Celebrated Physician: Ivanesa Pardo, MD, FACS

It’s hard to say whether Ivanesa Pardo, MD, FACS, chose surgery as her medical specialty, or if surgery chose her. An attending surgeon in Advanced Laparoscopic and Bariatric Surgery at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, Dr. Pardo had already set her sights on becoming a physician while growing up in her native Venezuela. And after her first surgical rotation in medical school, Dr. Pardo was convinced she had found her future.

But more important was the fact that Dr. Pardo also had a knack for manipulating the advanced laparoscopic and robotic technologies increasingly used for minimally invasive procedures.

“All I know is that it just came easy to me,” she says, “and the more training I got, the more I wanted to learn.”

After receiving her medical degree from Universidad Centroccidental Lisandro Alvarado, in Barquisimeto, Venezuela, Dr. Pardo completed her general surgery residency at Indiana University School of Medicine, where she also served as a research resident. Because bariatric surgery offered opportunities to apply her skills with advanced minimally invasive technology, Dr. Pardo focused on that specialty during her fellowship at Albany Medical Center in New York.

Why MedStar Washington Hospital Center?

The Hospital Center offers the best of all worlds, Dr. Pardo says, as it also provides an academic setting for pursuing another professional passion, surgical education. She has written and contributed to articles in peer-reviewed publications, and spoken before professional audiences across the country.

But being a good teacher requires Dr. Pardo to be a perpetual student, which means keeping up with near-continuous advancements in minimally invasive bariatric surgery.

Keeping Up with Minimally Invasive Bariatric Surgery

“It is a fast-changing field,” she says. “New procedures are developed, but not performed very often as they are often considered experimental for a long time. So it’s only in places like the Hospital Center where you get the opportunity to perform and evaluate those kinds of cases.”

“Obesity is an epidemic that involves and complicates so many other health issues,” she says. “It’s good that surgical options are available, but not everyone has access to them.” And even if a patient is a good candidate for surgery, Dr. Pardo adds, a bariatric procedure is only one facet of treating the condition.

“The drive for surgery comes from the patient,” she explains. “A successful outcome involves adopting and maintaining significant lifestyle changes, and the patient needs to understand and prepare for them. Fortunately, we have the resources to help them through that process, before and after surgery.

Dr. Pardo adds that by evaluating patient outcomes and comparing them with the professional standard, “we are better able to identify areas where we can improve.”

Outside the Hospital

Away from the Hospital Center, Dr. Pardo devotes her attention entirely on her family. She and her husband have two children, a three-year-old girl, and 21-month-old boy. “At those ages, they’re pretty much the center of everything we do,” she says with a laugh. “But like surgery, there’s always something interesting going on.”

Body Contouring: Beyond Weight Loss

Weight Loss is Only the Beginning

Whether through diet and exercise or bariatric surgery, you lost a lot of weight—congratulations! But while you’re happy with the numbers on the scale, the reflection in the mirror is not the look you were hoping for.

It’s a common scenario, especially among people who lose 100 pounds or more: The fat is gone, but you’re left with excess, sagging skin in its place. Even a drop of 50 pounds can produce the same deflated appearance, frustrating those who have worked so hard to make a positive change.

“Basically, the skin has lost its elasticity and can’t spring back into place,” says Derek Masden, MD, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. “Despite shedding the weight, many people still can’t fit into smaller clothing. Exercising may be difficult. And the skin folds may rub against other skin, leading to extra moisture, chafing, rashes or even infections.”

A Visually Appealing Solution

For some, body contouring surgery may be the answer.

Body contouring is an umbrella term for a variety of procedures including tummy tucks and lifts to the upper arms, midsection, back, thighs, buttocks and hips. Patients may need more than one procedure to get the desired results.

The best candidates are those whose weight has stabilized, are otherwise healthy and committed to maintaining their current weight through good nutrition and fitness.

Most patients spend one or two nights in the hospital, and can return to work after two weeks. Results are immediate and long-lasting—providing patients maintain their weight.

“The way I explain it to patients is that it’s like tailoring clothes – we take out the excess,” Dr. Masden says. He cautions that patients should not expect perfection after body contouring, as visible scars remain where incisions were made. But the before-and-after difference in appearance is often dramatic. “Patients are really happy with the results,” he concludes.



Have any questions?

We are here to help! If you have any questions about weight loss or plastic surgery treatments at MedStar Washington Hospital Center Call us at 202-877-3627.

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Alternative Bariatric Surgery Option

A New Approach to Weight-Loss: vBloc®

Pacemakers have long been used to regulate heart function. Now, a similar approach called vBloc® is a bariatric surgery option that may help patients with obesity and weight control problems regulate their appetites, and it is now available at MedStar Washington Hospital Center.

Recently approved for clinical use by the Food and Drug Administration, the therapy uses a small device with electrodes implanted along the esophagus and the stomach. This device manages signals from the brain to the vagus nerve, which regulates many of the body’s digestive functions, including the sensations of hunger and fullness. By intermittently blocking these signals, the device helps patients better regulate their appetites, allowing them to eat more appropriate portion sizes and avoid snacking between meals.

A Minimally Invasive Option

Unlike more complex bariatric surgery procedures such as gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy and adjustable gastric banding, the vBloc device can be implanted on an outpatient basis. It can alsoe  be adjusted by your docotor as needed using wireless communication technology. This allows for you and your physician to work together in developing a weight-loss plan that is tailored to you individually. Another benefit vBloc therapy patients may have is fewer meal and lifestyle restrictions compared to those who opt for other weight-loss procedures.

Are you a candidate?

While vBloc is a promising alternative bariatric surgery therapy for weight loss, it’s not for everyone. “vBloc opens up possibilities for weight-loss surgery patients who have a lower body mass index,” says Timothy Shope, MD, a bariatric surgeon at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. “Patients still need to first come through our weight loss program and be evaluated to see if they are eligible for the therapy.”

You may be a candidate for vBloc Therapy if you meet these criteria:

  • Have tried to lose weight by diet and exercise in a supervised program within the last 5 years
  • Are at least 18 years of age
  • Have a BMI of 35 to 39.9 with a health-related condition such as: Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, high cholesterol
Have Any Questions?

We're here to help! Contact us for more information about this and other bariatric surgery options. Call us at 202-877-3627.

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Why Choose Us – Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric Surgery
MedStar Washington Hospital Center - Why Choose Our Bariatric and Weight Management Department

Thinking about weight loss surgery? At the top of your “to do” list is choosing the very best hospital—and an experienced medical team. At MedStar Washington Hospital Center we’ve been successfully performing weight loss surgery—also called bariatric surgery—for decades. Our team’s experience and expertise translates into your positive outcome—and improved quality of life.

We put you at the center of our care and provide all the information you need to better understand your treatment options and make a full recovery.

Washington Hospital Center - The Best Choice for Bariatric Surgery:

  • Our program is an American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) Center of Excellence and is fully accredited by the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP).
  • Our board-certified surgeons have extensive experience in minimally invasive and robotic bariatric surgical procedures, which translate into shorter hospital stays, less pain and a faster recovery.
  • You will be cared for by a multi-disciplinary bariatric team that includes a bariatric surgeon, gastroenterologist, nurse program coordinator, dietician and exercise physiologist.
  • All of the comprehensive resources of the MedStar Washington Hospital Center are available if you need them.
  • A free educational program before surgery helps prepare you for the procedure and your recovery.
  • Extensive follow-up care, including a support group of your peers, provides all you need to stay healthy long after your procedure.


Patient Success Stories

As Tyrone Harrison gained weight, his diabetes spiraled out of control. He was afraid he would lose a leg or go blind. Bariatric Surgery saved Tyrone's life. View his story below.

See other MedStar Washington Hospital Center Bariatric Surgery patient success stories.

Location Information

To find a bariatrics specialist, call 
202-877-3627 (3627).

MedStar Washington Hospital Center POB
106 Irving St NW,
Physician Office Building, Suite 301 South
Washington DC 20010


Information Sessions and Support Groups

This is your first step in the bariatric surgical process. Come join us and you will:

  • Meet the bariatric surgeons and patient care team
  • Learn about surgical options
  • Learn about the process
  • Learn about insurance requirements and the authorization process 

Alternative Online Seminar: Click here to learn more about the Bariatric Information Session offered online. 

Supporting Documentation: If you choose to register for our online session, please download the following information: 

Meet Our Team

  • Dr. Timothy Shope: Bariatric and General surgeon
  • Dr. John Brebbia: Bariatric and General surgeon
  • Dr. Timothy Koch: Gastroenterologist
  • Dr. Ivanesa Pardo: Bariatric and General surgeon
  • Marsha Brown, RN: Clinical Nurse
  • Catherine Hite, CRNP: Nurse Practitioner
  • Anyea Lovette MS, RD, LD: Bariatric Program Coordinator 
  • Andrea Goergen, MHS, RD, LD, Clinical Dietitian
  • Kristen McGill RD, LD, Clinical Dietitian
  • Administrative team:
    • Lenique Hammond, MA
    • Natalie Bryant, MA
    • Catina Wood, MOA
    • Janice Abrahams, MOA