In Canada, one year after bariatric surgery follow-up appointments become less frequent and surgical recipients must cope with weight management more independently. Up to 50% of patients experience weight regain by two years post-surgery. Understanding the lived experiences of those who have gone through the bariatric process may shed light on what is needed to support others moving forward. Therefore, the purpose of the study was to gain an understanding of the physical, psychological, social, and clinic-related experiences of individuals who have undergone bariatric surgery at least two years prior.
The purpose of the study was to gain an understanding of the physical, psychological, social, and clinic-related experiences of individuals who have undergone bariatric surgery at least two years prior.
In-depth, individual semi-structured interviews lasting approximately 60 min were conducted. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and inductive content analysis was used to identify emerging themes. Methods were employed throughout to support data trustworthiness.
Participants (n = 28; 21 female) were primarily middle-aged (mean: 49.7 ± 12.7 years old), Caucasian (71%), and completed bariatric surgery more than three years. The data fell naturally into four primary themes, namely physical changes and challenges, psychological experiences, social functioning and support, and clinic-related experiences and reflections.
Generally, participants described positive improvements in their physical, psychological, and social state since surgery. However, concerns pertaining to several unanticipated outcomes of the surgery were underscored and informed the recommendations for other patients to be prepared to relearn about ones’ body, utilize the support services available, and be aware that social relationships may change and/or require tending. Participants’ insights can be used to help others meet with long-term success post-bariatric surgery.