Growing demand for bariatric surgery challenges patients, system

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Bariatric Surgery in Canada

Bariatric Surgery in Canada

Almost 6,000 Bariatric Procedures Performed in Canada in 2012–2013
2006–2007 2007–2008 2008–2009 2009–2010 2010–2011 2011–2012 2012–2013
1,578 1,843 2,389 3,136 4,437 5,415 5,989


This represents an almost four-fold increase over a six-year period, due largely to increased capacity for bariatric surgery in Ontario. The most commonly performed procedures have changed over time, and they continue to vary across Canada.

Typical Patient

  • Age 45
  • 80% women

Who Qualifies for Bariatric Surgery?

  • Efforts to lose weight with diet and exercise have been unsuccessful.
  • Body mass index (BMI) is 40 or higher (severe obesity).
  • BMI is 35 to 39.9 (obesity), and there is a serious weight-related health problem, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure or severe sleep apnea.

1 in 5 Canadian adults has obesity

Obesity increases the risk of many other chronic health conditions—such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and sleep apnea.

Common Bariatric Procedures Covered by Jurisdictional Health Care Plans in 2012–2013
Province Adjustable
Gastric Banding
British Columbia N/A
Saskatchewan N/A
Manitoba N/A
Ontario N/A
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia N/A N/A


N/A: Not available.

Prince Edward Island covers sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass out of province.
New Brunswick covers all three types of surgery, but not all are performed in province.
Yukon and the Northwest Territories cover bariatric surgery, usually on a case-by-case basis; patients are referred to an affiliated province.
Nunavut does not cover bariatric surgery

Adjustable Gastric Banding
A procedure in which an adjustable band is placed around the upper portion of the stomach, thus reducing the overall size of the stomach.
Sleeve Gastrectomy
A procedure in which about 80% to 85% of the stomach is removed, thus creating a “sleeve” of the stomach, extending from the esophagus to the duodenum.
Gastric Bypass
A procedure where the size of the stomach is reduced and part of the small intestine is bypassed.

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