Dr. DeBarros discusses the importance of bariatric surgery follow-up programs and explains how they differ depending on the type of bariatric procedure.
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The Importance of Bariatric Surgery Follow-up Programs In bariatric surgery, the key to bariatric surgery is to have a successful program, all right. Part of the successful program is not only the psychologist, the dietician, the exercise physiologist, but it’s also post operative follow up by doctors. Successful patients and I mean greater than 99% of all successful patients follow this modality. Typically, you want to have a program that the patient will come in and the program is different and it has to be tailored for different patients. Gastric bypass patients have a different program where they will see the dietician and the exercise physiologist and the psychologist. And the doctor and these patients have to be follow-up closely. And typically, we want to see our gastric bypass patients sometimes twice a year and initially in the first year for a gastric bypass patient, I see those patients at two weeks, three months, six months, 12 months and then subsequently every year thereafter. But even in the second year, sometimes it’s twice that second year and then subsequently every year thereafter. And then, they have to have somewhere where they can call for any issues or problems and that’s why you have to go a program with bariatric surgeon that has bariatric surgery coverage 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Okay and there are no taking off nights or weekends or holidays. It should be 24/7 coverage. And that should be for all bariatric patients. Lap band patients differ because a lap band is a little bit more intensive in terms of the follow-up. Lap band patients, we typically see them up to every six to eight weeks for band adjustments if needed. And because the lap band patients, weight losses are more gradual or typically it’s about one to two pounds per week, we want to make sure those patients are on target. And so those patients we follow more closely. And also, the doctor also needs to see these patients because in our practice here, the doctors do actual band adjustments. In other practices sometimes a nurse practitioner will do it, in our practice the physicians do it because we want to catch subtle differences in our patients in terms of any potential complications before they come up, so we can nip it in the bud. Now in terms of gastric sleeve patients, we follow those patients sort of at the gastric bypass level which typically in the first year is every three months. And then, in the second year twice and the third year, yearly thereafter and we want to also make sure that they are doing well as well and a battery of tests are also performed when they come to the doctor’s visit depending on what their situations are.