University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

Henry Buchwald, Bariatric Surgeon

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Henry Buchwald is Professor of Surgery and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Minnesota. During his more than 50 years at the University of Minnesota, Buchwald has been a surgeon, teacher, mentor, researcher, and inventor. He was the first Owen H. and Sarah Davidson Wangensteen Chair in Experimental Surgery from 2001-2004 and holds the post as Emeritus. His long-term research interests include cholesterol and atherosclerosis, obesity surgery, implantable devices, hyperlipidemias, and measurement of blood oxygen transport. Early in his career, he discovered that the part of the small intestine called the ileum is the primary site for the absorption of cholesterol and bile acids (the primary end-products of cholesterol metabolism), and, that performing surgery—Buchwald’s partial ileal bypass surgery, a procedure that bypasses part of the ileum—lowers cholesterol levels and dramatically improves the lives of those with familial hypercholesterolemia.

Buchwald trained with Richard Varco who performed the first obesity surgery in 1953. Since 1966, Buchwald has performed more than 4,000 obesity surgeries (also known as bariatric surgeries) and become one of the most influential and innovative surgeons in the field. Throughout his career as a general surgeon, Buchwald has performed many thousands of surgeries, including all open gastrointestinal surgeries, partial ileal bypasses, jejunoileal bypasses, gastric bypasses, Fobi Pouch, vertical banded gastroplasty, roux-en-y bypasses, and duodenal switches.

His writing and influence also go into the realm of biomedical ethics and insurance reform. He has been president of the Central Surgical Association (1997–1998), the American Society of Bariatric Surgery (1998-1999), and the International Federation of Surgery for Obesity (2003-2004). He is coeditor of the journal, Obesity Surgery. He is a Fellow of the American Surgical Association, American College of Surgeons, Central Surgical Association, Cardiovascular Surgery Council and Epidemiology Council of the American Heart Association, and International College of Surgeons.

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