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Saudi J Gastroenterol. 2018 Nov 27. doi: 10.4103/sjg.SJG_232_18. [Epub ahead of print]

Are patients aware of potential risks of weight reduction surgery? An internet based survey.

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Departments of Surgery and Medicine, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.



Obesity has become a global health care problem. In Saudi Arabia, up to 75% of adults are reportedly overweight. Morbid obesity has been associated with an increased risk of many comorbidities and mortality. Bariatric surgery is currently considered the most effective treatment option for morbid obesity. However, there are many concerns regarding the short and long-term complications of weight reduction surgery. It is unclear whether the general population is adequately aware of these risks. Therefore, we aimed to assess awareness of the general population of bariatric surgery complications. Although effective, bariatric surgery has been associated with many acute complications, reported in a range of 0.3% to 8% of operations.

Patients and Methods:

We performed a cross-sectional study between July and August of 2017 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. We used a 26-item, Arabic, electronically distributed questionnaire, to examine public awareness of the acute complications of bariatric surgery. Hypothesis testing was used to examine associations.


In total, 624 questionnaires were completed electronically. Mean age of participants was 25 (±13.2) and 66% were females. Of the surveyed population, 64% reported being aware of acute complications of bariatric surgery. Participants who had previously undergone a bariatric operation had a higher degree of awareness when compared to those who had not undergone a bariatric operation before (80.4% vs. 61.3%, P < 0.001). Females had higher awareness compared to males (70.8% vs. 52.1%, P < 0.001). Awareness of complications was not statistically different when stratified by level of education (P = 0.131) but occupation predicted awareness (P = 0.007).


Two-thirds of the general population appears to be aware of the potential acute complications associated with bariatric surgery. Furthermore, awareness seems to be higher in females, individuals who had previously undergone weight reduction surgery, and health care workers.


Awareness; bariatric; education; occupation; public; surgery

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