Ask The Expert - Bariatric Surgery: How Do I Choose The Right Doctor?

Bariatric Surgery (also known as Weight Loss Surgery) includes a variety of medical procedures that reduce the size or volume of various portions of the digestive tract to help patients lose weight. This is achieved by either reducing the size of the stomach, or by restricting absorptive capacity by reducing the size of the small intestine.

Our Bariatric Surgery Guide will give you a detailed and clear overview of the different procedures, their costs, and what results to expect.

Once you have opted for bariatric surgery, you might not know where to start looking when it comes to choosing the right surgeon for you; no matter the type of treatment you need to undergo, we understand that you want to be in best hands. With this post, we want to give you useful information and tips to make an informed decision.

To this aim, we reached out to Dr Grzegorz Kowalski, one of the highly-experienced bariatric surgeons working at KCM Clinic in Jelenia Gora, Poland.

Dr. Grzegorz Kowalski, MD, PhD

Dr Grzegorz Kowalski, MD, PhD graduated at the Faculty of Medicine at the Medical University of Silesia in Katowice. His extensive medical experience covers laparoscopic general surgery, bariatric surgery, and endocrinology. Besides KCM Clinic, he has worked in the Department of Clinical Department of General Surgery and Endocrinology Hospital in Bytom, and as Head of the Department of General Surgery and District Hospital in Świętochłowice.

So where should we start? According to Dr. Kowalski, the golden rule is: experience.
But let’s go into greater detail.

Dr. Kowalski, why is it important to choose a specialist for bariatric surgery?

Experience reigns supreme when it comes to choosing the right bariatric surgeon. The more experienced your surgeon, the greater your operation’s chance of success. When examining different bariatric surgeons, I recommend you look at the following:

  • Number of years in the field of bariatrics

  • Number of bariatric operations performed

  • Variety of bariatric operations performed

Patients must make sure their bariatric surgeon holds the appropriate medical credentials. He or she should be state-licensed and board-certified. The certification by the Board of Surgery demonstrates that a surgeon has completed his/her training in a program accredited by the Board of Surgery.

Moreover, it’s extremely important that the hospital or medical facility where the surgery is performed supports bariatric programs.

What should someone look for in a bariatric surgeon? What makes someone an expert in this field?

Once a patient has decided to undergo a bariatric surgery, it is paramount that he or she commits to living a healthier lifestyle before and after surgery. In addition to this, choosing the right bariatric surgeon is crucial to ensure successful results.

I recommend patients look at the following criteria:

✓ The doctor should be board-certified in general surgery and should have experience with the chosen procedure (e.g. gastric sleeve, banding, balloon, etc.).

✓ The doctor should be a member of renowned societies or associations, such as the Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgeons.

✓ The doctor should be willing to listen to the patient’s needs and understand his/her concerns and lifestyle.

What about the clinic or hospital where the surgeon operates?

Making the right choice also involves picking a clinic or hospital that features highly-specialized staff. The following points should be ticked:

✓ The facility has the resources and the staff to provide aftercare.

✓ The doctors and surgeons working there performed a minimum number of bariatric procedures the prior year.

✓ The facility has achieved excellent quality outcomes.

✓ The staff has received extra training specific to weight loss surgery, as well as to the treatment of patients who underwent a bariatric procedure.

✓ There is a Bariatric Coordinator who helps things run smoothly and acts as the main point of contact for patients.

✓ There should be regular support groups for the clinic’s patients.

Thank you Dr. Kowalski for your professional and insightful contribution!

About KCM Clinic

The ISO-certificated clinic is a multi-disciplinary facility offering a variety of procedures, ranging from diagnostics and gynecology to ophthalmology and weight loss. Actively involved in a scientific exchange with specialists at Sanford Health in the USA and Germany, KCM Clinic boasts more than 100 medical staff and 60 doctors providing the highest level of specialization in their own field of expertise.

Are you interested in bariatric surgery but unsure of what procedure best suits your needs? We partner with a large number of internationally accredited and highly-specialized clinics worldwide. Feel free to contact us, our Health Managers will be happy to discuss your options and prepare your medical travel with you!

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