Cross-Sectional Analysis of Attitudes Towards Bariatric Surgery Tourism of Patients Attending a Weight Management Program: A Qualitative Study

Document Type : Original Article


1 School of Medicine, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland

2 Seattle Science Foundation, Seattle, USA

3 Croí, the West of Ireland Cardiac Foundation, Galway, Ireland

4 School of Medicine, International Medical University, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia



Introduction: The upward trend of seeking bariatric surgery tourism will only grow with the globalization of medical care. We aim to describe the experiences participants of a supervised weight loss program in relation to their pursuit of bariatric tourism.
Methods: Semi-structured interviews with an unbiased questionnaire were conducted to obtain a profound understanding of the current Irish bariatric surgery recruitment program and bariatric patients’ perception of it.
Results: Analysis of interview data yielded 5 themes. Each theme was elaborated further with selected quotes from the coding process. Participants were asked to suggest potential solutions to current bariatric surgery and tourism support concerns in Ireland. Authors’ recommendations based on a literature review and the analysis of the interview transcripts are also provided.
Conclusion: Any patients with morbid obesity and many years of attempted weight loss should receive a bariatric procedure to alleviate not only weight-related metabolic co-morbidities, but also the associated psychiatric burden. The currently available eligibility criteria and the lack of resources render an ideal surgical intervention inaccessible to many. Efforts must be made to scrutinize the efficacy of the existing criteria and the availability of resources. Alternatively, a bariatric tourism scheme that allows uninterrupted patient care should be developed.


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