In these present times, a significant number of people are suffering from obesity or overweight. Every year the number increases by a considerable margin. This is probably caused by the poor and unhealthy lifestyles people are living nowadays.
These are signs that there is a need to create a new branch of medical research that studies and treats obesity, which is commonly referred to as bariatric. Bariatric is now a branch of medicine that deals with the causes, treatment and prevention of obesity.
This new branch of medicine opened the door to a new kind of surgeon – the bariatric surgeon. Today, most bariatric surgeons perform minimally invasive bariatric surgery.
What Does a Bariatric Surgeon Do?
A bariatric surgeon performs surgeries that allow obese patients to achieve weight loss. Before surgery, the surgeon evaluates the patients that have been unsuccessfully achieving long term weight loss by non-surgical means. The bariatric surgeon also determines whether or not patients are appropriate candidates for bariatric surgery.
The patients who are considered appropriate candidates are then helped by the bariatric surgeon prepare themselves properly for surgery, minimizing many potential risks as possible and then perform the operation. The surgeon also assists the patients with their postoperative care following surgery.
How to be a Bariatric Surgeon
For students interested in learning how to become a bariatric surgeon, they should first have a broad understanding of bariatric medicine.
Bariatric medicine focuses on the treatment and prevention of obesity, and often relies upon pharmaceuticals, therapy and surgical procedures.
To be a bariatric surgeon, one needs to complete certain requirements, including:
- Being a physician first – To be a physician, one has to complete a four-year bachelor’s degree. Then an additional four years schooling in medical school. The last two years of medical school must include clinical rotations under the direction of a medical doctor. After finishing medical school, one has to complete a residency program that could last three to seven years. And lastly, they have to take and pass a medical licensing examination to be a licensed physician.
- Bariatric training – This training is completed during a hospital residency program. The training is divided into different concentrations such as:
- Health treatment
- Preventive Methods
- Surgical procedures
To become a professional bariatric surgeon, one needs to concentrate on the surgical procedures which includes gastric bypass and lap-band surgery. While it may be good to perform both types of surgeries, most bariatric surgeons prefer to initially focus on one or the other for expertise.
To be a bariatric physician one needs to meet the credential requirement set forth by a country’s bariatric medicine licensing board. These requirements vary by location.
Generally, one has to perform at least 15 successful bariatric procedures to qualify as a bariatric surgeon. A successful procedure includes pre and postoperative management, as well as “hands on” surgical experience under the supervision of an experienced bariatric surgeon.
- Board certification – After one becomes a licensed physician, he or she has to pass a board exam from the American Board of Obesity Medicine to get a board certification. To help prepare for the exam, the American Society of Bariatric Physicians offers an Obesity Medicine Certification Review Course two times year. A review course helps one prepare for the board exam, although it is not a requirement. Any physician who passed the board exams qualifies as a bariatric doctor.
- Continuing Medical Education Credits – Even if one is already qualified as a bariatric doctor, one needs continuing education credits. The American Society of Bariatric Physicians and the Obesity Society are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education. They also provide curriculum that qualifies for continuing education credits. One has to attend the annual meeting of each organization, which consists of sessions that cover obesity topics.
- ASBP Fellowship Program – This is a program where doctors can learn even more about obesity. It comprises a comprehensive overview of multidisciplinary bariatric service in the setting of a tertiary, referral hospital.
Participants can gain an insight and understanding of management of complex and difficult patients. They will be introduced to the perspective of Physician, Nutritionist, Endocrinologist, and Psychologist in the treatment of obese patients in the multidisciplinary bariatric program.
The Fellowship course is recommended for participants as a comprehensive course in contemporary bariatric care. They are exposed to basic and some advanced laparoscopic surgery. They will also under simulated endotraining which consists of varied maneuvers and exercises to develop and improve hand and eye coordination and develop skills in laparoscopic suturing and knotting.
The ASBP Fellowship Program consists of 50 instruction modules which doctors must complete in a year. After completing the program, the doctor receives a certificate from the ASBP and has not an official title as “ASBP Fellowship Program Graduate.”
What it takes to be a Robotic Bariatric Surgeon
Robotic bariatric surgeons possess different levels of qualification, training, skills, experience, practice set up and levels of results. Surgeons must possess some qualities because they will significantly affect the result of the bariatric surgery.
Qualifications and Trainings
To be a good robotic bariatric surgeon one should know some things that you need to qualify as a robotic bariatric surgeon. These are some of the things that you have to possess so patients will come to you:
- Specific training in robotic bariatric surgery at an accredited fellowship program after completion of residency training
- Current specialty board certification
- A fellow of the American College of Surgeons
- Belongs to professional specialty organizations such as the Society of Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgery?
- Maintains current knowledge by continually getting medical education credits
Real and tangible results
The most important proof of being a great robotic surgeon is consistency, real and tangible results. As a robotic bariatric surgeon you must be able to show proof of generally positive results from the procedures you have performed. You must be able to tell your patients how often did you experience complications such as gastrointestinal leak or infection occur after surgery. Good outcomes gives assurance your patients the assurance that they are in good hands.
Experience matters a lot. It is an accepted fact that the more experienced the surgeon, the less possibility of postoperative complications. Experience is not only about your years of practice but also the number of successful surgeries you have performed.
There is a popular idiom “it takes a village” which holds true for surgical procedures. In order to have a successful overall result, you need to provide high quality comprehensive care right from the pre-surgical phase and all throughout the post-surgical journey of your patient. You also need a responsive support staff. You must have qualified nurses, skilled operating room staff and a hospital equipped with the latest technology and strong programs like a designated center of excellence.
To obtain a Center of Excellence designation requires a rigorous application process and an on-site inspection which confirms the highest standards of patient care.
Like any surgeon, to be a good bariatric surgeon, one needs some personality traits that will attract patients. Some of these traits include:
- Trustworthiness – This trait will make people have confidence that they are in good hands and they have made a wise decision in choosing a particular bariatric surgeon.
- Honesty – A good surgeon will be honest in all ways and processes so that there will be no future issues after surgery. If there are risks, one should be able to discuss it openly with the patient. If the patient is not qualified for bariatric surgery, one must honestly inform the patient.
- Emphatic bedside manner – Patients will feel anxious and afraid. If one has a wonderful bedside manner, patients will feel that you are willing to walk hand-in-hand with the patient across his weight loss journey.
If you need more information when you are looking for the best bariatric surgeon for a minimally invasive bariatric surgery, give us a call or visit our other web pages. They are full of information that will answer your need.