Training in Bariatric Surgery: a National Survey of German Bariatric Surgeons

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Skill in bariatric surgery has been associated with postoperative outcome. Appropriate surgical training is of paramount importance. In order to continuously improve training strategies, it is necessary to assess current practices.


To determine how German bariatric surgeons have been trained and to assess current training strategies.


Between February 2017 and March 2017, an online census of surgeons registered as members of the German Society for Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery was conducted. A total of three reminders were sent out. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Data was reported as median (interquartile range); percentages were adjusted for completed answers only.


A response rate of 51% (n = 214) was achieved. Surgeons reported a median of 14.5 (8–20) years of surgical experience after initial training, with a specific bariatric experience of 7 (4–13) years. The total cumulative bariatric case volume was 240 (80–500) cases, with an annual case volume of 50 (25–80). The most commonly applied approaches to bariatric skills acquisition were “learning by doing” (71%), “course participation” (70%) and “observerships” (70%). Fellowships and the use of operating videos were less frequently applied strategies (19%/ 47%). Interestingly, observerships (94%) and course participation (89%) were rated as very important/important, whereas “learning by doing” (62%), watching operation videos (59%), and fellowships (48%) were less frequently perceived as important/very important training strategies.


The majority of surgeons performing bariatric cases were senior surgeons with more than 10 years of post-training experience; nevertheless, the survey revealed a lack of structured approaches to bariatric specialization training.

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Correspondence to Esther Maria Bonrath.

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Bonrath, E.M., Weiner, S., Birk, D. et al. Training in Bariatric Surgery: a National Survey of German Bariatric Surgeons. OBES SURG 30, 56–62 (2020).

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  • Bariatric Surgery
  • Survey
  • Curriculum
  • Training