NEWS | May 18, 2006


The American Society for Bariatric Surgery has designated UC Davis as a Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence.

The center of excellence designation, awarded to those programs with outstanding outcomes, safety records and facilities, also recognizes UC Davis bariatric surgeons Mohamed Ali and William Fuller. Ali is a gastrointestinal surgeon and assistant professor at the UC Davis School of Medicine who directs the minimally invasive surgery practice for UC Davis Health System. Fuller is an assistant professor of surgery.

Bariatric is the branch of medicine that deals with the causes, prevention and treatment of obesity. In the past four years, more than 500 bariatric procedures have been performed at UC Davis Medical Center. Gastric bypass is the most common and successful surgical approach of this type in the United States for treating severe obesity. The procedure reduces the size of a patient's upper stomach so that less food can be eaten or absorbed.

Weight-reduction surgery is known to reduce heart problems and other risk factors associated with obesity, including high blood pressure, sleep apnea and diabetes. It is typically used in cases where a patient is at least 100 pounds overweight.

In its consideration of the UC Davis program for 'Center of Excellence' designation, bariatric society representatives conducted a site visit in Sacramento, where they reviewed patient data on surgical volumes, mortality, readmission and complication rates, as well as overall patient care management and hospital facilities. That information was then compared to the standards of other top-tier bariatric programs around the nation. UC Davis is one of four bariatric surgery centers in Northern California to receive the designation.

"Our program focuses on providing patients with a complete wellness plan," said Ali. "While the surgery itself is important, we believe it is only successful when combined with a comprehensive weight management program, one that starts before surgery and continues long after our patients leave the hospital."

Last year, Blue Cross of California recognized the UC Davis bariatric program with its own center of expertise designation.