Background: Support group meetings (SGM) are assumed to be an integral part of success after bariatric surgery. This investigation studies the effect of SGM on weight loss as well as factors associated with attendance of SGM. It is our hypothesis that patients who attend SGM (ASGM) lose more weight than those patients who do not attend SGM (NASGM).
Methods: Postoperative bariatric patients completed a questionnaire regarding their opinions of SGM. Change in body mass index (BMI) was computed for each patient. The patients were then divided into two groups: ASGM and NASGM for data comparison.
Results: There were 46 patients in the investigation. Patients in the NASGM group tended to feel that SGM are not needed after bariatric surgery compared to the ASGM group (5.29 vs. 7.06; p = 0.07). Patients in the NASGM group tended to feel that they would lose the same amount of weight with or without attending SGM compared to the ASGM group (5.67 vs. 7.38; p = 0.07). There were no differences in distance to clinic nor in time to clinic between both groups. Gastric bypass patients in the ASGM group had a statistically significantly higher percent decrease in BMI than the patients in the NASGM group (42% vs. 32%; p < 0.03).
Conclusion: Patients in the ASGM group lose more weight than patients in the NASGM group. The importance of attending SGM should be incorporated in preoperative patient counseling and encouraged during postoperative follow-up visits.