When the 30 year initiative to celebrate this important anniversary for the ASBS was announced, I was at a rather isolated and beautiful area in Northern Island, where we have a home. I have wonderful reminiscences about the ASBS and about the many nice people that I have had the opportunity to interact with.
It was difficult for me to arrive at a precise single event that marked my year as president. We were just coming off major revisions in the infrastructure and bylaws that had been implemented in the previous year. The gastric bypass procedure results were becoming better and better. The gastric bypass had become standardized enough with the very small pouch and divided stomach so that surgeons across the nations were producing quite promising responses. The vertical pouch had displaced the horizontal partition. Industry had recognized the potential of Dr. Kuzmak’s adjustable band, and had funded clinical studies to test its safety and efficacy. The laparoscopic era was just upon us, and surgeons were beginning to be able to utilize something like the adjustable band placed laparoscopically.
Generally, at this point in time, the creation of a laparoscopic bypass was considered a daunting technical procedure. It was only as surgeons became more comfortable with laparoscopic techniques that Drs. Wittgrove and Clark were, several years in the future, able to show the feasibility of creating a gastric bypass using minimally invasive techniques. We knew, at the time I was president, that these innovations would open the flood gates and a much larger portion of the eligible population would have bariatric surgical procedures. The ASBS was poised to represent to the general population what could be and should be expected of surgical intervention. The ASBS was to become the voice of surgeons doing these procedures not only for the United States, but for the rest of the world.
Cornelius Doherty, MD