Out-of-country trips for weight loss surgery can be risky, Saskatchewan doctor warns
Dr. Gordie Kaban, one of only three doctors in Saskatchewan who performs surgeries to aid in weight loss, says people considering travelling abroad for such procedures should be wary.
"I think it's a bit of buyer beware if you're going to go do medical tourism in another country," Kaban told CBC News in a recent interview. "I think you need to do a lot of research, and that's hard to do, to find out how reputable those hospitals and those physicians are."
In Saskatchewan there are currently about 600 people on a wait list for surgery related to weight loss. The most common procedures involve reducing the size of the stomach.
People looking for the procedure, at home, can expect to wait two years.
One Saskatchewan resident, Tess Boehm, researched the procedure nine years ago and travelled to Brazil for the surgery.
"I was scared ... because I was having health problems and I didn't think I could wait," Boehm told CBC News. She added she did a lot of research.
She also joined support groups and connected to people around the world to get information on the procedure.
Her surgery was successful and she is currently planning a final follow-up trip. Her original weight was 443 pounds. Return visits were required to remove large folds of skin that were unsightly and a potential medical problem.
Boehm is also helping others who are looking for information about bariatric surgery, believing she should share her experience.
"I believe that it's a responsibility that we have," she said. "When you take a journey like that and someone wants to follow you, you need to help them."