April 18, 2014

UCMC surgeon operated on celebrity chef Graham Elliot

University of Chicago Medical Center surgeon Dr. Vivek Prachand performed a successful surgery on the celebrity chef and restaurateur Graham Elliot last June, and Elliot will share a celebratory meal with his surgery team later this month. The surgery and subsequent care by Prachand has helped Elliot lose 150 pounds.

Elliot is a judge on the show MasterChef and owner of Graham Elliot Bistro downtown. Prachand is an expert in minimally invasive abdominal surgery, and suggested the surgical choice for Elliot, a procedure called “sleeve gastrectomy.”

The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) defines sleeve gastrectomy as a procedure for the removal of 80 percent of the stomach, causing weight loss by restricting the capacity for food. It also induces weight loss by creating favorable changes in gut hormones that suppress hunger, reduce appetite, and improve satiety, which assists the development of a healthier lifestyle.

The surgery doesn’t remove sac tissue or significant weight—in fact, it did not remove any type of fat, according to Prachand. “He walked out of the operation room with very little difference in total weight from when he came in,” he said. Prachand explained that Elliot weighed more than 400 pounds before the surgery and immediately after.

“A crucial part to making the surgical procedure meaningful is a transition to a healthier lifestyle, and it’s a big aspect of my job as the surgeon to continuously follow up with my patients to ensure that lifestyle change,” Prachand said.

He also said that it is a common misconception that obesity surgery patients seek the procedure for cosmetic reasons. The number one reason for this kind of surgery is health and functionality. “[Elliot] had three young kids, and literally was not able to engage with them in the meaningfully active way he felt he should be,” Prachand said.

According to Prachand, Elliot has adopted a significantly healthier lifestyle since he underwent the surgery nine months ago.

“This surgery can only be described as a tool; it’s not a shortcut, it’s not an easy way out. Like any tool, it needs correct handling to produce a successful outcome. It’s up to the individual to maintain a healthy lifestyle,” Prachand said.

Elliot could not be reached for comment.