Travel distance reduces follow-up compliance but has no effect on long-term weight loss success in bariatric patients

Sara Monfared, Anna Martin, Don Selzer, Annabelle Butler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Patients seeking bariatric surgery are traveling longer distances to reach Bariatric Centers. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of travel distance on adherence to follow-up and outcomes after bariatric surgery. Methods: A retrospective review of all consecutive patients who had undergone bariatric surgery from June 2013 to May 2014 was performed, and the patients were divided into two groups: those who traveled 50 miles or less and those who traveled more than 50 miles. Primary outcome assessed was the influence of distance on post-operative follow-up attrition over 4-year period. Secondary outcomes assessed were excess weight loss, length of stay (LOS), complications and readmission rates. Results: A total of 228 patients underwent bariatric surgery with 4 years of follow-up available. Of these, 145 patients traveled 50 miles or less and 83 patients traveled greater than 50 miles. Patient demographics were similar between the two groups. Those who traveled more had statistically higher probability of attrition up to 3-year follow-up mark. There was no difference in percent excess weight loss at each follow-up visit between the two cohorts. Furthermore, there was no difference in readmission rates (2% vs 5%), minor complications (14% vs 10%), major complications (3% vs 2%) and LOS (2.6 days vs 2.6). Conclusion: The distance patients traveled for bariatric surgery did not affect their weight loss success, length of stay, postsurgical complications or readmission rate. Despite the lack of influence on postoperative outcomes, follow-up compliance was statistically affected by distance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSurgical endoscopy
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2020


  • Bariatric surgery
  • Follow-up
  • Travel distance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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