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Impact of bariatric and metabolic surgery education program on the knowledge and attitude of medical students.

OBJECTIVES: Bariatric and metabolic surgery (BMS) is the most effective treatment method of morbid obesity. Optimum education of medical students regarding BMS is important for proper assessment of morbidly obese patients in the future.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Medical students from five and six years were determined as the targeted study population. A survey including 17 questions was applied through a web-based survey platform. Students who replied the survey were classified into two groups: distinct bariatric and metabolic surgery education program (BMSEP) (+) and (-). The answers of two groups were compared using Chi-square test.

RESULTS: In total, 845 students replied the survey. Surgery referral rates were higher (33.4% vs. 26.5%, p <0.05), referring to alternative treatment methods were low (4.9% vs. 11.9%, p <0.05), the answer rate of "absolutely agree" was higher and "have no idea" was lower in questions regarding the indications of BMS for the sample patient with body mass index (BMI)> 40 kg/m2 and the sample patient with BMI between 35-40 kg/m2 in the BMSEP (+) group (p <0.05). However, the two groups were comparable for the answers given for the sample patient of BMI 30-35 kg/m2 with uncontrolled diabetes. The rate of first-degree relative referral to BMS when indicated was higher in the BMSEP (+) group. Effectiveness of surgery, cost and risk perception were comparable between the two groups.

CONCLUSION: This study showed that medical students who have a distinct BMSEP in their medical school have better level of knowledge and comparable risk perception regarding BMS. Structured education programs in BMS may directly improve knowledge, perception, and attitude of medical students and indirectly increase the role of primary care physicians in patient referral to BMS and long-term follow-up.

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