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Department of Surgery

Aziz Merchant, MD

Associate Professor of Surgery
Director of Surgical Simulation

Department of Surgery

New Jersey Medical School (NJMS)
Room MSB G530

Email: Administrative Asst Theresa Stephens
Hours: Mon-Fri 9 AM to 5 PM
Phone: (973) 972-6639
Fax: (973) 972-6803

Clinical Info

Medical Expertise

Minimally Invasive Surgery, Robotic Surgery, Laparoscopy, Hiatal Hernia, Anti-Reflux Surgery, Achalasia, Swallowing, Reflux, Heartburn, Dysphagia, Complex Hernias, Spleen, Adrenal, Colon, Stomach


Hospital Affiliation

University Hospital, Newark
St. Mary's Hospital - Passaic


Insurance Participation

Insurance Participation: with Provider Number ( where applicable ) The information below is subject to change and should not be relied upon until after it is verified with the insurance company. In addition, psychiatric providers should be contacted directly for information on their participation with managed care and insurance companies.

Last Updated:







Dr. Aziz Merchant's clinical expertise and areas of interest include minimally
surgical techniques, anti-reflux and hiatal hernia surgery, esophageal surgery and
Achalasia, laparoscopic hernia repair, Bariatric surgery and obesity, and complex
revisional laparoscopy. His research interests include surgical outcomes, patient-
centered outcomes, surgical quality improvement, and cost-effectiveness research.
From and
educational perspective, Dr. Merchant’s interests include surgical residency training
surgical simulation.

Dr. Merchant currently serves as a committee member for Research, Publications, and
Bariatrics committees of the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic
He is an active member of the American College of Surgeons, the American Society for
Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, and the Association of Academic Surgery.

Dr. Merchant completed medical school at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia,
followed by surgical residency at Georgetown University. Then he finished a
fellowship in
advanced laparoscopy and bariatric surgery at Emory University. Prior to arriving at
he was an assistant professor and associate residency program director at Central
University, where he was part of a team that established a Bariatric Surgery program
at their
affiliate, St. Mary's of Michigan.



MD, 2000, Jefferson Medical College, PA
BS, 1996, University of Chicago, IL


Licensure & Certification

Medical Licensure
New Jersey


American Board of Surgery - General Surgery


Curriculum Vitae

View CV






Relevant Publications:

Serio S, Clements J, Grauf D, Merchant AM. Outcomes of Diabetic and Nondiabetic Patients Undergoing General and Vascular Surgery, ISRN Surgery, vol. 2013, Article ID 963930, 2013.
Yanquez FJ, Clements JM, Grauf D, Merchant AM. Synergistic effect of age and body mass index on mortality and morbidity in general surgery. J Surg Res. 2013 Sep;184(1):89-100
Wong J, Bhattacharya G, Vance SJ, Bistolarides P, Merchant AM. Construction and validation of a low-cost laparoscopic simulator for surgical education. J Surg Educ. 2013 Jul- Aug;70(4):443-50.
Knapps J, Ghanem M, Clements J, Merchant AM. A Systematic Review and Pooled Analysis of Staple Line Reinforcement During Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy (LSG), JSLS. 2013 Jul- Sep;17(3):390-9
Serio SJ, Schafer P, Merchant AM. Incarcerated Inguinal Hernia and Small Bowel Obstruction as a Rare Complication of a Penile Prosthesis. Hernia. 2013 Dec;17(6):809-12
Paulus, E, Lin E, Merchant AM. Management of Parasophageal Hernias in Morbidly Obese Patients. Bariatric Times, Nov 2011:8-13.
Merchant AM, Sarmiento JM. 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.
Merchant AM, Cook MW, White BC, Davis SS, Sweeney JF, Lin E. Transumbilical Gelport access technique for performing single incision laparoscopic surgery (SILS). J Gastrointest Surg. 2009 Jan; 13(1):159-62
Merchant AM , Cook MW, White BC, Jeansonne LO, Chavarriaga LF, Davis SS, Sweeney JF, Lin E. Comparison Between Laparoscopic Paraesophageal Hernia Repair With Sleeve Gastrectomy And Paraesophageal Hernia Repair Alone In Morbidly Obese Patients. Amer Surgeon, 2009 Jul; 75(7):620-5.
Merchant AM, Flake AW, Surgeons and Stem Cells: A pragmatic perspective on shifting paradigms. Surgery. 2004; 136(5): 975-980


Courses Taught

SURG8002K Acting Internship(Gold)

Current Research

The effects of health disparity and obesity on the presentation of abdominal wall hernias

Inguinal hernia is one of the most common surgical diagnoses encountered by the surgeon and
non-surgeon alike, and its repair is one of the most commonly performed general surgical
procedures. Elective repair is safer than emergent surgery for incarceration, strangulation,
bowel obstruction or bowel ischemia. Initial presentation, whether reducible, incarcerated, or
strangulated, can depend upon ethnic background, payer status, and obesity, and certain
subgroups of patients with inguinal hernia may be more likely to be admitted to the emergency
room with incarceration or strangulation as their initial presentation. These emergent
situations confer a higher morbidity and mortality then elective repair. Indeed, in a study
investigating risk factors for recurrence after umbilical hernia repair, race was found to be
contributing factor to recurrence . Moreover, in a study looking the effect of patient and
hospital factors in ventral hernia outcomes, payer status and patient ethnicity was a risk
factor for poor outcomes and higher morbidity.

Obesity, considered by many to be part of the realm of health disparity, has long been proven
to be a risk factor for poor hernia outcomes. In addition, obesity prevalence is known to be
higher among the uninsured, underinsured, and health disparate population. Put together,
uninsured and underinsured patients, with poor access to primary and surgical care and weight
loss options, may be at risk for poor outcomes from one of the most common surgical diagnoses
and procedures. These poor outcomes may be preventable if this at-risk population can be
identified, offered timely weight loss and surgical management, and offered appropriate

Improving overall outcomes in hernia repair and decreasing emergent presentations to the
emergency room for inguinal hernia patients may be linked to improving health disparities in
different patient populations. The first step in this solution is to identify and quantify
the problem. The goals of this project are as follows:

Aim 1:
To use a reliable, high-volume, administrative database of university hospital data, the
University HealthSystem Consortium, to investigate the following important questions:

1. Are differences in inguinal hernia repair outcomes related to race and
socioeconomic/insurance status?
a. Are these differences related to patient overweight or obesity?

2. Do these differences account for a disproportionate number of emergent inguinal hernia
presentations in health disparate and obese populations?

3. What are specific, modifiable risk factors in health disparate populations for poor
outcomes after inguinal hernia repair?

a. Is obesity one of these modifiable risk factors?



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