Name: Darren Soong, MD, FACS
Hometown: Honolulu, Hawaii
Occupation: Bariatric surgeon
Surf’s up, dude! Dr. Darren Soong, originally from Honolulu, always wanted to be one with the ocean. But a career in marine biology didn’t appeal to him when he realized he might be living in a Volkswagen van as part of his work environment. Although he admits that marine biologists are better surfers than doctors, he found that becoming a surgeon was much more rewarding.
Dr. Soong was among the first class to graduate with a kinesiology degree in sports medicine from the University of California, Los Angeles. During a rotation in medical school at the University of Hawaii, he discovered his niche in performing surgery. He moved to Las Vegas in 1990 to complete his surgical residency at University Medical Center.
Formerly a trauma surgeon at UMC, Dr. Soong has specialized in bariatric surgery for weight loss at Desert Springs Hospital over the past six years. He takes pride in changing patients’ lives for the better. According to Dr. Soong, the results are particularly satisfying when previously overweight patients no longer need diabetes or cholesterol medication. Aside from advantageous medical benefits and added longevity, Dr. Soong is pleased to see patients regain energy to participate in physical activities such as Zumba, Pilates, swimming and running.
Weight loss surgery needs serious consideration before it is performed, counsels Dr. Soong. He stresses that such procedures act as a tool to assist in losing weight by helping patients experience less hunger, eat smaller quantities and still feel satisfied after a meal. The doctor promotes a healthy lifestyle to ensure surgery is successful, including proper food choices and increased exercise and physical activity. To encourage healthy living, Desert Springs Hospital sponsors a team of patients in the annual Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series.
There are various types of weight loss surgeries. Over the years, procedures have improved with small to microscopic incisions and shorter recovery times, opening the door for more people to undergo weight loss surgery. Dominant for some time, gastric bypass was eventually replaced by the safer, less invasive laparoscopic adjustable gastric band, commonly known as lap band. According to Dr. Soong, the most popular surgery today is laparoscopic, or vertical sleeve gastrectomy. Approximately 85 percent of his patients have requested the procedure, which bridges the gap between gastric bypass surgery and the Lap-Band.
It is no doubt that a doctor from Hawaii would love surfing the big waves. In fact, the love of sports runs in his family. Both he and his wife rode dirt bikes and Motocross before having their twin daughters. Now, the couple competes in tennis tournaments and continues to surf and paddleboard. Their 9-year-olds play volleyball, soccer and will soon join mom and dad on surfboards.
Office contact information
Surgical Weight Control Center
3802 Meadows Lane
Las Vegas, NV 89107