Patient Expectations of Bariatric and Body Contouring Surgery

Plast Reconstr Surg Glob Open. 2016 Apr 25;4(4):e694. doi: 10.1097/GOX.0000000000000677. eCollection 2016 Apr.


Background: Patient expectations are important in bariatric and body contouring surgery because the goals include improvements in health-related quality of life, appearance, and body image. The aim of this study was to identify patient expectations along the weight loss journey and/or body contouring surgery.

Methods: This qualitative study took an interpretive description approach. Between September 2009 and February 2012, 49 patients were interviewed postbody contouring surgery. Data were analyzed using a line-by-line approach whereby expectations were identified and labeled as expected, unexpected, or neutral. Constant comparison was used to ensure coding was done consistently. Interviews continued until no new themes emerged.

Results: Participants described expectations according to appearance, health-related quality of life, and patient experience of care. Two areas stood out in terms of unmet expectations and included appearance and physical health, ie, recovery from body contouring surgery. Most participants, who underwent bariatric surgery, expected neither the extent of excess skin after weight loss nor how the excess skin would make them look and feel. For recovery, participants did not expect that it would be as long or as hard as it was in reality.

Conclusions: A full understanding of outcomes and expectations for this patient population is needed to enhance patient education and improve shared medical decision making. Education materials should be informed by the collection of evidence-based patient-reported outcome information using measures such as the BODY-Q. A patient-reported outcome scale measuring patient expectations is needed for obese and bariatric patients.