Prof. Joseph E. Bavaria: innovation is the only way for surgeons to move forward
Meet the Professor

Prof. Joseph E. Bavaria: innovation is the only way for surgeons to move forward

Grace S. Li

(Managing Editor, JOVS,

Received: 20 November 2015; Accepted: 30 November 2015; Published 15 January 2016.

doi: 10.3978/j.issn.2221-2965.2015.12.08

In the American College of Surgeons (ACS) 2015 Clinical Congress held on October 4–8 in Chicago, Prof. Joseph E. Bavaria have given a lecture on “The Innovation Imperative in Cardiothoracic Surgery: Lessons from Thoracic Aortic Disease” on the first day.

After his lecture, we were honored to invite Prof. Bavaria for an interview, further sharing his experience of being a cardiothoracic surgeon and his reflection, which should provide a reference for the future career of young surgeons (Figure 1).

Figure 1 Interview with Prof. Bavaria (1). Available online:

Here our special thanks goes to Prof. Bavaria as the Associate Editor of our sister journal Annals of Cardiothoracic Surgery, where he has also published an extensive volume of profound research articles.


Dr. Joseph Bavaria is currently the Brooke Roberts-William M. Measey Professor of Surgery and Vice-Chief, Division of Cardiovascular Surgery at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (Figure 2). He is Director of the Thoracic Aortic Surgery Program at University of Pennsylvania which is a multidisciplinary program encompassing all aspects of aortic disease including thoracic aortic reconstruction and Marfan’s Syndrome. His primary interests include thoracic aortic surgery and more broadly, cardio-aortic surgery. This includes aortic dissection, aortic root and ascending aortic reconstruction, aortic arch surgery and the circulation management necessary for successful aortic arch clinical outcomes. Additionally, Dr. Bavaria’s clinical interests include thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysm surgery and one of the world’s busiest programs in the new field of thoracic aortic endovascular stent grafting.

Figure 2 Portrait of Prof. Joseph E. Bavaria.

Dr. Bavaria’s thoracic aortic surgery program at the University of Pennsylvania presently performs over 400 reconstructive procedures a year and manages over 2,500 patients 
a year in the Thoracic Aortic Disease Clinic. Basic research is presently ongoing in the microbiology and pathology of the aortic wall in bicuspid aortic valve disease as well as neuro-cerebral metabolism and brain protection during cardio-aortic surgery.

Dr. Bavaria’s other clinical interests include valvular heart surgery and he is the Primary Investigator at PENN for the ongoing transcatheter aortic valve trials. He leads an active cardio-aortic clinical research group and is both the institutional and national primary investigator in over 20 industry sponsored, FDA IDE phase I, II, and III trials as well as ongoing NIH funding.

Dr. Bavaria graduated with honors in chemical engineering at Tulane University where he also received his medical degree. He was awarded the “gold scalpel”, the highest surgical honor for a graduating Tulane medical student. He completed his general surgery and cardiothoracic training at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).

Interview questions

  • Why innovation is imperative in cardiothoracic surgery?
  • What is the way forward for innovation?
  • Current development of thoracic endovascular aneurysm repair (TEVAR).
  • Experience in managing intraoperative complications.
  • How to keep balance between clinical work and life as a super busy surgeon.




Conflicts of Interest: The author has no conflicts of interest to declare.


  1. Li GS. Interview with Prof. Bavaria. Asvide 2016;3:014. Available online:
doi: 10.3978/j.issn.2221-2965.2015.12.08
Cite this article as: Li GS. Prof. Joseph E. Bavaria: innovation is the only way for surgeons to move forward. J Vis Surg 2016;2:11.