Juan M. Sarmiento, MD, FACS

Juan M. Sarmiento, MD, FACS

Juan Sarmiento, MD, FACS, who started practicing at Emory in 2003, is Associate Professor of Surgery in the Division of General and Gastrointestinal (GI) Surgery, the Department of Surgery at Emory University School of Medicine, and Director of Hepatopancreatic Biliary Surgery (HPB) at Emory University Hospital.


Surgery (Board certified since 2001)

Areas of Expertise

  • Laparoscopic resection of the liver and pancreas
  • Surgical treatment of metastatic liver disease
  • Primary hepatic tumors
  • Whipple procedures (Pancreaticoduodenectomy); this includes associated major vascular resection
  • Gallbladder cancer
  • Cholangiocarcinoma (including Klatskin’s tumors)
  • Reconstruction of the bile duct (both for injury after laparoscopic cholecystectomy or neoplasm).
  • Surgical management of IVC tumors, especially in contact to the liver
  • Chronic pancreatitis

Groundbreaking Research and Clinical Trials

Dr. Sarmiento, an expert in liver, biliary tract and pancreas surgery, is one of only a handful of surgeons with such a commitment to HPB surgery. He is unique because of his exclusive dedication to the field for the past seven years. He received intensive training in HPB surgery for two years at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. The operations performed on these organs are technically demanding and the process to evaluate a patient has been streamlined as a product of a tight interaction with radiology and pathology.

The dimension of his practice attests to his expertise. He gets referrals from many areas of metro Atlanta, Columbus, Macon, Augusta and other cities in Georgia, as well as South Carolina, North Carolina, and Alabama. Dr. Sarmiento’s patients receive a prompt radiologic and histologic evaluation from world experts who work as a group to evaluate new patients and design a joint plan. Dr. Sarmiento’s practice also reaches out to cancer specialists from Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, where he holds an appointment, for pre- and postoperative discussion.

A community standout in the application of laparoscopic techniques to the pancreas and major liver resection, his practice participates in national discussions about the applicability of this technique. He has outstanding offers to start a preceptorship program in laparoscopic liver resection. His personal experience on Whipple procedures ranks him among the busiest surgeons in the country performing this operation.

He is conducting clinical research related to several aspects of the HPB field. His team studies the coagulation consequences of major liver resection using innovative studies, both clinical and bench tests, with the support from the Anesthesia Department.

He is currently studying the endocrine implications of partial pancreatic resection in nondiabetic patients and he evaluates and tests extremely simplified clinical pathways for complex pancreatic resections (the Whipple procedure) with very good results.

He is part of an international collaboration on pathology and prognosis of gallbladder cancer; and is studying the long-term prognosis of an aggressive approach for surgical management of patients with hilar holangiocarcinoma (Klatskin’s tumor). His patients are also included with liver cancer (either primary or metastatic) and pancreatic cancer in adjuvant therapy trials.

His innovative treatments include a minimally-invasive approach to liver surgery (the only one in the state and one of very few in the country) and laparoscopic surgery of the pancreas.

A specialist of HPB Surgery, in 2002, with the collaboration of the Emory Endosurgery Unit, Dr. Sarmiento began applying laparoscopy to such pancreatic resections as distal pancreatectomy, yielding excellent results, particularly in reducing postoperative pain and shortening hospitalization.

The full development of laparoscopic hepatic resection, which has been widely applied by him in minor hepatectomy, has now extended to major liver resection.

The Road to Emory: Education

  • Medical School: University of Valle, Cali, Columbia, 1987
  • Internship: University of Valle, Cali, Columbia, 1993; Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, 1997
  • Residency: Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, 2000
  • Fellowship/Advanced Training: GI Surgical Scholar (Hepatopancreatobiliary Surgery), Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 2002


  • American College of Surgeons, Fellow
  • American Hepatopancreatobiliary Association
  • Pancreas Club
  • Association for Academic Surgery
  • Surgical Society of the Alimentary Tract
  • Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES)
  • Southeastern Surgical Congress
  • Priestly Surgical Society
  • Mayo Clinic Alumni Association
  • American Medical Association


  • Distinguished video: Laparoscopic resection of a hilar cholangiocarcinoma (including major hepatectomy, bile duct resection and biliary reconstruction). Joint American and International Congress on HPB Surgery. Buenos Aires, Argentina. May 2010.
  • President Elect, Mayo Clinic Alumni Association. 2010
  • Distinguished Poster: Laparoscopic Resection of the Liver, SAGES 2005 Annual Meeting
  • History of Medicine Fellowship, Southern Surgical Association, December 2005.
  • Surgical Fellow Teacher of the Year, Mayo Graduate School of Medicine, June 2001.
  • Karee D. Nygaard Award, Outstanding Achievement in Clinical Sciences Research, Department of Surgery. Mayo Graduate School of Medicine, 1999

Major or Recent Publications

  • Differences in presentation and perioperative outcome after pancreaticoduodenectomy for cancer and benign pancreatitis. Chu CK, Sarmiento JM, Park J, Staley CA, Galloway JR, Adsay NV, Kooby DA. Am Surg. 2010 Jun;76(6):606-13.
  • Symptomatic Bile Duct Hamartomas: Surgical Management in an MRI Driven Practice. Tapper EB, Martin D, Adsay NV, Kalb B, Kooby D, Sarmiento JM. J Gastrointest Surg. 2010.
  • An MRI-Driven Practice: a New Perspective on MRI for the Evaluation of Adenocarcinoma of the Head of the Pancreas. Tapper EB, Martin D, Adsay NV, Kooby D, Kalb B, Sarmiento JM. J Gastrointest Surg. 2010.
  • MR imaging of cystic lesions of the pancreas. Kalb B, Sarmiento JM, Kooby DA, Adsay NV, Martin DR. Radiographics. 2009 Oct;29(6):1749-65.
  • Pancreatic adenocarcinoma tumor grade determination using contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging. Lauenstein TC, Martin DR, Sarmiento JM, Kalb B, Moreira R, Carew J, Salman K, Adsay V. Pancreas. 2010 Jan;39(1):71-5.
  • Julian K Quattlebaum, MD: American pioneer of hepatic surgery. Sarmiento JM, Dodson TF. J Am Coll Surg. 2008 Oct;207(4):607-611.
  • Comparison of central and extended left pancreatectomy for lesions of the pancreatic neck. Ocuin LM, Sarmiento JM, Staley CA, Galloway JR, Johnson CD, Wood WC, Kooby DA. Ann Surg Oncol. 2008 Aug;15(8):2096-103.
  • Quality-of-life assessment of surgical reconstruction after laparoscopic cholecystectomy-induced bile duct injuries: what happens at 5 years and beyond? Sarmiento JM, Farnell MB, Nagorney DM, Hodge DO, Harrington JR. Arch Surg. 2004 May;139(5):483-8; discussion 488-9.
  • Surgical treatment of neuroendocrine metastases to the liver: a plea for resection to increase survival. Sarmiento JM, Heywood G, Rubin J, Ilstrup DM, Nagorney DM, Que FG. J Am Coll Surg. 2003 Jul;197(1):29-37.
  • Is combined partial hepatectomy with segmental resection of inferior vena cava justified for malignancy? Sarmiento JM, Bower TC, Cherry KJ, Farnell MB, Nagorney DM. Arch Surg. 2003 Jun;138(6):624-30; discussion 630-1.
  • Hepatic resection in the treatment of perihilar cholangiocarcinoma. Sarmiento JM, Nagorney DM. Surg Oncol Clin N Am. 2002 Oct;11(4):893-908.
  • Concurrent resections of pancreatic islet cell cancers with synchronous hepatic metastases: outcomes of an aggressive approach. Sarmiento JM, Que FG, Grant CS, Thompson GB, Farnell MB, Nagorney DM. Surgery. 2002 Dec;132(6):976-82; discussion 982-3.
  • Surgical outcomes of isolated caudate lobe resection: a single series of 19 patients. Sarmiento JM, Que FG, Nagorney DM. Surgery. 2002 Oct;132(4):697-708; discussion 708-9.
  • Hepatic surgery for metastatic gastrointestinal neuroendocrine tumors. Que FG, Sarmiento JM, Nagorney DM. Cancer Control. 2002 Jan-Feb;9(1):67-79.


Dr. Sarmiento is originally from Colombia, South America. He came to the U.S. in 1995 for further surgical training in Rochester, MN, at the Mayo Clinic. He was on the faculty of the Department of Surgery at Mayo after finishing his training until his move to Atlanta.

His wife, Patricia Yugueros, MD, is a Plastic Surgeon, also trained at the Mayo Clinic. She did a fellowship in Hand and Microsurgery and spent four years on the faculty of the Plastic Surgery Division at Emory. Due to family circumstances, she moved to private practice at Emory Johns Creek Hospital. They have two daughters who are fully bilingual, and proud of their Latin heritage. Dr. Sarmiento says it has been a tremendous challenge and joy to combine the busy life of two surgeons with the responsibilities of parenting two pre-teen children.