Although many people will be familiar with the terms gastric bypass surgery and weight loss surgery, the terms bariatric surgery and bariatric weight loss surgery may be less familiar.
The term bariatrics was coined in the mid 1960s from the Greek root baro (meaning weight) and the suffix -iatrics (a branch of medicine) and bariatrics deals principally with the causes, prevention and treatment of obesity.
From this it follows that the surgical treatment of obesity (or perhaps more correctly morbid obesity) is now often referred to as bariatric surgery which is performed by a bariatric surgeon.
Whether we are talking about surgery which is principally based upon preventing the body’s ability to absorb calories (Biliopancreatic Diversion), procedures that primarily aim to reduce the size of the stomach (Vertical Banded Gastroplasty or Lap Band Surgery) or combination operations which do both (Roux-en-Y), we can use the terms gastric, weight loss and bariatric surgery interchangeably.
It is however interesting to note that, despite the fact that the term bariatric surgery is not commonly used, those involved in the profession (bariatric surgeons) do use the term by preference and indeed in 1983 formed the American Society for Bariatric Surgery (ASBS) which is now the world’s largest society for specialists in the field of surgical weight loss.