«Is weight loss surgery an option for you?» A study of how private providers inform about bariatric surgery

Scientific article in Fysioterapeuten. Online first.

Karen Synne Groven, postdoc, Institutt for Helse og Samfunn, Universitetet i Oslo. Førsteamanuensis, Institutt for Fysioterapi, Høgskolen i Oslo og Akershus.  k.s.groven@medisin.uio.no

Bjørn Hofmann, professor, Seksjon for helse, teknologi og samfunn, Høgskolen i Gjøvik og Senter for medisinsk etikk, Institutt for helse og samfunn, Universitetet i Oslo.


Background: To a considerable extent, potential candidates for weight-loss surgery base their decision on information they find online. In this study we looked at the information that private clinics provide on their internet sites.

Methods: We examined the information on the internet sites of five private clinics targeting the Norwegian market using a qualitative approach, analyzing the material thematically.

Results: Our analysis identified four main themes: No other treatment works better; you win more than you lose; it is up to you; is weight loss surgery for you? The information provided by the five clinics varied considerably. However, the contrast between the factual statements and the positive case histories was typical for all sites.

Concluding remarks: The distinctive discrepancy between factual statements and the «successful» patient stories can cause confusion and even unrealistic expectations regarding the challenges that weight-loss surgery entails.

Keywords: Weight loss surgery, private clinics, marketing, informed choice, informed consent, qualitative study.

Fulltext article in Norwegian

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