Obesity and Metabolic Health
Find your care
Why choose the UCLA Center for Obesity and METabolic (COMET) Health?
COMET is part of the integrated UCLA health system, with premier hospitals and clinics operating across Los Angeles County. Our multidisciplinary team of experts includes hepatologists, bariatric surgeons, bariatric endoscopists, medical weight loss providers, registered dietitians, psychologists, behavioral coaches, nurses, and other healthcare professionals. Highlights of our program:
Focus on nutrition, education and counseling: Clinical nutrition experts from the UCLA Health Center for Human Nutrition are an integral part of your weight loss journey. They create customized plans to help you meet your weight loss goals and prevent future health problems.
Leaders in bariatric surgery procedures: The specialists at COMET lead the nation in bariatric surgery. Our Bariatric Surgery Program has some of the best outcomes in the United States. We specialize in several advanced techniques, including minimally invasive procedures that require less recovery time.
Endoscopic treatment for obesity: The Bariatric Endoscopy Program at UCLA is among the busiest of its kind in California. Our highly skilled interventional endoscopists perform minimally invasive procedures as both primary interventions for obesity and as revisions for patients who have gained weight after previous gastric bypass surgery.
Pioneering research: COMET is one of the few centers in the United States actively studying ways to conquer the obesity epidemic. Through leading-edge research, our experts are making new discoveries about the many health problems that result from obesity. Our goal is to maintain a center of innovation that will lead the country in both groundbreaking research and treatment.
Our areas of care
COMET takes advantage of state-of-the-art equipment and facilities and collaborates with a wide range of clinicians and other health professionals to craft individualized programs that give patients the best chance of success. We specialize in:
Comprehensive health assessments
Our experts review your overall health by completing a thorough medical history and physical examination. We may recommend blood tests to evaluate your metabolism and lipid (fat) levels in your blood. We also assess how your heart, lungs and other organs are working to determine the best care plan for you.
To evaluate fatty liver disease, we may order:
- FibroScan® - Using transient elastography, which is non-invasive and similar to ultrasound, this testing helps us diagnose fibrosis (scar tissue on the liver) and fatty liver disease. It also allows us to evaluate the liver and determine the extent of damage.
- MRI - Advanced radiologic diagnostic imaging
- Biopsy – Obtaining a small tissue specimen from the liver to study for pathology
- Genetic testing - Looks for markers that put you at a higher risk of liver disease. Genetic counseling is also available at UCLA Health.
Integrated treatment plans
Our multidisciplinary team recognizes the importance of not simply treating the disease, but looking at the whole person and developing a comprehensive approach that is best for you.
Conditions we treat
Our experts have extensive experience treating obesity and conditions that result from obesity. We understand the long-term complications of this condition and work with you to prevent them. We specialize in treatments for:
This medical condition increases the risk of numerous health problems. People who carry excessive weight are more likely to have heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and a range of other diseases, including cancer. We understand that many physical and emotional factors may contribute to obesity. Our compassionate experts deliver treatments that address all aspects of this condition.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
This common liver disorder ranges from mild to severe. It occurs when the liver stores too many fat cells. This condition affects people who drink little to no alcohol. Some people with NAFLD don’t have any symptoms. Others experience fatigue and upper abdominal pain on the right side. You’re more likely to get fatty liver disease if you have obesity or carry extra weight.
Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)
Severe NAFLD can lead to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), a serious condition that causes liver inflammation. Older people and those with diabetes and obesity are at a higher risk of this disease. Untreated, NASH can lead to scar tissue on the liver (fibrosis) and end-stage liver disease (cirrhosis).
Metabolic syndrome is a group of disorders that puts you at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke. People with metabolic syndrome have a combination of:
- High blood sugar (glucose)
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- High levels of bad cholesterol and low levels of good cholesterol (dyslipidemia)
- Obesity, especially excess fat around the waist
Treatments we offer
The experts at COMET offer comprehensive surgical and nonsurgical treatments. Every plan is customized for you and focuses on all aspects of your health. We specialize in:
For many people, bariatric surgery is an appropriate long-term treatment for obesity and fatty liver disease. Our bariatric surgeons lead the nation in several state-of-the-art techniques, including robot-assisted, minimally invasive procedures. These techniques require smaller incisions, involve less recovery time and have a lower risk of complications than traditional (open) procedures.
Bariatric surgery procedures include:
Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery, a technique that involves creating a small pouch from the stomach that connects directly to the small intestine
Lap band removal, due to the inadequate weight loss, weight regain, and high long-term complication rates from lap band surgery, UCLA does not perform this procedure. However, we do offer lap band removal which can be done endoscopically
Gastric sleeve surgery, a procedure that removes up to 75-80% of the stomach and joins the remaining portions together to make a new, smaller stomach or “sleeve”
Gastric bypass revision, revisions of previous bypass surgeries that have not produced the desired results
We offer classes and workshops to support you before and after surgery. These programs focus on nutrition, exercise and adopting healthier habits for life.
Medical weight loss, education and counseling
Our team includes weight management experts who offer individualized nutrition therapy for weight loss. We work with you to achieve your goals while focusing on all aspects of your health. Our services include:
- Classes on a wide range of subjects, such as diabetes prevention
- Customized medical weight loss plans under the supervision of a doctor may include medications, lifestyle and diet
- Nutrition plans from registered dietitians
- Psychological support, including counseling and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
Endoscopic treatment for obesity
These procedures are newer, less invasive, and require no skin incisions - meaning no scars and a faster recovery. A good candidate for an endoscopic weight loss procedure may have:
- BMI of less than 40 without other medical problems
- BMI of 30-35 with high blood pressure, high cholesterol/triglycerides, type 2 diabetes, or sleep apnea
- Regained weight after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery
- Too sick or heavy to undergo surgery
Endoscopic bariatric procedures include:
Endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty (ESG), an endoscopic procedure that is used to recreate the anatomy of a surgical vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG), serving as an incisionless option
Gastric bypass revision / Transoral outlet reduction (TORe), an endoscopic procedure designed to help address weight regain in people who have previously undergone Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery. Gastric bypass revision surgery can jump-start the weight loss process.
Our multidisciplinary team members are leaders in obesity and metabolic disorders treatment and research.
Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Cynthia Hong, PhD
Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine