The Japanese culture offers much to be admired. Courtesy, efficiency, diligence, competence, precision, and productivity are but a few of these attributes. Our field of surgery is continually enhanced by Japanese surgeons. We honor Prof. Akimasa Nakao with an American College of Surgeons Honorary Fellowship to recognize his many contributions as a surgical leader.
Professor Nakao, a native of Ena, Japan, was educated and trained in the Nagoya University Hospital system, joining the faculty in 1980. He spent several years at the University of Pittsburgh, PA, developing his skills in liver transplantation, returning to Nagoya University and rising to full professorship and chief of gastroenterological surgery in 1999. His broad interests encompass the field but focused on cancer with special expertise in tumor markers, cancer immunohistology, and cancer genetics, and centered particularly on treatment approaches to hepatobiliary and pancreatic malignancies. His efforts have produced many advances for the more accurate diagnosis of pancreatic cancer and for associated treatment strategies. Early in his career, he developed a portal vein bypass technique using an antithrombogenic catheter, further enhancing pancreaticoduodenectomy as a safe operative procedure. He also developed pancreatic head resection with supplemental duodenectomy and other function-preserving surgical procedures. His portal vein bypass technique enabled safe portal vein resection/reconstruction for patients with portal vein invasion. Continued evolution of these techniques expanded opportunities in this area of surgery and advanced Nagoya University Hospital to the number one position in Japan for hepatobiliary and pancreatic cancer treatment.
As Professor Nakao’s reputation has grown, both national and international recognition has followed. His antithrombogenic catheter/portal vein bypass was viewed as an historic achievement, receiving the AOKI Award in 2008. His publications include 20 book chapters and 554 international journal articles. He was President of the Japan Surgical Society and the Japan Pancreas Society in 2010. He has been seminal in the creation of pancreatic treatment guidelines. He has retired from Nagoya University and presently serves as director, Nagoya Central Hospital of the Central Japan Railway.