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Journal of Obesity
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 837989, 5 pages
Review Article

The Impact of Bariatric Surgery on Psychological Health

1Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada T5H 3V9
2Department of Surgery, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada T5H 3V9
3Royal Alexandra Hospital, Room 405, Community Services Center 10240 Kingsway, Edmonton, AB, Canada T5H 3V9

Received 29 January 2013; Accepted 12 March 2013

Academic Editor: Lien Goossens

Copyright © 2013 Jeremy F. Kubik et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Obesity is associated with a relatively high prevalence of psychopathological conditions, which may have a significant negative impact on the quality of life. Bariatric surgery is an effective intervention in the morbidly obese to achieve marked weight loss and improve physical comorbidities, yet its impact on psychological health has yet to be determined. A review of the literature identified a trend suggesting improvements in psychological health after bariatric surgery. Majority of mental health gain is likely attributed to weight loss and resultant gains in body image, self-esteem, and self-concept; however, other important factors contributing to postoperative mental health include a patient’s sense of taking control of his/her life and support from health care staff. Preoperative psychological health also plays an important role. In addition, the literature suggests similar benefit in the obese pediatric population. However, not all patients report psychological benefits after bariatric surgery. Some patients continue to struggle with weight loss, maintenance and regain, and resulting body image dissatisfaction. Severe preoperative psychopathology and patient expectation that life will dramatically change after surgery can also negatively impact psychological health after surgery. The health care team must address these issues in the perioperative period to maximize mental health gains after surgery.