Patient Education and Informed Consent
The long-term success of bariatric surgery is dependent on patient motivation and the capability of patients to make changes in lifestyle and eating behavior. Bariatric surgery is not curative, but a simple change in gastrointestinal anatomy, which facilitates limitation of calories. The variable results of individual patient weight loss accomplishment and the 10–25 % of patients who struggle with weight loss and weight maintenance are largely a reflection of the inability of patients to successfully change lifestyle and eating behavior. This offers opportunities in patient education and patient selection as more is learned about behavioral and lifestyle factors that may interfere with weight loss success after bariatric surgery. The process of patient-centered informed consent is designed to provide the patient with details of those individual factors, which argue for and against bariatric surgery. The communication of this important information in a manner which patients can comprehend is essential as is the confirmation that the patient does understand the information. Patient education and the informed consent process are complicated by inadequate health literacy skill, a common problem in patients with extreme obesity. Enhanced communication strategies and teaching techniques including audiovisual and multimedia interventions, extended patient discussions, and feedback techniques will help in addressing health literacy issues.
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