- HEALTH TRACKER
Researching weight loss options, speaking with people who have had gastric banding surgery, and discussing an appropriate course of action with a physician are all good steps toward improving one’s health.
The following steps are recommended for individuals who are considering gastric banding:
|1. Get educated.|
|Learn about the risks and benefits of obesity treatment options, as well as the lifestyle changes that are required after surgery.
Look for methods that are proven to be safe and effective and that offer ongoing support for patients. Information that indicates safety could include leak rates, complication rates, or the need for secondary procedures to fix problems. Look for data that indicate the effectiveness of a procedure in both the short-term (1 year) and the long-term (3 or more years). Bariatric experts agree that weight loss surgery patients need help to lose weight and keep it off, so it’s important to look for treatment options that offer ongoing support for the new eating and exercise habits that are necessary after surgery.
Patients who choose the REALIZE Band have an additional support tool available to them: the REALIZE mySUCCESS® Program. This Web-based clinical support tool was developed in conjunction with bariatric surgeons, dietitians, and behavior modification specialists to address the unique needs of bariatric patients, both before and after surgery. REALIZE mySUCCESS® helps patients progress from a liquid diet to solid foods, find the right band fit, establish healthy eating and exercise behaviors, and keeps patients and surgeons connected so that surgeons can provide patients with personal guidance when necessary. Learn more about the importance of ongoing support after surgery.
Information seminars are excellent places to learn about gastric banding. Seminars are usually conducted by an experienced bariatric surgeon or by members of a bariatric clinic who can thoroughly explain the procedure, discuss the risks and benefits, and answer questions. It is also common for weight loss surgery patients to be there to share their experiences. No commitment is required. Use this seminar finder or call 1-866-300-1818 to find a seminar.
|2. Research health insurance plan coverage for bariatric surgery.|
|Many health insurance plans offer coverage for weight loss surgery. Since individual health insurance coverage varies, it’s important to carefully examine one’s own plan. Only an insurance provider can confirm insurance coverage for bariatric surgery. “Understanding Insurance Coverage and Financing” explains how to work with insurance providers to determine coverage, and how to navigate the appeals process. For individuals without insurance coverage, there are many financing options available, such as credit cards, home equity loans, personal lines of credit, and more.|
|3. Talk with gastric banding patients.|
|Facts about bariatric surgery are available from many sources, but to understand how gastric banding affects people emotionally, and the ways in which bariatric surgery can change relationships and quality of life, it’s a good idea to speak with patients who have had the procedure performed. Bariatric practices frequently offer support groups to help patients and those interested in bariatric surgery find answers and learn about living with a gastric band. Using the message board here on ObesityHelp can also be a source of information from other patients. REALIZE.com also offers the perspectives of many postoperative patients.
Regardless of what others say, it is always best to speak with a doctor about the safety and effectiveness of any weight loss surgery. Only a patient and his or her surgeon can decide if gastric banding is an appropriate treatment option.
|4. Select a surgeon.|
|A weight loss surgeon does more than perform the procedure. He or she is part of each patient’s support team before and after surgery. Because of this, it is important to feel comfortable with the surgeon.
It’s also important to understand the support offered by a surgeon and his or her staff. Ask whether the bariatric clinic offers support groups and access to bariatric experts, such as counselors, dietitians, and nutritionists. Talking with the surgeon’s patients is also good way to confirm the support that is offered. For individuals interested in the REALIZE Band, ask the surgeon how the practice uses REALIZE mySUCCESS®, a Web-based clinical support tool, as part of a weight loss plan.
In addition, look for a surgeon who has extensive experience performing gastric banding and whose bariatric clinic has a Center of Excellence (COE) designation, meaning it has been judged by strict criteria established by the Surgical Review Corporation and the American College of Surgeons to ensure that patients receive excellent care before and after surgery. Experienced gastric banding surgeons have been shown to report significantly lower bariatric surgery complication rates and shorter operating times.3
© Ethicon Endo-Surgery, Inc. 2009 DSL#09-1077
This information is provided by Ethicon Endo-Surgery, Inc. Ethicon Endo-Surgery is not responsible for any other content on this Web site. The REALIZE® Adjustable Gastric Band is used in morbidly obese adult patients for significant long-term weight loss. It may not be right for individuals with certain digestive tract conditions. All surgery presents risks. Weight, age, and medical history determine your specific risks. Ask your doctor if bariatric surgery is right for you.
For more information, visit the official site for the REALIZE® Adjustable Gastric Band, www.REALIZE.com, or call 1-866-REALIZE.
3 Shirmer, B, Schauer P. Bariatric surgery training: getting your ticket punched. J Gastrointest Surg. 2007; 11:807-812.