February 20, 2019

Meet Dr. Lautz

David Lautz, MD, brings impressive background and expertise 
 

David Lautz, MD, is a renowned bariatric surgeon who serves as Director of the Emerson Center for Weight Loss. Prior to coming to Emerson. he ran the program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital for eight years. While there, Dr. Lautz authored dozens of articles on bariatric surgery in leading medical journals, won multiple awards for his teaching, had his research funded by the National Institutes of Health, and built one of the largest bariatric surgical practices in New England.  He left academia to start the program at Emerson in 2012.   

“It was a difficult decision to leave the Brigham after being there so long, but Emerson approached me with the idea of creating a unique program completely tailored to the needs of our patients and invested significantly in making that happen.  That meant everything from designing and building a clinic space specifically for our patients’ needs, to having a dedicated hospital floor in the hospital where they recover, to providing state of the art equipment in the operating room.  Most importantly, Emerson helped me recruit an amazing staff that I get compliments on all of the time from patients.  All of that transfers into our being able to provide a really unrivalled patient care experience.” 

In addition to having performed more than 5,000 weight loss surgeries, Dr. Lautz has played a national and state role in making weight loss surgery increasingly safe and successful.  “Today the complication rate for bariatric surgery is a fraction of what it used to be,” he notes. “The field is considered to be a model for how to improve clinical outcomes.” He was one of the original 12 surgeons who created the American College of Surgeons Bariatric Surgery Center Network, which accredits bariatric surgery centers of excellence across the U.S.  

Awards for providing compassionate care

Despite Dr. Lautz’s experience, he is most interested in the individual patient who seeks advice and treatment for obesity. “The most important thing we do is offer a safe place for people to come and talk about their problem,” he says. “These patients are suffering from a disease that is often having a tremendous impact on their life.  Unfortunately, society tends to blame them for that disease and as a result many have shame around their weight issues and avoid getting treatment.  At Emerson, we’ve tried very hard to create a supportive environment where patients can come, feel understood and get real solutions with a proven track record of excellent outcomes.” 

While substantial weight loss can cure or alleviate a number of chronic conditions, including type 2 diabetes, Dr. Lautz understands that the goal of having bariatric surgery for many is to improve their quality of life. “Patients who suffer from obesity deal with so many issues that most people are just not aware of.  Patients tell us they want to sit in a seat at Fenway, or not be ignored in conversations, or be able to play with their kids,” he says. “They just want to lead a normal life.  For so many, weight loss surgery gives them their life back.” 

Dr. Lautz has received numerous awards that reflect his commitment to his patients, including the National Patient’s Choice Award, Most Compassionate Doctor Award, and a Compassionate Caregiver Honorable Mention from the Kenneth B. Schwartz Center that recognizes caregivers across the nation.   

When asked about how he got into this field of surgery, Dr. Lautz replies “It really started with a single patient.  I was doing a lot of general surgery and cancer surgery out of the Dana Farber and at the Brigham.  The leadership had approached me about doing bariatrics and I originally wasn’t interested.  But then I had a patient referred to me to fix his hernia who had had a bypass.  He had gotten rid of his medical problems and was leading this whole new life.  That patient changed my life.”

You might enjoy these blog posts