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Motivations for seeking bariatric surgery: the importance of health professionals and social networks
journal contributionposted on 2016-01-01, 00:00 authored by M J Sharman, A J Venn, Martin Hensher, S Wilkinson, A J Palmer, D Williams, D Ezzy
Objective: To examine Australian patients' motivations for seeking bariatric surgery. Background: The reasons for seeking bariatric surgery are incompletely understood. This information is needed to inform health-service planning and therapeutic decisions. Methods: Ten focus groups were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed thematically. Results: Thirty-two women and 17 men (mean age 55 years; range 23-72) who had received or were waitlisted for publicly- or privately funded bariatric surgery engaged in the study. Novel findings highlighted the importance of other bariatric surgery recipients, health professionals' recommendations (e.g., bariatric surgeons, medical specialists, and general practitioners), the media (e.g., televisions shows on bariatric surgery), and having private health insurance. We also confirmed previous findings that people seek surgery for physiological and psychological health, and because of previous failed weight loss attempts and significant others (e.g., wanting to live longer for children). Conclusion: Many individual, societal and environmental factors influence people to seek bariatric surgery. Exposure to recipients of bariatric surgery and recommendations made by health professionals appear to be common factors prompting a surgical pathway not previously reported. Bariatric surgery uptake may spread in social networks, which has growing implications for health service planning as more people seek this pathway.