Background: As bariatric surgery has become more popular, plastic surgeons have seen increases in post-bariatric surgery body contouring procedures. The aim of the authors' survey was to better understand perspectives of bariatric surgeons toward body contouring procedures and referral patterns to plastic surgeons.
Methods: A questionnaire was sent to 500 surgeon members of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. Questions focused on bariatric surgery practices, perspectives toward massive weight loss body contouring, and referral patterns. One hundred eighty-eight surveys were analyzed.
Results: Sixty-four percent of surgeons surveyed reported that patients ask about body contouring procedures before bariatric procedures. Only 54 percent reported routine counseling on the potential functional and aesthetic consequences of bariatric surgery. Ninety-six percent of bariatric surgeons have access to plastic surgeons, but only 7 percent of bariatric surgeons always refer their patients to a plastic surgeon and 33 percent rarely refer to a plastic surgeon. Fifty-one percent of surgeons report that patients who have undergone body contouring procedures are overall more satisfied with their decision to undergo bariatric surgery versus bariatric patients who have not had body contouring. Seventy-five percent of surgeons reported that patients rarely express any concern regarding their decision to undergo plastic surgery.
Conclusions: Bariatric surgery requires multispecialty care from bariatric and plastic surgeons. Results and outcomes can be improved with body contouring procedures, especially with regard to better self-image, self-confidence, and satisfaction. However, there are deficiencies in pre-bariatric surgery counseling regarding outcomes and discussions of body contouring procedures. Therefore, better methods of referrals to plastic surgeons need to be identified.