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Bariatric Concerns in a COVID-19 World

A bariatric doctor talking to his female patient.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has changed many things, and bariatric care is no exception.

“Nothing matters more to us than the well-being of you and your loved ones,” says AdventHealth bariatric surgeon, Dennis Smith, MD, FACS, FASMBS. “That’s why we’ve implemented special measures during the COVID-19 pandemic. These extra safety steps help protect you, your family and our community,”

You may notice several changes the next time you visit your bariatric surgeon or other members of your bariatric team. Here’s what to expect — and why these precautions are so important.

 

Your COVID-19 Risk

Dr. Smith says, “If you catch coronavirus, obesity itself increases your risk of becoming severely ill. Several underlying health conditions — such as type 2 diabetes, heart failure and COPD — also raise the risk for severe COVID-19.” The more of these underlying conditions you have, the greater the threat from the virus.

Being in a high-risk group is an added reason to consider bariatric surgery. It’s also why you need to be extra cautious about keeping yourself safe. (Find more tips on how to protect your health during the pandemic here .)

 

Visiting Your Provider

Some visits with your bariatric team may now be over the phone or by video chat. When you go to the office for an appointment, these are a few of the precautions you might notice:

  • Chairs spaced far apart in the waiting room — or sometimes waiting in your car
  • Fever checks and screening questions as you enter the facility
  • Frequent handwashing or use of hand sanitizer
  • Limits on how many people can use the elevator at once
  • Limits on the number of people who can come with you
  • Masks worn by patients, visitors, and staff

“Behind the scenes, surfaces are being rigorously cleaned and disinfected,” explains Dr. Smith. “We keep patients separated as much as possible and are vigilant about the proper use of PPE for all.”

 

Going in for Surgery

Hospitals and surgery centers have put the same kinds of safety measures into place. These are additional issues you may want to discuss with your bariatric surgeon:

  • Are patients with COVID-19 treated at the same facility I’ll be in? If so, how are they separated from other patients?
  • What kinds of precautions are taken in the operating room?
  • Will I need to get tested for COVID-19 before my operation?

“Your bariatric team wants to hear your concerns. If you have other questions, don’t hesitate to ask,” says Dr. Smith.

In this worrisome time, answers can help give you peace of mind. If you have questions about bariatric surgery or COVID-19 concerns, we’re ready to help. Learn more about our program and expert team here.

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