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Fellowship-Trained Colorectal Surgeon Brings Cutting Edge Training to Sioux Falls

Sep 27, 2019 02:27PM ● By Med Magazine

Even growing up in Chicago and a decade of training in Pennsylvania could not prepare Jesse Guardado, MD, for his first taste of South Dakota weather last April.

Surgical Institute of South Dakota’s newest surgeon had to drive through the aftermath of a surprise spring snow storm to his interview after his plane was diverted from Chicago to Omaha. 

“I rented a car at 10 pm and got to Sioux Falls at 4:45 am,” he recalls. “It was the worst experience.” Without his luggage, Guardado had to pick up a tie and shoes at Walmart for his morning interview. 

Fortunately, the icy weather did nothing to dampen his enthusiasm for his new position as the only fellowship-trained colorectal surgeon on Avera’s Sioux Falls campus. 

“I love the friendliness of the Midwest,” says Guardado, the son of first-generation Mexican immigrants who raised him and his two brothers in Chicago.“I just couldn’t pass up the chance to do pure, elective colorectal cancer surgery in this region.” 

Guardado says the chance to dive right in to doing the work he’s trained in, including robotic surgery, rather than having to “work his way up” as he might have to do in another practice, was highly appealing. “This was a unique opportunity,” he says.

Dr. Guardado earned his MD from the University of Illinois, did a general surgery residency at the University of Pittsburgh, and completed his colorectal surgery training at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. It was the variety that originally drew him to abdominal surgery. 

“I like that it involves malignancy, chronic disease, major robotic surgeries, and smaller things like hemorrhoidectomies. There is a good balance in this specialty between malignancy and non-malignancy and you never end up doing too much of one thing,” says Guardado. Malignancy in the form of rectal cancer and non-malignant inflammatory bowel disease were both major focuses of his training and within the specialty, currently. 

Just weeks into his new job, Dr. Guardado is already booking cases that he is “excited about” and is seeing more cancer than he is accustomed to. He recently returned from an advanced robotic training course (In which his expertise trumped that of many experienced robotic surgeons) and says he is looking forward to putting Avera McKennan Hospital’s three surgical robots to use for his patients.  

“There is debate about the cost of robotic surgery, but the outcomes can be better,” says Guardado. “There is a big push for enhanced recovery after surgery, which involves minimizing narcotics, minimizing fluids, and spending less time in the hospital. There is a thought that this might help to offset the higher cost.”

Although his priority in his first few weeks is on what he calls “efficiencies”, Dr. Guardado is enthusiastic about putting his advanced training to work “to develop a practice that is tailored to the needs of the region.”