Although many smaller studies have addressed anaesthetic care for bariatric surgical patients, comprehensive systematic literature reviews have yet to be compiled, and much evidence includes expert panel opinion. This review summarises study results in bariatric surgical patients regarding pre-anaesthesia evaluation, the perioperative impact of sleep-disordered breathing, airway management at anaesthetic induction and emergence, maintenance of anaesthesia, postoperative pain management, utility of clinical-care pathways and feasibility of outpatient bariatric surgery. The 'ramped' upper-body, reversed Trendelenburg position at anaesthetic induction and manual application of positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) is recommended. Intra-operative hypoxaemia can be treated with the combination of PEEP and recruitment manoeuvres, and attention to airway management at emergence is critical. Local anaesthetic wound infiltration and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs should be part of multimodal opioid-sparing postoperative analgesia. Implementation of bariatric clinical-care pathways seems beneficial. Considering the prevalence of sleep apnoea in these patients, outpatient bariatric surgery remains controversial, but is probably safe for certain procedures, provided there is strict adherence to preoperative eligibility and home-care protocols.