THURSDAY, June 17, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Clinicians rarely discuss bariatric surgery with obese patients, according to a study published online June 10 in Obesity.

Lee-Shing Chang, M.D., from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and colleagues assessed whether patients who discuss bariatric surgery with their providers are more likely to undergo the procedure and to lose weight. Documentation of bariatric surgery discussion was pulled from electronic provider notes from 30,560 adults with body mass index (BMI) ≥35 kg/m2 treated between 2000 and 2015.

The researchers found that 8.7 percent of patients discussed bariatric surgery with their providers. Among patients who discussed bariatric surgery with their providers, BMI decreased by 2.18 versus 0.21 for patients who did not. Patients who discussed bariatric surgery with their providers lost more weight (1.43 kg/m² change in BMI) and had greater likelihood of undergoing bariatric surgery (odds ratio, 10.2).

“Even without surgery, such discussions emphasize the seriousness of obesity and may prompt patients to explore ways to lose weight,” a coauthor said in a statement. “It’s important for clinicians to initiate these discussions but also support them when patients bring them up themselves.”

One author disclosed financial ties to the medical technology and pharmaceutical industries.

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