Probably by clicking and starting to read this article you will be thinking that our goal is to speak well of us and of no one else, however that is not the purpose. Our goal is to make you aware that there are many good options for serious bariatric groups in Mexico (as there are many other bad options) that could perform your surgery and the best surgeon for you will be the one that inspires you enough confidence for you to put your life in his/her hands.
The decision to undergo an elective procedure "you don’t need" is not easy because it is often easier to let pass the opportunity for reasons that can be very diverse: from lack of economic resources, lack of determination to make a real change, distrust of someone you do not know personally, etc. However we tell you openly that it is normal and you are in all your right to feel fear and have many doubts and concerns.
This is why we have taken this moment to share with you our opinion about the key points you must take into account for your decision to take shape and feel convinced that is the best decision, probably one of the most important of your life and those around you.
1. Number of options for bariatric procedures performed by the surgeon
In our opinion, at present it is no longer prudent to offer more than two or three bariatric procedures since to perform them with the highest possible percentage of success and the lowest rate of complications it is necessary to be an expert specialized in the subject. This is why although those who offer gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, gastric band, gastric plication, mini gastric bypass, duodenal switch, intragastric balloon, etc., will be able to know how procedures are performed and may have some experience in some of them, hardly will dominate to 100% some by dividing both their field of experience.
This is why we consider that to offer the highest safety possible with the best results your surgeon must dedicate himself to perform one or at most two bariatric procedures as this brings him closer to the possibility of being really an expert in such procedure.
At Obesity Free we are dedicated to offering only two bariatric procedures: the gastric band and the gastric sleeve. It should be noted that the gastric band is a procedure is practically out of the arsenal of bariatric surgery for various reasons that we will discuss in other articles. At present, 98% of our surgeries are gastric sleeve operations and only about 2% are gastric bands.
2. Your bariatric surgeon’s Medical/board certifications
Speaking specifically about how qualified your surgeon is, this is not an easy matter to determine, since at the present time several doubtful certifications have become fashionable and that reflect nothing more than the fact that the surgeon disbursed a good amount of money for his website to have a seal of "surgeon of excellence" or similar.
In these cases what really matters are the surgeon's years of experience in the branch of bariatric surgery in which he specializes, as well as belonging to internationally renowned non-profit associations such as:
- ASMBS (American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery)
- IFSO (International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity and Metabolic Disorders)
- SAGES (Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons)
- ACS (American College of Surgeons)
- CMCOEM (Mexican Council for obesity and metabolic surgery)
3. Reputation of your Obesity surgeon
It is important to analyze whether what speaks well of a doctor is his patients or himself, since there are even those who self-determine as "world-renowned surgeons". And the reality is that someone recognized worldwide will not need to mention it on his website since his work will speak for him.
What many patients do is to investigate the surgeon they are considering, either looking for reviews or evaluating it on some other website. We only suggest you to be careful, since you can find great sources of information and references you can as well find fictional pages that the same surgeon, avid for having flow of patients perform to confuse people.
Personally we believe that the best reference you can have of a surgeon is to checking or for patients’ testimonies for the gastric sleeve surgery in whatever format (those in video are much more reliable) and even speak with one or two patients already operated by the bariatric surgeon you are considering as your best option.
We have the fortune and pleasure to be able to establish a very good relationship with my patients so they are always willing to give their opinion / experience to the people who request it and we believe this is a good reference for any surgeon you are considering.
4. Contact between you and your bariatric surgeon
We definitely believe that this point is one of the most important ones, since, considering that you could go to another city or even another country to have the procedure with the surgeon you choose, you should evaluate that if when you contact or try to contact him you find a bad attention, few explanations and few questions, it is very likely that this will be the case throughout the process if you are going to operate with that surgeon.
Also, if you wish to speak personally with the surgeon and the surgeon does not takes the time to talk with you and "meet you" it is likely that this will also continue in the postoperative care, a situation that, although does not puts your life at risk, it does put your investment and the final results of your surgery in terms of weight loss at risk.
Finally, we again emphasize that the cost of surgery of this magnitude can not be low, since this represents a reduction in the quality of the hospital, the material and / or the service that you will receive.
5. What to observe in the hospital you are choosing
As we have discussed in several articles before, the quality of the facilities where you consider for your surgery to be performed must have all the necessary infrastructure for the management of your case, no matter the procedure you choose, whether it is a gastric sleeve, gastric bypass or any other bariatric procedure, as well as resolution of any unforeseen event.
In simple terms, we advise you to make sure that the surgery will be performed in a hospital and not in an outpatient clinic or one without the proper infrastructure. Take this into account but do not get carried away by the size or elegance of the hospital as personally I consider that many hospitals are more concerned with the aspect than the proper functioning and abidance of the health guidelines. This is difficult to determine, but in this case we believe that ideally the hospital of your choice should belong to a national or even international chain such as the hospital where we operate in Monterrey that belongs to the Christus Health Group from the United States.
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6. Previous patient testimonials
Regarding the surgeon's previous patients, as we mentioned before, we believe that the best thing that you can do for your and your loved ones peace of mind is to get in touch with some of them so that they can tell you about their experience in all possible aspects.
There is no better reference than that of someone who has already gone through that circumstance with the surgeon of your interest. And while it is relevant to take into account the results that said patient had, is also important to consider that the results are unique and vary from one person to another by various factors.
7. Materials used for your gastric sleeve surgery
The instruments and materials used for gastric sleeve surgery, gastric bypass and minigastric bypass are also a topic mentioned in other articles of our blog. Here we only insist that they should be of the best quality possible and it is very easy to determine since at present only two brands worldwide are of full confidence and have the backing of years of use:
- Johnson & Johnson/Ethicon
These are the only two FDA approved brands for the production and use of bariatric staplers, a crucial instrument in any of the previously mentioned bariatric procedures. Here comes again the issue of costs, since in a procedure of this type, the mere use of these brands represents a minimum amount of approximately 3000 USD. Which makes it impossible to think that doctors who offer EVERYTHING for this amount or a similar will be able to offer you the best in terms of quality.
Why is the quality of this material so important? The answer is simple: to minimize the possibility of a serious complication such as a leak from a gastric sleeve or from one of the anastomosis/“connections” performed in gastric bypass surgery.
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8. Pre op contact and preparation plans before your bariatric surgery
In addition to the aforementioned regarding the availability of the surgeon, you must observe how much he/she focuses on you as a person and not as a "client" since the implementation of a bariatric procedure is not simple from any point of view. A bariatric patient should be evaluated in an integral way to obtain the best possible result, as well as to minimize the possibility of an unforeseen event or a subsequent complication.
If, when you contact a surgeon or his coordinator, you are not requested to fill out a medical history for the correct planning of the preoperative evaluation, he probably will not pay much attention to the most important thing that can be touched on this whole issue: your health and well-being. We recommend you to ask what kind of preoperative evaluation is performed: if specialists such as internist, cardiologist, pulmonologist, etc are involved.
At Obesity Free, the first thing we do to start the process is to ask the patient to fill out a complete medical history in order to plan the pertinent preoperative evaluation, since not all patients are the same or better said no patient is the equal. Based on the findings of this medical history, as well as the age patient is that we decide if we involve only an internist, or ask for support to cardiologist, pulmonologist, endocrinologist, psychologist, etc.
In the case of foreign patients from Mexico, USA or Canada, we suggest that if there are several relevant medical issues, preoperative studies and evaluations should be carried out in their cities so that when they decide to travel for surgery with us, we are sure that there will be no unforeseen circumstances that prevent us from carrying out with surgery.
Another crucial aspect in the preoperative period is the need in most cases for the patient to undergo a preoperative diet. So if the group or surgeon of your choice does not ask you to carry it out, you should strongly consider looking for another option since he might probably be only thinking that the patient should not go elsewhere not leave. Do give up on your plan by not thinking about the great importance of the preoperative diet from the point of view of lower risk at the time of surgery. You can visit our blog if you are interested in knowing the details about the gastric sleeve preoperative diet.
9. What your bariatric surgery package should include
The package offered by the surgeon of your choice, must comply with everything or almost everything you need to make your pre and postoperative period as calm and bearable as possible. You will find that many groups offer all-inclusive packages, however you will have to know the details of these concepts, for example it is not the same as saying that covers your stay when that stay is in an improvised house where the person in charge of "your care" after the procedure us concierge or janitor, than if your postoperative stay is in a suitable place as it is the same hospital where you had your surgery done and for the proper amount of time, at least one or two nights in the hospital.
Also crucial is that that package includes permanent support or at least during the crucial initial months even if you are foreign to the location of your surgery, communication through telephone, email and documents. It is surprising for us to see how some recently operated people contact us asking what diet to take when this is a must to inform the patient in order to avoid a serious complication. So in summary the package should specify that will provide support and advice at least for a time or indefinitely as we do in Obesity Free.
It should be noted that we do not like the concept of "package" much as we discussed in a previous section, each patient is different so it is not feasible to adjust a list of things / events to each and every one, yet what we do, is offer a fixed price, regardless of what we have to do extra for the well being of the patient.
10. Pricing for your bariatric surgeon’s services
In summary, we suggest that you do not decide to operate with the surgeon who will offer you the lowest price since you will be ensuring a poor quality service and the use low quality materials that will put your life at risk. Prices are definitely something important to consider but not the main reason to choose or discard the surgeon that will better fulfill your expectations.
In this situation it perfectly applies the saying "what goes cheap becomes expensive", poorly performed surgery or inadequate materials put you at risk of a complication, a situation that usually involves a much higher expense than any experienced surgeon that charges fairly and that offers quality.
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