Weight Loss Seminars are typically held monthly but bigger bariatric surgery practices will hold seminars weekly or even every few days. Weight Loss Seminars are a low-pressure way to meet a surgeon and find out more about bariatic surgery. A good weight loss surgery seminar will include the following:
- An overview of all obesity surgery procedures
- Former patient stories and the availability to meet them
- The surgeon’s experience and credentials
- Which procedures the surgeon performs
Some weight loss surgeons will have a preferred procedure and it might be evident during the meeting. This is OK! As long as the surgeon performs all of the available weight loss surgeries and is able to clearly detail the benefits and risks of each bariatric procedure then you will be able to choose the procedure that fits your situation.
Some surgeons only offer one procedure but they should discuss all of the procedures. This could lead to a very strong bias towards the procedure that he or she performs. If that is the case, visit an experienced bariatric surgeon to get their perspective on all of the procedures as well.
General Surgeon Vs. Bariatric Surgeon
Many general surgeons offer gastric banding surgery also known as the Lap Band or Realize Band procedures. Gastric bands are easier to perform and have less short term complications (however, recent data suggests many long term complications and this procedure has fallen out of favor). Those surgeons may not have first-hand experience with gastric bypass or gastric sleeves compared to a surgeon that performs all of them. And therefore they will not be able to tell you their first hand experience regarding your other options and have a strong bias towards the band.
Because these are not one-on-one consults, seminars offer a low pressure way of meeting a bariatric surgeon. This allows you to not only view his knowledge and learn about weight loss surgery, but you’ll be able to gauge your comfort level with that surgeon. Most seminars take about an hour and are hosted at the local hospital. Some seminars are hosted at other locations included hotel conference rooms, doctors offices, etc. Depending on the location, you may be able to sign up for your first consult right after the seminar.
Seminars are often required by many programs because they are educational. Attending a seminar shows that you’ve been fully educated on the risks and benefits of the bariatric procedure. This is important for elective surgery from a legal standpoint. More than that, a good seminar will help you understand the process which often takes 6 or more months and give you objective information to guide your decision.
Bariatric Surgeon Consults For New Patients
Your first consult with your surgeon is important. It will set the tone for you journey through weight loss surgery. And it can be a long journey. The average time from considering weight loss surgery to having surgery is 3 years.
Be prepared with key questions for your potential surgeon. And do not forget to ask if he or she has a history of getting approvals with your insurance company.