Background: There is no consensus regarding the optimal rate of follow-up in the post-bariatric surgery patient population. Methods: The records of all patients who underwent laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass from 2001 to 2003 were reviewed. Using patient zip codes, travel distances were calculated between the patients' places of residence and our clinic. Patients were then assigned to 1 of 3 cohorts according to the following distances: (1) < 50 miles, (2) 50 to 100 miles, and (3) > 100 miles. Patient compliance with follow-up appointments at 3 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, and 12 months was analyzed. Linear trends were identified using the Mantel-Haenszel test. Age and sex were analyzed as possible predictors of compliance using the χ2 test. P values < .05 were considered statistically significant. Results: The study group comprised 150 patients (127 females and 23 males). The 3 cohorts contained 115, 21, and 14 patients, respectively. All patients in each cohort were compliant with the 3-week follow-up appointment. Although there were differences in compliance between cohorts at each of the remaining appointments, only the 9-month (70.3% vs 61.9% vs 35.7%) visit showed statistical significance (P = .035). The 6-month visit trended toward significance (85.2% vs 76.2% vs 64.3%; P = .088). Males were more likely to be compliant with the 12-month follow-up (P = .040). When controlling for sex, travel distance was also a predictor of compliance at this follow-up visit (P = .024). Age was not predictive of compliance (P = .827). Conclusion: Based on our findings, we conclude that travel distance from the clinic does not significantly affect compliance at the initial follow-up, 3-month, and 12-month appointments. However, distance does tend to affect compliance at the 6-month appointment and significantly affects compliance at the 9-month appointment. Males are more likely to be compliant at the 12 month follow-up visit. We must continue to strive for 100% follow-up in our post-bariatric surgery patients.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Supported by the R. James Trane Surgical Research and Data Center of the Gundersen Lutheran Medical Foundation, and the United States Surgical Corporation.
- Bariatric surgery
- Follow-up studies
- Gastric bypass
- Morbid obesity
- Patient compliance