The Keck Medicine of USC bariatric surgery program received two exemplary ratings in the most recent Semiannual Report from the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP) of the American College of Surgeons. The ratings specifically were for laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy procedures, for which the Keck Medicine program had no morbidity within 30 days or readmissions within 30 days during the 2018 calendar year reporting period.

“I could not be more pleased with this rating,” said Namir Katkhouda, MD, director of the bariatric surgery program and professor of surgery at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. “This is the result of everyone in the program — surgeons, nurses, dietitians and staff — working at their best to provide top-quality care. I’m very proud to lead such an exceptional team.”

Kulmeet Sandhu, MD, clinical associate professor of surgery (clinician educator) at the Keck School, surgery clerkship director and one of the surgeons with the program, agreed. “We make every effort for our patients to have a procedure that is as safe as it is effective, and it’s very gratifying to see that these efforts have been recognized.”

Sandhu also noted that a successful weight-loss surgery program is about more than recruiting top surgeons: “We make every effort to work with our patients to tailor pre- and post-operative plans that will help them achieve their desired result.”

Keck Medicine’s weight-loss surgery program stands out because it offers extensive pre- and post-surgical care and long-term check-ins. After a mandatory informational seminar to make sure every patient understands the risks and benefits of surgery, Keck Medicine’s in-house dietitians work with patients to help them with both physical and mental challenges.

“Our dietitians work with patients throughout their weight-loss journey and are with them every step of the way, starting from their initial consult with their surgeon to post-op, follow-up visits in clinic for life,” explained bariatric dietitian Michelle Smith, RD. The program also offers a monthly support group at no additional cost. Every other meeting is attended by a behavioral specialist to help patients who have concerns.

The multidisciplinary, patient-centered approach has paid off. Keck Medicine’s weight-loss surgery program has garnered numerous accolades, including being named a Center of Excellence for bariatric surgery by Blue Cross and CIGNA and an AETNA Institute of Excellence Bariatric Designation in 2019.

— Lex Davis