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Theodore N. Pappas, MD

The Duke Surgical Innovation Professorship
Professor of Surgery
Office: 1131 Hosp South, Yellow Zone, Durham, NC 27710
Campus Mail: DUMC Box 3479 Med Ctr, Durham, NC 27710

RESEARCH: We have a long interest in understanding the importance of the volume-quality relationship for surgeons. In addition, we have done extensive work studying the impact of surgical trainees on the outcomes for patients. Our division is trying to fully understand the importance of robotic surgery to the future of cancer surgery.

CLINICAL: Our team has an extensive experience in aggressive surgical approaches to pancreatic cancer, including Whipple resection, subtotal pancreatectomy, laparoscopic and open pancreatic tail resection, laparoscopic/robotic pancreaticoduodenectomy, ablative techniques for the pancreas, and peripancreatic vascular resection. When clinically indicated, we employ less extensive pancreatic and duodenal operations, such as ampullary resection, duodenal resection, sphinceroplasty, and benign tumor enucleation.

We take care of every variety of complicated abdominal wall and diaphragmatic hernias, including flank hernias, paraesophageal hernias, recurrent abdominal wall hernias, abdominal mesh infections, and hernias associated with colostomies. 

Other areas of interest include stomach surgery (for ulcer disease or cancer), treatment of complications of pancreatitis, routine and complicated gall bladder disease, and inguinal hernia repair. 

Education and Training

  • M.D., Ohio State University, 1981


Long, Chandler A., Theodore N. Pappas, Kevin W. Southerland, and Cynthia K. Shortell. “An analysis of the vascular injuries and attempted resuscitation surrounding the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr..” J Vasc Surg 70, no. 5 (November 2019): 1652–57.

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Barr, Justin, and Theodore N. Pappas. “The Role of the American Board of Surgery in the Development of Surgical Residencies in Post-World War II America..” Am Surg 85, no. 3 (March 1, 2019): 245–51.


Elsamadicy, Aladine A., Bilal Ashraf, Xinru Ren, Amanda R. Sergesketter, Lefko Charalambous, Hanna Kemeny, Tiffany Ejikeme, et al. “Prevalence and Cost Analysis of Chronic Pain After Hernia Repair: A Potential Alternative Approach With Neurostimulation..” Neuromodulation, October 15, 2018.

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Komisarow, Jordan M., Theodore Pappas, Megan Llewellyn, and Shivanand P. Lad. “The assassination of Robert F. Kennedy: an analysis of the senator's injuries and neurosurgical care..” J Neurosurg, June 1, 2018, 1–6.

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Pappas, T. N., and M. K. Mallipeddi. “Selective and nonselective vagotomies.” In Fischer’s Mastery of Surgery, Seventh Edition, 1:1095–1103, 2018.


Pappas, Theodore N. “Heroic Measures for an American Hero: Attempting to Save the Life of General Douglas MacArthur..” Am Surg 83, no. 12 (December 1, 2017): 1329–35.