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.