The number of Americans who are turning to bariatric surgery as a solution for obesity grows every year. The procedures have become safer and the recovery times have shortened. It’s still a major surgery and any surgeon worth his salt will ensure his patients understand not only when they can begin to see results, but more importantly, what they can expect in the weeks and months following their bariatric surgery.
According to the latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control, more than one-third of American adults are considered obese. This, as we know, can lead to very serious medical conditions, including heart disease, diabetes and some cancers.
Making the decision to take the surgical route can feel a bit overwhelming, even as the patient knows it’s the first step to a healthier and even happier life. This is why communication is so important and the time to ask for that clarity is before you schedule your surgery. To that end, your surgeon should be happy to provide answers to any of your questions. And what should those questions be? Keep reading as we delve a bit further:
Will your surgeon be able to work with you post-surgery to make sure you transition back into your everyday life? That seems like an obvious question, but getting those lines drawn in the proverbial sand now is going to build your confidence as you move closer to your surgery date.
How safe is the specific procedure? The truth is, medical advances are being made on a daily basis. Gone are the days when many were unsure of how the surgery worked and were even more confused about why it worked. Even if you know it’s going to be your solution and you’re in it for the long haul, complete with lifestyle changes, the more you know, the less stressful it’s going to be. Conduct your due diligence. Speak with the nurses – educate yourself.
How invasive is the procedure? This is important too. Many have images in their minds of some oversized “banding” gadget. It’s not nearly that complicated and again, because of the medical advances, it’s a much easier surgery. But again, speak with your surgeon.
What are the risks? In fact, you’ll want to understand what the risks are, say, for the six months following your surgery. How long will the pain last? How soon can I return to a more normal life? What are the warning signs that maybe something is wrong? Is there a timeframe following the surgery where problems are more likely to occur? All of these questions – and many more – will likely be answered before you even ask the question, but if not, be sure to bring them up during your next consultation.
Is one bariatric surgery procedure better than another and why do you feel I’m a better candidate for the one you chose? Of course, this might seem a bit technical, but you have to remember this is your life. You’re not overwhelming your medical team by asking for clarification. In fact, it lets them know they have a patient who’s proactive in his or her health.
Finally, don’t forget to keep your family in the loop. They’re in this journey with you, after all.