A Personal Message from Dr. Horowitz
If you are wondering what it is that made a successful surgeon switch to and become a bariatric (weight loss) physician, then please listen to the message from Dr. Horowitz. It is 12 minutes long and will answer many of your questions about weight loss in general and our practice in particular. You may also read a transcript of the message here.
You may click the play button in the video below to listen to the recorded message narrated personally by Dr. Horowitz or feel free to read the transcript of the audio message below:
"Hello, I am Dr. Lonny Horowitz. Thank you for expressing interest in my practice and allowing me to spend some time with you to explain my weight loss treatment philosophy, the reasons for our being in weight loss practice and to brag a bit about our patient's successes.
First let me start out by telling you a bit about myself. I am a real physician and since 1984 when I opened my original office in Atlanta, Georgia I have specialized in Bariatric (weight loss) Medicine.
Prior to opening my practice which we named the Atlanta Bariatric Medicine Diet and Wellness Centers I trained at several major University affiliated medical programs. I did a rotating internship at the Peninsula General Hospital Center affiliated with the State University of New York Medical School at Stoney Brook. I then entered the General Surgical Residency Training program at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey's Rutgers Medical School at Cooper Hospital University Medical Center and then finally I was trained in General and Trauma Surgery at the Booth Memorial Medical Center affiliated with New York University Medical Center.
I am sure you are wondering if you are a surgeon why do you deal with weight loss and what exactly is Bariatric Medicine? Bariatric medicine is the medical specialty which deals specifically with Obesity and related medical conditions, such as hypertension, diabetes, cholesterol and other lipid disorders. In medicine many fields are named after Greek or Latin roots such as Pediatric meaning dealing with Children or Gynecologic dealing with woman's health issues. The term Bariatrics comes from the Greek Barios which means Mass. Although I am often questioned about it let me assure you that Bariatrics has nothing to do with Barium Enemas or colon irrigations!
As to why I became a Bariatrician I entered into Bariatric practice due to very personal reasons. My father Daniel Horowitz was a dentist whom suffered from Obesity his entire life. At 48 he had his first heart attack and at 59 his second which he did not survive. The night of his death was particularly difficult for me. Not just because I lost my father but because the ER he came to was at a hospital in which we were both known and had worked. Immediately after my Dad passed I walked out of the emergency room to the doctor's lounge where my family was waiting and announced that I was no longer going to pursue a career in General Surgery. I immediately realized that what people needed was a legitimate weight loss doctor who treated Obesity. My thoughts were galvanized the next day when the Funeral Director called to have me pick out another coffin because the one my sister and I had chosen was too small to fit him in. Unfortunately the only over-sized coffin immediately available was pink and so the last visual memory I have of my Dad is of him lying in a pink satin lined box.
After the funeral when I returned to work I immediately spoke with my department chairman in surgery. He was at first very negative, advising me not to start a career treating Obesity. He told me that "most weight loss doctors have the reputation of running questionable pill mills dispensing dangerous drugs and were generally looked down upon by their colleagues" He tried to talk me into pursuing a career in Bariatric Surgery, stomach stapling, by-passes etc. At first I followed his advice and spent six months learning the procedures involved in Bariatric Surgery. Quite honestly I was totally turned off by the horrible results and the deaths that were experienced by the centers that were performing these surgeries. To this day I still have difficulty rationalizing how any concerned and qualified surgeon could do these procedures. I guess that after my 26 years in the trenches medically treating Obesity my opinions are somewhat jaded. I tend to see just the failures and if there are weight loss successes I just don't see them. Unfortunately, even with the new less invasive surgical procedures being performed today I still can't condone the use of surgery as a definitive treatment of Obesity. The thought of permanently damaging someone's healthy gastro-intestinal tract horrifies me and I cannot recommend it to anyone.
So what do I to treat my patients differently and why is my weight loss program successful for patients that have tried all the other programs? Diets, pills, shots, shakes, powders, cookies, and every new fad from Phen-Fen to Gastric Bubbles?
First and foremost I see patients! I get angry when an interviewer asks me "well what do you do that's different for your clients"? I don't have clients. I'm a physician and I see patents! That is a very basic and important factor in my patient's success. Every patient I see is an individual and is different. Every patient that walks into a doctor's office is not given the same medicine or treatments. Yet every commercial weight loss program has a cookie cutter they apply to every client or who they should more appropriately call customer that walks in. Most legitimate doctors don't sell things to their patients. Yes we may charge for an injection or medication we dispense but this is very different from selling remedies or some other profit center built into a patient's visit to make money. I like the AMA have always frowned upon the questionable practice of selling profit motivated products to patients. It's a violation of the physician patient relationship and raises some serious ethical questions.
My initial visit and consultation with a new patient takes approximately two hours. This includes the patient's diagnostic testing, physical examination as well as their initial treatment conference with me and my staff. Just like seeing an internist this visit is conducted in a private and professional setting including a full physical examination of the patient that starts with the eyes and ends with the reflexes. Most patients comment that their physical is one of the most thorough that they have had. Although I don't do prostate or vaginal exams I offer breast exams to all of my female patients due to the increased incidence of breast cancer in overweight women. Given my background in surgery and having performed numerous mastectomies in the past this is a check I feel is absolutely indicated and I have been fortunate enough to find early cancers in a number of unsuspecting patients.
The emphasis of my practice has and will always be to perform long term health maintenance and preventive healthcare. I realize that many of my patients come to me to lose weight to look better. This to me is one of the least important reasons for me to see a patient. My motivation is to see the patient's general health improve and by treating the patient's blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes and general health I am satisfying my goals improving the lives of my patients.
Like my father before me I did not go to medical school to get rich and I derive much of my personal pleasure by delivering the best quality medical care anywhere. There are limits to what I can do. Many people want a quick weight loss fix, a magic weight loss potion or are just in search of weight loss pills. These are not the people I want to care for. I never give diet pills to patients at their first visit to my office. Don't ask - I promise I will never give them to a patient for whom I do not have a full laboratory profile or whom have not been under my treatment for at least a week. The indiscriminate prescribing of weight loss drugs is unacceptable medical practice and I will not do it for anyone! It does happen, just ask any physician who has been unlucky enough to have me as a case examiner before the board of medical examiners or involving cases for whom I was an expert witness regarding the Phen-Fen fad from a few years ago. These companies and doctors rightfully lost billions of dollars due to the injuries people suffered due to these weight loss drugs.
Diet pills are only a small part of a complete Bariatric Program of nutrition, exercise, as well as behavior modification. Nothing else including gastric bypass works long term. A comprehensive weight loss program, with a sensible maintenance goal is the only treatment that works. I accept patients from 10 to 80 years of age and treat them for Obesity, Binge Eating Disorder as well as the diseases associated with these disorders. I care for individuals with as little as 20 pounds up to a thousand pounds to lose.
If you have tried and failed on a diet, taken diet pills, shakes, shots or done anything else to control your weight and been unsuccessful you are my typical patient. I see very few "diet virgins" except for my obese kids! I can proudly say that my patients have lost and maintained weight losses of over 75000 pounds.
As the only recognized board certified Bariatrician in the North Fulton Metropolitan Atlanta area most of our patient's fees are reimbursed under their health insurance. My staff will be happy to help you and make payment arrangements for your fees. For our patients convenience we accept most major credit cards.
If you are serious about improving your health by controlling your weight you need to see me!
We have offices conveniently located in Dunwoody, Norcross, Alpharetta-Johns Creek as well as Woodstock. Feel free to call us at 770-393-DIET that's 770-393-3438 - here is the contact page. You can surf our site for even more information and you can download, print and complete your patient history forms prior to your appointment.
I hope I can be of help to you and your family.
If you are a new patient, please download and fill out Patient History form and remember to bring it with you on your initial visit.