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Herschel D. Vargas, MD

Vice Chair and Senior Staff Surgeon, Department of Colon and Rectal Surgery (OMC - New Orleans)
Accepting New Patients
Herschel D. Vargas, MD
4.8 of 5 Stars
Based on 64 Patient Verified Ratings
Years Practicing

Herschel D. Vargas, MD

Vice Chair and Senior Staff Surgeon, Department of Colon and Rectal Surgery (OMC - New Orleans)
Accepting New Patients
Primary Location
900 Ochsner Blvd
Covington, LA 70433
1514 Jefferson Hwy
New Orleans, LA 70121
1515 River Road
Jefferson, LA 70121


Dr. David Vargas is a surgical oncologist with a focus in colon and rectal surgery at Ochsner MD Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. Vargas is the son of Honesto B. Vargas, MD, who came to the U.S. from the Philippines for residency training. Ultimately, Honesto married and stayed in the U.S. to raise his four children with his wife Corazon. Inspired by his father's compassion and commitment to serve those in need, Dr. David Vargas followed in his father's footsteps to become a physician, attending the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia, for both his undergraduate and medical school education. He completed residency in general surgery and served as Chief Surgical Resident at the Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown, Pennsylvania. He then pursued fellowship training in colon and rectal surgery at the Ochsner Clinic. He became board certified (re-certified) by both the American Board of Surgery and the American Board of Colon Rectal Surgery. He achieved the distinction of attaining the highest score on the written examination administered by the American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery. After leaving fellowship training in New Orleans, Dr. Vargas gained extensive clinical experience in both private practice and academic surgery. Inspired by his patients throughout his career, he remained particularly committed to education and training for both medical students and surgery residents. 

Like his father Honesto, Dr. Vargas sought to participate and lead and he has been active in local, regional and national professional organizations. He has held numerous positions of leadership both in medical staff capacities as well as in professional organizations. In August 2022, Dr. Vargas was installed as the president of the Piedmont Society of Colon Rectal Surgeons, one of the oldest regional societies of the subspecialty of colon and rectal surgery. His intellectual curiosity and desire to advance the surgical care of patients resulted in scholarly activity contributing to his profession and the science of surgery. He has authored multiple book chapters as well as original scientific articles published in peer-reviewed surgical journals. Dr. Vargas gained recognition for expertise in laparoscopic colorectal surgery techniques which led to his recruitment in 2007 to the University of Kentucky Department of Surgery as head of the Section of Colon Rectal Surgery. He rose to the rank of Associate Professor of Surgery and received honors and awards recognizing his commitment to education of medical students and surgery residents, Ward O. Griffen, MD, Surgery Teaching Award, as well as the Chief Resident's Award given to the surgical staff member who best imparts operative skill and surgical judgment to the residents. After five years at UK, Dr. Vargas was recruited back to Ochsner in 2012 to serve as the program director of the Colon Rectal Surgery Fellowship. In August 2020, he stepped down as program director but continues to participate as faculty for the training of colon and rectal surgery fellows as well as general surgery residents of Ochsner Medical Center as well as the medical students of the Ochsner Clinical School, University of Queensland Medical School. 

In addition, he served the Ochsner Medical Center medical staff as the medical director of Endoscopy Services, as the medical director of Postoperative Surgical Services Unit, and as a member of the Physician Excellence Committee. Currently, he is vice chair and senior staff surgeon of the department of colon and rectal surgery at Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans. Dr. Vargas has been fortunate and honored to have participated in the activities of the American Board of Colon Rectal Surgery as an associate examiner and, subsequently, as a senior examiner for the oral examination or certifying examination for board certification in colon and rectal Surgery. In the Fall of 2021, the American Board of Colon Rectal Surgery elected Dr. Vargas as a member of the board of directors, and he serves as member of the oral examination committee. As a member of the board, Dr. Vargas continues to participate as senior examiner for the oral board or certifying exam. 

In the end, Dr. Vargas desires nothing more than to be considered first and foremost a compassionate, dedicated and skilled surgeon caring for patients suffering from diseases of the colon and rectum. He maintains a full-time practice and offers the breadth of services including: colorectal cancer with focus on sphincter preserving surgery (avoidance of colostomy); inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease; diverticulitis and its complications; functional disorders such as fecal incontinence, constipation and rectal prolapse. Dr. Vargas treats patients with anorectal conditions such as hemorrhoids, anal fissures and anal abscess/fistula disease with an emphasis on non-operative therapies and office based procedures. He performs screening, diagnostic and therapeutic colonoscopy for his patients. Dr. Vargas has gained extensive experience in low pelvic surgery and is dedicated to the range of techniques for sphincter preserving surgery, especially hand-sewn anal anastomoses. He cares for patients with complex problems previously operated on who now require re-operative reparative surgery, both abdominal and pelvic. He continues to dedicate himself to minimally invasive surgery for abdominal and pelvic operations utilizing both laparoscopic and robotic surgical techniques for his patients resulting in less pain, shorter hospital stays, faster recovery and return to regular activities.

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Education and Training

Medical School

University of Virginia School of Medicine
Field of Study: MD

The University of Virginia Health System


Shadyside Hospital

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center-Shadyside Hospital
Field of Study: Family Medicine


Ochsner Clinic Foundation - GME Office
Field of Study: Colon and Rectal Surgery

Lehigh Valley Hospital Center
Field of Study: General Surgery

University of Pittsburg Medical Center - GME
Field of Study: 1 yr Family Medicine


Shady Hospital
Field of Study: Gastroenterology Fellowship

Ochsner Clinic Foundation - GME Office
Field of Study: Colon and Rectal Surgery


  • American Board of Colon & Rectal Surgery - Colon & Rectal Surgery
  • American Board of Surgery - Colon & Rectal Surgery

Featured Media

Ochsner Patient Verified Reviews

To obtain patient ratings and comments, we partner with Press Ganey, an independent patient satisfaction company that works with more than 26,000 healthcare organizations to improve the patient experience. These patient verified ratings are based on the “likelihood to recommend” physician scores on the nationally developed Medical Practice Survey. Actual top box results for this question are translated to a 1-5 scale, and the star scores are measured on that scale, with 5 being the best score.

February 2024

All I can say is I'm so thankful for Dr. Vargas. 10 out of 10. Such a good physician.

January 2024


December 2023

I know the provider couldn't help me physically. But mentally he did give me a lot of information and understanding, that no other provider did for me and my family. So I and we are very thankful and grateful for that and it was a good get away for me and my husband to drive there. So we thank you!

December 2023

All good

December 2023

Dr. Vargas is one of the best doctors I ever had in my 63 years of going to Ochsner. Always friendly, patient, takes time to listen. Explains things in a way I can easily understand. Shows genuine concern.

November 2023

I've already recommended Dr. Vargas to 3 people.

November 2023

Vargas is a great physician.

November 2023


November 2023

Dr. Vargas provide me w/valuable information about diet & gut healthy implications. It was a brief follow up visit, but he is very personable, knowledgeable & made me feel he had genuine concern for my health. Excellent experience all around. Highly recommend.

October 2023

Dr Vargas is the best.

October 2023

Dr. Vargas is excellent, thorough, & caring.

October 2023

All good.