Purpose: Bariatric surgery (BS) is considered the most efficient treatment for severe obesity. International guidelines recommend multidisciplinary approach to BS (general practitioners, endocrinologists, surgeons, psychologists, or psychiatrists), and access to BS should be the final part of a protocol of treatment of obesity. However, there are indications that general practitioners (GPs) are not fully aware of the possible benefits of BS, that specialty physicians are reluctant to refer their patients to surgeons, and that patients with obesity choose self-management of their own obesity, including internet-based choices. There are no data on the pathways chosen by physicians and patients to undergo BS in the real world in Italy. Methods: An exploratory exam was performed for 6 months in three pilot regions (Lombardy, Lazio, Campania) in twenty-three tertiary centers for the treatment of morbid obesity, to describe the real pathways to BS in Italy. Results: Charts of 2686 patients (788 men and 1895 women, 75.5% in the age range 30-59 years) were evaluated by physicians and surgeons of the participating centers. A chronic condition of obesity was evident for the majority of patients, as indicated by duration of obesity, by presence of several associated medical problems, and by frequency of previous dietary attempts to weight loss. The vast majority (75.8%) patients were self-presenting or referred by bariatric surgeons, 24.2% patients referred by GPs and other specialists. Self-presenting patients were younger, more educated, more professional, and more mobile than patients referred by other physicians. Patients above the age of 40 years or with a duration of obesity greater than 10 years had a higher prevalence of all associated medical problems. Conclusions: The majority of patients referred to a tertiary center for the treatment of morbid obesity have a valid indication for BS. Most patients self-refer to the centers, with a minority referred by a GP or by specialists. Self-presenting patients are younger, more educated, more professional, and more mobile than patients referred by other physicians. Older patients and with a longer duration of obesity are probably representative of the conservative approach to BS, often regarded as the last resort in an endless story.

Advice of General Practitioner, of Surgeon, of Endocrinologist, and Self-determination: the Italian Road to Bariatric Surgery

Conte, Caterina;
2022-01-01

Abstract

Purpose: Bariatric surgery (BS) is considered the most efficient treatment for severe obesity. International guidelines recommend multidisciplinary approach to BS (general practitioners, endocrinologists, surgeons, psychologists, or psychiatrists), and access to BS should be the final part of a protocol of treatment of obesity. However, there are indications that general practitioners (GPs) are not fully aware of the possible benefits of BS, that specialty physicians are reluctant to refer their patients to surgeons, and that patients with obesity choose self-management of their own obesity, including internet-based choices. There are no data on the pathways chosen by physicians and patients to undergo BS in the real world in Italy. Methods: An exploratory exam was performed for 6 months in three pilot regions (Lombardy, Lazio, Campania) in twenty-three tertiary centers for the treatment of morbid obesity, to describe the real pathways to BS in Italy. Results: Charts of 2686 patients (788 men and 1895 women, 75.5% in the age range 30-59 years) were evaluated by physicians and surgeons of the participating centers. A chronic condition of obesity was evident for the majority of patients, as indicated by duration of obesity, by presence of several associated medical problems, and by frequency of previous dietary attempts to weight loss. The vast majority (75.8%) patients were self-presenting or referred by bariatric surgeons, 24.2% patients referred by GPs and other specialists. Self-presenting patients were younger, more educated, more professional, and more mobile than patients referred by other physicians. Patients above the age of 40 years or with a duration of obesity greater than 10 years had a higher prevalence of all associated medical problems. Conclusions: The majority of patients referred to a tertiary center for the treatment of morbid obesity have a valid indication for BS. Most patients self-refer to the centers, with a minority referred by a GP or by specialists. Self-presenting patients are younger, more educated, more professional, and more mobile than patients referred by other physicians. Older patients and with a longer duration of obesity are probably representative of the conservative approach to BS, often regarded as the last resort in an endless story.
2022
Bariatric surgeons
Bariatric surgery
Endocrinologists
General practitioners
Obesity
Sanitary tourism
Self-referral
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12078/10165
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