Has it Really Been 20 Years?

Published in November 2013 Issue             

ASMBS Foundation Honors Lap Bypass Pioneer Dr. Alan Wittgrove

At the first ASMBS Foundation's L.E.A.D. Awards Lunch, Alan Wittgrove, MD, FACS, FASMBS, and past president of the ASMBS, was honored in a moving tribute to his contributions to bariatric and metabolic surgery, most notably his innovation and courage in conceiving and performing the first laparoscopic gastric bypass 20 years ago.

Last year's Outstanding Achievement Award winner, Kelvin Higa, MD, FACS, introduced Dr. Wittgrove, this year's recipient. He described Dr. Wittgrove as "outspoken and opinionated, someone who speaks out when things are not right and who then tries to make it right." He went on to say that his performing of the first laparoscopic gastric bypass was "an innovation that set the tone for all minimally invasive surgery." He concluded by saying "no one has a greater love for this organization (ASMBS) than Alan Wittgrove."

Dr. Wittgrove expressed deep gratitude, honor and humility to be a part of the development and shaping of the surgery that has defined his life and that of so many others. He was particularly moved by video tributes from his children, the many admiring faces in the audience and the impact that bariatric surgery has had on so many patients and their families.

The next issue of connect will have an exclusive interview with Dr. Wittgrove about the first laparoscopic gastric bypass, the events leading up to it and the reaction of the bariatric community and patients. The article will also include rare comments from that first patient, who has maintained her weight loss to this day.