Canadians leaving the Canadian health care system to seek bariatric surgery abroad: Examining patient experience with international bariatric tourism

Date created: 
Medical tourism
Bariatric surgery
Qualitative research
Patient safety

Globally, bariatric surgery, commonly known as weight loss surgery, has grown in popularity among obese individuals as a means to addressing their weight-related negative health when more traditional weight loss programs, such as diet and exercise, fail to elicit long term sustained weight loss. In Canada, however, complex barriers related to social, administrative, and other structural factors restrict access to care domestically, leaving some patients turning to surgical options abroad through the practice of medical tourism. In light of this, it is important that we understand the implications the practice of ‘bariatric tourism’ may hold for Canadians. Using an interview-based approach with former Canadian bariatric tourists, this study examines the patient experience of bariatric tourism. The analyses highlight specific barriers that are motivating patients to seek care internationally and challenges experienced in care obtainment both internationally and domestically that appear to heighten the health and safety risks these patients undertake.

Document type: 
This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes. Copyright remains with the author.
Senior supervisor: 
Jeremy Snyder
Health Sciences: Faculty of Health Sciences
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.