University of Minnesota

Henry Buchwald, MD, PhD

Born: 1932

Henry Buchwald, a Minnesota surgeon, is known in the prevention community for his trial of obligate serum cholesterol lowering by surgical intestinal by-pass (the POSCH Study), and his continuation of this in bariatric surgery to achieve weight reduction for morbid obesity.

Buchwald, a native of Austria, was educated at Columbia University, receiving his MD in 1957, and at the University of Minnesota, receiving a PhD in surgery in 1967. He has spent his entire career at Minnesota in surgery and biomedical engineering and directing resident training. In addition to his pioneering in surgical prevention procedures, he developed implanted drug infusion devices and now studies the role of oxygen transport in disease and metabolism.

POSCH was a bold undertaking for the 1970s, a surgical strategy of secondary prevention, but was supported strongly by NIH because of its promise of early testing the efficacy of serum cholesterol lowering in CHD prevention in days before diet-drug combinations could feasibly test that hypothesis. The trial demonstrated both prevention of clinical events and lesion regression with its substantial lowering of LDL cholesterol in serum. Its final and positive demonstration arrived just at the moment statins were introduced, which rendered largely moot the discomfort and risk of ileal by-pass.

Buchwald is a pioneer preventionist. He may not accept the difference between a useful medical strategy (600,000 bariatric operations a year in the U.S.!) and a feasible public health strategy to obesity, but this reduces not at all his medical contribution to prevention.

Please click here for a description of the Program on Surgical Control of Hyperlipidemias (POSCH).


Campos, C.T., J.P Matts, J.C. Speech, J.M. Long, and H. Buchwald. 1987. Lipoprotein modification achieved by partial ileal bypass: Five-year results of the Program on the Surgical Control of the Hyperlipidemias. Surgery, 102 (2):424-32.

Marquis Who’s Who on the Web. “Henry Buchwald.” (accessed 29 January 2007).