Fabrizio Michelassi, M.D.

Colon and Rectal Surgery

Fabrizio Michelassi, M.D.

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Fabrizio Michelassi, MD, FACS, is an internationally renowned, board-certified gastrointestinal surgeon with a strong expertise in the surgical treatment of inflammatory bowel disease, gastrointestinal and pancreatic cancers.  He is the Lewis Atterbury Stimson Professor of Surgery and Chairman of the Department of Surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College and Surgeon-in-Chief at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

A prolific author of more than 270 papers, book chapters and abstracts, Dr. Michelassi has contributed new insight in the surgical treatment of pancreatic and colorectal cancers, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. He has pioneered the development of important new techniques that ensure better outcomes and improved quality of life for patients with rectal cancer and ulcerative colitis. These techniques have resulted in a greater percentage of patients avoiding permanent stomas and maintaining urological and sexual function. His recognized expertise in the surgical treatment of pancreatic cancer has led many patients to seek his counsel; in turn, Dr. Michelassi has contributed new knowledge to this field through clinical trials. His experience and expertise in treating Crohn’s disease led him to develop a novel bowel-sparing procedure, now known as the Michelassi strictureplasty, designed to avoid sacrificing large amounts of bowel at the time of surgery and facilitating quiescence of the acute disease affecting the diseased intestinal loops. He has edited a book on “Operative strategies in inflammatory bowel disease” and has produced eleven instructional movies for surgeons on the surgical treatment of complications of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Internationally renowned as an outstanding clinician, researcher and teacher, Dr. Michelassi has been invited to be a visiting professor at close to 50 national and international institutions. He has delivered more than 40 named lectures and keynote addresses.  He is Associate Editor of the Annuals of Surgical Oncology and serves on the editorial board of five prestigious medical journals including: The Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery, Surgery, The British Journal of Surgery, Annals of Surgery and the World Journal of Surgery. A recognized leader in the gastrointestinal surgical field, Dr. Michelassi has been appointed to many international and national task forces and panels. A member of more than 50 professional societies and foundations, Dr. Michelassi has been elected to leadership positions in many of them, serving as President in nine of them. Dr. Michelassi is President of the Society for the Surgery of the Alimentary Tract. He has served as President of the Western Surgical Society, the Central Surgical Association and the Central Surgical Association Foundation, the Society of Surgical Chairs, the Society of Surgical Oncology and Society of Surgical Oncology James Ewing Foundation, the Illinois Surgical Society and the New York Surgical Society. He serves as Vice Chair of the Executive Committee of the Board of Governors and Vice Chair of the Advisory Council for General Surgery of the American College of Surgeons.  Dr. Michelassi is a senior Director of the American Board of Surgery.  He has served as a Director since 2006, as the Chair of the Surgical Oncology Advisory Council (2009-2011) and as the first Surgical Oncology Board Chair (2011-2012). He is a Director and Secretary, US Chapter, of the James IV Association of Surgeons, Inc.

Dr. Michelassi has earned numerous awards for his innovative contributions to advancing the treatment of digestive diseases, including the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Award, the American Cancer Society Cancer Development Award and the Distinguished Leadership Award from the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America. Dr. Michelassi has received federal and non-federal support for his research since 1987. His research on Crohn’s disease has been funded by the International Organization of Inflammatory Bowel Disease and numerous other foundations; his research on the genetics of gastrointestinal cancer has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and the American Cancer Society.

He has been repeatedly recognized by Castle Connolly, New York Magazine and Chicago Magazine as one of the "Best Doctors in America."  Dr. Michelassi was selected as one of “America’s Top Doctors” by US News & World Report. He was chosen as one of “American’s Top Surgeons” by the Consumers’ Research Council of America, and has been selected as one of New York's “Super Doctors” every year since its inception, an honor accorded to just 5 percent of all New York physicians.

Born in Pisa, Italy, and graduated summa cum laude from the University of Pisa School of Medicine, Dr. Michelassi completed his internship and surgical residency at New York University and a research fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard University. In 1984, he joined the faculty of the Department of Surgery at the University of Chicago. He became Section Chief of General Surgery in 1994, tenured Professor in 1995, Vice Chair of the Surgery Department in 2000 and the Thomas D. Jones Professor of Surgery in 2001. He also served as Director of the Surgical Oncology Fellowship from 1988 through 1995 and Director of the General Surgery Residency Program from 1997 through 2004. He moved to his current position at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in 2004.

In 2009, in recognition of his many lifetime achievements, Dr. Michelassi was honored as an Official of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Italy with the rank of Commendatore, the most prestigious and important distinction awarded by the President of the Republic of Italy to Italian citizens of particular merit. He was also inducted as a member of the American Society of the Italian Legions of Merit (ASILM), the Italian-American society comprised of those 600 individuals who have been so decorated by the Republic of Italy. Dr. Michelassi received the prestigious 2010 Golden Lion Award from the Order of the Sons of Italy in America and the “Campano d’Oro” medal from the University of Pisa, the highest honor that can be accorded to a University of Pisa alumnus. In 2012, he received the “Grand Award of Merit,” the most prestigious award of the American Society of the Italian Legions of Merit, in recognition of his accomplishments, dedication and leadership that have improved the lives of numerous Americans, Italians and Italian Americans. Previous recipients of the Grand Award of Merit include H.E. Giorgio Napolitano, President of the Republic of Italy, George W. Bush, former President of the United States, and US Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi.

Dr. Michelassi was featured in a story about his pioneering crohns surgery on the award-winning ABC-TV documentary series, "NY Med". To view the episode please click here: nymedshow.com/episodes/episode-8

 For more information about Dr. Michelassi's innovative surgical treatment for Crohn's Disease click on www.cornellsurgery.org/pro/services/colon-rectal/ssis.html.

For Dr. Michelassi's biography on the ABC-TV "NY Med" website, click here:


For Dr. Michelassi's publications, click here

  • to view New York Times article on Dr. Michelassi's strictureplasty for crohns disease


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