Preventing alcohol use post-bariatric surgery: patient perspectives on a technology-based approach

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Surgical endoscopy


BACKGROUND: Nearly two-thirds of patients engage in alcohol use after bariatric surgery, while a substantial number meet criteria for alcohol use disorder after their procedure. Given that pre-surgical education may not be sufficient, alternative methods of preventing post-surgical drinking are needed. We sought feedback on a proposed technology-based intervention to reduce alcohol use for individuals who have undergone bariatric surgery.

METHODS: Twenty patients who consumed alcohol post-surgery completed qualitative interviews where they provided opinions on sample intervention content, delivery method, timing, and other aspects of a two-session web-based intervention followed by tailored text messaging for 6 months. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, and coded using thematic analysis principles.

RESULTS: Participants strongly endorsed using technology to deliver an alcohol intervention, citing the interactivity and personal tailoring available in the proposed software. Education about the effects of post-surgical drinking and learning new coping strategies for social situations were the two most salient themes to emerge from questions about intervention content. Throughout the interviews, participants strongly highlighted the importance of measuring patient readiness to change alcohol use and matching intervention content to such motivation levels. Respondents felt that text messages could extend what they had learned, but also requested additional non-alcohol content (e.g., recipes, exercise tips). Most participants agreed that an online forum consisting of peers and professionals with whom they could ask questions and interact would be useful.

CONCLUSION: Web- and text message-based interventions may be an acceptable approach to prevent alcohol use post-bariatric surgery.

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ePub ahead of print