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Medical Study Argues For More Oversight Of Private Weight Loss Surgery Clinics

by Jordan Press ,  Postmedia News | 2011-05-31

A study of the two leading weight loss surgeries in Canada is calling for a set of national standards after suggesting that private surgery clinics provide lower quality care to patients.

While the study is being criticized for creating an "us-versus-them" mentality between public and private clinics, a set of national standards may be what's needed to help patients caught in this medical tug-o-war, an expert says.

"There needs to be an independent third party that is unaffected financially from either surgery," said Dr. Arya Sharma, scientific director of the federally funded Canadian Obesity Network.

Family doctors don't know enough about the weight loss surgeries, leaving patients at the mercy of surgeons at public and private centres, Sharma said.

"It is a confusing situation for people," Sharma said.

The study, published in the June edition of the Canadian Journal of Surgery, found that one-quarter of private clinics had little or no patient screening processes and some clinics provided incorrect or inaccurate information about the weight loss procedure on their websites.

The bypass surgery involves stapling the stomach to create a small pouch for food that bypasses a large portion of the stomach. The gastric banding surgery uses a tube to restrict the size of a person's stomach.

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