Knowledge and Perception of Bariatric Surgery among Physicians at King Saud University Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Background: Obesity has become one of the most common and chronic nutritional problems worldwide. However, Bariatric surgeries were among the common solutions provided by nutritionists and physicians to avoid obesity complications, especially among chronic diseases patients. Aim: The present study aimed at identifying the level of perception among physicians working in King Saud University Medical City (KSUMC) about the role of bariatric surgery in their management of obesity and to identify factors that influence referral patterns. Method: A descriptive cross-sectional survey was administered over a sample of 127 physicians from King Saud University Medical City (KSUMC) in Riyadh city, Saudi Arabia. The study adopted the questionnaire as a data collection tool. The study questionnaire consisted of 27 questions intended to assess the perception toward treatment and management of bariatric patients, overall knowledge regarding benefits of bariatric surgery, and awareness of institutional resources available for these patients. Results: The results of the study showed that 70% (n=89) had an access to appropriate resources and equipment for managing morbidly obese patients. The results showed that 67.7% (n=86) of the enrolled physicians had sufficient of knowledge of who to contact if having difficulty managing patients with morbid obesity. Exploring the reasons of no referrals to bariatric surgery revealed that lack of resources was the most reported reasons (25%, n=7), whereas lack of awareness about procedure or benefits, concerns with follow up, and psychological issues were the secondly ranked reasons for no referrals (21.4%, n=6). The Univariate analysis revealed that physicians aged 36 to 45 years were 5.7 times more likely to refer patients to bariatric surgery (OR: 5.7, ci: 0.655-49.577, P=0.118). In addition, it was found that physicians who had 11 to 20 years of practice were 1.78 times more likely to patient’s referral to bariatric surgery (OR:1.78, CI: 0.419-7.588). Conclusion: The study concluded that there is a satisfactory level of knowledge and positive perceptions of physicians about bariatric surgery. However, lack of resources and lack of awareness were major reasons for not referring patients to bariatric surgery when needed. In addition, still there is a lack of knowledge regarding the ideal bariatric surgical procedure in the average patient, which highlights the need to educate the physicians about the differences, benefits and risks of different types of bariatric surgeries.