30-day readmission following weight loss surgery: can psychological factors predict nonspecific indications for readmission?

Leslie J. Heinberg, Ryan Marek, Ivy N. Haskins, Emre Bucak, Zubaidah Nor Hanipah, Stacy Brethauer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background Thirty-day readmissions occur in 5% or more of bariatric surgery patients. Some readmissions relate directly to surgical risks, whereas others relate to more nonspecific complaints or nonadherence and may reflect risks outside of the surgical procedure. Objective To investigate whether presurgical psychosocial factors are related to readmission. Setting Tertiary/quaternary academic referral center. Methods Bariatric surgery patients readmitted within 30 days of surgery during 2012–2015 were identified (n = 102). Patients were matched (2:1) on body mass index, age, sex, and race to 204 nonreadmitted patients. Psychiatric variables and psychological testing (Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2-Restructured Form) at intake were compared between the 2 groups. Among those readmitted, the indication for readmission was investigated. Those with specific complications (n = 61) were delineated from those with nonspecific indications (n = 33). Results Those with nonspecific readmissions were younger and more likely to be female. These patients were also less likely to be in outpatient psychiatric care than nonreadmitted patients. Significant differences were found on the Uncommon Virtues scale of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2-Restructured Form, which reflects a tendency to underreport disinhibited behaviors. Those with nonspecific readmissions had significantly higher underreporting scores compared to those with specific indications or those not readmitted. Conclusions Readmitted patients, particularly those with nonspecific indications, were more likely to presurgically present themselves in an overly positive manner. The tendency to underreport may affect the team's ability to identify risk factors that could be ameliorated before surgery. Readmitted patients were also less likely to be receiving mental health care. Such ongoing treatment may increase monitoring and/or adherence after surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1376-1381
Number of pages6
JournalSurgery for Obesity and Related Diseases
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Assessment
  • Bariatric
  • Complication
  • Psychosocial
  • Readmission
  • Risk
  • Testing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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