Dr. Baranov is truly an artist, a master, and absolutely the gold standard in weight-loss surgery. If you asked me in November if I would be not only speaking publicly about my own weight-loss surgery, but shouting about it from the rooftops, I would not believe it.

My struggle with weight has been lifelong, and I felt a lot of shame and guilt (that I’m still unpacking) about seeking surgery. It felt like defeat. I was also extremely apprehensive because the vast majority of my experiences with healthcare professionals in New York state have been very negative, filled with fatphobia and other just uncomfortable experiences.

I have to say that every single encounter I have had with Dr. Baranov and his team of professionals has been nothing but exceptionally pleasant. Even before the informational seminar, his team was in touch with me about paperwork, etc., and made themselves readily available if I had any questions. As an admitted know-it-all when it comes to weight loss, I thought that the seminar would be a waste of my time—I couldn’t possibly learn anything new. Surprise! Dr. Baranov’s seminar (which was virtual this year—a phenomenal option) was incredibly thorough, and I left feeling so well-informed and much more at ease in pursuing a surgical path.

His office called within days to schedule my consult, and I went in with trepidation. However, meeting Dr. Baranov put me at ease. Not only is he impressively credentialed, but he is at the forefront of improving bariatric practices around the country. Any question I had, he answered it. I never felt like I was being rushed or that he had higher priorities than me. By the time I left his office, I had a tentative surgery date, I met with his medical weight-loss doctor to get me going on some meds to help preoperatively, and I met with his scheduler who gave me a list of dates and times for all my required appointments leading up to surgery. And there are certainly a lot of appointments, but I encourage people sitting on the fence to not let this discourage you. Every medical office should have a professional scheduler. I knew all the dates and times for everything from my fitness consult at the YMCA to my post-surgical office visit. It removed an enormous amount of stress and anxiety that comes with calling 10 different offices and coordinating schedules and waiting for callbacks.

Whenever I called his office during the pre-op period, I either spoke with a live person or got a very quick callback. I never felt disrespected or looked down on because of my size. I was not treated as unintelligent because I got to this point. At all times, by all people, I felt respected, cared for, empathized with, and listened to.

I am currently about 5 days post-op, and can now speak to my experience with surgery, the hospital, and recovering. Like anyone about to undergo major surgery, I had a fair amount of anxiety and excitement leading up to the actual procedure. At the time of consent-signing, I was put at ease by all his staff and himself. He reiterated how I would feel after surgery, and other important things to remember, like following the nutrition plan and what to pack for the hospital. It was a joyous occasion, and I felt like everyone was celebrating with me!

The day of the surgery was somehow a breeze. I went in early, thinking that surgery wouldn’t be until mid-day, but it was impressively on time, nice and early! Dr. Baranov visited me right before the procedure to check on my well-being. I don’t remember a thing after the oxygen mask went on (shout-out to the anesthesiologist!), but I do remember waking up not in excruciating pain, just extremely tired and groggy.

Once I woke up a bit, I found out that the pain reliever prescribed to me was a very modest dose of Tylenol. I truly believe that the fact that the most pain I had came from gas and not the incisions or my organs is a testament to Dr. Baranov’s skill and finesse as a surgeon. I was lucky to have a robot-assisted laparoscopic Roux en Y bypass, and I have six VERY small incisions that I believe will leave minimal scarring once they’re completely healed.

I was in the hospital overnight, and during my stay, I was visited by Dr. Baranov and his staff no fewer than three times! While I wasn’t feeling or looking my best, it felt really good to know that these people really cared about how I was healing AND feeling. It made me feel so much more confident in my future trajectory. By my second day home, I felt almost normal, save for some pressure in my new stomach. By the third or fourth day home, I didn’t feel I needed Tylenol anymore, I felt that good. I’ve had great energy, great mood, and feel GOOD. Again, I look at this as a testament to how skilled Dr. Baranov is at what he does, and how his program sets patients up for success.

His postoperative diet for onboarding new foods is probably more aggressive than other practices, but it is reasonable, and I feel—once again—that it sets his patients up to have the best chance at not only long-term weight-loss success but also to have the best chance of having no complications (or hurting your new stomach). Since surgery, I have heard from his office/the hospital three times checking in! Plus, Dr. Baranov himself took time out of his Sunday night to proactively call me to ask me how I was feeling, if I had gone outside, if I had any questions. This only affirmed the feelings I’ve been having throughout this process: That Dr. Baranov cares about his patients; we are not a number; he is invested in our success. I don’t feel like many surgeons would go so above and beyond for their patients, and while I am not a religious person I have to say that I feel infinitely blessed to have been recommended his practice and to live near it.

I hear that he has patients come from far to receive his services. I would say that if you are considering weight-loss surgery and are within reasonable distance of the practice, there is absolutely no other place you should go—Saratoga Bariatrics, led by Dr. Baranov is clearly an exceptional practice that truly does serve its patients with the best care imaginable. Highly, highly, wholeheartedly recommend. I am so excited to see what my future holds.

Thank you, Dr. Baranov. I have no doubt that you saved my life last week.