12 Years Experience
7 in Bariatrics
16 in Laparoscopic Surgery
7 in Laparoscopic Bariatrics
20% Practice is Bariatrics
Minimum Age of Patient is 15
Maximum Age of Patient is 75
Dr. M is a rockstar. I did all my "pre-op", including the supervised diet and lengthy insurance approval with a different doc in town and switched at the last minute to Dr. Mortenson- and I'm so glad I did! He is highly intelligent and this comes across in everything he does. A lot of reviewers questioned his bedside manner but I found him to be charming 90% of the time. The other 10% he was just no-nonsense and really, is that so bad in a surgeon?
I have not had any complications as of yet and his office staff is pleasant and competent (which seems to be a rare combination these days). His nurse, Phyllis, will go out of her way to help you and is just a peach of a lady :)
Keep in mind that I went from a doc who was CONSTANTLY late and scattered, complaining about her own life and weight struggles, and with a moronic office staff, to complete competence with Dr. Mortenson and his staff. It might color my perception a bit. (Seriously, I would have to take an entire half day of work off just for a 15 minute appt. with her because she was always so late and her staff would never tell me when I was actually going to see her. I was beyond frustrated by the time I switched docs.)
He didn't really talk to me a whole lot about after-care because he knew I had already been in to see the folks at Benefis Bariatric Institute where they do the nutrition counseling etc. And btw, THAT place could be run a little tighter if you ask me. I recently found out that they are giving out the wrong information about calcium!! (and it wasn't just me, all of my friends and co-workers, about 10 people, who have worked with them were given the same wrong info!)
Bottom line: I would recommend Dr. Mortenson as a bariatric surgeon and even as a general surgeon for other issues, over any other doc in Great Falls, Montana.
I am editing this review 02/27/12. 5 months after RNY, I needed to have my gallbladder out. I spent 6 weeks in excruciating pain, during which time Dr. Mortenson would NOT give me any pain meds, despite a trip to the ER and lots of missed time from work. (In the ER, he said "take a laxative".) His nurse, Phyllis, was rude and downright obstructive when it came to paperwork for my job. She REFUSED to give my messages to Dr. Mortenson and REFUSED to acknowledge that my pain was surgery related- putting in jeopardy my FMLA status. She argued with me numerous times and was quite nasty. For a surgeon that does so many Cholecystectomies and weight-loss surgeries, I find it absurd that it took him 6 weeks and 3 expensive and unnecessary tests to figure out the problem, while forcing me to suffer without relief. Phyllis, the nurse, even went so far as to leave me a message on my cell phone telling me I should change my voicemail greeting because she didn't like it! Talk about night and day experiences...I still think Dr. M is a very good surgeon, but I wouldn't ever go back to him after that last experience, especially with the way Phyllis treated me.
What was your first impression of him/her? rnrnI had read other reviews of him, and he was described as serious (read: humorless) and dedicated. While I primarily agree with that description, I would say his seriousness is more about taking serious care of his patients. In addition, he is tall and his personal appearance is sharp! Very crisp and tailored.rnrnHow did your impression change over time?rnrnI joked with him now and then, and he did crack a smile or two. While I was in the hospital, I had a small pity-party, and he, in a stern fatherly way, reminded me of the reasons that I had had the surgery. Later, I realized that my mood had crumbled a bit because of the pain I was in. I was off the pain pump, and hadn't asked for pain meds in a timely manner. But I appreciated that he knew my case well enough to cite specific examples of my health deficits off the top of his head. rnrnHow would you describe his/her office staff?rnrnI really only had anything to do with two members of the staff: Karen (someone in bookkeeping) and Phyllis (his office nurse). Phyllis is great. She is available to answer questions, and she always calls back if you have to leave a message. She's very positive and accessible - a very nice person. Karen, on the other hand, was plain awful. She had advised me that I needed to find out from my insurance how much my out-of-pocket expense was, and to pay it in full in advance of the surgery. I did that, paying the $2,500 on 5/12/09. My surgery was scheduled for 5/18/09. On 5/15/09, at 3:30pm, she called me, demanding that I pay an additional $3,712, and advised that, otherwise, the surgery would have to be postponed. I told her that I had done as she'd asked, and paid the $2500. She had never told me that she wanted documentation from the insurance company about the out-of-pocket amount. She had my check and full access to my insurance policies online, because Dr. Mortenson is a preferred provider, but, as far as I could tell, she never bothered considering those things. I had to leave a very important meeting, and get on the phone with my insurance company. It's pretty bad when the insurance folks are a million times nicer to you than the Dr.'s office. Thankfully, the insurance people straightened it out by calling Karen and getting it in order. But I was nearly hysterical - totally sobbing, fearing that my hopes for surgery was undone. It seemed impossible that she could, arbitrarily, decide that my surgery was off. It was as if she thought I was having a hangnail fixed - but the emotional connections to RNY are enormous, and I had made all sorts of work and social arrangements to allow for my recovery. When this was settled, I called the office back for confirmation, and she said, very flippantly, \"It's all good.\" I thought, in the very least, she should have apologized to me. She was extremely unprofessional, in my opinion. Others may have different experiences.rnrnWhat did you like least about him/her?rnrnWhen I was being prepped for surgery, the OR nurse patted my arm, and said, \"You know you have a very skilled surgeon.\" I don't think she had any agenda but the truth. It was reassuring. In addition, Dr. Mortenson advised me that his complication rate was far below what is generally considered acceptable, which was great.rnrnWhat should future patients know about him/her? rnrnHe is a skilled surgeon, but he's not going to visit with you for an hour about the niceties. He's very focused; very efficient.rnrnHow much does he/she emphasize aftercare?rnDoes he/she have a structured aftercare program? rnrnrnHis fee includes three months of medical aftercare. But the Bariatric Clinic that he's associated with doesn't really do much for support groups in outlying areas. So Obesity Help is my primary source of knowledge and support. I can, however, call his office or the Bariatric Clinic anytime I have a question.rnrnHow did he/she address the risks of surgery? rnrnHe really spelled it out for me on my initial visit. I had done a lot of research and asked very informed questions. It seemed as if he was somewhat unaccustomed to patients who are pretty well-informed.rnrnHow would you rate him/her overall? rnrnVery highly. rnrnWhich is better, surgical competence, bedside manner, or are both great?rnrnI'd say his surgical competence, but I am not in need of a lot of hand-holding, so his somewhat brisk manner might be off-putting to someone who needs more of that.rnrnrnJune 16, 2009
i was a little scared of him at first .and he come in and leaves just as fast .mortenson really cares about the one hes looking after and give u a run down how thing are going to be abd needs to be done .the staff in his office were careing abd helpful.he needs to talk more with his pasents but hes always on the go. have questions ready before he show or u will miss him.well the nursing did the emphassize after he told them to tell u and then i,ll asked if u get the aftercare told to u. he sat down and explained the risked about the diffrent kinds of surgery he does and from there we made the choices. care, very skilled in his arts.both is need to bring an understanding and trust .Oct. 4, 2008
Dr. Mortenson is a rock star! He did my surgery on 2/11/08 and it couldn't have been a better experience. My first impression was that he's awful smart, but not real chatty. Over time, I've come to understand he's not only smart, but an excellent doc as well. He knows his stuff and lacks the tude of some Missoula, MT based surgeons. All of his office staff seems smart, professional, and competent. I especially liked that he just came out and explained all of the risks and benefits without the double talk. Overall rating: 10/10, but if you want to chat, call talk radio!March 5, 2008
I knew Dr. Mortenson from working on the Surgical floor in the hospital he performs Lap Gastric Bypass surgeries.rnHe is a genuine example of why he should have become a physician and his surgical skills are a great example of why he became a surgeon. He cares about you as a person, not just a patient to do surgery on.rnHe is professional and personable.rnHe is selective in the persons he does this surgery on and is excellent in his aftercare.rnHis office staff is very pleasant and cooperative. The insurance billing and payment process went very well.rnEven though I was aware of the risks of the surgery and the possible side effects I had seen in this type of suregery, he explained it thoroughly and is always willing to answer any questions I have had.Jan. 21, 2008
My first impression of Dr Mortenson is that he is very direct and to-the-point. He is very thorough and informative, as well as competent. He was willing to answer questions. His pre-op diet is hard, but well worth it, and he requires it for the safest surgery possible. rnrnHe is associated with The Bariatric Institue, for nutritional counselling and the pre-op psych eval. I was not impressed with this office at all. My first visit was to be with the nutritionist, as well as the psych. I traveled 1.5 hours and took off work to be at this appt. Upon arrival, I was told this was to be a \"phone appt\" and that the nutritionist may or may not be able to see me and the psych had already gone home and was going to call me. Turns out the NUT did see me, and it was good to do in person. The psych didn't call me that day..... or for 2 weeks. I finally called about every hour until I got to speak with him, because he was the only one holding up my surgery!!!!!! All in all, I got absolutely nothing from this office. I received some paperwork today from them about my pre-op and immediately post-op diet.... and my surgery was a week ago!!! These were just my personal impressions of my own personal experience and I am making no statements about what other people may experience.rnrnDr Mortenson did my Lap Band a week ago (07/20/2007) and everything went wonderfully! I had every confidence that he was able to perform the surgery, and he was very professional and caring. His office staff are SUPREMELY SUBPERB! I had my one-week post-op today, and I was in and out of the office. He let me know that the surgery went well and took my staples out. I think probably surgical competence is his stronger attribute, but his bedside manner is not horrible, he's just busy!July 27, 2007
Test1June 13, 2007
Dr. Mortenson is not exclusively a bariatric surgeon. There are very few surgeons in Montana who do bariatric surgery and none who did lap banding (which is what I REALLY wanted rather than gastric bypass) at the time of my surgery in Dec. 2003. I know he is well thought of by some of his colleagues and other patients. My personal experience was not good. I terminated the post op care with him early and went to another doctor. I really would rather not discuss the details on an open forum. I think individuals need to make very, VERY careful assesments of both the surgery and the surgeon, then make their own decisions. I had the choice of 3 surgeons I did not know at all. I went to him on the high recommendation of someone who worked at the hospital.April 15, 2007
Very ProfessionalrnHe explained all the risks in great detailrnHe seemed very concerned about my rngeneral health as well. rnI've only been to his office once so I don't have any coments about him his staff at this timeSept. 1, 2006
Very professional, and knowledgable. I've only seen him twice so far, but I trust him and have heard very good things
about him from several people, many of whom are also in the medical profession.
His office staff is very nice, friendly and helpful.
Other than that, I can't really offer much
more info until I have seen him more.