Gastric Sleeve Surgeon Near You Checklist
If you are considering gastric sleeve surgery to free yourself from stubborn body fat and its related health issues, there are several factors you need to remember. Your priority is to choose the best gastric sleeve surgeon – one that is not only certified but specialized and experienced in performing laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy.
After the initial screening, you must plan and prepare a list of questions to ask your sleeve surgeon during the consultation. A trusted weight loss surgeon wants you to do what’s best for you and will not pressure you into undergoing this life-changing bariatric procedure. Here are the top questions that should help you properly plan for your sleeve gastrectomy when consulting with a gastric sleeve surgeon.
20 Questions to Ask Gastric Sleeve Surgeon Near You
Getting clear and precise answers to your questions can benefit you make an informed decision. Informed patients are proven to have a significantly higher success rate after sleeve gastrectomy.
Related Article: 7 Q&A Videos Related To The Gastric Sleeve Success Story of Laura
1. Do I qualify for a non-invasive bariatric procedure?
Why is this question important? Well, you must first find out if a non-surgical weight loss procedure may, in fact, be more beneficial and low-risk for your size, weight, and comorbidities.
Ask your obesity doctor whether a non-surgical endoscopic procedure is better suited for you compared to a laparoscopic surgery like the gastric sleeve.
Endosurgery therapies, such as Gastric Balloon Weight Loss System or the Endoscopic Sleeve Gastroplasty (ESG), are viable options for patients with a Body Mass Index, or BMI, of 35 and lower. Whereas minimally invasive Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy (LSG) is a suitable option for most patients with a BMI greater than 30.
2. Is the gastric sleeve a viable option for me?
Ensure the surgeon has studied your health history, eating habits, etc., to qualify you for VSG. In case your bariatric surgeon determines that you are not the right candidate for gastric sleeve surgery, you can consider a more effective procedure, like the RNY Gastric Bypass.
A poor selection of candidates for the Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy procedure is the leading cause of an unsuccessful outcome. For example, ‘‘sweet eaters’’ or patients with GERD symptoms are not a good prospect for sleeve gastrectomy.
Follow your physician’s advice but also do your own research. All in all, you know yourself better than anyone; any recommendations should be followed by your own due diligence to make sure you meet the gastric sleeve eligibility requirements.
Learn More: Candidacy Requirements of Sleeve Gastrectomy
3. What are the risks involved?
Overall, gastric sleeve surgery is a very safe procedure with minimal side effects. Risks include going under general anesthesia, bleeding, leakage (< 1%), transfusion (< 0.5%), re-operation (< 0.2%), and vitamin/mineral deficiencies (rare after 12 months).
You still need to be aware of the potential complications and side effects. Ask your bariatric surgeon near you about the possible risks during, immediately after, and long term. Make sure the benefits of the sleeve gastrectomy outweigh the likely dangers.
Learn More: Is Gastric Sleeve Safe?
4. What are the preparations and medical tests?
You will need to understand the pre-operative preparations that are necessary to get ready for the surgery. The length of the pre-op depends on your BMI. Also, ask about the medications you are taking as to when to stop and restart. Also, be prepared for any medical tests, like a blood test, ECG, and COVID test, required before surgery
Every surgical team will have its own unique pre-op diet guidelines. The diet before surgery allows your liver to shrink, making the procedure less complicated for the surgeon.
The pre-operative diet typically consists of eating high-protein foods, shakes, vegetables, and macronutrients to deplete glycogen and get you started inhibiting better eating habits. Overall, the better you do on your pre-op diet, the better you will lose weight.
5. What is the required post-op diet?
The instant you get out of surgery, you will be on a post-operative diet. This nutrition plan is divided into stages over the course of about 3-4 weeks following VSG surgery. Since you feel full from less food, you want to taper into your diet, beginning with clear liquids.
For 5 to 8 days post-surgery, you will generally be consuming your nutrients from clear liquids only. Fortunately, it is not that hard due to the significant restriction from your shrunken stomach size. The remaining stomach feels full from even the most minor portions, and your weight loss surgeon will help you transition along with a dietitian or nutritionist. You will transition into thick liquids, soft solids, and finally, solid foods as your body fully recover.
6. What is the recovery like?
The best part about gastric sleeve surgery is the short recovery and healing time. Compared to gastric bypass surgery, duodenal switch surgery, and gastric banding, most patients experience very few side effects, if any. This period typically lasts about 3 to 4 weeks at the pace you feel most comfortable.
Most patients take a week off work, although if your job requires heavy lifting, your doctor may require you to take the entire recovery period off before returning to work. There is no heavy lifting for at least 4-6 weeks after surgery.
Your recovery will be primarily dependent on your ability to heal. Your surgeon will likely give you an incision care plan to heal your laparoscopic incision scar. If it does get infected, you should ask for assistance from your bariatric doctor immediately.
7. How much weight do I lose?
If your obesity surgeon guarantees your weight loss, you should run away. Not every procedure leads to 100% excess weight reduction. The weight loss timeline, on average, results in patients losing about 60-65% of their excess weight in the first year.
Your gastric practitioner should work one on one with you to tackle your post-operative diet and meal planning. Balance your approach to losing pounds with healthier food choices. The more strict you are with your post-operative diet, the better the weight loss results.
Learn More: Gastric Sleeve Weight Loss Timeline Chart
8. Will the gastric sleeve help with underlying medical conditions?
Bariatric procedures, such as gastric sleeve, increase the body’s metabolic efficiency, which often leads to the improvement or reversal of obesity-related comorbidities;
- More than 60% have complete remission of type 2 diabetes¹
- Resolution of high blood pressure
- 82% of patients eliminate obstructive sleep apnea²
- Improved coronary heart health
- Relief of PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome)
Ask a gastric sleeve surgeon near you to address the impact weight loss surgery will have on resolving your health issues.
9. Will insurance cover my procedure?
The doctor’s office should help you figure out if your insurance policy covers the procedure and what is needed to be approved. In most cases, your requested provider should take steps to contact your insurance to find out your gastric sleeve eligibility. In the event you are covered by insurance, you will be given details on the steps you must take to start your transformation.
10. What is the patient support plan after surgery?
Undergoing the gastric sleeve operation is just the start of your weight loss journey. Patient support is necessary for sustained success and to avoid any potential side effects and nutritional implications. The post-operative gastric sleeve support comprises,
- Appointment with your gastric sleeve specialist
- Going over the diet plan
- In-person or online support groups
- Private Facebook Support Group
- Trusted Online Forum
11. Is your surgeon board certified?
The first requisite for a bariatric surgeon to operate is to complete their medical degree in general surgery board certification. General surgery certification is like a medical license for the doctor to work as a surgical expert.
All general surgeons are to specialize in bariatric surgery and obtain board certification in the metabolic and bariatric field. Only the best weight loss surgeons seek additional training and specialize in bariatric and metabolic surgery. Bariatric board-certification is an exalted and extremely coveted achievement that only a few bariatric experts relinquish.
Finding a highly qualified gastric sleeve surgeon entails one who has plenty of experience, education, and certifications to show it. Going above and beyond to complete two board-certification is one of the highest levels achieved. Working with a dual board-certified surgeon for your sleeve gastrectomy gives you confidence in the surgeon’s capabilities.
12. Specialization in gastric sleeve surgery?
You are probably thinking, “How far can surgeons go in their surgical expertise?” This is an interesting question. A distinguished gastric sleeve surgeon is never stagnant in thriving and developing medical fields like bariatrics and metabolic. There are countless ways surgeons can advance their careers through learning new techniques, procedures, and technology. Some of these include;
- American College of Surgeons (ACS)
- Joint International Commission (JCI)
- Center of Excellence (COE)
- The Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation & Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP®)
It is essential to identify if the surgeon you pick is dedicated to bariatric surgery, specifically gastric sleeve. Only the top-most gastric sleeve surgeons have mastered the techniques in using the right type of staples/stapler, the proper bougie size, the optimum length of the pouch, the exact number of ﬁrings as well as reinforcing the staple line for the best outcome. Find a surgeon near you that has both a variety of credentials but also up-to-date certifications.
13. Trained in minimally invasive surgery? How many incisions will you use to operate?
Nobody likes scarring, infections, or painful wound healing. If your surgeon has commanded the art of less invading laparoscopic surgery, it may help you more than just reduce the number of incisions. The best doctors have steady hands and crisp, clean incisions – to reduce as many variables that can cause dangerous complications and unnecessary risks.
Your gastric sleeve surgeons should have the experience, education, and training in advanced robotics techniques. Verify the sleeve surgeon is experienced in laparoscopic as well as open-incision procedures.
14. How many years of experience in gastric sleeve surgery?
If you want to have the best odds, you should look for a doctor with 3-5 years minimum of practicing vertical sleeve gastrectomy. Make certain they are actively practicing bariatric procedures.
The most dependable VSG surgeon is young yet has done this procedure for at least several years. Seasoned surgeons are quick on their feet in unforeseen situations in the operating room. Ask your candidates when they operated their first sleeve procedure.
15. How many gastric sleeve surgery operations?
The number of surgeries performed explicitly in sleeve gastrectomy is a determining criterion in selecting a qualified bariatric surgeon. Other operations do not weigh in as much as bariatric-specific procedures. Ask the surgeon how many sleeve surgeries he completed last year.
Your goal should be finding a prudent surgeon performing bariatrics exclusively who has mastered and adapted the best gastric sleeve surgery practices and techniques.
16. How many gastric sleeve surgeries do they perform per day?
The number of bariatric procedures that the surgeon performs per day needs to be capped for the patients’ safety. The surgeon’s daily workload depends on the bariatric procedures’ complexity for that day and the surgeon’s caliber and skills. However, it is demonstrated that on a daily basis, the efficacy of the operation goes down as the number of surgeries goes up.
A well-rested surgeon has good surgical judgment and makes better clinical decisions on patient care in different settings.
17. What is the surgeon’s complication rate?
The complication rate metrics of the health practitioner should be your primary concern. If a surgeon tells you they have no operative complications, run away! Even the most skilled sleeve surgeon have had difficulties during or after the operation. Ask the surgeon what to look for and what to do in case of problems.
18. What is the surgeon’s success rate?
A successful outcome is a final goal for every patient undergoing VSG. Bariatric surgery’s success is directly related to excess weight loss (%EWL) or excess BMI loss (%EBMIL). Proficient sleeve surgeons have high success rates of their patients after six, twelve, eighteen, twenty-four months, and beyond!
19. Is the surgeon attending gastric sleeve continuing training?
Gastric sleeve medical procedure is a relatively new and developing field, with progressions occurring every so often. The VSG specialist’s participation in the relevant courses and instructional programs would put them on the leading edge of advanced methods and surgical techniques. National and international congress for obesity, such as IFSO and Obesity Week, helps keep surgeons up-to-date regarding sleeve gastrectomy advances.
20. Is the surgeon a member of bariatric surgery organizations?
For practicing gastric sleeve surgeons near you, membership-based healthcare medical associations offer a unique opportunity for mentorship, learning, and networking. Bariatric Professional Surgery Societies:
- Fellowship, American College of Surgeons (FACS)
- American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS)
- Mexican College of Bariatric & Metabolic Surgery (CMCOEM)
Ask the surgeon if they are an active member of these medical organizations to keep up with the latest research in bariatrics & metabolic.
As you’re shopping for gastric sleeve surgeons and have asked all the questions to make sure you are in capable hands. There are other factors to consider, as discussed below,
Make sure you do your research and do not get discouraged, as the terminology and medical terms can be rather challenging to learn. Being proactive during this entire process is more favorable toward achieving the best gastric sleeve results. Do not hesitate to reach out to your surgical team, especially when it comes to your gastric sleeve procedure.
- Have a list of questions to ask
- Establish your goals align with his expectations
- Don’t be afraid to ask for clarity on anything you don’t understand
Reading past patients’ reviews is a huge part of your research to pick the right sleeve surgeon. You can learn about the surgeon’s reputation, complications, and outcomes by going through the testimonials.
What to expect in a bariatric appointment?
While each bariatric surgery center is different, the initial consultation is intended to review your health history and discuss the best weight loss procedure for you. Depending on your insurance provider and selected surgeon, you may be required to meet with a nurse practitioner first.
Since the COVID-19 public health emergency, Telehealth visits and video appointments with physicians have been prevalent.
First Appointment – The first meeting is helpful in conducting initial screening of your health and determining if you need any additional information, health records, or a primary care physician’s approval. Sometimes you will be asked to meet with another specialist in the event you have obesity-related comorbidities, like sleep apnea, cardiovascular disease, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Miscellaneous Exams – Your surgeon and their assistant may require you to undergo a psychological exam as well as connect with a dietitian. It all ranges across each provider on which order your appointments will be in. Either way, this first bariatric appointment is the most crucial because it will lay the foundation for your entire weight loss journey ahead.
Engage proactively with your gastric sleeve surgeon during this appointment in order to make it more productive and have the best results. Here are some of the key elements of a detailed initial bariatric appointment.
Follow up care
How to establish a long-term relationship with your gastric sleeve surgeon?
Your surgeon and their medical team will work one of one with you as you hit different milestones in your post-operative progress.
In many cases, your insurance provider or surgeon will direct you to a dietitian or your primary care physician to follow up on your post-operative process. Oftentimes, you will have to meet with your surgeon at certain milestones, either monthly or quarterly, to ensure you are staying on track and reaching your goal weight.
If you are going through insurance, you are typically required to undergo behavioral therapy to fight underlying food addiction issues. With the COVID-19 pandemic, most bariatric centers are presumed non-essential, making it impossible for lower BMI patients to find a surgeon before it’s too late.
Consider undergoing weight loss surgery in Mexico? MBC has helped transform over 20,000 patients’ lives through gastric sleeve surgery.
With so many surgeons available worldwide, the chance you find one that works for you is very likely. Here at Mexico Bariatric Center, we have six leading gastric sleeve surgeons ready to accompany you with specific qualifications and surgical expertise.
Obesity is not a life sentence. You may live with it every day, but you don’t have to! There are highly effective weight loss procedures that are shown to be 70% effective in reducing weight in the first year. Get more life! Start with one of our qualified surgeons at Mexico Bariatric Center!
Consult with gastric sleeve doctors at Mexico Bariatric Center®
Obesity is an entirely treatable disease, and we are here to help you win this battle with safety and ease. At Mexico Bariatric Center®, we are proud of our team of best-in-class gastric sleeve doctors in Mexico who have the skill and the dedication to help patients achieve permanent freedom from obesity.
We believe that you have a right to receive treatment from the best gastric sleeve doctors at an affordable cost – and we will make it work for you. To learn more about our exclusive network of physicians and their service, schedule a FREE consultation with one of our renowned Mexico sleeve surgeons. Contact us today. We are happy to help you!