Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Can J Surg. 2009 Jun;52(3):229-34.

Bariatric surgery waiting times in Canada.

Author information

  • 1Department of Surgery, Division of General Surgery, McGill University, McGill University Health Centre, MontrĂ©al, Que.



Severe obesity is reaching epidemic proportions throughout the world, including Canada. The only permanent treatment of severe or morbid obesity is bariatric surgery. Access to bariatric surgery is very limited in Canada. We sought to collect accurate data on waiting times for the procedure.


We carried out a survey of members of the Canadian Association of Bariatric Physicians and Surgeons and performed a more detailed analysis within Quebec and at one Canadian bariatric surgery centre where a prospectively collected bariatric surgery registry has been maintained since 1983.


The survey response rate was 85%. All centres determined whether patients were eligible for bariatric surgery based on the National Institutes of Health criteria. Patients entered the queue as "office contacts" and moved through the queue, with the exit point being completion of the procedure. In 2007, a total of 6783 patients were waiting for bariatric surgery and 1313 procedures were performed in Canada. Assuming these trends are maintained, the calculated average waiting time for bariatric surgery in Canada is just over 5 years (6783/1313). The Fraser Institute and the Wait Times Alliance benchmarks for reasonable surgical waiting times vary from 8 weeks for cancer surgery to 18 months for cosmetic surgery. At one Canadian centre, 12 patients died while waiting for bariatric surgery.


The waiting times for bariatric surgery are the longest of any surgically treated condition. Given the significant reduction in the relative risk of death with bariatric surgery (40%-89% depending on the study), the current waiting times for the procedure in Canada are unacceptable.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for The Canadian Medical Association Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center