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Dr. Michael Feiz on What Makes a Great Bariatric Physician

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Ask Michael Feiz, M.D., F.A.C.S., about why he chose weight loss surgery as his specialty, and he might tell you that it chose him. "It all started with the fact that I am very good technically at being able to work with laparoscope and a TV screen. I have extremely good hand-eye coordination," Dr. Feiz said, referring to the highly advanced technology used in minimally invasive sleeve gastrectomy surgery and other bariatric procedures.  

"It sounds funny – this is an incredibly difficult task requiring a fairly huge amount of medical knowledge – but the ability to properly use a laparoscope is not so different from playing an extremely hard video game. We're using a very small but effective surgical tool with a tiny television camera on it that can do amazing things, if you're able to operate it properly," said Dr. Feiz.

"It actually blows air into a cavity to expand the area, so you have space to work. You have six or seven buttons; you can't look at your hands and you have to do manipulate the intestines and other organs quickly. Also, since it's a two dimensional image representing a 3-D reality, you have to be able to use your mind's eye to convert the 2-D image back into three dimensions," Dr. Feiz said.

Aside from being unusually gifted in its complexities, Dr. Feiz is credited as being a pioneer in the expanding use of laparoscopic technology. "Many people were doubtful that certain procedures could be done using laparoscopes. Starting out, I was consistently trying to push the envelope in what you could do with this technology. Over ten years later, everything that I do is routinely done laparoscopically."

While performing the surgery may require great skill, Dr. Feiz points out that the unique challenges of bariatric surgery don't end when the operation is successfully completed. "With another type of surgery, the surgeon does his work and solves the problem; it's over. With weight loss, the surgery is really just a beginning. It's a tool to help people have the psychological ability to be successful in losing weight," said Dr. Feiz. As part of his interest in the relationship between mental states and overeating, the doctor has been a leader in awareness of the ghrelin hormone, which induces a feeling of hunger in the brain and is significantly reduced by the gastric sleeve procedure.

"No one ever thinks a nail biter is doing it for fun or has a character flaw. It's a reaction to emotional stress, a sort of self-soothing. A smoker or excessive drinker of alcohol or caffeine turns to a behavior that makes them feel better when stress or other feelings hit them; it's the same with overeaters. Our work makes it much easier for patients to create new and healthier habits and find better ways to deal with certain feelings. Being able to make changes in patients' habits that lead to weight loss success – and not just for a short time but over the long term – is a privilege," said Dr. Feiz.

To inquire about a free seminar with Dr. Feiz call 800-868-5946 or visit

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SOURCE Dr. Feiz & Associates
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