Pop quiz: What’s the most important element in a successful gastric sleeve surgery? Perfect pre-surgery prep? Sticking to a healthy sleeve diet afterward? Nope. Though those things—and a whole lot more—are critical to your success, choosing the right doctor is by far the most important.
The best vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG or gastric sleeve) is the one that’s safest and most technically sound. And those factors are directly linked to outstanding gastric doctors. Below are key questions to ask a physician before you commit to VSG surgery.
What certifications do you have? Are you a Surgeon of Excellence?
Certifications typically equate to superiority because earning them requires education, evaluation of skills and safety, etc. The Surgical Review Corporation, an internally recognized healthcare leader working to advance the safety and effectiveness of surgical care worldwide, offers a critical endorsement. Their accreditation is the gold standard for quality surgical care. Another excellent sign for a physician is maintaining active membership in national and international professional organizations.
Dr. Alvarez checkup: I’m honored to be one of only twelve doctors worldwide named a Surgeon of Excellence® in surgery for obesity by the Surgical Review Corporation. In addition, I’m an active international member of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, the Society of Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons, and the International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity and Metabolic Disorders.
Do you have “before” and “after” pictures of your patients?
Happy patients who are thrilled to show off their results and share their stories are, perhaps, the most visual hallmark of an exceptional gastric doctor. It’s proof that sleeve surgery performed by the physician has worked successfully for others before you.
Dr. Alvarez checkup: Our Endobariatric website has hundreds of “before” and “after” photos (twenty-one pages full!) for prospective patients to browse through. Most are also accompanied by the patient’s personal story and/or a video showcasing their whole life makeover.
How many surgeries have you performed?
When it comes to VSG surgery, practice really does make perfect. Would you rather be under the care of a physician who’s done the procedure a few times before—or thousands of times before? Would you rather that your doc perform sleeve surgery plus a half-dozen other things—or focus solely on perfecting gastric sleeve?
It goes without saying (but we’ll say it anyway) that an experienced gastric doctor who only performs VSG surgery is the smart choice.
Dr. Alvarez checkup: I’ve performed nothing but sleeve surgery since 2006, accumulating a resume of 11,500-plus gastric sleeve procedures in the process. It’s also worth noting that my experience translates to the entire Endobariatric team, who work alongside me day in and day out. We’ve perfected our techniques to world-class standards, giving my patients top-notch results unsurpassed anywhere else.
Are you a five-star rated doctor?
The proof is in the pudding (or, in this case, the ratings). Patients who’ve been through VSG surgery are the toughest critics and are the only sure-fire way to gauge everything from the recovery process to the doctor’s bedside manner. Visit ObesityHelp.com, an independent site dedicated to individuals affected by obesity, to access reviews of gastric doctors.
Dr. Alvarez checkup: ObesityHelp.com has stockpiled more than 850 five-star reviews of me and our Endobariatric practice—all courtesy of real patients. These are people from all over the country who’ve taken the time to rank their experience, and they’ve all given us the highest marks. We’re thrilled, of course, because it confirms we’re doing right by our patients. Because we only accept three or four sleeve patients a day, we’re able to focus completely on those few patients, their procedures, and their recoveries. Our five-star reviews speak to Endobariatric’s quality and safety, as well as our patients’ satisfaction with their entire experience.
Put your doctor to the test. And when you do, we’re confident you’ll discover that Endobariatric is the right choice for your VSG surgery.