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Steven Strasberg Retires after 50 Years of HPB Surgery

Steven Strasberg, MD, the Pruett Family Professor of Surgery and Carl Moyer Departmental Teaching Coordinator, retires from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis after a 50-year career in hepatobiliary-pancreatic and GI (HPB-GI) surgery.

Strasberg joined the Department of Surgery in 1992 and founded the Section of HPB-GI Surgery. He was section chief of HPB-GI surgery from 1992-2007.

He is best known for developing the “Critical View of Safety” method of identifying anatomic structures during cholecystectomy. The approach increases patient safety in laparoscopic gallbladder removal procedures by allowing surgeons to identify more clearly the cystic duct and cystic artery. This method has been internationally adopted by surgeons and endorsed by numerous surgical societies.

Strasberg received the prestigious Medallion for the Advancement of Surgical Care from the American Surgical Association in 2018 for developing the Critical View of Safety.

Strasberg received the 2014 Distinguished Service Award from the Americas Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Association (AHPBA). He is a past AHPBA president and has published over 250 peer-reviewed papers and 50 book chapters. He received the Lifetime Achievement Award/Gold Medallion of the International Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Association in 2013. He was made an honorary fellow of the European Surgical Association in 2007 and of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh in 2006.

Strasberg was a leader in the development of the Brisbane Classification of Liver Anatomy. He was among the first to develop methods to grade surgical complications and classify bile duct injuries during cholecystectomy. Recently, as part of the Safe Cholecystectomy initiative by the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons, the method was highlighted as a key component to reduce bile duct injuries.

In 2019, Barnes-Jewish Hospital recognized Strasberg’s career with the Lifetime Achievement “Master Physician” Award. The annual award honors physicians for superlative service and commitment for 25 years or more at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and its predecessor institutions.

“Steve Strasberg has made seminal contributions to the field of HPB surgery,” says HPB-GI Section Chief William Hawkins, MD, the Neidorff Family and Robert C. Packman Professor of Surgery. “His career has truly shaped our field.”

Strasberg earned his medical degree from the University of Toronto in 1963 and completed surgical residency at Toronto General Hospital in 1969. He completed fellowships at Boston University Medical Center and University of Toronto, then joined the faculty at the University of Toronto. Over the next 50 years, he would go on to pioneer the field of HPB-GI surgery, developing and advancing standards of care and improving measures of patient outcomes.

“Steve continues to inspire and motivate his colleagues through his interest in new technologies and his focus on safety and education. He has had a broad and substantial impact on the HPB field,” says Transplant Surgery Section Chief William Chapman, MD, the Eugene M. Bricker Chair of Surgery.

In addition to his clinical and research advancements, Strasberg has served as a mentor and colleague to many of today’s leading experts in HPB-GI surgery. At the Washington University 2020-2021 Graduating Chief Residents in General Surgery Graduation Celebration, residents recognized Strasberg for his mentorship. As Emeritus Professor of Surgery, Strasberg plans to continue participation in educational conferences, providing advice and mentoring to young surgeons, and teaching residents and medical students in the skills lab at Washington University School of Medicine.

“Few people have had the impact that Steve Strasberg has had,” says Timothy Eberlein, MD, the William K. Bixby Professor and chair of the Department of Surgery. “He is a superb teacher and role model for the next generation of hepato-pancreatic-biliary surgeons.”