If you’ve decided weight loss surgery is the best solution for you, congratulations on embarking on a life-changing — and potentially life-saving — journey.
Now you have to decide which surgeon and clinic is the best fit for you. If you’re looking for a weight loss surgeon in the Los Angeles area, use the criteria outlined in this article to help you make a great decision.
Credentials and education
Of course, your bariatric surgeon must have a doctoral medical degree and be board-certified in general surgery. But you should also know that bariatric surgeons who are fellowship-trained have enhanced experience in a particular focus area.
There are also several national weight loss surgery organizations with rigorous standards for membership. Look for a surgeon who is a member of the following reputable organizations:
- The American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery: Membership requires current curriculum vitae and letters of recommendation for applicants to be considered by committee approval, as well as the performance of a minimum of 25 bariatric procedures as the primary surgeon in the past two years
- The American College of Surgeons: An organization for practicing surgeons representing all surgical specialties
- The International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity: Scientific organization aligning surgeons and integrated health professionals
Additionally, weight loss surgeons should undergo continued education throughout their careers. Inquire about the latest credentials a weight loss surgeon has experienced before signing up.
Experience performing surgeries
Experience breeds success. No matter how much time a surgeon has spent studying, experience performing actual weight loss surgeries matters. A study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association found the serious complication rate for low-volume weight loss surgeons was 4 percent, compared to 1.9 percent for high-volume bariatric surgeons.
Don’t be afraid to ask a potential weight loss surgeon to disclose their complication rate with you, as well as the number of surgeries they’ve performed and the frequency of surgeries. You may also inquire about the experience of anyone who will be assisting during the surgery, so you feel more comfortable.
Use of cutting-edge technology
In addition to experience and continued education, using new weight loss surgery technologies in a practice can help to increase the accuracy rate and lower the complication rate of a surgery, via better visualization and ergonomics. Ask weight loss surgery clinics you’re considering which types of tools they use and why. They should be able to explain the reasoning in an easy-to-understand way, so you’re comfortable.
Friendliness and comfort
The relationships you build with the surgeon and their staff will affect your comfort and satisfaction throughout the bariatric surgery process. Choose a weight loss clinic that places your comfort first, has friendly office workers, and always offers to answer any questions you may have.
Your weight loss surgeon should also offer support group guidance in the Los Angeles area. This allows patients to stay on the weight loss track they’ve embarked on and converse with other patients who have gone through similar procedures.
Results and testimonials
A good surgeon understands that having bariatric surgery is a monumental decision, which is why their website should feature both written and photo testimonials.
You may also wish to conduct additional research to gain trusted opinions of the surgeon you’re considering. Consider asking to speak with or meet previous patients; weight loss surgeons are used to requests like this.
Want a free weight loss surgery consultation?
At Soma Weight Loss, we are proud to have Dr. Joseph Naim as our lead bariatric surgeon in our Los Angeles offices. Dr. Naim is the former bariatric surgery director at St. Mary Medical Center, was a chief resident at New York Methodist Hospital, and completed a fellowship in weight loss surgery at University Medical Center.
Dr. Naim founded his own Los Angeles weight loss surgery practice in 2004. He has performed more than 4,000 surgeries for weight loss and is a member of the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, the American College of Surgeons, and the International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity.