By Rudy Arispe
Founded in 2005, Dr. Nilesh Patel can cite an array of reasons why his patients come to see him at Texas Bariatric Specialists.
“Some want to get married in their mother’s wedding dress, some want to be able to ride a rollercoaster, some want to be there for their child’s quinceañera, and others want to get their blood pressure or diabetes under control,” the bariatric surgeon said at his San Antonio office on Huebner Road, one of eight specialty clinics throughout South Texas.
Being frank and kind, Dr. Patel doesn’t sugar coat his conversations with his patients. Whatever the reason patients have come, he lets them know up front that it’s not going to be easy, and that bariatric surgery to lose weight and keep it off is a lifelong commitment.
In the spirit of true dedication, Dr. Patel and his fellow surgeons, as well as the front office staff, promise to be with you every step of the way, just as he has been, for instance, with Raul Diaz, a patient who at his heaviest tipped the scales at 470 pounds.
The Del Rio resident admits he was always a husky kid, and as he grew older, his weight became an issue. It wasn’t too long until he found himself older and dealing with issues like diabetes and high blood pressure, along with troublesome swelling in his legs. When his primary care physician told him that he didn’t expect Diaz to live past 50-years-old, it was the proverbial wake-up call.
In June 2015, Diaz underwent gastric bypass surgery.
“The first two months were difficult because mentally I was still obese, but physically I could see the weight coming off”- Texas Bariatric Specialists Patient Raul Diaz
he recalled. Today, he weighs around 225 pounds, although he has set a goal of 175-180 pounds. Moreover, high blood pressure and diabetes no longer pose a health threat, and Diaz is able to walk three miles a day.
It is cases like Raul Diaz’s that Dr. Patel derives deep satisfaction from and why he is so committed to his patients.
“Bariatric surgery gives us the opportunity to change people’s lives.” -Dr. Nilesh Patel
The best outcomes are keeping long-term, follow-up care,” Dr. Patel shared with a smile. “We follow up with our patients for life. Then after one to two years we ask, ‘Did you achieve your goals? What have you done to celebrate your success?’ The continuity of care and relationship with patients is what drives me every day.”
It’s also why Dr. Patel seeks the most qualified bariatric surgeons and associates in the country to join his team, such as Dr. Leah Dill, who is one of only two female bariatric specialists in South Texas. In fact, Dr. Dill trained under Dr. Patel and has performed more than 500 surgical procedures alongside him.
Dr. Dill believes that being a female weight loss surgeon has its advantages. “Patients who tend to struggle with their weight, and a majority are women, like to go to a female physician,” she said.
“Someone who is morbidly obese can have body image issues and low self-esteem. It can be challenging just to make that first step to walk through the door. I can be a little less intimidating to the point where they feel comfortable talking to me. -Dr. Leah Dill
All of our surgeons are caring and compassionate, but it’s nice to have an option.” The Texas Bariatric Specialists recently acquired the skills and expertise of Dr. Subhash Reddy, who completed a one-year, bariatric and advanced laparoscopic surgery fellowship at the University of California-San Francisco Medical Center prior to his general surgery residency at the renowned Cleveland Clinic. “General surgery gives you some moderate experience in laparoscopy and mild exposure to bariatric surgery,” Dr. Reddy explained. “But a fellowship offers you hands-on training. You observe and train under surgeons who have been doing bariatric surgery for 15 to 20 years.
“Last year, I did 850 cases under the supervision of experienced physicians.” -Dr.Subhash Reddy
Dr. Patel stresses that by acquiring exceptional medical and surgical talent, like that of Dr. Reddy, it allows his practice to offer world-class care to patients in San Antonio and throughout South Texas. “The way we built our practice acknowledges the fact that we do bariatric surgery better than most,” Dr. Patel explained humbly. “I’m not saying we’re the best, because we want to strive to be the best every day.
“If you live two hours away, would you not travel for world-class healthcare?” -Dr. Nilesh Patel
We have a full office staff for pre-surgery and post-surgery located in nine cities across South Texas.”
By having nine clinics throughout South Texas—including San Antonio, two in Austin, New Braunfels, Laredo, Killeen, Del Rio, San Angelo and Corpus Christi—Dr. Patel’s practice can treat patients in their hometowns while continuing to exceed national standards.
“We make a commitment and take the time and effort so that one member of my staff travels each week to one of our offices in Laredo, Killeen or San Angelo, for instance. We’re serving communities that do not have access to this type of care ordinarily,” Dr. Patel shared proudly. He also wants to dispel the myth about obesity. “A lot of people think morbid obesity is a self-inflicted problem,” Dr. Patel said, as is the case with many insurance companies.
“They think, ‘You did it to yourself and therefore we shouldn’t pay for it.’ I have people on liquid diets for months at a time, and they experience no weight loss at all. Fifteen to 20 percent of Americans are on life-long diets and can’t lose weight even though they’re committed to it. That’s the misconception of obesity that holds America back. Some people just have poor metabolism and trouble losing weight.”
These are the patients whom Dr. Patel and his staff are happy to help and do so through their medical weight loss program, after they have surgery to help ensure that patients successfully keep unwanted pounds from returning. “For a lot of patients, they get stuck, and when you get stuck, we’re here for you,” he beamed. “You’ll never hear us say, ‘Eat right and exercise’ because you’re expected to do so. But sometimes you need extra assistance, which is why we have a relevant medical weight loss program for patients who had surgery and haven’t had the results they want. Now we go from being bariatric surgeons to medical weight loss doctors.”
Dr. Dill agrees and said the weight loss program, which consists of nutritional counseling, dietary recommendations and a variety of supplements, among other things, is also for those who perhaps do not fit the criteria for surgery but still need assistance in reaching their weight loss goals.
“We’re unique in that we help get people to their last 20 to 30 pounds they can’t lose after surgery,” she said. “For the majority of patients, the surgery will get them fairly close to their weight loss goals, but sometimes patients are on that last hurdle through their journey. The medical weight loss program can get them to their goal.”
Like Dr. Patel, Dr. Dill is elated to help patients reclaim their health.
“Weight loss surgery is a rewarding profession,” she said. “We get to see people’s lives changed in a very dramatic way, and it’s exciting to be part of their journey and experience.”
With the skilled minds and compassionate hearts of Drs. Patel, Reddy and Dill, the Texas Bariatric Specialists are carrying out their own passion-powered journey in San Antonio and throughout South Texas to better the community’s health as a whole. Their dedication and commitment shines through in every interaction and conveys a voyage that will only be marked by further success.
For more information, visit www.texasbariatricspecialists.com or call 877.538.6909. The corporate headquarters for Texas Bariatric Specialists is located at 14603 Huebner, Building 2 in San Antonio, Texas 78230.