Bariatric Surgery: The Importance Of Aftercare?

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Bariatric (weight loss) surgery is increasing in popularity. Surgeries to treat morbid obesity include laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding and gastric bypass. For most people, the focus is actually having the surgery. They want to know if they qualify for surgery, can they fund the surgery, is the surgery available in their area and does their PCT fund it? The one question many people fail to ask is what after care is offered.

This final question should be one of the key questions asked. The level of success that bariatric surgeries offer is very closely linked to the level of aftercare. The gastric band involves placing a silicone band (via keyhole surgery) around the stomach. This is later adjusted by injecting saline into a port situated under the skin of the abdomen. These adjustments are an essential part of the aftercare and linked to the ability to use the band to restrict. It is also essential for the patient to change their eating habits and food choices. This requires the support of a specialist bariatric team to support them in making the required changes.

Gastric bypass surgery also requires comprehensive aftercare and support but this is related to the dietary changes, vitamin supplements and monitoring of blood results to ensure adequate nutrition.

Toni Russo is a consultant nurse in weight loss surgery with Streamline Surgical. She said:

The increasing problem we face as professionals is seeing patients making decisions on whether to have surgery on cost. Many people will often chose the cheapest option including those packages that offer no aftercare. It is common to travel to Belgium for cheaper obesity surgery but return with next to no support information on dietary needs and general guidance on how to adapt to life after bariatric surgery. This can lead people to feel very isolated but also become very malnourished, this is a particular problem after gastric bypass surgery.

Karen (45) had a gastric band with Guy Slater. I chose my surgery based on the aftercare which was realistic. The entire team at Streamline Surgical offered support at all stages of my weight loss journey. He has a large team that all offer band fills so I dont have to wait for an appointment. My sister went with a company who had one person covering 14 different clinics. She waits over a month for appointment. She has been really demoralised whereas I can always see someone within a week. Ive had a much easier journey

Guy Slater is a leading surgeon in obesity surgery and a member of the renowned Fat Doctor team on Discovery Home and Health. He agrees:

We are committed to delivering a comprehensive and robust service run by a specialist team. It includes expert surgery and a complete year of aftercare. We encourage our post operative patients to keep in touch with us and contact us at any stage rather than worry at home. We have made it as easy as possible by offering a web forum and live web chats. Aftercare isnt an optional extra-its essential.
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