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Professor behind "fast-track surgery" honoured with Award

On the 14 June 2023 the BJS Foundation were delighted to officially present Professor Henrik Kehlet with the inaugural BJS Award at the ceremony in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Professor Kehlet was selected by a panel of experts from around the global surgical community, in a process similar to that of the selection for Nobel laureates, for his profound impact on patient care.

Described as a “colossus” in the field of research into perioperative care, Professor Kehlet’s works, based on sound basic science research, translational research, clinical trials, and publications of guidelines, have led to a paradigm shift in the principles of perioperative care.

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Professor behind "fast-track surgery" honoured with Award

Video content and press releases

Listen to the BJS Award Ceremony citation given by Professor Derek Alderson

BJS Award citation for Professor Henrik Kehlet

Video content and press releases

BJS Award 2023 - Professor Henrik Kehlets acceptance speech

Listen to Professor Henrik Kehlet, BJS Award winner for 2023, acceptance speech.

BJS Award 2023 - Award Ceremony and Dinner

Relive the BJS Award 2023 Ceremony and Dinner, held at the iconic Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Join us as we commemorate this monumental occasion, captured for posterity!

Interview with Professor Henrik Kehlet, BJS Award recipient 2023

Listen to the interview of Professor Henrik Kehlet, BJS Award Recipient, conducted by Mr Jonothan Earnshaw, BJS Academy Director.

Webinar - BJS Award winner for 2023, Professor Henrik Kehlet

Join us for a special webinar featuring Professor Henrik Kehlet, recipient of the 2023 BJS Award.

Discover his ground breaking surgical achievements in hernia surgery, pain relief, and fast-track surgery, alongside esteemed colleagues.


Professor Kehlet qualified in medicine at the University of Copenhagen in 1968 and was awarded his PhD in 1977 for studies related to the surgical stress response in steroid treated patients. By that time, he had already published 36 peer-reviewed papers on the association of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis with the metabolic response to surgery, and how manipulation of this axis could potentially affect surgical outcomes. Over the next two decades, he continued to work on modulators of the metabolic response to surgery, perioperative analgesia and stress-induced hyperglycaemia.

He became Professor of Surgery in Copenhagen in 1991 before becoming Professor of Perioperative Therapy in 2006, a post which he holds to this day.

Professor Kehlet was selected as the recipient of this award for his extraordinary efforts in developing and continuously improving the concept of “Fast-track surgery” or “Enhanced Recovery After Surgery” (ERAS) programmes, which over the last three decades, have led to global improvements in patient outcomes following almost all types of surgical intervention.

The protocols borne out of by Professor Kehlet’s research involve a series of evidence-based care elements that can be applied before, during and after surgery, which all support recovery by reducing the bodily stress reactions caused by injury.

ERAS protocols not only produce better outcomes for patients and a more rapid return to better health, but also offer enormous financial benefits to the healthcare system. Kehlet’s concept is now generally accepted and implemented in all surgical societies, and with around 300 million surgical procedures performed worldwide each year, the impact has been significant.

Pooling of results of studies that have adopted his concepts has shown that length of hospital stay was 2.5 days shorter, and the relative risk of developing postoperative complications was 47% less in the ERAS group when compared with conventional care, without an increase in readmission rates or postoperative mortality.

This concept progressively spread across countries, continents and surgical disciplines and ERAS has become standard practice for many.

Throughout his career, Professor Kehlet has published more than 1,250 scientific articles and has given more than 300 invited lectures at international scientific meetings.

It is a privilege to honour Professor Kehlet with our very first BJS Award and we hope you are as inspired by his body of work as we are.

Find out more about the BJS Award