University of Missouri

8 Things to Know about Dr. Scott

Renowned bariatric surgeon restores hope through weight loss
8 Things to Know about Dr. Scott

James Stephen Scott, MD, is a bariatric and general surgeon.

When Dr. Stephen Scott’s patients come to his clinic for a follow-up visit, he usually doesn’t recognize them. But it’s not because he doesn’t give them enough attention.

“When I see a patient in clinic, it’s not uncommon for them to be completely unrecognizable from their first visit,” says Scott, a general and bariatric surgeon with University of Missouri Health Care. “Our patients often undergo dramatic transformations and look drastically different. When a patient loses weight — whether it’s 50 pounds or 150 pounds — their life is changed, and their health is so much better. Their Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and other conditions often can be resolved. Our patients are able to live much healthier lives.”

For those considering weight-loss surgery, here are eight things to know about Scott, who is internationally known for his expertise in general and bariatric surgery.

1. Scott has performed more than 15,000 bariatric and general surgeries in his 20-plus-year career.
“I’ve seen countless lives changed,” Scott says. “Many patients can’t go to amusement parks or play in the yard with their kids because of their obesity. Once they see our team, they often get to do all of those things and sometimes for the very first time. That’s very rewarding for me to be able to help patients make those lifestyle changes.”

2. He’s a Renaissance man.

Scott holds more than 40 patents for his surgical inventions. He developed a hands-free retractor device that uses a series of hooks and pulleys to help surgeons move and reposition organs during surgery. The device means fewer incisions for patients, and it is currently in use in operating rooms across the country.

3. Scott has been practicing with his longtime collaborator and friend Dr. Roger de la Torre, chief of MU Health Care’s Missouri Bariatric Services, for decades.

“Roger and I have been working together for more than 30 years,” Scott says. “Though I’ve had opportunities at other health systems throughout the state, he and I have been working together our entire careers. We have a very unique and special relationship that you won’t find at any other bariatric program.”

4. He’s considered one of the fathers of robotic bariatric surgery.

Scott is a pioneer in the fields of robotic and bariatric surgery who has performed more than 800 robotic surgeries.

“Robotic surgery allows surgeons to do things beyond their own capabilities with their eyes and hands,” he says. “In the time that Dr. de la Torre and I have been in practice, we’ve seen complication rates decrease tenfold, largely due to the growing prevalence of robotic surgery. Issues that used to arise in one out of every 100 surgeries now only happen one out of every 1,000 times. We’ve seen the field grow and mature. I expect that in 20 years, virtually every operation is going to be done with some type of robot.”

5. He’s training tomorrow’s physicians.

Scott serves as the lab director for the robotics course at the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. He’s trained hundreds of surgeons throughout the country and served as an author of a textbook on robotic bariatric surgery.

6. Together with Missouri Bariatric Services, he offers options for all patients.

Scott performs surgeries for hernia, gallbladder, foregut, bowel and bariatric procedures. He regularly performs revision surgeries for patients who experience an unsuccessful surgery at another hospital and require a follow-up surgery to correct an issue.

Scott and the team at Missouri Bariatric Services also explore nonsurgical weight-loss options such as medications, supplements and meal-replacement programs.

7. He’s a Missourian through and through.

“I was born and raised in the small northwest Missouri town of Clinton,” he says. “I received both my undergraduate and medical degrees from Mizzou. I’m a Tiger for life, and I’ll always bleed black and gold.”

8. He’s a family man.

Scott spends the majority of his free time with his three adult children. He’s an avid runner and regularly competes in marathons. He’s also a fan of big dogs. He has a 140-pound Bernese mountain dog named Jaxon and a 185-pound Newfoundland Landseer named Griffin.