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Surgical pioneer, innovator and mentor, Professor Nicola Scopinaro passes away aged 75

Mon, 11/02/2020 - 08:50
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Bariatric News is sad to report that Professor Nicola Scopinaro, a true pioneer in Bariatric Surgery, has died at the age of 75. He was born on March 6, 1945, in Castagneto Carducci, a small village in the Province of Livorno in the Italian region Tuscany, located about 90 kilometres (56 miles) southwest of Florence. Professor Nicola Scopinaro was known by many as a great surgeon and innovator, a dedicated and hard worker, a teacher and mentor to several generations of surgeons, and as one of the fathers of modern bariatric surgery.

Professor Scopinaro graduated from the Medical School, University of Genoa in 1969 and became Assistant Professor of Surgery in 1971. Twelve years later he became an Associate Professor and Professor of Surgery in 1992. An acknowledged leader and pioneer of Bariatric Surgery, he was perhaps best known as the originator of the Biliopancreatic Diversion (the ‘Scopinaro procedure’) for the treatment of morbid obesity and type 2 Diabetes in 1976 (Scopinaro et al. Bilio-pancreatic bypass for obesity: 1. An experimental study in dogs. Br J Surg; 1979 Sep;66(9):613-7; doi: 10.1002/bjs.1800660905), an innovation that determined he would leave an everlasting legacy for the bariatric specialty.

“Today is a sad day for the bariatric surgical community worldwide. Nicola Scopinaro has passed away. An extraordinary man and surgeon has gone. A man with a vision and a great heart. We thank you Nicola for guiding us,” his friend Professor Rudi Weiner, posted on Twitter.

During his career, Professor Scopinaro published more than 500 papers and over four decades presented several hundred lectures at national and international meetings. He was one of the founding fathers and the first of President of the International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity (IFSO) and was the federation’s Honorary President. Other honours include past President and Honorary President of the Italian Society of Obesity and Metabolic Surgery, the first President and Honorary President of IFSO’s European Chapter and past Editor-in-Chief of Obesity Surgery. He was also an Honorary Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, the first Honorary Member of the American Society for Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery (ASMBS) and recipient of the ASMBS Foundation Outstanding Achievement Award in 2006.

Professor Philip Schauer commented on Twitter, “We have lost a giant. His numerous contributions to bariatric surgery will be recognised by generations to come.”

Bariatric News would like to pass on our condolences to Professor Scopinaro’s family, friends and colleagues at this difficult time…and leave the last word to Professor Scopinaro:

“Despite the tragedies I have experienced, I remain very satisfied with everything I have done in my life and I am very grateful. I have travelled all over the world and have done everything I have wanted to do.”