Methods to keep up with patients after surgery
At Akron General Medical Center we teach the importance of LIFETIME follow up with the surgeon and the program pre-operatively. All of our patients go through an intensive pre-op class where diet, exercise & follow-up are stressed. Patients are given a schedule of whom they will see (surgeon, dietitian, psychology team) at each phase of recovery. Patients make their next follow-up appointment at the end of their current visit. We make reminder phone calls for patients who have missed their appointments and send letters as well.
Program for patients who fail or gain weight?
We do not offer a “program” but tailor specific plans for each patient as an individual. First, we check to make sure there is not a physical reason for the weight gain (gastric pouch stretched, anastomosis – connection between gastric pouch and intestine – is too big). We will make appointments for the patient to work with our dietitian in recording their food intake and exercise routine and refer the back to or psychological team to help determine the cause for weight regain. Sadly, it is not uncommon to find the cause to be the patient’s lack of commitment to “follow the rules”.
We have structured monthly support group meetings, with a 3-year curriculum that includes guest speakers as well as a time to share questions and concerns with the Bariatric Center staff in a group setting.
Online support groups:
Although Akron General does not have an online support group there is a wonderful online support group for those who have regained, or are afraid of regaining weight, called Back on Track with Barbara & it is featured in Barbara Thompson’s online newsletter: www.backontrackwithbarbara.com. Barbara is a weight loss surgery patient herself, who has written her own book and co-authored several others.
Although we do see this problem on rare occasion, it is not unusual for it to be a problem pre-operatively, one that the patient may have chosen not to share with the bariatric staff. We offer addiction help through our psychological team.