The effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on bariatric surgery delivery in Edmonton, Alberta: a single-centre experience

The effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on bariatric surgery delivery in Edmonton, Alberta: a single-centre experience

Can J Surg 2021;64(3):E307-E309 | PDF

Nawaf Abu-Omar, MD; Gabriel Marcil, MD; Valentin Mocanu, MD; Jerry T. Dang, MD; Noah Switzer, MD; Aliyah Kanji, MD; Daniel Birch, MD; Shahzeer Karmali, MD


Delays in the delivery of bariatric surgery in Canada in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic have not been previously explored. Understanding the potential barriers associated with these delays may help in the implementation and delivery of enhanced bariatric protocols, thereby minimizing health care system burden and improving bariatric delivery. We present the experience of a single high-volume, accredited bariatric program in Edmonton, Alberta, in 2020. Although reductions in bariatric cases occurred during lockdown months, the overall number of cases was comparable to 2019 owing to the adoption of strategies aimed at offsetting the burden of hospital resources. These strategies included optimizing patient selection, implementing bariatric Enhanced Recovery After Surgery protocols, and minimizing unnecessary postoperative investigations to allow most patients to be discharged on postoperative day 1. We advocate to continue optimizing bariatric delivery in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic that so disproportionally affects those with severe obesity and its metabolic complications.

Accepted April 27, 2021

Affiliations: From the Department of Surgery, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alta.

Competing interests: None declared.

Contributors: All authors contributed substantially to the conception, writing and revision of this article and approved the final version for publication.

Content licence: This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence, which p rmits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided that the original publication is properly cited, the use is noncommercial (i.e., research or educational se), and no modifications or adaptations are made. See:

DOI: 10.1503/cjs.002421

Correspondence to: N. Abu-Omar, Department of Surgery, Royal University Hospital, Room 70 Ellis Hall, 103 Hospital Drive, Saskatoon, SK, S7N 0W8,