Bariatric surgery used to be the primary solution for obesity, yet just a small portion of people meet the qualifications. That left many with few options from the medical community. Daniel Leslie, MD, seeks to change that by offering comprehensive weight loss care to people across Minnesota.
He is passionate about collaborating with patients on small successes to achieve weight loss they can maintain, because that alone produces many health benefits. Leslie encourages patients to lock in initial losses with surgical options like a sleeve gastrectomy. Then, they often continue losing weight and minimizing obesity-related diseases like Type 2 diabetes and sleep apnea.
“We don’t think that a 5 to 10 percent weight loss is a bad thing—it’s excellent,” says Leslie, an associate professor of surgery. “But there is a greater chance of keeping the weight off and obtaining higher levels of weight loss if surgery is added in, along with medical weight management.”
Leslie has been overseeing the expansion of weight-related services and treatments at University of Minnesota Health and Fairview Health Services locations as comprehensive director of weight management and chief of the Division of Gastrointestinal/Bariatric Surgery. He also serves as medical director for CentraCare Weight Management, bringing University of Minnesota Physician’s expertise and surgical options to outstate Minnesota patients.
Recently, M Health Fairview developed one access point where patients receive clinical information about their options systemwide. Its services include a 24-week healthy lifestyle plan, medical weight management, or consultations with bariatric surgeons like Leslie.
He enjoys educating patients about their choices and finding the best approach for their health and life goals. “I like to see the excitement patients have with the process. We outline the outcomes that we’re trying to achieve together,” Leslie notes. “Patients really need to do the work, and we’re giving guidance and providing the rationale for improving their lifestyle so that the benefits can be sustained.”
A prolific researcher, Leslie has co-authored five book chapters and written more than 50 peer-reviewed publications. He currently partners with other researchers on fatty liver disease, seeking to determine if bariatric surgery is more effective than medical weight management.
He believes that it’s vital to continue advancing knowledge and treatments for obesity, a complex disease that affects every aspect of health and medicine. “Services are needed and necessary now,” Leslie says. “We are in this rising tide of obesity. We need to recognize that stabilizing the epidemic is going to be the first step toward improving things.