WHICH PROCEDURE IS RIGHT FOR YOU?
The most important step in selecting a bariatric procedure is getting all of the information you need about the various surgical options. Ultimately, your surgeon and other physicians are your best resources for information about the procedure they will recommend to you. When you ask a question, make sure you understand the answer. Do not hesitate to ask for a clearer explanation given in simple language. The decision to have a bariatric surgical procedure or not, may take several visits to their office and consultations with more than one doctor. Ask your doctor for names of other patients who have had similar procedures and who are willing to discuss their experiences, good and bad, with you.
You may choose to research bariatric 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, recognized experts in the field you are investigating.
Although the results of bariatric surgery can be dramatic, there a potential risks and complications. Before making your decision, you should be well-informed.
These steps are necessary if you are to give what is called “informed consent” for the procedure. Informed consent is a legal term meaning that a patient agrees that he/she has received and understood enough information about a procedure’s benefits and risks to allow him/her to make a decision that is right for him/her. Your surgeon will require you to sign a consent form before performing your procedure. Before you sign a consent form, you should have a solid understanding of what is about to take place. You should know what you would need to do to live well after the operation. And you should be aware of the signs or symptoms of complications that may occur after your surgery.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT CHOOSING SURGERY
Bariatric surgery is major surgery. Although most patients enjoy an improvement in obesity-related health conditions (such as mobility, self-image, and self-esteem) after the successful results of bariatric surgery, these results should not be the overriding motivation for having the procedure. The goal is to live better, healthier, and longer.
That is why you should make the decision to have bariatric surgery only after careful consideration and consultation with an experienced bariatric surgeon or a knowledgeable healthcare professional. A qualified surgeon should answer your questions clearly and explain the exact details of the procedure, the extent of the recovery period, and the reality of the follow-up care that will be required. They may, as part of a routine evaluation for bariatric surgery, require that you consult with a dietician and a psychologist. This is to help establish a clear understanding of the postoperative changes in behavior that are essential for long-term success.
It is important to remember that there are no guarantees in any kind of medicine or surgery. There can be unexpected outcomes in even the simplest procedures. What can be said, however, is that bariatric surgery will only succeed if the patient makes a lifelong commitment! Some of the challenges facing a person after bariatric surgery can be unexpected. Lifestyle changes can strain relationships within families, or between close friends and couples.
To help patients achieve their goals and deal with the changes surgery and weight loss can bring, most bariatric surgeons offer follow-up care that includes support groups, dieticians, and other forms of continuing education. Ultimately, the decision to have the procedure is entirely up to you. After having heard all the information, you must decide if the benefits outweigh the potential complications. This surgery is only a tool. Your ultimate success depends on strict adherence to the recommended dietary, exercise, and lifestyle changes.