I understand the temptation to undergo gastric bypass. It is a life saving (in some cases) procedure than can transform the lives of folks who cannot control their weight with diet and exercise. Don’t we all see Al Roker on TV and think – wow – if it worked for him, it could work for me?
But a recent study in Great Britain reflects some of the long term complications from the procedure, may be worse than patients realized. The Washington Post reports that many patients have trouble digesting red meat and sugar even years after the procedure.
But even worse, is the very real risk of death associated with the procedure.
Sometimes, horrible things can happen during or after a gastric bypass and it is no one’s fault: infection, blood clotting, etc. But sometimes, these horrible complications happen because the surgeon is inadequately trained or inexperienced.
If you are considering gastric bypass, it would be worth asking for a referral for the best few surgeons in your state or region. While it would be inconvenient to travel outside of your home area, you want to have the most experienced and best trained doctors on call during these high risk procedures.
Better to be one of the success stories like Al Roker’s than another gastric bypass horror story. Of course, I am in no way saying patients are to blame with things go wrong, for not having sough a referral elsewhere. I am simply saying that sometimes it does make the odds a little better in their favor.
Not sure? Ask around – and then ask the physician:
- How many of these have you done?
- Are you board certified in bariatric surgery (this is a new certification)?
- How many patients have you lost during and after the surgery?
- Do you ever refer your patients out to larger facilities?
- Where were you trained?
- What is the best known hospital in Virginia for bariatric surgery?
- Do you teach other doctors around the state how to do these? Who does?
And God forbid you are reading this article after a loved one has suffered major complications or worse during a gastric bypass, let us know if we can help in anyway.