March 25, 2024

Are Bariatric Surgeons General Surgeons?

Bariatric surgeons performing surgery

Bariatric surgery is the general term for various procedures that help patients achieve weight loss goals when other efforts (dietary changes, exercise, etc.) have been unsuccessful. The different surgical procedures that fall into this category can be highly effective in treating obesity and related health conditions.

If you’re considering bariatric surgery, you may wonder whether bariatric surgeons are general surgeons. This article answers that question and provides background information on bariatric surgery procedures.

Bariatric Surgeons: General Surgeons Specializing in Weight Loss Surgery

At the highest level, surgeries are procedures to treat injuries, illnesses, or deformities by removing, repairing, or reconfiguring tissues or organs. Under that broad umbrella are several specialty areas. Examples include:

  • Cardiac surgery (heart and large blood vessels)
  • Orthopedic surgery (bones, muscle, tendons, ligaments, and joints)
  • Thoracic surgery (organs of the chest other than the heart)
  • Neurological surgery (brain, spine, and nerves)
  • Ophthalmic surgery (eyes)
  • Oral and maxillofacial surgery (mouth, jaw, and face)
  • Plastic and reconstructive surgery (skin and tissue to restore form and function)
  • Gynecological surgery (female reproductive system)
  • General surgery (most body areas other than the heart, blood vessels, head, neck, and spine) 

Bariatric surgery is a subset of general surgery. (In some settings, you may hear it called “metabolic and bariatric surgery.”) So, bariatric surgeons are general surgeons with special training and focus on organs and structures of the digestive system. Specifically, they’re experts in surgeries that support weight loss.

Similarities and Collaborations Between Bariatric Surgeons and General Surgeons

Many of the surgical techniques and patient management processes that bariatric surgeons use are similar to those of general surgeons who aren’t focused on weight loss procedures. Consequently, the boundaries between the two disciplines aren’t rigid. For instance, some surgeons may perform bariatric procedures, but other types of general surgery may also be performed.

There are also instances when treating a patient requires collaboration between bariatric and general surgeons. An example is a person getting weight loss surgery who will also need surgery to repair a hernia.

Weight Loss Surgery and Other Procedures

Bariatric surgeons frequently perform various types of weight loss procedures. However, they also perform surgeries to address other problems.

For example, small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) is a condition in which excess bacteria in the small intestine cause diarrhea, gas, and bloating that can be addressed through bariatric surgery. Bariatric surgeons may also perform procedures to address non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in which fat accumulates in liver cells, causing inflammation and potentially liver damage.

Learn More About Bariatric Surgery at Baptist Health

If you need bariatric surgery or believe you may benefit from it, Baptist Health can assist you. We have extensive expertise in bariatric medicine, including board-certified surgeons who, collectively, have performed thousands of successful procedures.

We also prioritize education, so patients are prepared for their procedures and ready to make necessary lifestyle changes after their surgery.

Learn more about our bariatric care and weight loss services today.

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