What is a Bariatric Surgeon?


3 min read

Understanding the Role of a Bariatric Surgeon

A bariatric surgeon is a medical professional who specializes in the treatment of obesity, focusing particularly on surgical interventions for weight loss. These surgeons bring extensive experience in both general medicine and surgery to their practice, dedicating their careers to the field of bariatric surgery. Obesity has become an increasingly prevalent issue globally, presenting not only physical challenges but also significantly affecting individuals' self-esteem and mental health. Moreover, obesity escalates the risk of various health complications such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and pressure sores, underscoring the critical demand for specialist bariatric surgeons.

Bariatric surgery is typically reserved for individuals with a high Body Mass Index (BMI) who have not achieved significant weight loss through conventional methods like diet and exercise. Such individuals are often referred to bariatric surgeons after exhaustive attempts at lifestyle modification have failed, positioning surgery as a pivotal option for managing their obesity.

What Does a Bariatric Surgeon Do?

Bariatric surgeons are experts in various surgical procedures aimed at weight reduction, including reducing stomach capacity via gastric band surgery or intragastric balloon insertion, and altering the digestive system to limit food absorption. Their work extends beyond the operating room; they collaborate closely with a multidisciplinary team comprising counselors, dietitians, and specialized nurses to provide comprehensive care for their patients.

Post-surgery, patients enter a prolonged phase of follow-up to manage the long-term impacts of the surgery and adapt to necessary lifestyle changes. The bariatric team oversees specialized weight loss clinics offering pre- and post-operative care, guiding patients through recovery and dietary adjustments. Initially, a liquid diet is recommended, gradually transitioning to solid foods over approximately six weeks.

When being assessed for bariatric surgery, patients engage with their surgeon or another healthcare provider from the team to discuss their weight loss history, lifestyle, and any coexisting health issues. This pre-operative phase involves weight monitoring, blood tests, and discussions about the surgery's risks and benefits, ensuring patients are adequately prepared and stable for the procedure.

In the operating theatre, bariatric surgeons lead a skilled team, including assistant surgeons, nurses, and anesthesiologists, to ensure the surgery is performed safely and effectively. Beyond clinical practice, bariatric surgeons contribute to health education, medical research, and clinical trials, continually advancing the field of obesity treatment.

In summary, bariatric surgeons play a pivotal role in addressing the complex challenge of obesity through surgical intervention, comprehensive patient care, and ongoing research and education, highlighting their integral contribution to both individual health and broader public health efforts.