Psychosocial Consequences of Weight Loss following Gastric Banding for Morbid Obesity
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Background: This study was performed to determine what consequences surgery for morbid obesity has on weight loss, problems in eating behavior, quality of life, physical appearance and mental state. Method: After a minimum follow-up of >8 months (median follow-up 21 months, range 8-48 months), a questionnaire concerning extent of, satisfaction with and consequences of weight loss was mailed to 250 morbidly obese patients after laparoscopic Swedish adjustable gastric banding (SAGB). In addition, the partner's opinion regarding the operation was evaluated as well as the consequences of weight loss for partnership and sexual relationship. Results: 160 patients (64%) completed and returned the questionnaire. Most patients (87%) were happy with the extent of weight loss. Weight loss, however, was connected with negative consequences for the body such as flabby skin (53%), abdominal skin overhang (47%) and pendulous breasts (42%). Patients who were satisfied with their postoperative physical appearance showed significantly less weight loss than did patients who were unhappy with their appearance (38 vs 54 kg). Most of the partners (91%) believed that the decision for SAGB was right. An improvement in partnership was reported by more than half of the partners (59%), and an improved sexual relationship by 45%. Conclusion: Laparoscopic SAGB is an effective surgical treatment for morbid obesity. However, the consequences of excess and rapid weight loss for physical appearance are negative in many cases. Well-directed information about the consequences of excess weight loss before SAGB and the possibilities and limits of plastic surgery must be given preoperatively to offset high and often unrealistic expectations.
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