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Obes Facts. 2009;2(1):10-5. doi: 10.1159/000193564. Epub 2009 Feb 3.

Bariatric psychology, psychological aspects of weight loss surgery.

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Department of Medical Psychology, Catharina Hospital, Eindhoven, the Netherlands.


Obesity is the 'disease of the 21st century' and results in physical and psychosocial co-morbidities as well as poor quality of life (QoL). In contrast to the nonsurgical treatment of obesity, bariatric surgery is treatment of choice for morbid obesity. Since improved QoL and enhanced psychosocial functioning are important goals of bariatric surgery, success following bariatric surgery should not only include weight loss and improvement or cure of co-morbid conditions, but also improvements in eating behavior, psychosocial variables, and QoL. Unfortunately, bariatric surgery does not lead to identical results in every patient. Patients who fail to adjust their eating behavior and lifestyle after bariatric surgery may experience adverse reactions. Compliance and adjustment may be attributed largely to psychological factors, implying that the operation on its own represents only one element in bariatric surgery. Considering the role of psychosocial factors in the outcomes of bariatric surgery and the impact of the operation on the psychological and social situation, mental health professionals should be a part of the process of evaluation and treatment of bariatric surgery patients. In the Netherlands, between 2000 and 2005, bariatric surgery has increased tremendously, and most Dutch hospitals have a multidisciplinary selection process.

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