Meet Dr. Michael J. Lee
Bariatric Surgery Specialist


Bariatric surgeon Michael J. Lee, M.D., says the most gratifying part of his job is being able to give people their lives back. As Director of UT Southwestern’s Bariatric Surgery program, it’s an opportunity Dr. Lee has almost every day.

The program, designed for treating patients with excess weight and the associated health problems that accompany obesity, is one of the leading centers in North Texas for weight loss surgery. Deploying the latest technologies and advancements, Dr. Lee and other UTSW bariatric surgeons use their expertise and all the resources available at an academic medical center to ensure better and longer-lasting results.

But according to Dr. Lee, success really boils down to three words: “individualized, personal care.”

We emphasize personalized, quality care – before, during, and after surgery – because with weight loss, it’s the long-term success that matters – not the short-term gain.”

“Everyone has different goals,” he notes, “whether it’s a number goal or a functional goal. For a lot of people, the goal is not really about hitting a certain number on the scales so much as it is just being able to do little things like tying their shoes or going out for a walk with their grandkids. Very often, it’s not merely a size or cosmetic issue but a functional goal that really is key.”

Board certified in surgery and specializing in advanced laparoscopy and other minimally invasive surgical techniques, Dr. Lee realized he wanted to focus on bariatrics when he was a fourth-year medical student at UT Medical School at Houston.

“It was when I was on the bariatric surgery rotation that year and actually got to see some of the same patients I had helped operate on the previous year,” he recalls. “The change in them was just dramatic – and not just cosmetically but in their overall medical well-being. Some of the patients who were once diabetics were no longer diabetics. Many of those who had been on three or four blood pressure medications were, a year later, off all of their medications. So, that’s when I knew the specialty was effective and could make a real, verifiable difference.”

A crucial part of the difference patients receive at UT Southwestern is the pre- and postoperative supervision Dr. Lee and others in the program are committed to providing.

“Surgery is a lifelong commitment, and that’s true on both sides of the operating table,” Dr. Lee says. “When I operate on a patient, I don’t just see them once and wish them good luck. Postoperative supervision is almost as – if not more – important as the operation itself, and that’s something we emphasize. It’s also something that makes UT Southwestern different.”

Clinical Interests

Bariatric Surgery

  • Laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy
  • Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass
  • Laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding
  • Revisional bariatric surgery

Weight Loss and Obesity