Dr. Blackstone shares the best resources to find useful information on bariatric surgeries and the surgeons who perform these procedures.
You know, we really suggest that you start with finding the people in your community who have dedicated themselves and their programs to excellence. So one of the ways to do that is to go on the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery website and they will give you a list of the programs in your area who qualify as National Centers of Excellence. That’s a good place to start because all of those centers have actually been site-visited, so someone has come and checked their data; they have checked their facilities; they have checked their process and you know that you are getting the real McCoy there.
A second way to do that is to check with your insurance company, especially if you are going to use the insurance to pay for your procedure. You need to understand that many insurance companies will designate a preferred centers, and that’s not based on what they pay for those procedures, that’s based on their assessment of that center’s outcome data. So again, it gives you another measure of quality.
Health Grades is a good place to look for data on centers, and they traditionally will rank centers every year. Five star centers are the highest ranked, one star centers being the least important.
Many times you can go to a seminar at the program that you are interested in and the surgeon will actually have their own data available for you to review, and that’s a very important thing. Volume turns out to be quite important to quality in this particular specialty. So, it’s better to go to somebody with a lot of experience who is doing a large volume than someone who you go in the office and there’s nobody there.
So there’s a lot of resources. If you are looking at adjustable gastric band, both of the major makers of these devices have tremendous websites and the REALIZE.com website for the REALIZE™ Band, and the LAP-BAND® website for the LAP-BAND® have tremendous amounts of resources and I think it gives you a good idea into the kind of philosophy behind each of the people that make those bands and what kind of support you can expect. So that’s a good resource as well.
About Dr. Robin Blackstone, M.D.:
Dr. Robin Blackstone is a surgeon and Director at the Scottsdale Bariatric Center and Medical Director at the Scottsdale Healthcare Bariatric Program. She is one of the few women surgeons in the world specializing in the Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass. With her practice focused entirely on Weight Loss Surgery, she is committed to providing patients with the very best care possible.