SUDBURY, ON – A team of surgeons from HSN have successfully completed the very first bariatric surgery in Northeastern Ontario. Bariatric surgery, also known as weight loss surgery, serves as an option for some people who have not been able to lose weight through traditional means such as diet and exercise. It has been shown to be an effective intervention, which produces significant weight loss and improves medical conditions.
More than 5,000 patients from across Northeastern Ontario were referred for assessment from 2011 to 2019, with more than 1,900 of these patients being referred to Southern Ontario for bariatric surgery.
“We are greatly reducing the need for people to travel hundreds of kilometers south for a lifesaving surgery,” said Dr. Noémie-Rose Harvey, a general surgeon with HSN who was recruited to Sudbury in 2020 and led the first surgery. “This is a significant clinical achievement for our hospital and also for the patients of this region who have some of the highest obesity rates in Canada.”
Obesity is classified as a chronic disease and is known to be a contributing factor to many other acute and chronic diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, arthritis, some cancers and depression. In 2014, Public Health Ontario reports that 31% of people in the North East are living with obesity compared with 20% nationally.
“These patients have previously been coming from as far away as Hearst, Timmins or Sault Ste Marie. So they could be travelling anywhere from 6 to 12 hours and over hundreds of kilometers for this life-saving procedure,” said Mark Hartman, HSN’s Senior Vice President of Patient Experience. “Introducing bariatric surgery at HSN will increase access for our patients, decrease wait times for patients, while reducing costs associated with patients travelling outside of the region for quality care.”
HSN expects 75 bariatric surgeries to be completed in the next few months as HSN works to build surgical capacity and increase the number of bariatric surgeries performed each year going forward.