I want you to know more about me than my many degrees and associations. Basically, I grew up in a hospital. My Dad was the administrator and my uncle was the Chief of Staff and primary physician. I began working at age 10 in the maintenance department. That eventually evolved into many other jobs around the hospital. Finally I decided the best job in the hospital was the surgeons‘. I graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1979. Finished Medical School at the University of Texas Medical Branch in 1984. Finished a 5 year General Surgery residency at Marshall University in West Virginia in 1989. Joined the teaching staff as an Assistant Professor of Surgery. My emphasis throughout my residency was GI surgery and included extensive experience with the Vertical Banded Gastroplasty for weight loss. A procedure later found to have a 70% failure rate. I started a Hand Surgery fellowship but quickly realized I missed GI surgery.
I began my solo general surgery practice in Nacogdoches in 1990, where I continue to have a satellite office. I picked Nacogdoches because after doing hand surgery in Oakland CA , I decided smaller was better. I became a Fellow in the American College of Surgeons (FACS) and Board Certified by the American College of Surgeons in 1990. I passed that exam and two subsequent re-certification exams on the first attempt. 1990 was the beginning of laparoscopic surgery. I quickly found that my skill set fit laparoscopic GI surgery. My advanced laparoscopic experience began in 1992 with performing hiatal hernia repairs (Nissen Fundoplications). At that time there was only a hand full of surgeons in the world performing this procedure. It continues as important and rewarding part of my practice and has many similarities with bariatric surgery. Currently I have performed over 600 Nissens with a very high success rate. This basically set the stage for weight loss surgery.
By the late 1990’s Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass was being performed by several surgeons in the US. I launched my Bariatric surgery practice in 2000 after training with some of the most experienced surgeons in the country and doing a mini-fellowship at Parkland in Dallas. Since then Bariatric surgery has become the major part of my practice. November 2002 I began performing the Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Band. It became clear that Nacogdoches could not support an active Bariatric practice. So in 2005 I began also practicing in Houston. I was associated with Obesity Surgery Specialist and Renaissance Hospital for three years. In that time, Dr. Nowzaradan and myself performed the largest gastric bypass and gastric sleeve in the world. Its in a documentary that can be seen on TLC “ the half ton Mom” and “the half ton Dad”. I now practice at Memorial Hermann Memorial City, Methodist, University General Hospital, Park Plaza, and First Street/Bellaire. I have performed over 800 procedures with very high success and low complications. I was one of the first bariatric surgeons in Houston to get the coveted Center of Excellence designation by the Surgical Review Corporation and the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.
I believe patient communication is very important and give all patients my cell phone number and encourage them to call anytime they have a question (in the hospital or out).
Learn more about your Houston bariatric surgery options by requesting an appointment with one of the most dedicated Houston bariatric surgeons – Dr. Thomas!