He studied medicine in Paris, and in 1756 became a professor at the Collège Royal de Chirurgie. Shortly afterwards, he became chief surgeon at the Hôtel des Invalides, and in 1795 was a professor at the École de Santé. Sabatier was a member of the French Academy of Sciences, and was a consultant-surgeon to Napoleon Bonaparte.
Sabatier was the author of De la médecine opératoire, a popular surgical treatise in its day, and Traité complet d'anatomie, a three-volume work on anatomy. He was an early practitioner of medical percussion, a procedure he used in the diagnosis of empyema.