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Fresno Bariatric’s Media Center

Use this resource to stay informed of bariatric news and view our archived support group recordings to get medical and dietary advice from licensed social worker, Dr. Michael Roubicek, and Certified Bariatric Nurse, Jennifer Logan.

Dr. Kelvin Higa, Bariatric Surgeon, Receives Prestigious International Appointment

Here at the Fresno Heart & Surgical Hospital’s Bariatric & Metabolic Surgery Program, we’re proud of our team of world-class bariatric surgeons, nurses and life coaches who work hard to maintain their advanced medical skills and standing as one of the top five bariatric surgery teams in California. One such surgeon is Dr. Kelvin Higa. […]

Benefits of Yoga after Bariatric Surgery

Facing bariatric surgery is a big hurdle, especially when it comes to your health. Learning how to eat, how to exercise, and how to live after such a major life change can be an uphill battle. As you change your habits and return to a normal lifestyle, the benefits of yoga after bariatric surgery can […]

Bariatric experts examine benefits of sleeve gastrectomy at Fresno Heart & Surgical

More than 40 bariatric surgeons from around the world came to Fresno Heart & Surgical Hospital this month to examine gastric sleeve or sleeve gastrectomy benefits. Sleeve gastrectomy is a weight-loss surgery that has become a mainstream tool in the fight against obesity and diabetes. Developed initially as part of a two-step duodenal switch procedure, a […]

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Dr. Kelvin Higa, Bariatric Surgeon, Receives Prestigious International Appointment

Here at the Fresno Heart & Surgical Hospital’s Bariatric & Metabolic Surgery Program, we’re proud of our team of world-class bariatric surgeons, nurses and life coaches who work hard to maintain their advanced medical skills and standing as one of the top five bariatric surgery teams in California. One such surgeon is Dr. Kelvin Higa.

We’re proud to announce that Dr. Kelvin Higa, medical director of Fresno Bariatrics, was recently elected President of the International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity and Metabolic Disorders (IFSO). Dr. Higa previously served as the president of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) and was appointed to the American College of Surgeons, National Faculty for Bariatric Surgery.

As an experienced bariatric surgeon, Dr. Higa began his medical career in 1983 when he graduated from the Los Angeles School of Medicine at the University of California. Since the early 1990s, Dr. Higa has specialized in difficult and challenging bariatric surgery cases, earning him recognition among his peers as an expert on bariatric revision surgery. Along with his colleague Dr. Keith Boone, Dr. Higa pioneered the latest gastric bypass technique, currently in use throughout the world.

In 2017, Dr. Kelvin Higa will preside over the IFSO World Congress in London, U.K., where bariatric surgeons will gather to collaborate and discuss innovations in treatment options, bariatric surgery procedures, and better access to bariatric surgery for patients based on medical need.

According to Dr. Higa, this is an exciting time to be a bariatric surgeon, with a number of new treatments and scientific discoveries related to bariatric surgery, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. He states that, “through randomized, prospective studies, surgery has emerged as the gold standard for treatment of type 2 diabetes, when also associated with a body mass index (BMI) over 35…..surgery has been shown to decrease the micro-and macrovascular damage brought on by diabetes, whereas traditional lifestyle and diets have not”.

Advocating for Improved Access to Bariatric Surgery

Dr. Kelvin Higa plans to use his position as President of the IFSO to continue working towards improving access to bariatric surgery for patients by changing the long-standing resistance to bariatric surgery among both primary care physicians and insurance companies.

Despite the recent classification of obesity as a disease by the American Medical Association, many members of both the public and the medical profession perceive “obesity as a result of lifestyle choices”, despite the fact that “25 years ago it was clear that obesity was not a conscious choice, but a disease governed by many factors outside our control, such as genetics.”

He expresses that, “Both bariatric surgery and aggressive medical treatment for obesity are not accessible to the vast majority of people. Most insurance won’t pay for the aggressive nutritional counseling and exercise and the preventative efforts it would take, and they require extensive weight loss attempts before approving bariatric surgery, but they will pay for the third coronary bypass surgery or expensive hypertension medications.”

Dr. Kelvin Higa is clearly passionate about his commitment to his patients, and advancing the science of bariatric surgery. According to Dr. Higa, “the treatment of obesity and diabetes needs to be based on science, not ancient misconceptions and prejudice. If you think that racism is a problem today, compare this to society’s disregard for the millions of individuals denied treatment based on their weight. It is time to rise above the rhetoric and act accordingly.”

To learn more about Dr. Kelvin Higa’s work as both President of the IFSO and as medical director of the Fresno Heart & Surgical Hospital’s Bariatric & Metabolic Surgery Program, contact us today online or by calling 877.433.8558.

Benefits of Yoga after Bariatric Surgery

Facing bariatric surgery is a big hurdle, especially when it comes to your health. Learning how to eat, how to exercise, and how to live after such a major life change can be an uphill battle. As you change your habits and return to a normal lifestyle, the benefits of yoga after bariatric surgery can be extremely influential in your quest for a healthier tomorrow.

Healthy Living After Bariatric Surgery

Making the decision to undergo bariatric surgery is life altering, providing a new lease on life that comes with a set of highly important and extremely rigid rules. While many of these policies and practices are designed to facilitate the weight loss process, others are necessary to maintain health, especially after the physiological changes that come with such surgeries.

Once the body has healed sufficiently to continue with a normal standard of living, creating an exercise regimen is critical. While there are many options to consider, from running to Crossfit, low impact options like yoga can be an ideal way to get your fitness program on track.

Yoga After Weight Loss Surgery

For those undergoing the recovery process, finding a comfortable exercise alternative can be a challenge. While low impact opportunities like walking and light weight lifting, can be a benefit, these can be hard to navigate without access to a home gym, especially in the winter. Yoga is an excellent alternative, offering an easy, comfortable option that can be practiced anywhere, from the gym to your living room, with nothing but a mat.

Many patients find the benefits of yoga after bariatric surgery to be highly gratifying. Easy on joints while still providing a whole body workout, yoga can develop muscles, enhance flexibility, and build confidence, helping you achieve the body you’ve always wanted. With the ability to relieve physical pain and mental stress, yoga can relax your mind, body, and spirit with regular practice. Best of all, yoga can be practiced by anyone of any level of physical fitness, making it easy to get started at any experience level.

Getting Started With Yoga

As an exercise alternative that doesn’t require excessive equipment or time commitments, yoga is a great option for bariatric surgery patients from all walks of life. Getting started is as easy as finding a studio in your neighborhood, or downloading web-based video instruction to help you get comfortable with basic poses and moves.

When you’re considering a new exercise routine, the team at Fresno Bariatrics is here to support you. We have the knowledge and expertise to guide you through the process, ensuring you approach yoga in a safe, healthy manner.

Weight loss isn’t easy, even after surgery, but with the right medical support, you can transition into a new lifestyle more easily than ever, doing what it takes to be the best version of yourself you can be. The benefits of yoga after bariatric surgery are numerous, making an exploration into vinyasa and pose series well worth the commitment.

To learn more about the bariatric surgery program at Fresno Bariatrics, from pre-surgery education, guidance and preparation, to post-surgery nutritional instruction, exercise assistance and support groups, give us a call at 866.433.8558.

Bariatric experts examine benefits of sleeve gastrectomy at Fresno Heart & Surgical

More than 40 bariatric surgeons from around the world came to Fresno Heart & Surgical Hospital this month to examine gastric sleeve or sleeve gastrectomy benefits. Sleeve gastrectomy is a weight-loss surgery that has become a mainstream tool in the fight against obesity and diabetes. Developed initially as part of a two-step duodenal switch procedure, a form of gastric bypass surgery, the gastric sleeve procedure has become a stand-alone operation.

Sleeve gastrectomy differs from the gastric bypass in that 85% of the stomach is permanently removed and there is no alteration of the intestines. Unlike the gastric band, which also reduces the stomach, there is no foreign body or need for adjustments.

“This procedure is another tool that we can offer our patients. Each patient presents with different challenges, it is important to take into account many factors before advising treatment options. One size doesn’t fit all,” said Dr. Kelvin Higa, medical director of Fresno Heart & Surgical’s metabolic/bariatric and minimally invasive surgery program. The hospital’s program has been designated by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery as Center of Excellence and has been 5-star rated two years in a row by HealthGrades®.

“More and more patients are becoming aware of sleeve gastrectomy benefits and more and more surgeons are attempting to perform the procedure,” said Dr. Kelvin Higa during the Nov. 20 education conference. “However, this procedure is an easy one to perform incorrectly and has its own set of unique complications. It was important to bring together the world’s foremost experts for this educational experience.”

During the day-long event looking at sleeve gastrectomy benefits, Dr. Higa was joined by Dr. Michel Gagner, inventor of the sleeve gastrectomy, and Dr. Jacques Himpens from Belgium, who performed the first robotic surgery in the world. Other faculty members included Prof. Raul Rosenthal from the BMI Institute at the Cleveland Clinics in Florida and Dr. Almino Cardos Ramos from Sao Paulo, Brazil. Dr. Higa, a UCSF Clinical Professor of Surgery who also lectures and demonstrates surgery internationally, moderated the symposium.

Dr. Gagner, while at Cornell University, first proposed the gastric sleeve in 1999 as a way to reduce problems in high-risk patients. “We split the operation in two and did the sleeve first to reduce the stomach,” he explained. “We found all patients had the same weight loss and not everyone went in for the second stage” to remove part of the small intestine.

Dr. Gagner discovered that sleeve gastrectomy benefits were especially high for smaller patients (higher percentage of weight lost), and patients with Crohn’s disease or inflammatory bowel disease. “Also transplant patients do better and elderly patients do better with this operation where you don’t disrupt calcium absorption,” Dr. Gagner said. “I’ve operated on up to 80-year-olds, especially those who may need a hip or knee operation. In the elderly, if they just get the weight off they do better and may not need [the other operation].”

Dr. Himpens said when the gastric sleeve procedure doesn’t meet weight-loss expectations it leaves more room to do a second procedure. The second procedure will be to remove a portion of the small intestine or redo the sleeve to again reduce the stomach. Dr. Himpens also explained that with the sleeve gastrectomy weight can creep back on patients if they are not careful. His studies found patients generally had good success for three years but some began regaining weight. “It’s how many times they eat not what they eat,” he explained.

Dr. Keith Boone, Fellowship Director for UCSF / ALSA Minimally Invasive Surgery Fellowship and medical director at Fresno Heart & Surgical Hospital, said that some surgeons only offer one procedure. “A lot of patients don’t get properly educated about their therapeutic options,” he said. “Then there’s the ethics of a few insurance companies that simply don’t offer this procedure as a choice. There is enough clinical evidence that it should be a part of our clinical armamentarium.”

Dr. Boone and Dr. Gagner also said that one of several benefits of gastric sleeve is that patients might not suffer the malabsorption or malnutrition issues that can be seen with bypass patients. Among sleeve gastrectomy benefits is a reduced risk of ulcers. Some of the disadvantages of sleeve gastrectomy is the irreversibility of removing most of the stomach, the unknown long-term risks (greater than 5 years) and the potential to make GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease worse over time.

Dr. Saber Ghiassi, who has just completed a fellowship in minimally invasive surgery at Stanford University, said, “The sleeve gastrectomy is somewhere between the gastric bypass and the adjustable gastric band based on its safety and efficacy.” Dr. Ghiassi has joined Drs. Higa and Boone as the newest member of their practice.

“I’m very happy with the level of participation of this conference,” remarked Dr. Higa. “Initially, I wanted to limit the number of participants to 25 or less, but the course filled within minutes and we still had a long waiting list even after I agreed to expand the number to 40.” Many people learned about the benefits of gastric sleeve during the conference.

During breaks in the lectures, Ethicon Endo-Surgery representatives demonstrated some of the company’s newest equipment for minimally invasive surgeries with laparoscopic instruments. Company representatives remarked that it was a testament to Fresno Heart & Surgical Hospital’s program and the reputation of its surgeons that so many pioneers and world-renowned experts had come to teach and to participate in a conference on sleeve gastrectomy benefits.

This story was reported by Erin Kennedy. She can be reached at ekennedy@communitymedical.org.

For more information about sleeve gastrectomy benefits please call Fresno Bariatrics at 866.433.8558 or visit our sleeve gastrectomy surgery page.

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About Fresno Bariatrics

Fresno Bariatrics, located in Fresno, California, is one of the most experienced weight loss surgery programs in the country. On both the state and national levels, we are a step above most other weight loss surgery programs. Our superb clinical outcomes have earned HealthGrades' five-star ratings and a Bariatric Excellence Award™ 6 years in a row, putting our program in the top five of all California hospitals.

Our team of bariatric surgeons, nurses, and life coaches are eager to help you through a personalized weight loss surgery program with long-term results. We've helped thousands of people reverse obesity with the assistance of LAP-BAND, Gastric Bypass, Sleeve Gastrectomy (Gastric Sleeve) and Revision Weight-Loss Surgery procedures.

Our world-class bariatric surgeons are board-certified in general surgery by the American Board of Surgery and are members of the American College of Surgeons.

Contact Us

Fresno Heart & Surgical Hospital
15 E Audubon Drive
Fresno, CA, 93720

(866) 433-8558