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WLS Seminars - are they just sales pitches?

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Old 01-07-2010, 12:49 PM   #1
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Default WLS Seminars - are they just sales pitches?

I'm sure this varies from doctor to doctor... but I see many major WLS doctors offer information seminars on WLS. If you attended one, did you find it helpful? Did they go over the bad as well as the good? Did you leave feeling more empowered to make a decision, or did it feel like you were just being given a sales pitch?

I'm thinking about going to a seminar either before or a few months after the baby is born. I think I am finally getting my husband to see the merits of considering WLS... but he is very skeptical and sensitive to "sales tactics"... so I don't want to take him to one of these if it'll just turn him off from the idea. He just wants to cold, hard facts.

What are your experiences with these seminars? Am I better off just going directly in to a one-on-one consultation with a doctor/surgeon?

Thanks for sharing your opinions and experiences! I love the board - I'm learning so much here.
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Old 01-07-2010, 03:28 PM   #2
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hhoooo. boy. you're sure asking good questions. here goes. on the one hand, they ARE sales pitches in a sense - the surgeons want you to come to THEM if you decide to have the surgery. on the OTHER hand, they are also an extremely efficient way for the surgeon to get you the information you need so that you can even begin to think about the surgery - topics like what does the surgery do, what types of surgery are available, what's life like afterwards, what you can expect immediately and later, and how it affects your life. and on and on and on.

it's not that you'll be one of 5 or 6 people there and have to endure high pressure sales. i've never seen a meeting with less than 100 people in the room who were at least 100 pounds overweight. can you imagine how much time it'd take a doc to give the same info to 100 people in appointments that would take away from their surgery time and their patient time? patients would NEVER get their surgeries at that rate!

and furthermore, an office visit = a co-pay from you. these info meetings are free!

You'll get a chance to ask questions - and be sure to have some ready. like how many surgeries have you done? how many people have died from complications? and how many people have had serious complications? and what happened to them? if you're having a problem, who will be covering?

NO ONE will go up and down the aisle taking your name. there won't be any raffles so that they'd get your contact information. there MIGHT be some post-ops in the room who will offer their experiences, and you are always welcome to talk with them.

more than likely, you will have the opportunity to go up to the front of the room and get a folder with info, or a brochure or something, and some docs will have office staff there with appointment information.

Many surgeons will not even allow you to make an appt unless you've attended a seminar.

does this help? they're nothing to be afraid of. you're generally able to hide in a corner and no one will bother you.
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Old 01-07-2010, 04:07 PM   #3
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That helps a lot - thanks! I'm not sure if having my husband come to one would be a good thing or not, though... but I want him to have all then information I have so we can have intelligent discussions about it. Especially since he will have to help care for me (and our children) when I am on the mend if I decide WLS is right for me.

Thanks for your response!!!
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Old 01-07-2010, 04:13 PM   #4
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I think your best bet is visiting the forum here and asking the ladies that have been through it already..and then determine if it's right for you.
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Old 01-07-2010, 06:02 PM   #5
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Absolutely.

To me, you don't do your research by going to a wls seminar.

You do your research before.

My WLS seminars that I went to were strictly to choose my surgeon.

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Old 01-07-2010, 06:13 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diminishingdawn View Post
Absolutely.

To me, you don't do your research by going to a wls seminar.

You do your research before.

My WLS seminars that I went to were strictly to choose my surgeon.

Dawn
That makes sense! They advertise them as "informational" - but I can see what you are saying. Good advice!!
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Old 01-07-2010, 06:29 PM   #7
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my seminar was VERY informative, and yes kinda a sales pitch, but only kinda. and my husband actually felt better about the whole process afterwards.
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Old 01-07-2010, 06:35 PM   #8
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My wls was mandatory. I couldn't get an appointment without attending one. I did do all of the research first, though it was a nice refresher. There were a lot of people there, too. I though I'd be one of like 10, but the seminar was standing room only. Good luck!
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Old 01-07-2010, 07:23 PM   #9
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The seminar I went to was very informative and awful all at the same time. The presentation was great and I was glad I had my husband with me. I learned a lot about the surgery, recovery, bandster rules and mortality rate. I'm glad I went.

The bad part was that at the door they ask you what insurance you have and if you aren't covered they won't even let you in. I was self-pay and they didn't want me there. I had to fight with the lady to get a packet and be allowed in.

The seminar was informative about the band and surgeons. I didn't go to them. I went to a better, nicer Dr but was plenty informed when I found him.
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Old 01-07-2010, 09:01 PM   #10
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The bad part was that at the door they ask you what insurance you have and if you aren't covered they won't even let you in. I was self-pay and they didn't want me there. I had to fight with the lady to get a packet and be allowed in.

WOW! That is crazy! I figure a lot of people have to self-pay just because many insurances don't cover it. I am pretty sure I'd have to self-pay.

I'm glad you managed to get in. Maybe that lady at the door misunderstood what she was supposed to do, or was just having a weird power trip. I'd hate to think they'd turn away patients willing and able to pay... or any patients for that matter.
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Old 01-07-2010, 09:51 PM   #11
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Answer: it depends on the practice and the presenter(s).

I went to 2 of these seminars before my surgery. One, I loved; the other was horrible. I ended up going to the practice with the horrible seminar (but to a different surgeon and not the one who presented).

The one I deemed horrible frustrated me because they were spewing incorrect information as facts. I did a LOT of research, and, I apologize if I sound conceited, but, when it comes to WLS, I know my stuff, and it's because of the extensive research I did pre-op. I felt I was more well informed than the SURGEON presenting at the seminar, which just made me shake my head. Some of the "information" she was spewing was outdated and some just plain wrong. I feel sorry for the folks in the room who believed everything she said.
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Old 01-08-2010, 09:12 AM   #12
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My surgeon will not even see you unless you attend his seminar, and I'm really glad I did (I went with my dh) all your questions plus questions others bring up will be answered. IMHO you'll walk away feeling like the surgery is for you or not for you. Its a good hour spent !

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Old 01-11-2010, 01:56 PM   #13
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seminars are pretty much required as a first step....
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Old 01-16-2010, 11:55 AM   #14
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The insurance/lack thereof thing bugs me too. A WLS provider here had a contest a couple of months ago, and you couldn't even enter if you didn't have insurance (or had Medicaid or one of those).
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Old 01-16-2010, 12:42 PM   #15
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I attended one for Duke, where 2 friends have had the surgery. Very, very well done and absolutely convinced me that WLS was NOT the solution for me.

They particulary emphasized how bad your body is likely to look after the fast, large weight loss which definitely took away any "hard sell" idea, as it seemed like half the room lost interest in the surgery when they found out about that outcome.
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