How stigma affects patients after surgery

Dr Yitka Graham, a senior lecturer in public health, has produced a ground-breaking piece of research into how bariatric patients adjust to life after surgery. Healthcare professionals will be able to use her findings to support patients pre- and post-operatively by raising awareness of issues that they may encounter in social situations, discussing how other patients have dealt with these situations and how they might cope themselves.

The study, carried out by researchers from the Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing, University of Sunderland, looked at the experiences of patients who underwent bariatric surgery and how it affected their lives and social interactions. The researchers found that social aspects of bariatric surgery did not appear to be widely understood by those who had not undergone bariatric surgery.

So far there has been little research into patient experiences of daily life and social interactions after bariatric surgery. Now AHPs can look at the paper –  ‘Patient experiences of adjusting to life in the first 2 years after bariatric surgery: a qualitative study’, published in Clinical Obesity ( doi: 10.1111/cob.12205) – for guidance.

Dr Graham’s paper found that after bariatric surgery, patients make major changes to their lifestyles, including dealing with altered eating habits and a rapidly changing physical appearance, while at the same time experiencing a period of psychosocial adjustment.

Patients were involved in the research, from design to dissemination to make sure that the patient voice was embedded into the study.  Patients were encouraged to speak about their experiences openly without being constrained by set questions. Most participants reported that prior to surgery, they had experienced weight-related stigma from others.  This had been a source of anxiety which they felt would reduce following surgery as they lost weight. However, the stigma of obesity was exchanged for the judgment of bariatric surgery as the weight loss mechanism.

Dr Graham says: “This study sought to explore patients’ experiences of adjustment to life after bariatric surgery. We found that many participants were reluctant to discuss their experiences of surgery in social situations, sometimes even with close relatives, with frequent partial or non-disclosure of the method of their weight loss. Within social environments, discussions surrounding bariatric surgery were reported to be a source of worry with regards to the potential risks of revealing having undergone bariatric surgery due to being judged by others.”

 


Call for Abstracts for BOMSS 2018

BOMSS 9th ANNUAL SCIENTIFIC MEETING, 25 – 26 January, 2018
International Centre, Telford

Deadline for abstract submission: 9am on Monday, 20 November 2017
The 9th Annual Scientific Meeting of the British Obesity and Metabolic Surgery Society will be held at International Centre in Telford from 25 – 26 January, 2018.

The deadline date for the submission of abstracts is 9am, Monday 20 November 2017 and successful authors will be notified by the Wednesday, 6 December 2017.

To find out more and to submit an abstract, please visit the BOMSS 2018 website at: http://www.bomss.org.uk/2018conference/abstracts/

The BOMSS Training will be taking place on Wednesday, 24 January 2018,and registration for BOMSS 2018 will open shortly so please look out for updates on the BOMSS 2018 website.