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Authors > Charles J. Yeo, MD

“There’s almost a marine-like mentality about surgery.” – Dr. Charles Yeo

The Surgery Mystique

One of my first experiences with the field of surgery was very early in medical school. I had the opportunity to rotate on some surgical services and I just had a blast. I loved taking care of the patients, loved the operating room. I loved the whole mystique around surgery. There’s almost a marine-like mentality about surgery: “We’re working hard, we’re going to help these patients, we’re going to get them through an acute illness and make them better.

Career Highlights

I think the milestones for an academic surgeon are being promoted from assistant professor to associate professor, and then to full professor, having the opportunity to become a division chief or a chairman, writing a book, and writing some critical papers that advance the field of surgery. And of course, highlights include taking care of very sick patients and helping people get well. I mostly do pancreas tumors now. Pancreatic cancer is a big strain and a big stress for patients, and the work is very gratifying.

Shackelford’s: Appealing to a Wide Audience

The audience for Shackelford’s Surgery of the Alimentary Tract includes general surgeons, people with an interest in surgery of the alimentary tract, people who do minimally invasive surgery, thoracic surgeons, people who are interested in HPB or hepato-pancreatic-biliary surgery, acute care surgeons who may deal with surgical emergencies that involve the alimentary tract, and colorectal surgeons. In addition, I think there is a whole group of young surgeons out there who are somewhat undifferentiated who use this as an encyclopedic textbook. Our colleagues in gastroenterology and hepatology also use this book as a supplement to their sources, because many of their books don’t deal with the surgical aspects as comprehensively as this book does.


Charles J. Yeo, MD received his undergraduate degree from Princeton University in 1975, summa cum laude with an A.B. in Biochemistry.  Dr. Yeo graduated in 1979 from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, being awarded the Upjohn Achievement Award and was elected to Alpha Omega Alpha and Phi Beta Kappa.  While completing his internship and residency in General Surgery at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, he pursued a Research Fellowship at the S.U.N.Y. Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Dr. Yeo joined the faculty of the Johns Hopkins University as an Instructor and Assistant Chief of Service in the Department of Surgery in 1985, and rose to the rank of Professor of Surgery in 1996.  In 1997, he became a Professor in the Department of Oncology.  Dr. Yeo directed the Pancreatic Cancer Interdisciplinary Working Group at Johns Hopkins, and served as the Surgical Clerkship Coordinator and Surgical Curriculum Consultant.

In 2001, Dr. Yeo received the Alumni Association Excellence in Teaching Award from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.  In 2002, Dr. Yeo was named to an endowed chair at Johns Hopkins, becoming the inaugural John L. Cameron MD Professor for Alimentary Tract Diseases.  On October 1, 2005 Dr. Yeo was named the 8th Samuel D. Gross Professor and he assumed the chairmanship of the Department of Surgery at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Dr. Yeo is the editor in chief  of the highly successful two-volume encyclopedic Shackelford’s Surgery of the Alimentary Tractwhich is now in its 8th edition.  He is an Associate Editor of Advances in Surgery and Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery, and he serves on the editorial boards of two other journals—Langenbeck’s Archives of Surgery and Surgery.  He has authored over 465 peer reviewed scientific papers, numerous abstracts, and over 105 book chapters.  Dr. Yeo travels nationally and internationally, teaching and lecturing on the treatment of benign and malignant pancreatic diseases.

Dr. Yeo’s primary interests and research have been in the fields of hepatopancreaticobiliary surgery—the evaluation of patients with pancreatic cancer, the management of patients with unusual pancreatic neoplasms, as well as acute or chronic pancreatitis.  He also maintains an interest in complex abdominal surgery of the stomach, liver, biliary tree and intestines, and the history of surgery.  He has personally performed over 1170 Whipple procedures, and cared for over 2000 patients with pancreatic tumors.  His initial NIH funding in the field of pancreatic cancer began in 1991, and he continues to lead a team which receives NIH funding in this area today.

Dr. Yeo’s major accomplishments have been in the fields of surgical education, clinical care of patients with complex alimentary tract diseases, and research.  His authorship of manuscripts in journals, book chapters, and books have been major contributions to the surgical literature.  His design and completion of numerous prospective randomized clinical trials have dramatically impacted the field of pancreatic surgery—particularly the most difficult of all pancreatic procedures, the pancreaticoduodenectomy.  Additionally, his leadership of large teams of physicians and scientists (at both Johns Hopkins and Thomas Jefferson) dedicated to a better understanding of pancreatic neoplasia, has generated a plethora of new knowledge relevant to the early detection, screening, categorization, and therapy of pancreatic and related types of cancer.  Recently, Dr. Yeo was instrumental in organizing the Jefferson Pancreas, Biliary and Related Cancer Center, the Jefferson Pancreas Tumor Registry and in the presentation of a Webcast about the mini-Whipple operation (