Traditional weight loss treatments use strong lifestyle interventions. This may include low-calorie diets, high-intensity exercise and educational classes.
Although lifestyle interventions are effective for weight loss, they usually last a long time and require lots of effort.
Furthermore, people need to adhere to the lifestyle changes to keep the weight loss. This can be quite hard for many people, and as a result they regain body weight after the interventions.
Recently, more and more overweight and obese people choose to use weight loss surgeries to get rid of excessive body weight.
Bariatric surgery is an intervention that has been shown to help lose weight and reduce cardio-metabolic risks.
Compared with intensive lifestyle intervention, bariatric surgery requires much less effort and time, and the weight loss outcomes can be very significant.
However, different from behavior intervention, weight loss surgery can have a negative impact on mental health or cause new health problems.
Some patients develop depression and poor body image years after surgery.
One way to solve the problem is to provide patient support after surgery. During the post-surgery support, patients can keep in touch with health care professionals.
They can also meet in group activities and discuss their mental and physical problems.
In one recent study published in Journal of Obesity, researchers from the UK examined how this type support can help patients after weight loss surgeries.
In the study, all patients had undergone Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) or sleeve gastrectomy or gastric band from 2007 to 2013.
In the follow-up programs, clinical nurse specialists contacted the patients 10 days after the surgery, dieticians contacted the patients 3 months after the surgery, and clinical nurse specialists contacted the patients again 6 months, 1 year, and 2 years after the surgery.
Among all the patients, the researchers found that 58% would be interested in a post-surgery support service.
Importantly, weight loss, weight regain, and surgery type did not determine whether a patient wanted a post-surgery support group.
The researchers found that despite achieving a similar degree of weight loss and weight regain, people who struggled to keep the weight off had more requirement of post-surgery support.
The support they needed could be related to dieting, gut health, changes in taste preference and nutrition.
In addition, patients who had a poor body image after surgery were more likely to require support. These patients experienced loose skin and dumping syndrome and were unhappy with their new appearance.
Finally, people who had difficulties with return to work were more likely to ask for post-surgery support. They hoped the support could help them have gainful employment.
Based on the results, the researchers suggest that a post-surgery support is independent of weight loss success.
In the future, patient support combined with digital tech (email, texting, social media and mobile apps) after surgery may be helpful to patients’ health and well-being.
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