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Why Not Talk About Bariatric Surgery: What makes patients and healthcare professionals hesitate?


Why wouldn't a person with severe obesity want to talk about bariatric surgery? Why wouldn't the patient's physician want to do it? The reasons for hesitation are many.

Bariatric surgery is the most effective therapy for patients with severe obesity and yet the surgery is performed annually in <1% of those who meet criteria for the treatment.

There are insurance, financial, and healthcare access barriers to candidacy for bariatric surgery but there are also deeply seeded cultural beliefs and misperceptions among patients and clinicians alike that prevent even the first exploratory conversation in a clinical encounter about weight loss surgery.

The slide show below highlights a recent paper published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings titled, Rethinking Patient and Medical Professional Perspectives on Bariatric Surgery as a Medically Necessary Treatment. In it the authors present research that identifies a range of implicit beliefs and inaccurate perceptions about obesity, weight loss, weight regain, and the surgery itself that keep patients and their physicians from talking about bariatric surgery.

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