Newswise — According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 66 percent of all U.S. adults are overweight or obese. Faced with conditions of heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes, many Americans are shopping for bariatric surgery to help manage these conditions and, in some cases, cure them.

What should a consumer look for in a bariatric program? Here are five tips from Nick Nicholson, M.D., medical director of weight loss surgery program at Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano, an American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence®.

Take your time choosing a program. Weight loss surgery is a not a magic bullet but requires life style changes to be effective. A good-quality program will tell you up front about the different options for weight loss surgery and the post-operative work " exercise and changes in diet " required for each option. Weight loss surgery is not an emergency, take time to thoughtfully consider at least two programs.

Be flexible. Consult with a surgeon or surgeons who perform more than one type of weight loss surgery. As a consumer, you can select gastric bypass, adjustable gastric banding or the gastric sleeve procedure. "One procedure may be more effective for you than another, so explore all options," urges Dr. Nicholson.

Numbers do matter. Numerous studies have shown that complication rates from weight loss surgery are highly dependent on the surgeon's prior experience. Because previous experience is tantamount to success, ask your surgeon how many of each proposed operations he or she has performed.

Chemistry matters. In many general surgical cases, you have limited interaction with your surgeon. Not so with weight loss surgery. You may see your surgeon at least four or five times in the first year. Be sure that the surgeon and support staff is genuinely interested in you and your success.

Support matters, too.To succeed, weight loss surgery requires hard work from you. What support can you expect post-surgery? Does the program offer support groups, psychological support, exercise or physical therapy? Are dietitians involved to help you develop better eating habits and food plans? "I frequently tell our patients that 90 percent of their long-term success is in their hands, not mine," says Dr. Nicholson.

For more information about Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano, visit

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