The Bariatric Center

The Bariatric Weight-loss Surgery Center at Southwest Healthcare System's Inland Valley Medical Center has been designated a Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence by the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP). To become certified, the Bariatric Center at Southwest Healthcare System and the bariatric surgeons' practice were required to satisfy or exceed requirements in multiple categories, including:

  • Annual number of cases
  • Complication rates
  • Long-term follow-up and support
  • Ongoing quality improvement
  • Bariatric evidence based practice
  • Continuing education for staff and patients
Bariatric Center Stories Inland Valley Medical CenterWatch stories from weight-loss surgery patients at Southwest Healthcare System >

Patients seek bariatric surgery to reduce the number of obesity-related complications like heart disease, stroke, sleep apnea and diabetes. And then to reduce their weight, look better and feel better. Minimally invasive, laparoscopic bariatric surgery at the Bariatric Center reduces the size of the stomach to limit the amount of food eaten. Also, this procedure requires a smaller incision, usually involving less pain and faster recovery. David Suh, MD, who was trained at UCSF, has perfected the laparoscopic technique at Southwest for patients who are excessively overweight. "This is the surgical solution many dangerously overweight patients have been waiting for," says Dr. Suh. "It offers the same permanent weight loss without the pain, disability and complications that can result from major abdominal surgery."

Regaining Control of Health and Mobility

Being seriously overweight can lead to life-threatening medical conditions such as severe diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, gastroesophageal reflux and heart disease. As the pounds come off, health problems can dramatically improve or disappear entirely. The National Institute of Health (NIH) recommends laparoscopic bariatric surgery as the best long-term solution for extreme obesity. Because of these NIH guidelines, more private insurers are offering coverage for bariatric surgery. It’s important to be aware that surgery is an effective treatment for obesity but not a cure. Like any other surgical procedure, bariatric surgery comes with risks, and diet and exercise should always be attempted as a first choice for losing weight.

“We do a psychological assessment and have our patients meet with a dietician,” says Stephen Dada, MD, a bariatric surgeon at Inland Valley Medical Center. “When ‘comfort foods’ are taken away – some may be off-limits after surgery – the person has to be able to handle it.”

Results vary somewhat depending on sex, initial weight and age. In general, a physician will recommend weight-loss surgery when the risks of continued obesity are greater than the risks of surgery, such as when a patient is 100 pounds overweight or has diabetes, high blood pressure or a similar serious medical condition.

“It’s about selecting the right procedure for each individual patient’s needs, and building a foundation of trust by treating each patient as a special person,” says Francis A. Essien, MD, a bariatric surgeon at Inland Valley Medical Center.

An Alarming Trend

Up to 40 percent of Americans can be considered obese. "There's an alarming trend among the population toward obesity," Dr. Suh says. "It is a problem that a lot of people have their entire lives. They also develop serious medical conditions—such as severe diabetes—that can affect the length and quality of their lives." For those who are dangerously overweight, diet, exercise and drug therapy have not provided a lasting solution. Now, laparoscopic techniques can make surgery easier on the patient than standard, major abdominal surgery. And more private insurers now are offering coverage for bariatric surgery.

Health Impacts


Individual results may vary. There are risks associated with any surgical procedure. Talk with your doctor about these risks to find out if bariatric surgery is right for you.

Find out about the surgical options available at Inland Valley Medical Center.
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David Suh, MD

Dr. SuhDavid Suh, MD. is the Medical Director of the Southwest Healthcare System Bariatric Center of Excellence. Dr. Suh is board certified by the American Board of General Surgery and specializes in laparoscopic bariatric surgery. He received his medical degree from the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine, where he also completed his internship and residency. Dr. Suh is an Associate Fellow of the American Society of Bariatric Surgeons.


  • MIT – Biology
  • UCSF Medical Center – Medical Degree
  • UCSF Medical Center – Internship, General Surgery
  • Residency, General Surgery
  • Chief Resident, General Surgery
  • Advanced Laparoscopic Fellowship
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Accredited Bariatric Center

Accredited Bariatric Center Inland Valley Medical CenterThe Bariatric Center at Southwest Healthcare System at Inland Valley Medical Center has been accredited as a Accredited Bariatric Center by the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Acceditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP). This designation means that Inland Valley Medical Center has met the essential criteria that ensure it is fully capable of supporting a bariatric surgery care program and that its institutional performance meets the requirements outlined by the MBSAQIP.

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Our Bariatric Surgeons
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Inland Valley Medical Center is owned and operated by a subsidiary of Universal Health Services, Inc.(UHS), a King of Prussia, PA-based company, that is one of the largest healthcare management companies in the nation.      

Inland Valley Medical Center

36485 Inland Valley Drive
Wildomar, CA 92595

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