Interview With Dr. Joseph Naim of Soma Weight Loss, Part 2

In this video, Dr. Joseph Naim discusses his bariatric surgery education and experience and what patients can expect when they first call Soma Weight Loss. Learn more about his passion for helping people lose weight and lead healthier, more fulfilling lives.

I’ve been practicing in the field of bariatric surgery for about five years. I like to emphasize that even if patients don’t come to us, they have to make sure that the surgeon’s experienced and is well trained. I spent about a year, prior to starting my practice, through a fellowship to get trained in this specialty. I’m board certified in general surgery. So I have a lot of experience with this procedure. That’s why we can provide the safest environment for the patients. I enjoy what I do because all the patients are happy, and we like to work with every patient individually, treat them as a human being and try to give them what they’re asking for.  
I have a patient coordinator – her name is Laila – and she’s able to answer all the questions. Usually, she does not get involved in some of the medical advice, but in terms of lifestyle modification, in terms of what to eat, in terms of how long is the procedure, what’s the next step. We have multiple staff which will help the patients to go through the insurance. Interestingly, most of these procedures are covered by insurance companies. And we will provide that free of charge for the patient, to do an insurance authorization. And unfortunately, if for some reason the insurance will not cover the procedure, we have special cash packages that will help the patient to go through financing, because I believe that these are life-saving operations and the patients come to us because this is what they need. Otherwise, nobody really wants to have surgery unless they need it.  
Feel free to pick up the phone, make the call. My staff is available to answer any questions you have, and I’m available to provide you with a complimentary consultation so we can get you on track to a healthy, active lifestyle.  
Definitely. It’s been shown that people who are overweight don’t live as long as people who have lost weight and are healthier. So it has been documented, and I think that this is a life-saving procedure. And if you ask any of my patients, they will tell you that their life has changed.  
I’ve done about 1,000 weight loss surgeries. So, every patient is unique in each case. There’s always things that stay in your mind. I have to say that my youngest patient is 12 years old. So she’s lost about 40, 50 pounds. She’s very happy. My heaviest patient is about 640 pounds. He’s lost about 300 to 350 pounds, and he’s very happy. So they’re all unique. Very interesting that sometimes people, when they go under the stomach banding operations, I have a few patients that their husband even does not know about it. I don’t usually recommend this. I think that having a family support is important. But because these procedures are done so safely, it’s about a half-hour procedure, they go home the same day. It’s interesting that the significant other would not even know that they had a stomach banding.  
No, I like to emphasize that the most important step is for you to come and see the surgeons, see the doctor. In my program, when you make an appointment, we don’t require you to go through hoops before you see me. The first thing that you do, you come and see me. I want to make sure that we are comfortable to each other, I want to make sure that you trust me, and I want to make sure that you’re gonna be a good patient. And after that step, we will help you to go to every steps in terms of having a psychological evaluation, having a dietary evaluation, getting your insurance to cover the procedure. So, after you come and see the whole staff, you will feel comfortable. But I want you to make the call and come and see me.  
In case you’re worried about meeting me, you’re maybe a little bit shy, we have a very good website that you can go on,, and that website has a lot of information that you can get. Or you can just pick up the phone and talk to my program coordinator and they will give you all the information. At the same time, we have seminars that you can come, with no questions asked, just listen to me talking. At the same time, in the seminars, there are patients who had the lap-band surgery, the patient who had the sleeve gastrectomy, the patient who had gastric bypass, and you can talk to them. So that would be the first step for you to get familiar with the options. And I want you to feel comfortable, and they all do. We make them feel at ease.  
Once a month we have seminars which are usually combined with a support group. Usually, one of my old patients runs the support group so they can [inaudible 00:05:01] the patients. Support groups are an important part of the patient experience because all these procedures are gonna give you the best results, in combination with lifestyle modification. That’s what we call it. So as the patient comes to the support group once a month, they get reminded to stay on track, to continue eating healthy, to continue being active, and basically that’s what support group does. If they have any questions, they can ask some other patients. And again, my program coordinator can answer a lot of questions because they have talked to thousands of patients. So, we recommend it highly. Unfortunately, not everybody can attend it, but we recommend it as much as they can to attend the support groups.  
Again, they will also see me on a regular basis. I see all my patients every three months for the first year and we’ll emphasize that diet modification, that behavior modification, to make sure they have good results following the surgery.  
Does the patient play a part in the surgery? One hundred percent. These procedures, especially when it comes to the stomach banding, are basically tools that we provide the patient with. So they can take this tool and use it the way it’s supposed to be used and get the benefit from it because they’re basically losing their weight and controlling the medical problems, or they can just have the surgery done and forget about the other part and they unfortunately will not have as good a result that I expect. What’s a good result? I want my patient to lose at least half of the excess body weight. And if they do not change any habits, unfortunately, sometimes they may not get there. That’s why I want them to come to the support group, that’s why I want them to come and see me, that’s why the adjustments are important, so we can give them the tool they need to lose the weight and keep it off.  
I want to emphasize that these are not diet programs. These are surgeries, and basically the only diet they have to be on is to eat healthy and be active. So we will have booklets that we’ll provide you, I have dieticians that will contact you and will tell you what to do today to make the right choices. Basically, low-calorie diet is what you’re recommended. And if you make healthy choices, that’s all you need to do to have good results.

Have Questions? Contact Soma Weight Loss

If you’d like to learn more about the bariatric procedures performed at Soma Weight Loss, we’re here to help. Set up a free consultation at one of our three Los Angeles locations or call us at 855-SOMA-411 (766-2411) for more information. We are here to help!