Original article| Volume 14, ISSUE 10, P1507-1515, October 2018

Body image dissatisfaction and depression in postbariatric patients is associated with less weight loss and a desire for body contouring surgery


      • body image is an important indicator of patient's well-being
      • desire for body contouring surgery is related to a negative body image and depressive symptoms
      • higher weight loss is related in less depressive symptoms, via positive body image
      • body image should be considered a key outcome in post-bariatric patients.



      Overhanging skin in postbariatric patients leads to a negative body image. In patients with obesity, negative body image is related to more depressive symptoms and a higher weight. This relationship might also be important in postbariatric patients, because improvement of body image via body contouring surgery (BCS) could lead to better weight loss results.


      To evaluate the relationship between body image, depressive symptoms, and weight loss in a postbariatric population, focusing on desire for BCS.


      Outpatient clinic.


      One thousand twenty-four primary bariatric surgery patients were contacted, and 590 patients agreed to participate and filled in online questionnaires regarding body image (Body Shape Questionnaire and Multidimensional Body-Self Relations Questionnaire-Appearance Scales) and depression (Beck Depression Inventory-II). Differences between patients who had BCS, patients who desired BCS, and patients who did not desire BCS were studied. The mediating role of body image in the association between percentage total weight loss and depressive symptoms was assessed via a 2-mediator model.


      There was a desire for BCS in 368 patients (62.4%); these patients had significantly lower scores on appearance evaluation and body image satisfaction scales and showed more depressive symptoms. Patients without a desire (n = 157, 26.6%) had lowest rates of depressive symptoms and a more positive body image. Sixty-five patients (11.0%) had undergone BCS. In the patients who desired BCS, percentage total weight loss was negatively affected by depressive symptoms via appearance evaluation and body-area satisfaction.


      There are striking differences regarding body image satisfaction and depressive symptoms when comparing postbariatric patients and without desire for BCS. Body image satisfaction is associated with less depressive symptoms in all postbariatric patients. In patients who desired BCS, body image is one of the mediators of the relationship between percentage total weight loss and depressive symptoms. Therefore, body image should be taken seriously and be part of outcome assessment in postbariatric patients.


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