2022 Annual Report Living Our Legacy

The Department of Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine is a multidisciplinary organization with a rich history of innovation and collaboration. Faculty and trainees from various specialties work with staff to achieve excellence in patient care, research, education, diversity and health equity. Washington University Surgery provides comprehensive surgical and medical care. Patients receive the expertise and personalized treatment to achieve their best outcomes, and residents and fellows receive world-class training that prepares them for successful careers in surgery. The 2022 Annual Report illustrates the remarkable accomplishments of faculty, researchers and trainees in the Department of Surgery over the past year.

Department of Surgery 2022 Annual Report

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Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery

Amit Pawale, MD.

Section of Cardiac Surgery

Washington University cardiac surgeons are widely recognized as national surgical leaders. As part of the highest-ranked heart program in Missouri by U.S. News & World Report, they have a long history of performing adult cardiac surgeries and fostering innovation in the field of cardiac medicine. Working with cardiologists, vascular surgeons, anesthesiologists, intensivists and a highly qualified, experienced nursing staff, cardiac surgeons offer the latest advances in technology and innovative therapies. They employ practices supported by scientific evidence to achieve the best possible outcomes for patients and strive to further advance the field through a longstanding dedication to quality research and education.

Shuddhadeb Ray, MD, MPHS.
Shuddhadeb Ray, MD, MPHS.

Section of Thoracic Surgery

The board-certified, internationally recognized thoracic surgeons at Washington University provide leading-edge respiratory medical and critical care, research and training. They offer a multitude of comprehensive treatments including airway surgery, procedures for benign esophageal disease, esophageal and lung cancer surgery, and lung transplantation. Many procedures are performed through minimally invasive techniques, including robotically assisted thoracic surgery. Since 1988, the lung transplant program at Barnes-Jewish Hospital has consistently led the country in the advancement of transplant science and remains as one of the most active transplant centers in the world. These surgeons also foster ongoing excellence in the next generation of thoracic surgeons through advanced fellowship training.

Pirooz Eghtesady, MD, PhD, center, and his surgical team during a procedure.

Section of Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery

Washington University pediatric cardiothoracic surgeons treat children with congenital cardiac disorders. Washington University specialists treat a wide range of conditions, from atrial septal defects to complex single ventricle anomalies, neonatal surgery, surgery for congenital heart disease and tracheal reconstruction. The lung transplant program at St. Louis Children’s Hospital is among the most active of its kind in the world, attracting patients with cystic fibrosis and other lethal lung diseases from around the globe. The pediatric heart transplant program is considered a national leader in the specialty. The section also offers advanced training through an ACGME-accredited congenital cardiothoracic surgery fellowship.

Division of General Surgery

Middle: John Kirby, MD, leading a surgical training lab.
Middle: John Kirby, MD, leading a surgical training lab.

Section of Acute and Critical Care Surgery

Washington University acute and critical care surgeons specialize in traumatic injuries, emergency surgeries, geriatric trauma, general surgeries, burn and wound care, and critical care. They provide top-quality care to a high volume of diverse cases at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, a regional referral center for critically ill patients and designated Level I Trauma Center by the State of Missouri. These surgeons collaborate with intensivists from the Washington University Department of Anesthesiology and Division of Emergency Medicine. Trainees are exposed to a large, diverse patient population and receive mentorship from nationally recognized surgical leaders while treating complicated cases on several intensive care units.

Right: Sean Glasgow, MD.
Right: Sean Glasgow, MD.

Section of Colon and Rectal Surgery

Building on a successful history, this section continues its role as a leader in research and treatment in all aspects of colorectal surgery. Surgeons provide collaborative and comprehensive care to patients with diseases of the colon, rectum and anus. Faculty are leaders in their field and have special expertise in laparoscopic colon surgery, offering this treatment for colon and rectal cancer, diverticulitis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, colon polyps, rectal prolapse and chronic constipation. Surgeons apply basic science research to the clinical realm, offer several colorectal cancer clinical trials and train the next generation of surgical innovators through a one-year colorectal surgery fellowship.

Varintra Krisnawan, left, and David DeNardo, PhD.
Varintra Krisnawan, left, and David DeNardo, PhD.

Section of Hepatobiliary-Pancreatic and GI Surgery

Washington University HPB-GI surgeons have established a legacy of pioneering treatment for disorders of the liver, pancreas and biliary tract. This section is a high-volume national referral center for open and laparoscopic surgical procedures to treat patients with benign and malignant disorders of the liver, biliary tree, pancreas, stomach, small intestine and retroperitoneum. Faculty are at the forefront of research on new and improved therapies for HPB-GI disorders with active research laboratories, pre-clinical studies and clinical trials. This section also offers a one-year HPB-GI surgery fellowship to train the next generation of leaders in HPB-GI surgery.

Michael Brunt, MD.
Michael Brunt, MD.

Section of Minimally Invasive Surgery

This section is dedicated to furthering innovations and utilizing the technological and research advancements on outcomes, techniques and biomaterials. Washington University minimally invasive surgeons specialize in laparoscopic and open treatment of upper gastrointestinal conditions, abdominal wall hernias and bariatric surgery. Their goal is to increase patient benefit by decreasing the size of surgical incisions, resulting in less pain and faster recovery. This section is active on the frontiers of clinical research as well as surgical education, and offers a one-year fellowship.

Julie Margenthaler, MD.
Julie Margenthaler, MD.

Section of Surgical Oncology

Surgeons in this section provide the most up-to-date care for breast and endocrine system disease, melanoma and sarcoma, and other cancers at the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center, the only Comprehensive Cancer Center in Missouri. Faculty consists of nationally recognized leaders in research seeking to advance treatment and constantly improve the quality of care. With one of the largest endocrine surgery practices in the country, surgeons also offer expertise in thyroid cancer, adrenal tumors and hyperparathyroidism. This section offers clinical trials that evaluate new therapies, supports clinical and research opportunities for general surgery residents and offers a breast disease fellowship.

Jason Wellen, MD.
Jason Wellen, MD.

Section of Transplant Surgery

This section has a long, successful history of pioneering new clinical techniques and continues to lead advancements in the field. In liver transplantation, the program offers living-related and living-unrelated donor, reduced-size liver, split liver and dual-organ transplantation. Faculty offer both laparoscopic and “mininephrectomy” kidney donor procedures as well as robotic kidney transplantation. Transplant surgeons are at the forefront of research and development in islet cell transplantation and have the largest pancreas transplant program in the region. Along with their clinical expertise, faculty are leaders in the field of transplantation research and train fellows in a nationally recognized, two-year certified program.

From left: Luis Sanchez, MD, Brian Rubin, MD and Patrick Geraghty, MD.

Section of Vascular Surgery

Washington University vascular surgeons have been providing leading-edge quality patient care since the establishment of the service in 1983. This section offers open and endovascular treatment for patients with vascular disease and participates in clinical trials of stent graft devices to treat thoracic aneurysms using endovascular techniques. Faculty provide innovative clinical training in residency and fellowship programs accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. Members of the section lead basic science, translational research, clinical outcomes and novel device trials, and they support the education of the numerous general surgery residents in rotation on the service.

Division of Pediatric Surgery

From left: Baddr Shakhsheer, MD, Andrew Yeh, MD,
Jesse Vrecenak, MD, and Brad Warner, MD.

Washington University pediatric surgeons offer comprehensive treatment for a broad spectrum of pediatric and congenital conditions, burns and trauma. Board-certified pediatric surgeons offer compassionate, advanced care in a child-friendly environment at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, which has ranked in the top 10% of children’s hospitals nationwide by U.S. News & World Report for 14 consecutive years. The division is a regional center for open fetal surgery, minimally invasive surgeries and treatment for many types of tumors. Faculty are actively involved in many areas of research and are leaders in education, offering a pediatric surgery fellowship approved by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.

Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

From left: Mitchell Pet, MD, Justin Sacks, MD, MBA, Kelly Currie, MD, and Joani Christensen, MD.
From left: Mitchell Pet, MD, Justin Sacks, MD, MBA,
Kelly Currie, MD, and Joani Christensen, MD.

Plastic and reconstructive surgeons are experts in craniofacial, aesthetic, breast and general reconstructive, gender affirming, hand, limb preservation, lymphedema, nerve and pediatric plastic surgeries. The division is an international center for nerve injury and pioneer of peripheral nerve transfers. Faculty are leaders in basic, translational and clinical research, including clinical outcomes research and bench-to-bedside discoveries in nerve research and tissue engineering. Building on a legacy of training leaders and innovators, the division’s residency and fellowship programs offer comprehensive training, outstanding mentorship and exposure to advanced surgical technology.

Division of Public Health Sciences

From left: Dante Chao, MA, Hannah Brenton, Adetunji Toriola, MD, PhD, Suleepon Uttamapinan, MD, MSc, Sally Gacheru, and Alena Ahrens, PhD.
From left: Dante Chao, MA, Hannah Brenton, Adetunji Toriola, MD, PhD,
Suleepon Uttamapinan, MD, MSc, Sally Gacheru, and Alena Ahrens, PhD.

The Division of Public Health Sciences opens doors for investigators across disciplines to connect and collaborate on projects affecting clinical care and outcomes. Faculty are dedicated epidemiologists, statisticians, behavioral scientists, economists, health communication scientists and more who address a range of current and future population health challenges. Their aim is to prevent cancer and other diseases, promote population health and improve quality and access to health care in the region. The division offers a competitive Master of Population Health Sciences degree program for training in population-based clinical outcomes research in order to educate the next generation of leaders in this field.

Division of Urologic Surgery

Sam Bhayani, MD, MS.
Sam Bhayani, MD, MS.

Faculty in this division are leaders and pioneers in their field. The long history of innovations and cutting-edge treatments within this division has contributed to its consistent ranking as one of the top urologic surgery centers in the country by U.S. News & World Report. Washington University urologists offer a range of treatment options, both surgical and nonsurgical, for conditions of the urogenital tract. The division is also nationally recognized for its research on detection and risk stratification of prostate cancer. The residency and fellowship programs train outstanding physicians through the expertise of faculty, high volume, diversity of cases and spirit of inquiry.