Having stomach surgery is can yield lifelong positive effects. It’s still a major medical procedure, however, and not something to jump into lightly. If you’re feeling uneasy about having the operation, posing these questions to your surgeon might help.
What are all my weight loss options, including different surgery types?
Surgery is just one of many weight loss options. For example, doctors often can help by changing medications or connecting you to a dietician, physical fitness instructor, counselor or community-based weight loss group. They are also perfecting less invasive procedures and tools such as endoscopic stomach implants. If you’re working with a good surgeon, they’ll make sure you’re aware of these choices so that, if possible, you avoid the complications and risks surgery carries. They will show you the pros and cons of each type of surgery available rather than promoting the one they perform most often or like the best, understanding that it’s ultimately up to you to make informed decisions about your health.
Why are you qualified to perform this procedure on me?
When you ask this question, your surgeon should volunteer details about their surgical training and licensure, and they should explain how many times they’ve performed your procedure in the past. They also should discuss what type of support they can offer to you before, during and after the surgery, getting specific about why their support is ideal for your individual case. Keep in mind here that, although age generally yields more experience and honed skills, even young doctors can be a great fit if they have gone through a thorough, tough residency with excellent mentors.
What is the typical recovery and complication risk like for the options I’m considering?
Each of the weight loss surgical procedures available today carries its own set of risks and standard recovery time, as each type of surgery involves a different approach. By asking this question, you’ll be able to make real plans for getting back on your feet and determine whether the advantages of the surgery are worth going forward given your current health and resources. You’ll know when to seek help following the procedure and whether aspects of the recovery, such as your pain level, are normal.
How will this surgery affect my diet?
Depending on the type of surgery you have, you might be restricted not only in how much you ingest in a sitting, but also in what you consume. Your doctor should be able to paint a picture of what typical meals will be like, explaining how purchase, preparation and consumption can change in the initial months after surgery.
Is the surgery covered under my insurance, and if not, what will my out of pocket costs be?
Worrying about recovery is bad enough–worrying about money on top of your health won’t do you any favors. The financial aspect of surgery is especially important given that you’ll need some time off work to heal.
Weight loss surgical procedures can be lifesaving, but they can be scary, too. Open communication with your doctor prior to the operation might help you feel more confident and get better results.