CUENCA, ON-LINE ISSUE 02,
Writed by Teresa Drake,
Photos: Courtesy of Dr. Astudillo.
Do you suffer from digestive problems such as reflux, stomach problems, diabetes, obesity, or hernias? No, this isn’t an ad for a quick fix snake oil medicine or Aunt Rosemary’s Quick Reduction Tonic. This is about a man who is a beacon of hope for those who suffer from digestive problems such as reflux and stomach problems, diabetes, obesity, or hernias among other general surgery problems. Frequently, those who suffer from obesity also have diabetes and they have tried every diet or touted miracle cure with little to no results. Sure, they may lose a pound or two, but then it returns. What is a person to do? Is there someone who can help them get their health and weight under control?
The answer to that question is yes. That person is Dr. Andres Astudillo Cordova, Clinica Latino in Cuenca, Ecuador. He specializes in the treatment of digestive problems, gastroesophageal reflux disease, gastrointestinal problems, hernias, gallbladder problems and general surgery. He also subspecializes in the surgical management of diabetes and obesity, and provides treatment via bariatric and metabolic surgery as well as laparoscopic and endoscopic surgery and procedures for complex gastrointestinal issues.
Dr. Astudillo was born in Cuenca and completed his elementary and high school education in Cuenca. He graduated from the School of Medicine of the University of Cuenca in 2003 with honors, and he received his certification from the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) in the United States in 2005. In 2007, he did a fellowship in research in minimally invasive surgery at the University of Missouri-Columbia in Columbia, MO. In 2008 he began his specialty in general surgery at Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA, obtaining his degree in general surgery in 2013. He then obtained his sub-specialty degree from the University of Miami in Miami, FL in the area of laparoscopic, endoscopic and bariatric surgery in 2014. He obtained his certification from the American Board of Surgery in 2014 as well. It is the highest certification that a surgeon can obtain in the United States. He is the only ABS certified surgeon in Ecuador.
When he is not involved in his practice, Dr. Astudillo loves to spend his time with his 8 and 14- year-old sons or can be found cycling around town or in the Cajas. At one point in time, Dr. Astudillo was on the BMX National bicycle team. He exercises every day and also enjoys playing his guitar.
Dr. Astudillo said that he has always wanted to become a surgeon. When he was in medical school in Cuenca, he would spend his summers in the United States in order to practice medical English and become familiar with the U.S. medical system. After moving to the U.S. in 2004, he achieved certification from the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates. This enabled him to pursue a spot to train as a surgeon in the U.S., becoming one of a few foreign medical graduates to obtain such a spot. After finishing his training in general surgery, he obtained his expertise in the area of laparoscopic, endoscopic and bariatric surgery.
Dr. Astudillo said that he has always wanted to become a surgeon.
When asked why he picked Clinica Latino to have his practice, he responded that Clinica Latino was part of his family’s legacy. Not only was his father a doctor there, but his great grandfather founded Clinica Latino. So, you can say that he is following in his family’s footsteps. Also, Clinica Latino currently has state-of-the-art equipment and services, and has the most modern facilities in town. During the current pandemic, not one Covid case was reported to break out in the hospital. They created an isolated floor dedicated to the treatment and containment of the virus, and to date, have been successful in keeping it from spreading to other areas of the hospital. When asked if he thought his sons would follow in his footsteps, he answered he could hope but the future is unknown.
According to Dr. Astudillo, obesity and diabetes are interconnected. People who are obese or morbidly obese develop diabetes and other health issues. Dr. Astudillo said that 99% of those who are obese fail treatments or dietary plans. These people need bariatric or metabolic surgery to regain their health. To determine if someone is obese, a person’s BMI or body mass index is measured. People with a BMI greater than 30 who suffer from obesity-related diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, etc., and for whom non-surgical weight reduction methods have failed, are candidates for this surgery.
Current options for metabolic and bariatric surgery are Roux-en-Y gastric bypass and gastric sleeve surgery. A gastric bypass restricts the amount of food that is ingested while a gastric sleeve reduces the stomach by 80% leaving 20% of the stomach to form a sleeve. The most significant weight loss occurs in the first year following surgery and then the loss is reduced in the following 12—18 months. It is extremely important that the patients follow up with the surgeon and nutritionist as well as adhere to doing exercise and being disciplined in the diet. Some people report regaining some of the weight they lost, but it is important to know that no intervention gives 100% to all patients. Those who remain disciplined during their treatment, exercising and following the nutritional guidelines given, will have the best results. If you don’t make a change in your eating habits or you forego exercising, you can regain your weight.
Laparoscopic surgery is not as invasive as standard surgery as only small cuts are made through which the necessary implements can be inserted to perform the surgery. This cuts down on recovery time, and in many cases, hospital stay. This type of surgery can be used for gallbladder, GE reflux, diagnostics, inguinal hernia, and obesity, to name a few.
When you compare the cost of having this type of surgery performed in the U.S. with having it done in Cuenca, the difference is noticeable. In the U.S., the hospital is divided into different departments, which allocate bills separately from the hospital itself, such as doctor’s or surgeon’s services, the anesthesiologist, etc. In Clinica Latino, for example, everything is listed on one hospital bill, resulting in a fraction of the cost. You receive excellent care, service and treatment at a noticeable reduction in cost. Additionally, unlike the U.S., you do not need to be referred to Dr. Astudillo by another physician. You can make an appointment with him directly.
To contact Dr. Astudillo, you can go to his Facebook page Dr. Andres Astudillo and click the link for contacting and scheduling an appointment. Contact him via email at email@example.com or call him at +593 7-282-7074 or +593 7-2820004.
His office is located at Clinica Latino, Ave. 3 de Noviembre y Unidad National.
By seeing Dr. Astudillo, you have nothing to lose but the weight, and your good health to gain.
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