News Stories Our Faculty Recognition

Blatnik Named Chief of Minimally Invasive Surgery Section

Jeffrey Blatnik, MD, a hernia surgeon noted for his expertise in laparoscopic and robotic approaches to abdominal wall reconstruction, has been named chief of the Section of Minimally Invasive Surgery within the Division of General Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

His new role begins July 1, 2024.

“It is my great pleasure to announce that Dr. Blatnik will be the next chief of minimally invasive surgery,” says John A. Olson Jr., MD, PhD, the William K. Bixby Professor and chair of the Department of Surgery at the School of Medicine. “Dr. Blatnik is a talented surgeon whose practice is on the leading edge of surgical innovation. His focus on advanced surgical techniques is inspired by a commitment to achieving the very best outcomes for patients. He will guide our minimally invasive practice as we continue to train the next generation of surgeons in innovative approaches to surgical care.”

Blatnik, who serves as director of the Washington University Hernia Center, has led the growth of the abdominal wall reconstruction program within the section. His clinical focus is on complex, recurrent hernias not treated at other medical centers in the region.

“It is such an incredible honor to be able to lead the section of Minimally Invasive Surgery. Following in the footsteps of L. Michael Brunt, Brent Matthews, and Nat Soper is quite humbling. Looking forward, I hope to continue our growth in faculty, expand our access to patients and reinvigorate our research program. I certainly want to thank Dr. Brunt, Dr. Eberlein and Dr. Olson for trusting in me to lead such a historic group,” says Blatnik.

His research studies outcomes of abdominal wall surgery, including the use of different techniques for hernia repair, the use of surgical mesh, and patient-reported outcomes. He has published in the leading journals in the field, including Surgery, JAMA Surgery, and the Journal of the American College of Surgeons. As an educator, Blatnik has been recognized with multiple teaching and mentorship awards by Washington University residents. He has trained graduate students, medical students, residents and fellows, including trainees who have gone on to join the faculty in the Department of Surgery. Additionally, Blatnik serves as director of surgical programs for the Washington University Institute for Surgical Education (WISE).

Blatnik earned his medical degree from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, OH. At University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, he completed general surgery residency and a minimally invasive/flexible endoscopy/abdominal wall fellowship.

“Washington University has truly been at the forefront of minimally invasive surgery since the start of the laparoscopic revolution over thirty years ago,” says William Chapman, MD, the Eugene M. Bricker Professor of Surgery and chief of the Division of General Surgery. “Under the direction of Dr. Brunt, the section has established busy clinical practices in foregut disease, bariatric surgery, and abdominal wall surgery, as well as vital educational programs. We look forward to seeing the section continue to thrive as Dr. Blatnik leads us into a new era of minimally invasive surgery.”

Blatnik succeeds L. Michael Brunt, MD, the Pruett Family Professor of Surgery, who served as section chief since 2014. Brunt, who joined the department as an intern in 1980, is noted for shaping the field of laparoscopic surgery over the last several decades. Brunt will remain on the faculty following this transition.