Edited by Neil Lunt, Daniel Horsfall and Johanna Hanefeld
Chapter 43: Journey without end: travelling overseas for bariatric surgery: a qualitative study of UK patients travelling for bariatric surgery
Despite a growth in literature focusing on many different aspects of medical tourism or travel (Connell, 2013), empirical evidence is still limited. While studies have addressed the system-level effects on origin and destination countries, health services and population, few have focused on who travels and why. Studies on bariatric tourists to date have focused on complications and ethical issues relating to patients who travel for bariatric treatment but not on motivation and experience. Like cosmetic surgery, bariatric surgery is often perceived to be non-essential, but links to patients intending to improve themselves and their looks, taking action on an aspect of their life with which they are dissatisfied (Holliday et al., 2014). This chapter addresses the gap in the literature, by focusing on thirteen in-depth interviews with UK patients who travelled abroad to access bariatric treatment. It examines their motivation to travel, how they decided on the procedure and provider of treatment, the experiences of actual treatments received, and any complications or follow-up treatment required once they returned to the UK.
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