Perspectives

Bariatric surgery: the GP’s role in patient selection and management

Perspectives

Bariatric surgery: the GP’s role in patient selection and management

William Yu, Milan K. Piya, Nic Kormas

Figures

© AnnaStills/iStockphoto.com  models used for illustrative purposes only
© AnnaStills/iStockphoto.com models used for illustrative purposes only

Abstract

GPs have a crucial role in selecting patients for consideration of bariatric surgery and providing long-term follow up and support after surgery. Practical tips are provided on selecting patients, managing them immediately after surgery, recognising complications, long-term monitoring and preventing nutritional deficiencies.

Key Points

  • Over 20,000 bariatric surgical procedures are performed annually in Australia.
  • GPs have a key role in selecting patients for consideration of bariatric surgery and, after initial postsurgical management, most patients are discharged into the care of their GP.
  • In addition to complications associated with all surgery, immediate postoperative complications can include dehydration, hypotension and hypoglycaemia.
  • Eating disorders and mental health problems are common in people presenting for bariatric surgery; identification and stabilisation of these disorders are needed before surgery, and patients need ongoing support after surgery.
  • Long term follow up is important to identify, treat and prevent nutritional, metabolic, mechanical and psychosocial complications of bariatric surgery; patients invariably require lifelong multivitamin and micronutrient supplementation.