Factors Influencing Choice of Operation Among Prospective Bariatric Patients

Stelin Johnson, RPAC, Roman Grinberg, MD, John N Afthinos, MD, Karen E Gibbs, MD. Staten Island University Hospital



It is currently unclear what factors patients wishing to undergo weight loss surgery use in their selection of an operation. In our practice we have noticed an apparent disparity between the information presented to our bariatric patients regarding the different bariatric procedures during an information session and the choice that is ultimately made. For example, it is known that the gastric bypass is superior in terms of diabetes remission rates relative to gastric banding, yet a higher percentage of patients with diabetes select gastric banding. We conducted this study to elucidate which factors patients use in their decision making process.


Our bariatric surgery program is structured such that patients are required to attend an information session and an education session prior to their surgical consultation. A survey was administered to a random subset of patients who were established members of our practice and to new patients who were still deciding on which operation to pursue. The survey asked which source was considered most informative among the program, another patient, friends or family, primary care physician, media outlets or others. The patients were then asked to state the most important factor in selecting an operation from the same choices. Additionally, it also asked how long patients were contemplating surgery before they finally had their choice of procedure done.


Two hundred patients completed the survey with 34 patients (17%) being pre-operative candidates. The most informative source were found to be the bariatric surgery team itself (64%), a prior bariatric surgery patient (13%), friends or family (8%) and the primary care doctor (7%). The most important factors for decision were listed as the bariatric surgery team (34%), friends or family (27%), the primary care doctor (11%) and a prior bariatric surgery patent (9%). The average time patients considered surgery was 19 months (range 2 to 120 months), with the most common time frames being 12 (43%), 24 (25%) and 6 (13%) months before their operation.


It appears that although the bariatric surgery team is most informative and important, a significant number of patients will also include friend and family input in their decision. It is unclear how many of our patients had sat through other sessions at other institutions. It is also unclear what type or how valid the information they received from friends and family. This suggests that information sessions should potentially be expanded to include friends and family since they are such a major factor in the patients’ decision making process.

Session Number: Poster – Poster Presentations
Program Number: P486
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