When something doesn’t seem right do you speak your mind, do you try to help, do you ask questions and do you try to fix that which is wrong?
You see time after time I hear from past patients who offered support to friends or family members by going along with them to their local weight loss surgeon. Not just support but they also wanted to make sure their friends and relatives were getting the same treatment and experience they received by the Endobariatric Team.
Just the other day I heard from a “Century Club” member (these are my patients who have lost over 100 pounds) who accompanied her sister to a local bariatric facility and was dismayed at not only the rudeness of the doctor, but all the add-ons and unnecessary extra treatments this doctor was telling her she needed. And when my patient questioned the doctor, he basically shut her down and told her she would have to make an appointment for him to answer questions.
This doctor gave my patient’s sister a long list of pre and post op requirements that she would be required to follow through with and each requirement added to the overall expense of the procedure. And although she was fortunate to have insurance that would pay a good portion of the procedure, all the added requirements pushed the price up to where her out of pocket expense was very close to $10,000.
The doctor’s list included a psychological evaluation, attending a two-hour seminar, going to education classes, buying a 14 day pre-op diet direct from the doctor, getting an EGD with a biopsy, having x-rays done and scheduling pre admission testing. The list also included 1 week, 3 week, 3 month, 7 month, 12 month, then every year after that, for follow ups. With each follow up the sister would have her vitals tested, her weight checked, her BMI measured, more lab work and she would also receive nutritional screening and psychological testing.
I never charge to answer questions and my over 10,500+ patients can attest to that. I don’t nickel and dime my patients. What are they thinking?
Before having bariatric weight loss surgery with any doctor, ask them these important questions:
- What size (French) bougie do you use? We use a size 32 which gives the most restriction, a size 36 gives the least restriction. The more restriction the better.
- What brand of staple technology is used? We use titanium staples made by Covidien in the United States. We don't use just any staples we use the Tri-staple technology which these staples adapt to your stomach thickness. Wow! Think about it, it's like intelligent staples that will adjust to you. We have a close partnership and exclusivity with Covidien and import these staples directly from the USA. We don't use other brands or other staples from other countries like China. This is the same material used in major hospitals across the United States. The staples have 3 rows of staples and provide an extra security level against leaks.
- Do you sew over the staple line? Sewing over the staple line helps prevent leaks and helps with the overall healing of your sleeve. Of course most surgeons don't like to do this because it is technically challenging and time consuming in non-expert hands. In our practice it takes an average of 4-6 minutes to oversew the staple line.
- Do you perform a leak test in the Operating room or the following day? We perform 2 tests while in the OR when we finish crafting your sleeve – a blue dye and air test both while the patient is still under anesthesia. If for any known reason we see or find any imperfection during these tests we can address and fix the issue in that precise moment. Makes sense right?
- How many surgeries have they done and what type do they do? At Endobariatric, my team and I have performed over 10,500+ gastric sleeve surgeries and this all we do! Crafting sleeves several times a day every day is my passion!
- What’s the average amount of weight loss each patient has achieved? Although each patient is different and results vary, our patients routinely lose on average 50 pounds in the first few months after surgery. Nearly half of our patients go on to join the Century Club (100 or more pounds lost). Of course this doesn't mean that if you have 50 pounds to lose you will go overboard by losing 70 or 100 pounds. Remember the sleeve is crafted for you and your needs.
- Where have you trained and can I verify that information? Asking a doctor where they trained is one thing, but asking if you can verify that information tends to make them nervous. Most don’t like that. I freely give that information to all that are looking. I even have it posted on my website so that if you needed to, you can verify first hand and make sure I’m the real deal.
- Do you use social media to inform, educate and engage your audience? Most don’t and the ones that do very rarely keep up with it. My team and I work tirelessly to make sure everything we do is an open book, is out there for anyone to see and gives people hope that they can be thin and healthy using the right methods, the right surgeons and the right support team.
It’s easy to think that just because a particular doctor accepts your insurance he/she must be good at what they do. That is further from the truth and in most cases won’t get you the best option. Do your homework. Ask questions. And if the doctor doesn’t want to answer those questions or you don’t like the answers given…it’s okay to go somewhere else.
If you have questions about weight loss surgery, or would like to receive more information about our services here at Endobariatric I invite you to visit our website, follow us on Facebook, Twitter,Instagram and Pinterest. You’ll discover hundreds of before and after pictures, testimonials, questions and answers, how we do things, our guarantees and much much more. Subscribe to our YouTube channeland be notified every week when a new episode of the #AskDrA show is posted. I would also encourage you to go my Amazon page and read my books. And if you Snapchat you can directly communicate with me by adding me to your contacts, my username is: gmoalvarez.
We change lives…and we do it every day! Not just with surgery but how we treat our patients before, during and after. We are constantly keeping them informed. We encourage them. We support them. We are always there to help them. This is what we do! And we’ll keep on doing it because it’s the right thing to do. We treat you like family!
“Changing lives…one sleeve at a time!”