Untold stories of living with a bariatric body: Long-term experiences of weight-loss surgery
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionBerg, A. (2020). Untold stories of living with a bariatric body: Long-term experiences of weight-loss surgery. Sociology of Health and Illness, 42(2), 217-231. doi: 10.1111/1467-9566.12999
This article explores patients' long‐term experiences after undergoing bariatric surgery (BS) by individual interviews and the interplay between biographical disruption and biographical flow when the body's normal physiology and anatomy are intentionally altered. Based on interpretative phenomenological analysis the findings show that the bariatric body is still prominent in daily life, positively by displacing the overweight body and negatively due to the development of unexpected health problems after surgery. Due to individual informed consent to the treatment, the negative consequences are perceived as self‐inflicted. The feelings of responsibility and shame make it difficult to seek help and to be open about undesirable long‐term effects and other health problems after surgery. The study argues that undergoing BS is a disruptive event with uncertain long‐term outcomes and living with a bariatric body as a vulnerable life continuously at the intersection of biographical disruption, flow and reinforcement. This study reinforces the importance of doing critical sociological studies of standardised medical interventions which aim to improve patients health problems. Included in these types of studies should be the patients' long‐term experiences and the awareness not to uncritically present their experiences as universal and the treatment result solely as the patients' own responsibility.