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How to Determine the Right Gastric Bypass, Lap Band, and Realize Band Surgeon


Weight loss surgery, whether it’s Gastric Bypass, Lap Band or REALIZE Band surgery, and the post-op monitoring of weight loss and health benefits is a long-term commitment. When it comes to choosing the right surgeon, Dr. Ajay Goyal, Medical Director, Overlook Hospital recommends looking for someone who has the right combination of training, experience, compassion and commitment to ensure you get the best care possible.

Dr. Goyal suggests that you choose an experienced surgeon, with a multi-disciplinary team, who is the right person for you, in both the short-term when it comes to pre-op and surgical care as well as in the long-term to coach and motivate you after surgery. Below are key qualities he recommends patients consider when choosing a bariatric surgeon to use as a guide to help narrow your search as well as for a discussion with your prospective doctor.

1. Fellowship-Trained + Board Certified
Fellowship-trained means in addition to the required five years spent in a general surgery residency gaining surgical experience, your surgeon chose to train an additional year focusing on enhancing his/her laparoscopic general and bariatric surgery skills. Board certified means that your surgeon has passed a post-residency certification written and oral exam about all aspects of surgery given by the American College of Surgeons.

2. ASMBS Center of Excellence
The ASMBS is a professional society for bariatric surgeons. They’ve determine – that is experts in bariatric surgery, not insurance companies, or other organizations - a strict set of criteria based on their experience for both surgeons and hospitals to meet to earn a Center of Excellence designation. While Center of Excellence certification doesn’t guarantee that a surgeon is the right one for you, what it does do is make sure the surgeon has the right level of experience, including performing a minimum of 125 procedures a year, that the surgeon and the hospital’s facilities are designed specifically for bariatric patients including proper furniture, surgical instruments and multidisciplinary specialists. It also ensures that the surgeon and hospital are set up for long term care and support, which is key for weight loss success.

3. Discusses Benefits + Risks
Bariatric surgery is serious surgery, and each procedure – Gastric Bypass, Lap Band and REALIZE Band - just like any other surgery, comes with risks. Each patient needs to understand the risks and then weigh the benefits vs. the risks before determining if surgery is right for them. If you aren’t clear on the risks or your surgeon doesn’t mention them don’t be shy. Ask your surgeon to explain them to you so you can make an informed decision.

4. Multi-Disciplinary Team
Make sure the surgeon you choose has the right support players in place to ensure success. Success after weight loss surgery includes not only an experienced surgeon, but also a team of nutritionists, psychologists and exercise-specialists who will help you navigate life, food and fitness before and after surgery to help you maximize weight loss. Working with a multi-disciplinary team, with a support system in place for both before and after surgery, signals that your surgeon is committed to your long-term success.

5. Complication and Mortality Rates
Even in the hands of the best, most experienced surgeons’ complications, and in some cases mortality does occur. It’s important to know the national averages – gastric bypass mortality rate is 1 in 200 and gastric band mortality rate is 1 in 1000. You want to find a surgeon who’s either under or on par with the national averages. Most experienced and skilled surgeons post this information on their Web sites or talk about it in their seminars. If this information isn’t readily available or the surgeon is reluctant to talk about it you need to ask yourself why, and if this person is the right one for you.

6. ASMBS Member
Membership in ASMBS, the bariatric professional society, show’s a commitment to the craft - a commitment to keeping up-to-date on the latest techniques and research. A surgeon keeping current with the latest studies, and interested in constantly learning more about the practice of bariatric surgery is the kind of surgeon you want for surgery.

7. Straight Forward Answers to the Tough Questions
Most prospective bariatric patients do a lot of research to help them determine if Gastric Bypass, LAP Band or REALIZE Band surgery is right for them. A natural outcome of all that research is often a lot of questions on everything from what will the hospital stay be like to some tough questions on complications and risks. Be sure your surgeon answers all questions, but particularly the tougher ones like risks, complications and mortality in a straight forward manner. Look for someone who will be upfront and truthful about the procedure and the long term commitment you’ll be making to lose weight and get healthy.

For more information about weight loss surgery – Gastric Bypass, Lap Band or REALIZE Band – visit

New Jersey Bariatric Center
The New Jersey Bariatric Center, led by Dr. Ajay Goyal, has offices in Union and Hoboken, New Jersey. Dr. Goyal’s approach to patient care has resulted in zero mortality to date and a complication rate that is lower than the national average. These surgical results stand out as some of the best in New Jersey. If you or someone you love is considering bariatric surgery – gastric bypass or lap band procedure - please join us for one of our free educational seminars. To register, visit us at

New Jersey Bariatric Center
700 Rahway Avenue
Union, NJ 07083
Phone: (908) 378-1779 (Business hours)
Phone: (201) 461-1915 (Service)
Fax: (908) 688-8861


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