What is a bariatric surgeon?


What is a bariatric surgeon? Is it someone who places lap bands?!



This is the first thing that I am asked when telling people that I am a bariatric surgeon. I am very passionate about what I do, and often explain to friends and family that (almost) no surgeon in Australia performs laparoscopic adjustable gastric bands (lap bands) anymore.


It is important to note that the number of lap bands placed in Australia is at around 2% of the total operations performed, and has continued to decline since 2014! The number being removed though is significant. This is because of the poor long-term weight loss outcomes compared with other bariatric surgeries. Most lap bands also need removal by 10 years.


There is still a lot of information on surgeon’s websites, as well as over google, and I think this may be because lap bands are still being searched for. There are also a lot of people in Adelaide, South Australia and even around Australia who still have their lap band in.


Bariatric surgery has progressed to newer and more beneficial surgeries, with sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass the most common procedures currently performed in Adelaide, South Australia as well as Australia.


What is a Bariatric Surgeon?


A bariatric surgeon is someone who performs weight loss operations, to improve the long-term health of patients. Bariatric surgery is also known as weight loss surgery or metabolic surgery.


Weight loss operations have the ability to treat obesity,  and these operations are effective in treating comorbidities including diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnoea and high cholesterol, among many other diseases. Bariatric operations also have an ability to prevent future health problems. Weight loss surgery is a tangible tool to allow patients with obesity to choose a treatment to improve quality of life and increase their lifespan.


Bariatric operations have been refined over many years and the operations and incisions that are now offered can provide patients with an experience that is minimally invasive (laparoscopic surgery). The advances in bariatric surgery see patients have access to safer operations, shorter hospital stays, faster recovery times and lower rates of complications. It is important to have a surgeon who is well trained in all types of weight loss operations, so that the most suitable operation for the patient can be provided.


Dr Balalis is a bariatric surgeon, who has subspecialty training both interstate and overseas with world experts,  learning new-aged techniques.  Dr Balalis performs all laparoscopic bariatric surgeries – including sleeve gastrectomy, one-anastomosis gastric bypass, Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, as well as revision bariatric surgery.  It is important to understand what operations a surgeon can perform, how many they perform and their complication rates.  There are surgeons who do not perform primary or revision laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass.  It is important for patients to be fully informed and counselled on all varying types of surgery available prior to embarking on this life-changing treatment.


Safety Profile Information on Bariatric Surgery

Dr Balalis performs a large volume of bariatric or weight loss surgery procedures and has been recognised by the Bariatric Surgery Registry of Australia in 2021 as a leading contributor.   The Bariatric Surgery Registry, or BSR, aims to ensure the immediate and long-term quality and safety of bariatric procedures in Australia.


Data is independently collected on patients undertaking weight loss or bariatric surgery, and then monitors the results of each surgeon, procedure and device. It also follows weight loss, diabetes resolution, complication and re-operation rates. It is not a mandatory process, however is encouraged for all bariatric surgeons, with a summary document published every year.


If you still have a lap band in please contact Dr Balalis for a review, adjustment and even further discussion regarding removal. If you would like to consider primary weight loss surgery, revision surgery or the Allurion Gastric Balloon as a non invasive procedure, please contact Dr Balalis.

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