Robert E. Brolin

2000-01 ASMBS President

Most Important Event

Activation of the Ethics Advisory Committee and increasing its charge to deal with looming issues of the inappropriate use of surgical intervention.

My presidency was perhaps the commencement of what I’ll call the “golden era” of bariatric surgery. I take NO CREDIT since the new millennium was really the dawn of the laparoscopic bariatric surgery era and I performed my first lap RYBG in 2003! Nonetheless, the first 2 or so years of the new millennium and lap era were characterized by a large and refreshing amount of POSITIVE publicity in both medical and lay literature. This, of course, was in great contrast to what we had collectively endured in prior years in which bariatric surgery was for the most part scorned and ridiculed by our peers and occasionally the lay press.

The golden era in its purest form was relatively short lived in that the large number of general surgeons who took weekend courses and dove into advanced laparoscopic surgery by performing their first lap RYGB during the week following the course, led to a number of serious complications that were reported in the lay press. This in turn led to the COE initiative, a bariatric surgery liability crisis, and ultimately to BOLD and MBSAQIP, as well as many recent publications demonstrating the remarkable safety and efficacy of the currently performed bariatric operations. To an old open surgeon who aspired to a mortality rate of just under 1%, these results are phenomenally good considering the underlying overall risk of this patient population. During the last decade we`ve come a long way, baby!

Robert E. Brolin, MD