Sep - Oct 2012

New Area... New Program

By Carey Brown, MD

 

Since our economic times have changed over the last several years, many people have had to make decisions to either move for different job opportunities or downsize. For some, this means moving away from an area where the past several generations of their family had resided. This is difficult for all involved because the immediate family is losing the close support that family can offer when it is needed. This also can affect a family member who is a bariatric patient. This means losing the close support that was provided by the bariatric program as well.

 

After finding a place to live in your new area, the next step for bariatric patients is to find a program that will accept them for post-operative follow up care. It does not matter if a patient is three months post-operative or three years. All patients need at least yearly follow up appointments with a program. Why is this? First, the more involved a person is to their care, the better their weight loss and maintenance outcomes will be. Seek to find support group meetings to become a part of the bariatric community instead of feeling alone and isolated in the new area. Second, all patients need surveillance of their nutritional parameters every year. This means yearly blood work to monitor protein stores, red blood counts and vitamin levels. No matter what operation was performed, all patients are required to supplement their diet with various vitamins; therefore, the levels need to be checked to ensure appropriate replacement is occurring. Finally, the realm of bariatric surgery is relatively new to medicine and the onus to prove the benefits of the operations is necessary. The bariatric community needs the five, ten, twenty and thirty years of patient follow up records to continually show the entire medical community that these operations work to provide sustainable weight loss and health benefits.