Jacqueline Pimentel , Janis Limon,Dr. Ramy A. Awad, Jennifer Covarrubias, and Natalie Amoroso.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY ETHAN KAMINSKY
Indio resident Dimitrius Rincon weighed 580 pounds when he decided to take control of his health and lose the weight once and for all. After losing modest amounts of weight on his own, he determined that was ready for the next step: bariatric surgery. A member of Rincon’s church recommended Dr. Ramy A. Awad, M.D., F.A.S.M.B.S., who specializes in minimally invasive advanced robotic bariatric surgery.
“Dr. Awad and his team truly care about the lives of their patients,” says Rincon, now 36. “This surgery was my last resort. I’d tried to lose the weight on my own and just couldn’t stick with it. Dr. Awad and his team were incredible in helping me have a normal life again.”
Rincon underwent a duodenal switch, which Dr. Awad says accounts for only about 1.5% of all bariatric surgeries due to its complexity.
“It’s not a new procedure, but it’s historically been technically difficult to do,” Dr. Awad explains. One of the top robotics surgeons in California, Dr. Awad was the first surgeon to perform a robotic duodenal switch in Southern California, and he continues to offer this effective surgery in his Palm Springs practice.
“The duodenal switch is the most powerful metabolic procedure to help with weight loss, resolution or remission of diabetes, and cardiovascular risk and stroke reduction,” Dr. Awad says. “It also has the best long-term weight loss.”
Since Rincon’s surgery in November 2022, he’s lost 130 pounds and is now down to 315 pounds. Since the surgery, Rincon married his wife, Ruby, and started a job as a bus driver for Coachella Valley Unified School District. He credits his surgery for helping him to achieve both milestones.
Dr. Awad is a skilled minimal invasive surgeon, utilizing cutting-edge surgical techniques.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY CAROLINE POLLY
Dr. Awad’s practice stands apart due to its outstanding surgical outcomes, commitment to advanced technology, multidisciplinary care, and lifelong support. The integration of robotics
into minimally invasive surgical procedures allows for shorter hospital stays, reduced postoperative pain, and improved precision.
Based on his patient outcomes, operative techniques, and performance, Dr. Awad was chosen by Intuitive (manufacturer of the Da Vinci robot used for surgical robotics in the United States) as an instructor to surgeons and those trying to incorporate robotics into their practices.
In addition to surgical treatment, Dr. Awad offers a range of support services to help patients achieve lifelong weight loss. Patients have access to support groups, a dietician, medical weight management, and personal trainers.
Sandra Butkus of Desert Hot Springs decided to pursue bariatric surgery after seeing so many of Dr. Awad’s patients at Desert Regional Medical Center, where she works as a Regulatory Manager. Seeing the successful outcomes of Dr. Awad’s patients, Butkus knew this surgery was the right choice to finally achieve long-term results.
“I was looking at all the pictures of my female relatives at my age and we all looked the same,” Butkus said. “And they’ve all followed the same pattern: diabetes, then a stroke, then a heart attack. I knew my genetics were against me and I didnt want to go down the same path.”
In December 2021, Butkus underwent surgery to have a gastric bypass.
“Now, I feel like I’m half my age!” the 59-year-old says. She went from 279 to 145 pounds and has found a new lease on life since the procedure.
“I even went back to dance class and bought a ballet barre for my home. I have more energy than I’ve had for most of my life!”
Dr. Awad is the bariatric director at Desert Regional Medical Center. He maintains privileges at all three Valley hospitals, and his patients rate him among the top 1 percent of the country’s physicians as a Vitals Top 10 Doctor. Consistently selected as one of America’s top doctors and voted by his peers as a Castle Connolly Top Doctor, his training also encompasses a wide range of general surgical procedures including hernia, gall bladder and cancer-related cases.
“I would have this surgery again in a heartbeat,” Butkus says. “Dr. Awad and his team aren’t just with you for surgery; they’re by your side for life.”
Desert Surgical & Bariatric Specialists
555 E. Tachevah Drive, Suite 3W-105
Palm Springs, CA 92262
Named a top bariatric surgeon for 11 consecutive years.