Alumni Spotlight James M. Ackerman, MD ’14 University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UMPC Mercy) Specialty: General Surgery Hometown: Murrysville, PA James M. Ackerman, MD, a member of the Class of 2014, was recently chosen as a podium speaker at the 30th EAST Annual Scientific Assembly, held in January in Florida. EAST is the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma. Dr. Ackerman’s presentation was entitled, “Beware of the Interval Cholecystectomy.” Surgery News, the official newspaper of the American College of Surgeons, also covered Dr. Ackerman’s presentation. Moreover, the presentation manuscript was recently accepted for publication in the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery. Dr. Ackerman is currently completing his third year of residency in general surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UMPC Mercy). At the assembly, Dr. Ackerman presented his findings from a retrospective review that compared patient outcomes from two surgical approaches to acute cholecystitis, or gallbladder disease. Interval cholecystectomy (IC) is a laparoscopic surgery to remove a diseased gallbladder after drainage for acute infection. The surgery is performed following percutaneous cholecystectomy (PC), or the insertion of a catheter into the gallbladder under radiologic guidance for drainage or the removal of gallstones. An alternative to PC followed by IC is to simply go directly to removal of the gallbladder (immediate cholecystectomy). Immediate cholecystectomy is also a laparoscopic (minimally invasive), as opposed to an “open,” surgery. Although IC is widely recognized as a difficult surgery, there has not been much research comparing its outcomes to those of immediate cholecystectomy. Dr. Ackerman’s retrospective review compared patients with interval surgery to those who had immediate surgery. The review found the IC patients were more likely to require open surgery, their operations were significantly longer and resulted in more infections, more blood loss and longer hospital stays. Moreover, the IC patients were more likely to suffer biliary or bowel injuries during the procedure. Dr. Ackerman notes that an ongoing trial in the Netherlands may help clarify the issue.