OBJECTIVE: Severe obesity is a clear indication for appropriate, effective weight loss therapy. One option is operative intervention, e.g., gastric banding. Risks of the operation and therapeutic alternatives need to be comprehensibly presented to the patient. The literature has shown that better informed consent is obtained using information presented in a multimedia/video-based format. The current study developed and evaluated a multimedia program aimed at obtaining informed consent from obese patients before gastric banding. RESEARCH METHODS AND PROCEDURE: An interactive multimedia program was developed with information about preoperative examinations, the operation itself, hospital stay, operative risks, alternative therapies, and the pathophysiology and health risks of obesity. Two groups (Group 1, n = 20, mean age 38 years, informed consent attained with conventional document information; Group 2, n = 20, mean age 37 years, informed consent attained with additional multimedia information) were interviewed regarding comprehensibility of the information presented, personal satisfaction, and anxiety levels during the informed consent process. RESULTS: Group 2 showed significantly better (p < 0.05) understanding of the presented information and higher levels of satisfaction with the informed consent process. Anxiety levels did not significantly differ between the two groups. DISCUSSION: Because patient satisfaction with the informed consent process and understanding of the presented information significantly improved, the multimedia program clearly benefits both surgeons and patients. Personal contact from the surgeon remains essential. High volumes of information presented in multimedia format do not alleviate patient anxiety, and personal contact may be beneficial.
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