Doctor's Profile

Dr. Guillermo Ponce Figueroa graciously welcomes to his clinic patients who are suffering a from all kinds of gastric symptoms. From thorax to colon, your pain, pressure, or burning could indicate anything from temporary discomfort to something much more serious. Dr. Ponce gives every patient his attention and respect to listen carefully, ask all the right questions, and remain devoted to diagnosing and treating your illness quickly and effectively.

Symptoms might include stomach pain, gastric reflux, bloating or cramps. Other patients experience none at all, but they are wise to come in for a check-up if the family history might put them at risk for stomach, colon or liver cancers. Are the pains from your appendix, your pancreas, or your gall bladder? It’s impossible to guess without a thorough examination. With luck, your treatment could be some medication and lifestyle changes. However, if surgery is indicated, then you are in the best hands with Dr. Ponce, safely guiding your procedure and your choices to the happy and healthy conclusion that you both want to see.

To have a closer look, Dr. Ponce might perform an abdominal ultrasound or endoscopy for you in his office, searching for signs of tumors, gallstones, pancreatitis or an aortic aneurysm. Externally, skin color, fingernails, and eyes all give clues about your condition, to determine an accurate diagnosis, and start your treatment plan right away.

Treating stomach ulcers, tumors, polyps or perforations might require a gastrectomy, or surgical removal of part of the stomach. Dr. Ponce performs about 80 of these every year. In a partial gastrectomy, the lower section is removed to relieve bleeding, inflammation or pain.

A sleeve gastrectomy is a routine and common procedure, usually performed for reasons of weight loss, so that the patient feels more full, to eat less and reduce weight. Dr. Ponce also performs a non-invasive endoscopic intragastric balloon procedure, for patients suffering from obesity. Since it does not require surgery, the procedure is conducted in an out-patient setting. However, Dr. Ponce will require follow up with an endocrinologist, cardiologist, and nutritionist, to be certain that you are on the way to being more fit in the healthiest way possible.

Laparoscopic gallbladder surgery involves removing the gallbladder and gallstones through several small incisions in the abdomen. First, the surgeon inflates your abdomen with air or carbon dioxide in order to see clearly, then he inserts a lighted scope attached to a video camera (laparoscope) into one incision near the belly button. Using a high-resolution video monitor, the surgeon guides his instruments to complete the procedure, to be minimally invasive and fast healing, exactly as planned. For example, he might use plasma rich platelets for fast healing and minimal scarring after surgery.

After several years of training in Japan, in The United States, and in hospital settings from the most rustic to downtown ultra-modern, Dr. Ponce has the experience and talent that we can rely on for patients who expect low-stress and optimal results.

Dr. Ponce says, “It is a privilege to be of service to my patients. My devotion is to give them everything I can, to the best of my ability.” What his patients always remember about Dr. Ponce is his positive attitude, easy-going temperament, sincere warmth, and consistent words of strength and encouragement.

Professional Affiliations

La Asociación de Cirujanos de Guatemala, Guatemalan Association of Surgeons

  • Premio – “Bisturí de Plata” para 25 años de servicio. 2005
  • Miembro desde 1988 Member since 1998

La Asociación de Cirujanos de Colon y Recto de Guatemala Association of Colorectal Surgeons

  • Miembro desde 2000

La Asociación de Endoscopia Quirúrgica de Guatemala

  • Miembro desde 1998

Hospital Central Militar, Guatemala. Central Military Hospital, Guatemala

  • Private Practice of General and Gastric surgery and Laparoscopic Surgery, 1990-2004

Society of Gastrointestinal Radiologists

  • Mission Assistant, 1998

 

Academic Affiliations

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) Pittsburgh, PA, USA

  •  Continuing Medical Education Program
  •  Robotic Surgery Assistant: Gastric, Liver, and Laparoscopic Surgery, 2014.
    • Laparoscopic resections of liver tumors
    • Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass

University of Virginia Health System, Virginia, USA

  • Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education
  • “Gastric Bypass: Surgical Treatment of Morbid Obesity”, 2004

University of Okayama Medical School, Okayama, Japan

  • Scholarship from Monbusho, the Ministry of Culture and Education in Japan
  • Gastrointestinal Surgery and Digestive Endoscopy, 1984-1986
  • Pancreatic Gastric Surgery, 1994. Keio University Department of Surgery. Japan.

America College of Surgeons, Chicago, ILL

  • Clinical Congress on Laparoscopic Surgery, New Orleans, LA, 1993
  • Clinical Congress on Gastrointestinal Disease, New Orleans, LA, 1992

Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX

Continuing Medical Education – Surgery, 1990

Methodist Hospital, Houston, TX

  • Professional Development Program, 1989
  • Cardiovascular – attending open heart surgery

Sato University Hospital, Kurashiki, Okayama, Japan

  • Advanced Laparoscopic Surgery, 1994
  • Colonoscopy and Colorectal Surgery, 1985

Chikuba Coloproctological Surgical Hospital, Kurashiki, Okayama, Japan

  • Colorectal Surgery and Endoscopy, 1985 – 1986

Universidad de Francisco Marroquin (UFM) Facultad de Medicina, Guatemala. UFM Medical School

  • Diploma de Reconocimiento. Award of Recognition 1982
  • Instructor de Clinica de en el Depto. De Cirugia. Clinical Instructor, Surgical Department

Universidad de San Carlos, Guatemala

  • Medical school, general surgery

Publications

Come back soon to read articles by or about the Doctor

Laparoscopic Management of Acute Cholecystitis by Dr. Guillermo Ponce

  • Presentation to the St. Luke’s Episcopal Heart Institute
  • “Optimización de la Practica Medica” at Centro Medico Militar, Guatemala, 1993

Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is currently the procedure of choice in most patients with symptomatic vesicle disease. The role of laparoscopy in the management of acute cholecystitis, however, remains controversial. Some surgeons believe that the inflammation and edema present in these patients distort the anatomy of the bile ducts and the vesicular anatomy, making the laser treatment difficult, which may result in a higher complication rate compared to conventional open treatment.

There are some other recommendations for laparoscopic intervention in acute cholecystitis, which is the use of an additional cannula. Early decompression of the vesicular to facilitate the retraction and the operative exposure as well as the meticulous dissection of the ductal and vesicular structures. The selective use of drains and the frequent use of cholangiography that they do with acute cholecystitis managed by laparoscopy is a different surgical procedure.

We report the experience of six cases of acute cholecystitis managed by laparoscopy to evaluate the benefits of minimally invasive surgery in this entity.

Special Interests

Come back soon to read about the latest treatment methods that this doctor finds most interesting

Sometimes Dr. Ponce relaxes by playing pop or salsa music in an informal group with other musician friends, but his interest will eventually turn to investigating all the newest methods and materials available in regard to gastric surgery. Shackelford’s Surgery of the Alimentary Tract is the comprehensive “gold standard” in cutting edge clinical guidance, and it is Dr. Ponce’s enjoyable weekend reading.

From the Amazon.com description, “Shackelford’s make effective use of the latest endoscopic, robotic, and minimally invasive procedures, managing the entire spectrum of gastrointestinal disorders, as well as medical therapies with unbeatable advice from a who’s who of international authorities.”

Testimonials

Please write to us about your experience with the doctor in the “Comments” section below. Other patients will be interested to know more about the doctor’s skill, experience, ethics and personal attention, as they resulted in your successful outcome

I’m a U.S. citizen living in Panajachel, Guatemala. Dr. Guillermo Ponce has performed successful excellent intestinal surgeries on me and my husband. We went to him because another American friend recommended him, saying he had diagnosed a serious problem for her that many doctors she’d consulted over several years had missed.

Twice, my husband’s and my treatments have been emergency surgeries. When we phoned Dr. Ponce around midnight on Friday nights, and he arranged to see us first thing Saturday morning when he normally doesn’t work. The first time, he did an ultrasound and then a diagnosis at 8:00 in the morning, and did the surgery the same day. The second time, he realized my husband needed hydration to avoid kidney failure, and had him admitted to an emergency room where he got hydration five minutes after arrival. This probably saved my husband’s life.

Dr. Ponce speaks fine English, is very competent, and is an excellent diagnostician.  He’s immensely caring, warm, straightforward, and always optimistic.  It’s been a pleasure to have him as our surgeon.

Anne Cameron, Panajachel, Guatemala

I have known Dr. Guillermo Ponce since 1991, as he was in charge of my case at the military hospital. I had a gastric cancer and a very complex case, so my treatment required several surgeries. From that date until now, Dr. Ponce continues to carry out periodic evaluations that confirm that his intervention was timely and successful. Happy to report there has been no recurrence of the cancer.

Conrado Del Valle, 61 years old, Guatemala City

Peer Reviews From Other Doctors

Read here what other doctors have to say about this doctor

Dr. Guillermo Ponce operated on my wife, Dr. Clara Chang de Mendez when she needed a gallbladder removal and exploration of the bile ducts. The surgery was a success due to Dr. Ponce’s skill and attention.

Since then, we have both referred to several patients and relatives to Dr. Ponce for various surgical problems, all of which have been successfully resolved. We are also familiar with the doctor’s medical career, as we are both members of the Guatemalan Association of Endoscopy, Motility and Gastrointestinal Interventionism. Dr. Ponce is well-known as a founding partner, former president and member of the board of directors.

I would be delighted to recommend such a distinguished colleague.

Dr. Arturo Luis Méndez Cordón

Charity, Public Service, Donations

Public service and caring for the less fortunate is a way of life in the Latin American culture

As a resident surgeon, soon out of medical school, Dr. Ponce spent six months performing free surgeries at a rural clinic near Lago Amatitlan. The experience he gained there served to expand his knowledge of the illnesses unique to the poorer villages of Guatemala.

Every year, big-city surgeons from the United States come to Guatemala to offer free surgeries for the local charities in need. Working side-by-side, Dr. Ponce donates his medical talent, skills and warm hospitality to these visiting medical missions. Dr. Ponce builds on all of his experience to offer his patients the best possible guidance for a successful surgical outcome.

Patient Success Stories

Every patient has different circumstances and expectations. We will tell you about an interesting and unusual case that the doctor was able to turn around with unexpectedly outstanding results

My name is Antonio Batz and I have been a patient of Dr. Ponce since the end of 2008 until today. When the doctor took my case, I was in a very difficult situation since the doctor who was then in charge of my care did not have the experience required to help me come out of this distressing situation. From the moment that Dr. Ponce started with the corresponding treatment, I noticed a great change and I felt the certainty of being able to get ahead. The treatment that Dr. Ponce suggested at that time entailed a couple more surgeries to achieve a more favorable scenario to be able to perform the surgery that would restore my peace of mind.

When the day of my surgery arrived, my condition deteriorated and went beyond the control of the doctor due to a terrible infection. Even though everything seemed to have no chance of success, Dr. Ponce continued to inspire confidence that everything would turn out well. To be honest, I think he believed that the reality of the outcome would be very grave, but he continued to encourage me to move on.

Unfortunately, due to economic situations, I had to be transferred to a public hospital where Dr. Ponce no longer had access to continue helping me; however, he maintained contact and was always aware of my medical status during my stay in the public hospital. After some time in that hospital, everything seemed to be worse every day. My family contacted an American missionary group in Guatemala and they were able to move me to Loyola Hospital in Chicago, USA.

No matter the distance, Dr. Ponce was still aware of my condition through his friends who live in Chicago, where Loyola Hospital is located. During my stay in Loyola, I remember the surprise I received when I saw Dr. Ponce entering my hospital room and approaching me again to encourage me to stay strong and move forward.

After I finally had the surgery that I needed, I returned to my home country of Guatemala, to have the corresponding recovery, and it was Dr. Ponce who received me in one of the private hospitals of Guatemala. He very generously took my case and continued to help improve my condition. Dr. Guillermo Ponce has proven himself to be more than a physician and decent human being, but in my case, he has also become a very good friend.

Antonio Batz, Guatemala, 2014