychologists. It is therefore important to ensure you select the right bariatric team for you.

Experienced bariatric specialists will ask what your expectations are from the surgery and advise what the likely outcomes will be. The results of weight loss surgery are dependant on each patient’s individual circumstances. This is why you should ensure you have the help of an expert team; who will give you the correct advice at your initial consultation and that you see the whole bariatric team.

Do your homework

The Internet has lots of information on bariatric procedures and providers. It is important that you read about the weight loss surgery options available to you, so that you can be better informed when speaking to your surgeon. You will also be able to find information about NHS services and self-funding services.

Where to begin

Your GP can discuss your weight loss options with you. Alternatively you can opt to contact a private specialist bariatric clinic.

Choosing the right team

Choosing your bariatric team is a very important step. The team will look after you for years and you will need to trust them. Beware of providers offering only one sort of treatment. There is not a one fits all surgery, so it is important that bariatric clinic can offer the right fit for you. Therefore it is also important to be careful of bariatric providers who have ‘special offers’ and ‘guarantees of success’. Remember that results can vary for each patient.

Select a surgeon who is fully trained and qualified

It is best to check that any potential surgeon is fully trained and qualified in bariatric surgery. Your surgeon should have the following:

  • Membership of BOMSS or IFSO
  • Participates in the NBSR bariatric registry– so you can see their results
  • Does at least a procedure each week (50 a year!)

Never accept surgery from a provider if you have not spent at least 30mins (preferable more) with the surgeon who will do your procedure. It is such an important principle of care that the GMC requires this.

Do you like your surgeon?

It is important that you feel comfortable to be completely open and honest with them, this will become increasingly more important throughout your aftercare. You also need to be prepared to listen to the advice your surgeon gives you. This might be difficult if you don’t like or respect your surgeon.

What support will your bariatric team offer after surgery?

Weight loss surgery patients need to have follow up appointments to ensure that if any complications arise they can be detected. If you have a gastric band you will need adjustments following the surgery. It is worth finding out what aftercare is provided as part of your weight loss surgery package.