Does Bariatrics Mean Surgery?

Bariatrics is the field of medicine that focuses on the disease of obesity and the science and medicine related to weight loss. The use of the word “bariatric” is relatively new and comes from the Greek root bar- ,(weight) and the suffix -iatr (treatment). Recently, due to an increased number of weight loss surgeries being performed, the word is commonly associated only with surgical treatment for weight loss.
Surgeons who perform weight loss procedures are called “bariatric surgeons.”

Physicians who treat patients with non-surgical treatments for weight loss are “bariatric physicians” or “bariatricians.”

Many times, the two types of doctors work together to provide the most comprehensive treatment available for their patients.

It is important to recognize that weight loss surgery can be a very useful intervention for some, but not all, patients. And, it is important that any patient who undergoes weight loss surgery continues to follow a lifetime of care with a physician who understands bariatric medicine. Prevention of weight regain following weight loss surgery is essential.

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