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What To Look For In An Outpatient Bariatric Surgery Center

Jan 18, 2008
If you are trying to lose weight, there are many factors that can affect the completion of your goals. Specific diets, different exercise regimens and the ability to remain committed to lifestyle changes all play a role in your weight loss success. If you are considering LAP-BAND surgery as part of your personal weight loss solution, you should be aware that the LAP-BAND procedure is one of the only surgical options that can be performed in an outpatient surgery center. The procedure is performed laparoscopically typically in less than one hour, has a very short recovery from anesthesia and has a low complication rate. And for the patient, there can be several advantages to having the LAP-BAND performed in an outpatient surgery center, including decreased costs, a specialized care environment specifically designed for the bariatric patient, increased patient satisfaction and improved clinical outcomes. However, not all outpatient surgery centers are created equal and choosing the wrong one could affect your results. To help you narrow down your search for a reliable outpatient facility, here are four factors that should be considered before choosing an outpatient bariatric surgery center.

1. Certification

Since the LAP-BAND procedure was approved by the FDA in June of 2001, comprehensive training programs have been developed for surgeons and other health care professionals. When trying to select an outpatient bariatric surgery center, you should inquire if the surgeons are certified according to the guidelines established by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) and the Society of American Gastrointestinal Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES).

By adhering to the "center of excellence" philosophy, each certified bariatric surgeon should also have access to a multidisciplinary team and program that provides ongoing care for patients post-surgery. This would include areas such as nutrition, exercise and psychological support.

2. Technology

Along with certification of surgeons, you should also try to find a bariatric surgery center that utilizes the best in bariatric surgery technology and skill. Just as working with the most knowledgeable health care professionals can improve your chances of meeting your weight loss goals, finding an outpatient facility with specialized resources can improve your overall experience. This includes a fully equipped and prepared bariatric surgery center (i.e. bariatric-compatible equipment and instrumentation), experienced bariatric anesthesiologists and anesthetic protocols, and a skilled, experienced OR team capable of reliably completing the LAP-BAND surgery on average in less than one hour. A transfer agreement with a nearby hospital equipped for bariatric surgery patients is also a recommended in case of an emergency.

3. Care and Support

If you are considering the LAP-BAND procedure for yourself or a loved one, quality of care should be one of the top factors when selecting an outpatient facility. You should start by looking for bariatric surgery centers that offer education seminars and screenings prior to the procedure. As the LAP-BAND procedure may not be right for every patient, it is important to understand the options before committing to a bariatric surgery center.

Moving past the informal question and answer sessions, outpatient facilities should offer all prospective patients a chance to have one-on-one interaction with on-site health care professionals. During such personal consultations, patients should expect to receive a tour of the facility, meet the surgeons performing the procedure and gain an understanding of the available financial options.

As the LAP-BAND procedure typically allows patients to return home the same day of the surgery, it is also important for bariatric surgery centers to let patients know what to expect immediately after surgery. Additionally, the LAP-BAND procedure should be a lifelong change for all patients. Hence, it is important to find a bariatric surgery center that helps patients make the most of the procedure's life changing opportunities. You should look for an outpatient facility that offers not only round-the-clock medical care and convenient LAP-BAND adjustment appointments, but also emotional support and ongoing assistance with dietary and exercise concerns.

4. Results and References

When requesting information from an outpatient bariatric surgery center, you should also ask about their clinical experience and success rates of past patients. Inquiring about the program's continuum of care should provide some indicators on how proficient each outpatient facility is in the LAP-BAND System procedure and their commitment to ongoing care and support. Some factors to consider are the aftercare program components, like patient support group meetings and nutritional counseling, made available to patients. These are examples of post-operative services that can be instrumental in weight-loss success.

Furthermore, most bariatric surgery centers provide patient testimonials to help prospective patients know what to expect or even provide a list of patients who have made themselves available to personally share their stories with people considering LAP-BAND surgery.

Most importantly, you should try to find a bariatric surgery center that is committed to your goals. The surgeons and health care professionals should be willing to work with you to not only provide the best care prior to and during the surgery, but also to help develop diet and exercise plans that will help you meet your personal weight loss goals. LAP-BAND surgery is just one step in an important lifestyle change - and your outpatient facility should be there for you every step of the way.
About the Author
Carole S. Guinane, a Chief Clinical Officer writes articles about obesity and weight loss for New Hope Today.
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