Patient experiences of outcomes of bariatric surgery: a systematic review and qualitative synthesis

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Although bariatric surgery is the most effective treatment for severe and complex obesity, less is known about its psychosocial impact. This systematic review synthesizes qualitative studies investigating the patient perspective of living with the outcomes of surgery. 2604 records were screened, and 33 studies included. Data extraction and thematic synthesis yielded three overarching themes: Control, normality and ambivalence. These were evident across eight organising sub-themes describing areas of life impacted by surgery: weight, activities of daily living, physical health, psychological health, social relations, sexual life, body image, and eating behaviour and relationship with food. Throughout all these areas, patients were striving for control and normality. Many of the changes experienced were positive and led to feeling more in control and ‘normal’. Negative changes were also experienced, as well as changes which were neither positive nor negative, but were nonetheless challenging and required adaptation. Thus, participants continued to strive for control and normality in some aspects of their lives for a considerable time, contributing to sense of ambivalence in accounts of life after surgery. These findings demonstrate the importance of long-term support, particularly psychological and dietary, to help people negotiate these challenges and maintain positive changes achieved after bariatric surgery.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)547–559
Number of pages13
JournalObesity Reviews
Issue number5
Early online date8 Mar 2017
Publication statusPublished - May 2017

Structured keywords

  • ConDuCT-II
  • Centre for Surgical Research


  • bariatric surgery
  • qualitative
  • synthesis
  • patient experience


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  • ConDuCT-II

    Blazeby, J.


    Project: Research

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