An interpretative phenomenological enquiry into individuals’ experience following Roux-en-Y gastric by-pass surgery

Faulkner, Nathan (2019) An interpretative phenomenological enquiry into individuals’ experience following Roux-en-Y gastric by-pass surgery. Other thesis, Middlesex University / Metanoia Institute.


The aim of this study was to explore the lived experience following Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery in a UK sample. This phenomenologically based research utilised semi-structured interviews with eight men and women who had undergone gastric bypass surgery a minimum of 12-months prior. Analysis using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) resulted in four major themes being identified; i) managing change and uncertainty, ii) the affective experience of change, iii) the post-operative body within its relational context and iv) the presence and absence of appropriate support.

The study seeks to contribute to the limited amount of phenomenologically focused UK based research exploring the postoperative experience of those who have chosen to have bariatric surgery. Its findings highlight the complex nature of postoperative experience and highlight the deeply personal nature of adjustment which is required of individuals following surgery and the ways in which these are inextricably intertwined with the persons social, cultural and personal histories. Despite the experience of weight loss being a long-awaited change, the process of change and adjustment did not represent a smooth transition from pre- to postoperative life but instead was characterised by ambivalent feelings towards the imposed restrictions participants’ now recognised and feelings of disappointment that surgery had failed to result in the transformations they had hoped for. In addition to the changes and adjustments participants’ recognised having to make, the experience of weight loss was also intertwined with their social relationships requiring them to renegotiate the way in which they both understood others and themselves within social encounters.

The clinical significance of this study lies in its attempt to highlight the contribution of an existential phenomenological approach can offer in supporting individuals who choose to have bariatric surgery through its acknowledgment of the body as site of experience which is situated within a person’s wider social, cultural and historical background. Furthermore, the findings contribute to the discussion regarding the availability of appropriate long-term support for those undergoing bariatric surgery.

NFaulkner thesis.pdf - Accepted Version

Download (1MB) | Preview
View Item