Dec 29, 2015

Interview Transcript

Dr. Miller: How can you find out about our bariatric program? We're going to talk about that next, on Scope Radio.

Announcer: Access to our experts, with in-depth information about the biggest health issues facing you today. The Specialists, with Dr. Tom Miller, is on The Scope.

Dr. Miller: Hi, I'm here with Dr. Eric Volckmann. He's a bariatric surgeon here in the University of Utah Department of Surgery. Eric, tell us a little bit about how patients can find out more about your program of bariatric surgery.

Dr. Volckmann: Well, patients come to us in a number of different ways. Frequently, they'll find us on the Internet, and we have a pretty in-depth website. Once they get to our website, there will be a link to click on to attend a free bariatric surgery information session.

Dr. Miller: Do you have the name of that website? Is it www.bariatricsurgeryuniversityofutah? Or do they just Google bariatric surgery, University of Utah?

Dr. Volckmann: If they Google bariatric surgery, University of Utah, it should take them to the site. But I think if they also type in it can take you there. But if you get to the University of Utah hospital's website and type in bariatric surgery, it will bring you right there.

Dr. Miller: So basically, you conduct learning sessions, education sessions for folks that are considering bariatric surgery, or have that in mind?

Dr. Volckmann: Yeah, we want people to know what bariatric surgery involves and what they're getting into before they come into clinic. If patients are referred to us by physicians, or call our office, or find us on the internet, we'll first have them come to an information session before coming to clinic.

At that point in time, we'll tell them about the different procedures, about their weight requirements, the steps to go through to bariatric surgery, who the bariatric surgery is right for, and maybe not right for.

We also collect medical information from patients who want to come into clinic, in addition to having them fill out screening questionnaires for things like sleep apnea. Patients have to be smoke-free before going forward to surgery.

So by the time patients come in to clinic, they already have an idea of what surgery they might want to have, whether or not surgery is right for them. And we're really able to spend the visit talking about surgery as it pertains to them, rather than having a question and answer session about their health and medical problems.

Dr. Miller: How often do you schedule these sessions?

Dr. Volckmann: Almost every two weeks. The information sessions are either given by myself, or Dr. Anna Ibele, or Dr. Ellen Morrow. They're also my partners in bariatric surgery. So we rotate through, but we try to have one every two weeks.

Dr. Miller: Now, is it just you or your colleagues speaking, or do you also have nutritionists and other folks that are talking at this session?

Dr. Volckmann: It's normally myself or one of my partners, followed by a patient who's had surgery. Normally, we bring someone up to talk about their personal experience, and that tends to be the highlight of the time for most of our potential patients, people coming to the information sessions.

We also have bariatric support groups. We hold those once a month, and I always encourage prospective patients to go to those. Talk to our patients who have had surgery before, and ask them what their experience has been. What they'll find is that most people think it's one of the best decisions they've made.

Dr. Miller: One of the nice things about having a live audience that you are talking to is that they can ask questions. I gather there's probably a few of them that do ask questions.

Dr. Volckmann: When we're finished talking about the procedures and qualifications, and after our guest speaker comes up, I will normally stick around, or one of my colleagues will stick around and answer questions from the audience.

Dr. Miller: Usually how many people will you have in a session?

Dr. Volckmann: About 50 people or so. We normally fill up an entire conference room.

Dr. Miller: You do that here on campus?

Dr. Volckmann: Normally they're done right here in the Red Rock Room, in the University Hospital, which is by the cafeteria.

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