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WHAT made you choose YOUR SURGEON?



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Many of us have traveled a different path to find a surgeon. Did you find yours because of a recommendation of your primary care physician? Did you choose yours because of a friend's recommendation? Did you apply to a certain bariatric program and they assigned yours to you? Or did you travel a different path yet?

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1. Relationship to premiere research hospital.

2. 20+ years of doing bariatric surgery. Sits on board of bariatric surgeons. Helped develop the qualifications necessary to board certify other surgeons.

3. Does surgery at a center of excellence that is also a first rate trauma center.

4. I could be part of a research project.

5. Recommended diet includes lots of healthy carbs and calories are not insanely restrictive.

6. Five year success rate of patients is excellent compared to others.

7. Dedicated 24/7 emergency line for bariatric patients.

8. Tons of education and resources. Good support staff. Process of approval was made very simple and straight forward.

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All good, all great, CreekImp you are my BBFF, "best bariatric friend forever". And guess what? Almost every one of them- OSU my new wonderful program #2 fulfills! I have landed my WL parachute is the right place for me and my future.

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Frustr8, do you have a date yet? I keep crossing my fingers for you.

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Alas no,i ran into a minor roadblock, wouldn't it be me that would. I have had a perpetual case of. sinusitis. PCP wanted me to take an holiday from my Cpap,machine, now they need electronic documentation of compliance so I have to wear it 4+ hours each day for 30 days, then the report is faxed them, early July,2nd, then I see no further reason for them to not be giving me a firm July date. I have fought so long for this that I am becoming weary. I'll never give up on getting it surgically resolved.😷

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I found the best practice in my area with the highest ratings and accreditation, then picked the surgeon who started that practice for my surgery 😊

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I looked up all the surgeons in. my area after ruling out the one that nearly killed my mother.

Then I researched their website and narrowed down my choices to the top three that had the most experience and impressive credentials.

All three had info sessions online so I watched those and was able to get a feel for each one prior to my appts.

Ultimately I chose the surgeon that I felt most connected to.

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I went with the same practice that we found when my wife was getting into WLS about fifteen years ago. They were one of the few that offered both the DS that she was most interested in along with the standard RNY, so it was one place where we could get a reasonably honest opinion as to which procedure best fit her (most surgeons will only recommend a procedure that they perform, whether it fits or not), and they were a well regarded practice that attracted patients nationwide (and beyond.) An added consideration was that though we were travelling up to SF for the surgery (from LA) they still had a semi-local office and support group.

When it came time for my VSG about seven years ago, they were one of the most experienced at doing sleeves (owing to the sleeve being a part of the DS) - an important factor when considering a procedure that was fairly new at the time; one should always look for a surgeon who has several hundred of whatever procedure one is interested in under their belt, irrespective how long they have been in bariatrics. Given the newness of the sleeve then, it was still worth going up to SF for the surgery as no one local had their kind of experience. And, considering that we had already been doing business with them and going to their support group on and off for several years, I knew the program, they weren't into the latest fad diets - just what has worked (and worked very well, indeed) for the past twenty years or so. It still is working seven years later.

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Posted (edited)
On 6/11/2018 at 10:15 PM, RickM said:

; one should always look for a surgeon who has several hundred of whatever procedure one is interested in under their belt, irrespective how long they have been in bariatrics.

Nice in theory but unsustainable in practice. If everybody followed that advice, we'd run out of surgeons. It's like everyone else should be your guinea pig...

Edited by _Shane_

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What made me choose my surgeon? Don't laugh , my peeps, but first I looked at his picture. Yeah I know it sounds shallow, life isn't always a beauty contest, true but it wasn't true beauty I was looking for. I was looking for a kind yet steadfast expression. The surgeon at facility # 1 (curses be upon them) was as cute as a speckled pup, but there was something about his demeanor in even his picture, "Here I am, kiss my feet and do it NOW".Oh I tried to stuff this feeling to the back of my mind, said to myself You're asking too much, the papers say he's experienced, maybe he will be okay, and sadly,i was right. Yes surgeons do have to have confidence but this dude was so full of himself there was barely any airbleft in the the room for anyone else. And as time went by he did not dispell this uneasy feeling. I tried to rationalize it away, he's just a people mechanic, he knows how to perform the surgery and perform it okay. Its not as though he is filling out an application to be your lover
And when he rejected me it hurt, oh it hurt so badly like having a limb traumatically severed. I had jumped through every consultation hoop he required, traveled 100 miles round- trip for each and every one.Gave up my drinks, foods , tried to realign my diet to his specifications. Placidly remitted my co-pays, know he raped both my insurance carriers line's satyr, even paid his facilitie's blood money of $200 cash, for pre and post- nutritional & dietary consulting which i didn't receive or have that money, which I'm sure with his wealth he regarded it as chump change but it was a lot of money to me. I affiliated myself with his facility for 2. and a half years , went through his program not once but twice. But when it came time to put up or shut up, commit himself to a surgery date he said " Nah I don't think so!" he had 2 partners, for all I know, he still does. I had met them in passing so they were not total strangers. Did he offer either of them in exchange? Nope, no way. it was " Go away little girl, we've bleed as money out of you as legally possible, now just Go Away!"
There way one member of his staff I liked, she called the week after this happened to apologize. No she couldn't get me reinstated or change his mind n but she did have the decency to apologize
So I entered program #2 with fear and a little trepidation. But it has been a totally different experience, instead of having someone assigned to me by a hospital program , I had my choice of two. So I looked intently,at the 2 pictures side by side,then I pulled up everything I could on either one, their professional records, their biographies, their statements of purpose. I checked to see how old had their oldest and youngest patients had been. I'm high functioning aspie, we can be quite obsessive with our interests. Both were individually creme de la creme, I decided either would do me nicely. Why did I choose Dr Needleman? His partner's oldest patient had been 64, he had had. successful 70 year oldd before. He was a pioneer in this area and indeed in my state, Ohio. I found his statement of purpose on OHIO STATE'S website resonated with me. And finally he,is the Director of Bariatric Surgery and Metabolic Weight Loss at this facility, a full Professor,in the Medical College, I respect a man who doesn't sit on his laurels but wants to educate others. And although this might sound selfish and,egotistical, I said to myself " Frustr8 ,Old Girl, you are only going to go around,once, this is your one And only excursion into Bariatric Surgery, there are no longer "do overs" , why not give yourself an unsurpassed gift📦. The gift that you loved yourself enough,that you sought and obtained the very best. So that is how Bradley J Needleman MD and I formed a surgical alliance. I found him to be.personable, intelligent, treated me as a equal instead of talking down to me and the more we chatted the more I reaffirmed my choice, this was the man I would entrust with my very life. And on September 5th 2018 at 7AM in his operating theatre I will do so. No Fears , No Reservations and I go forth with hope and Trust in my ❤OF,❤!

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1 hour ago, _Shane_ said:

Nice in theory but unsustainable in practice. If everybody followed that advice, we'd run out of surgeons. It's like everyone else should be your guinea pig...

It should be something that is in one's calculus in deciding upon surgeon and procedure. Practicality is a variable - with a DS, local choices are usually limited if not non-existent, so travelling is always a consideration, weighing differences in experience and technique with the convenience and cost differences of staying local. I traveled for my VSG as at the time, no one local had much experience with it, even in a major market such as southern California.

This can weigh in on choice of procedure, too. A bypass done by someone well experienced with them (fairly common in the bariatric world,) may be a better choice than a sleeve done by a noob - even if that is the same surgeon under consideration - as even a fairly straightforward procedure such as a VSG has its subtleties and nuances that only get mastered with practice.

One can mitigate this some by exploring what kind of training the surgeon went through to learn the procedure in question. The DS (at least the "traditional" BPD/DS) is acknowledged to be complex enough that most surgeons seeking to offer it go back to school to learn it, often doing several months of residency with an established practice to learn the in's and out's of it, while the VSG is deemed to be simple enough that most just learn it on their own, and the results often show that. Going the residency route helps to get the doc further up the learning curve before he starts in on his own patients, and helps him gain confidence in the different post-op protocols that benefits the new procedure; looking at the number of practices that combine their RNY and VSG dietary and supplement protocols is a good way of seeing how many are still working up the learning curve on the newer procedure.

It is a choice as to whether one wants to be a guinea pig, but it should be a choice that is made with knowledge. I have spoken a couple of times with my wife's surgeon's DS patient #1, and she came out just fine, as did, presumably, most of his other early DS patients, though patients 500-1000 no doubt, on average, did somewhat better techniques (both his and the industry in general) improved. But she did make an informed choice between a bypass that he was well experienced with and this newer and better procedure that he had just come out of residency on and was still learning.

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My surgeon had the gastric sleeve surgery. He gives all of his patients his personal cell number so you can text him with any questions, any time of the day or night. He knows exactly what I am going through, having experienced it himself. This is why I chose him and I was not disappointed.



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My surgeon had over 38 years of experience! That was my number one reason for picking him. I made the right decision!

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My surgeon was recommended by my PCP. I brought the list of doctors to him and told him I needed a recommendation. He looked and said I don’t know him, I don’t know him, oh I trained him, he will take good care of you.

When I told my surgeon the story, he asked who my PCP was and after I told him he said oh I do stuff for Terry all the time. No matter how long I keep this PCP he will never be Terry to me. 😀

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And my surgeon was and is a wonderful person , and highly skilled doctor. And although I have had a miserable rotten nasty 2 week,surgiversity, I still am and will grateful he did not bar me from surgery at 72, as many,others would. He saw, although this chickadee 's feathers were gray she still could and will make a 🎁success of it all . Parts of me might be creaky but I can and will,make a success of it all. This I Do Promise!😝✊

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