5 Tips For Avoiding Unsafe 'Surgery Mills' When Considering Lap-Bands

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 25, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Recent media reports associated with lap-band surgery have caused consumers to wonder, is it safe? The answer is yes, according to Ted Khalili, M.D. of the Khalili Center for Bariatric Care, whose team of surgeons has performed over four thousand weight loss operations.  Both he and other experienced bariatric surgeons like him perform weight loss surgery safely every day.  However, that doesn't mean that every doctor who offers lap-band or other weight loss procedures is qualified to do so.

The Lap-Band procedure is among the safest in weight-loss surgery, and offers advantages over other procedures including reversibility and adjustability.  The procedure has been performed for over 20 years and has a proven track record as evidenced by numerous peer reviewed articles.  As with any surgical procedure, there are inherent risks.  However, with appropriate medical care, including pre-operative preparation and lifelong follow up, surgery has been proven to be an effective and safe solution to overcoming obesity and its many co-morbidities (i.e., diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, etc.).

Dr. Khalili, who now heads the Khalili Center for Bariatric Care in Beverly Hills (www.khalilicenter.com), a medical practice specializing in obesity and related diseases, offers these tips when considering weight loss surgery.

  1. Eat healthy and exercise.  Weight loss surgery is reserved for the seriously overweight that have tried other methods of weight loss and failed.  If you choose to proceed with surgery, understand that healthy living habits are the key to success.  Surgery is not a quick fix.
  2. Which procedure is best for you? If you and your physician determine that weight-loss surgery is appropriate, then you must next decide which surgical procedure is your best option. By all means, empower yourself by doing your own research and talk to people that have already had weight loss surgery. Ultimately, however, you will need to consult an expert bariatric surgeon.  
  3. How do you choose a surgeon who's qualified? At a bare minimum, your surgeon should be certified by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery and the American Board of Surgery.  Your surgeon should be able to provide you with the number of operations they have performed and their complication rates.  Choose an academic surgeon that has participated in weight loss surgery related research.  Ideally, you want a surgeon who is capable of doing more than just Lap-Band operations, but is capable of performing a wide variety complex laparoscopic abdominal operations.
  4. The "Multidisciplinary approach."  Along with choosing a qualified surgeon, it is imperative to select a program that offers a multidisciplinary group of health professionals including physicians, nurses, dieticians, and mental health specialists.  From initial consultations to surgery to extensive aftercare, obesity is a complex disease that requires a comprehensive support program.
  5. What services does the program provide to ensure your success? Surgery is a tool.  By itself it is not adequate for long term success.  Long term success after weight loss surgery requires a comprehensive, fully integrated treatment plan that combines weight loss surgery with a number of other approaches, including nutritional classes, support groups, fitness regimens, educational talks, and other therapeutic programs.  It's an approach that encompasses all aspects of health and wellness for the long-term…a program for life.

SOURCE Khalili Center for Bariatric Care