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How Much Experience Should Your Bariatric Surgeon Have?

There are a number of publications in the medical literature that show that experience is directly and positively correlated with good outcomes following bariatric operations. But what is a sufficient experience? At what point does the bariatric surgeon’s experience no longer play a role in outcomes?

The minimum number of bariatric operations required for a surgeon to qualify for Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence status is 125 of any type. This 125 number could be only one type of operation, such as gastric banding. Unfortunately, diversity in experience is not acknowledged.

Diversity Defines a Bariatric Surgeon’s Experience

Diversity of experience in bariatric surgery is best defined by exposure to a wide variety of surgical procedures, both open and laparoscopic. Surprisingly, many of the younger bariatric surgeons have never performed an open operation. Likewise, many of the younger surgeons have never treated patients who had one of the early bariatric operations, e.g., vertical banded gastroplasty (VBG) or jejunoileal bypass.

Would a surgeon lacking such exposure be qualified to perform revisional surgery on a patient who’s had one of these older procedures? Have these surgeons actually dealt firsthand with the complications that are associated with these older procedures?

If you’ve had bariatric surgery before and you’re contemplating a revisional operation, you’ll want to put your life in the hands of the most experienced doctor you can find.

Isn’t your health worth the best in the field?