Geoffrey Nadzam, MD, is a bariatric surgeon who performs surgeries that allow people to lose weight. His patients typically have a body mass index of 40 or higher, and often suffer from weight-related problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, obstructive sleep apnea, and high cholesterol. “All of those conditions can lead to heart disease, and over time, a shortened lifespan,” Dr. Nadzam says. “We perform these surgeries to prolong their life.”
Dr. Nadzam has worked with bariatric patients of all ages and from all walks of life, from firefighters to lawyers to teachers, as well as young people who are in high school or college. “It's important to try to treat these individuals when they're younger. You can make more of a long-term difference in their life if you can catch them before they develop the diseases associated with severe obesity,” he says.
In addition to performing surgery, Dr. Nadzam is the chair of surgery at Lawrence + Memorial Hospital, where he offers patients who suffer from severe obesity the option of a sleeve gastrectomy. This minimally invasive procedure reduces the size of the stomach, leading to dramatic weight loss and a reduction or complete resolution of medical problems such as diabetes, hypertension, and sleep apnea.
“But, I think my biggest strength is in what I do outside of the operating room with patients,” Dr. Nadzam says. “These individuals need someone who is not just their surgeon but also their counselor, almost like a primary care doctor afterwards who keeps monitoring their meds and exercise.”
As a bariatric surgeon, Dr. Nadzam says he has become aware of how difficult weight loss can be. Studies have shown that surgery is the most effective approach to long-term weight loss for very obese patients, he says. “You change their lives in big ways with surgery. Watching the social aspect of their life change is really rewarding. Likewise, watching them throw their CPAP machine out the window three months after surgery, or being off their countless medicines (including insulin and high blood pressure meds) is a big deal. The follow-up visits after surgery are filled with hugs and thanks, because this really does change their life.”
Years In Practice