2013 Distinguished Alumni
Dr. Lee Swanstrom
Dr. Lee Swanstrom performed the first transgastric endoscopic cholecystectomy in the US in 2007. He has pioneered the removal of the gallbladder without making traditional incisions on the surface of the skin resulting in less pain, lower risk of infection and a reduced recovery time as compared to traditional surgery. Natural Orifice Transluminal Endoscopic Surgery (NOTES), as this procedure has become known, involves passing flexible surgical tools and a camera through the patient’s mouth to reach the abdominal cavity via an incision made in the stomach. Once the operation is over, the surgeon draws any removed tissue back through the patient’s mouth and closes the hole in the stomach. Swanstrom’s team utilized a new surgical platform — the EndoSurgical Operating System or EOS (USGI Medical, Inc.) to facilitate these procedures. He is a founding member of NOSCAR, (Natural Orifice Surgery Consortium for Assessment and Research: https://www.noscar.org) a group formed in 2005 by leading endoscopic surgeons and gastroenterologists to focus on this emerging area. Swanstrom has worked closely with USGI and other industry partners to develop the technology required to perform these procedures. “Even with laparoscopic or ‘keyhole’ surgery, patients stay off of work for several days, and have activity restrictions,” explains Dr. Swanstrom. With NOTES they can potentially go back to work the next day. He continues to expand and teach this surgical option internationally. He graduated from Casper College in 1976, earning subsequent degrees from University of Colorado and Creighton University Medical School.