As the new chief of colorectal surgery in the National Capital Region for Johns Hopkins Medicine, Vincent Obias brings decades of internationally recognized expertise in minimally invasive methods.
Obias, a professor of surgery (PAR) at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, comes to the institution after serving as chief of the Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery and as an associate professor of surgery at George Washington University, positions he held for more than 13 years.
“There’s a great opportunity to bring a high level of colorectal cancer care to our region.”
— Vincent Obias
He treats colon and rectal cancer, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, diverticulitis as well as other types of colon, small bowel, anal and rectal pathology.
Obias brings expertise honed over more than 700 robotic surgeries, as well as experience in laparoscopic methods and with neoadjuvant therapy. Additionally, Obias regularly performs transanal minimally invasive surgery (TAMIS), a procedure that can help patients with rectal cancer and polyps — when caught early — avoid surgery that would require a temporary or permanent ostomy bag. This newer, specialized surgery is generally only performed at large academic medical centers.
At Johns Hopkins, Obias will approach complex colorectal cancer cases with a multidisciplinary team, working with oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists, radiologists and other surgeons and experts to review cases and determine the best course of treatment.
“There’s a great opportunity to bring a high level of colorectal cancer care to our region,” says Obias, who looks forward to providing care to a wide range of patients in the Washington area.
A pioneer and early advocate for robotic colorectal surgery, Obias performed the first robotic colectomy in Washington, D.C., in 2009. He is one of the most sought-after colorectal surgeons in the country, and has presented at more than 250 regional, national and international meetings; authored more than 40 peer-reviewed articles; taught and led courses on minimally invasive robotic and laparoscopic surgery; trained residents and fellows in minimally invasive methods; and advises robotic surgery technology companies.
Obias has also performed hundreds of rectal cancer surgeries — a level of experience that is getting rarer as newer therapies such as neoadjuvant therapy lead to surgeons performing fewer of these procedures, he says. Rectal cancer surgery is a delicate balance between not damaging nerves and removing the cancer, and surgeries should be performed by experienced rectal surgeons for the best outcome, he adds.
“I’m a true academic surgeon — I’ve performed research, trained fellows and residents, remained at the forefront of the latest treatments and am an active member in the larger colorectal surgery community,” he says. “And I’m looking forward to bringing all that experience to Hopkins as well as a personalized, hands-on approach.”