A Landscape of Bariatric Surgery in Canada: For the Treatment of Obesity, Type 2 Diabetes and Other Comorbidities in Adults
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Obesity has escalated worldwide and in Canada. Many chronic conditions, including type 2 diabetes, are directly correlated with obesity, and although the benefits and effectiveness of bariatric surgery have been proven in terms of sustained weight loss and improving comorbidities, the procedure is underaccessed and underutilized in Canada. We explored the complex landscape of bariatric surgery in Canada, reviewing the current state and focusing on the volume of procedures nationwide and at the provincial level, the type of surgical procedures performed, their outcomes and their associated complications. Barriers and challenges curbing access to bariatric surgery are also explored. Approximately 8,583 publicly funded bariatric surgeries were performed in 9 of 10 provinces in 2015/2016; Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, adjustable gastric banding and biliopancreatic diversion with or without duodenal switch are the most common procedures performed, and coverage varies among provinces and territories. Dedicated bariatric programs have been created and, in some instances, provincial networks have also emerged. Weight loss, resolution of comorbidities and rates of complications in Canada are similar to those found in the literature. The increase in the number of bariatric procedures performed over time has still not met the current demand. The rise in obesity rates, the speed and regional variations in the development and standardization of processes, adequate patient selection, funding and prioritization and gaps in knowledge and attitudes about the merits of bariatric surgery of patients, health providers and policy makers create considerable waiting times and are some of the barriers to better access to bariatric surgery.
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