Bariatrics: What Does It Mean?

Bariatrician and Bariatric Medicine Explained

Bariatric Surgery
Types of Bariatric Surgery. Walter Pories, M.D., F.A.C.S.

Definition: Bariatrics is the branch of medicine that deals with the study and treatment of obesity, including prevention of obesity and treatments for obesity, which may include surgical procedures. The word bariatrics derives from the Greek root baro, which means heavy or large. 

Board Certification in Bariatrics

Physicians practicing bariatric medicine in the Unites States may be board-certified by the American Board of Obesity Medicine.

 Typically, a physician will complete a residency in family medicine, internal medicine or general surgery, then pursue additional education to become board certified in bariatric medicine.  

The Practice of Bariatric Medicine

Bariatricians practice weight loss medicine, treating patients who need to lose excess weight, and may or may not participate in research.  They may prescribe a specific weight loss regimen, a specific diet program or may even prescribe medications that may assist with the process.  They are typically well versed in the other diseases that are worsened by obesity, such as diabetes.

Bariatric Surgery

For bariatric surgeons, a general surgery residency is completed, which may be followed by a fellowship one year or longer with specialty training in bariatrics. This advanced training provides significant experience in performing weight loss surgeries, and should be considered essential when looking for a surgeon to perform the procedure.


A bariatric surgeon may specialize in specific types of weight loss surgery, performing only Roux-en-Y or only gastric banding, others may perform multiple types of surgeries.  

All About Weight Loss Surgeries

Pronunciation: BARRY-atrick

Also Known As: weight loss, weight loss surgeries, gastric bypass surgeries, weight loss medicine

Examples: The patient had tried many different weight loss programs before consulting a bariatric surgeon to explore weight loss surgery options.

After consulting a bariatrician and a bariatric surgeon, one patient decided to have Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery, while another patient decided that the gastric sleeve procedure was a better fit.