A gastric bypass support group can help you both prepare for surgery and cope with the changes you'll experience after surgery. Choosing a gastric bypass support group involves evaluating the local options available to you, finding out the nature of the group, including whether it is peer or professionally led, and determining whether participation in the group will fulfill your surgeon's pre-surgery qualification criteria. You should also find out if the support group caters to those who have already had the surgery, those who are considering surgery, or whether it is a mixed group. It's also a good idea to find out whether the group includes people who have had all different types of weight loss surgery or just those who have undergone the gastric bypass procedure.
If you cannot find a local gastric bypass support group, you may have to look into online options. While there are advantages to online gastric bypass support groups, you should investigate the group's sponsorship to ensure the group is not organized for the purpose of recruiting new patients for a bariatric practice. On the other hand, you'll probably have good luck finding several groups that fit your needs and that can introduce you to others who share your experience.
Many conscientious bariatric surgeons will not perform a gastric bypass on someone who has not undergone a process of significant education and evaluation. These surgeons may ask you to spend time with a mental health professional who can work with you to find out if you can handle the necessary lifestyle changes after having your surgery, and may in some instances want you to participate in a gastric bypass support group. If your surgeon practices with a large medical group or weight loss clinic, he may want you to attend a gastric bypass support group sponsored by his clinic or practice. He may also refer you to a group that meets at the hospital where he performs the surgery. In some cases, he may allow you to choose a group on your own.
If you are able to choose a gastric bypass support group for yourself, you should still ask your doctor whether she has any recommendations for groups in your area. Local hospitals may also be able to help you. When you contact the group leader, you should explain your circumstances, including whether you have had the surgery or whether you are still considering it as an option. You should also ask about the composition of the group. You don't want to be the only person with your specific circumstances in the group, so make sure that the group is able to meet your needs.