Browse Health
Surgical Specialist
9 years of experience
Accepting new patients


Education ?

Medical School Score
Morehouse University (2002)

Awards & Distinctions ?

American College of Surgeons
American Board of Surgery

Affiliations ?

Dr. Waljee is affiliated with 2 hospitals.

Hospital Affiliations



  • University of Michigan Hospitals & Health Centers
    1500 E Medical Center Dr, Ann Arbor, MI 48109
    Top 25%
  • Ann Arbor Veterans Affairs Medical Center
    2215 Fuller Rd, Ann Arbor, MI 48105
  • Publications & Research

    Dr. Waljee has contributed to 15 publications.
    Title Validity and Responsiveness of the Michigan Hand Questionnaire in Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis: a Multicenter, International Study.
    Date December 2010
    Journal Arthritis Care & Research

    Millions of patients experience the disabling hand manifestations of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), yet few hand-specific instruments are validated in this population. Our objective was to assess the reliability, validity, and responsiveness of the Michigan Hand Questionnaire (MHQ) in patients with RA.

    Title Patient-reported Aesthetic Satisfaction with Breast Reconstruction During the Long-term Survivorship Period.
    Date June 2010
    Journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

    Expander/implant and autogenous tissue breast reconstructions have different aging processes, and the time when these processes stabilize is unclear. The authors' goal was to evaluate long-term patient-reported aesthetic satisfaction with expander/implant and autogenous breast reconstruction.

    Title Effect of Esthetic Outcome After Breast-conserving Surgery on Psychosocial Functioning and Quality of Life.
    Date August 2008
    Journal Journal of Clinical Oncology : Official Journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology

    PURPOSE: Although breast-conserving surgery (BCS) is often assumed to result in minimal deformity, many patients report postoperative breast asymmetry. Understanding the effect of asymmetry on psychosocial functioning is essential for patients to make an informed choice for surgery. PATIENTS AND METHODS: All women who underwent BCS at the University of Michigan Medical Center (Ann Arbor, MI) during a 4-year period were surveyed using a mailed questionnaire (N = 714; response rate = 79.5%). Women were queried regarding five aspects of psychosocial functioning: quality of life (QOL), depression, fear of recurrence, stigmatization, and perceived change in health status. Postoperative breast asymmetry was assessed using items from the Breast Cancer Treatment and Outcomes Survey. Multiple regression was used to examine the relationship between breast asymmetry and each outcome, controlling for age, time from surgery in years, race, education level, disease stage, surgical treatment, and the occurrence of postoperative complications. RESULTS: Women with pronounced breast asymmetry were significantly more likely to feel stigmatized as a result of their breast cancer treatment (odds ratio [OR] = 4.58; 95% CI, 2.77 to 7.55) and less likely to report unchanged or improved health after treatment (OR = 0.43; 95% CI, 0.27 to 0.66). Minimal breast asymmetry was associated with higher QOL scores (86.3 v 82.4, P < .001). Finally, women with pronounced breast asymmetry were more likely to exhibit depressive symptoms (minimal asymmetry, 16.2%; moderate asymmetry, 18.0%; pronounced asymmetry, 33.7%, Wald test = 16.6; P = .002). CONCLUSION: Pronounced breast asymmetry after BCS is significantly correlated with poor psychosocial functioning. Identifying patients at risk for postoperative asymmetry at the time of consultation may allow for improved referral for supportive counseling, prosthetics, and reconstruction.

    Title Factors Predicting Additional Disease in the Axilla in Patients with Positive Sentinel Lymph Nodes After Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy.
    Date July 2008
    Journal Cancer

    BACKGROUND: The utility of sentinel lymph node (SNL) biopsy (SLNB) as a predictor of axillary lymph node status is similar in patients who receive neoadjuvant chemotherapy and patients who undergo surgery first. The authors of this study hypothesized that patients with positive SLNs after neoadjuvant therapy would have unique clinicopathologic factors that would be predictive of additional positive non-SLNs distinct from patients who underwent surgery first. METHODS: One hundred four patients were identified who received neoadjuvant chemotherapy, had a positive SLN, and underwent axillary dissection between 1997 and 2005. At the time of presentation, 66 patients had clinically negative lymph nodes by ultrasonography, and 38 patients had positive lymph nodes confirmed by fine-needle aspiration. Eighteen factors were assessed for their ability to predict positive non-SLNs using chi-square and logistic regression analysis with a bootstrapped, backwards elimination procedure. The resulting nomogram was tested by using a patient cohort from another institution. RESULTS: Patients with clinically negative lymph nodes at presentation were less likely than patients with positive lymph nodes to have positive non-SLNs (47% vs 71%; P=.017). On multivariate analysis, lymphovascular invasion, the method for detecting SLN metastasis, multicentricity, positive axillary lymph nodes at presentation, and pathologic tumor size retained grouped significance with a bootstrap-adjusted area under the curve (AUC) of 0.762. The resulting nomogram was validated in the external patient cohort (AUC, 0.78). CONCLUSIONS: A significant proportion of patients with positive SLNs after neoadjuvant chemotherapy had no positive non-SLNs. The use of a nomogram based on 5 predictive variables that were identified in this study may be useful for predicting the risk of positive non-SLNs in patients who have positive SLNs after chemotherapy.

    Title Correlates of Patient Satisfaction and Provider Trust After Breast-conserving Surgery.
    Date May 2008
    Journal Cancer

    BACKGROUND: Although breast-conserving therapy (BCS) is considered the standard of care for early-stage breast cancer, up to 20% of patients are dissatisfied. The effect of treatment-related factors on patient satisfaction with their healthcare experiences is unclear. METHODS: All BCS patients at the University of Michigan Medical Center who were treated between January 2002 and May 2006 were surveyed (n=714; response rate, 79.5%). Patients were queried regarding 4 aspects of their decision for surgery: satisfaction with the decision, decision regret, decisional conflict, and trust in surgeons. Independent variables included the number of re-excisions, the occurrence of postoperative complications, and postoperative breast appearance, which was assessed by using the Breast Cancer Treatment and Outcomes scale. Multiple logistic regression was used to assess the effect of the independent variables on each outcome controlling for demographic and clinical characteristics. RESULTS: Breast asymmetry after BCS was correlated significantly with patient satisfaction with their treatment experiences and patient distrust in surgeons. Women who reported pronounced asymmetry were significantly less likely to be satisfied with the decision for surgery compared with women who reported minimal asymmetry (odds ratio [OR], 0.43; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 0.21-0.89). Women with pronounced asymmetry were less likely to be certain about their surgical decision (OR, 0.36; 95% CI, 0.21-0.60) and to believe that they were prepared to make the decision for surgery (OR, 0.25; 95% CI, 0.14-0.43). Increasing breast asymmetry was associated with higher surgeon distrust scores (2.14 vs 2.30 vs 2.35; P= .04) and with the occurrence of postoperative complications (distrust score: 2.23 vs 2.35; P= .03). Reoperation after BCS was not associated with patient satisfaction or trust in providers. CONCLUSIONS: Esthetic result after BCS was associated more profoundly with aspects of satisfaction than either surgical therapy or the occurrence of postoperative complications. The current findings indicated that surgeons who care for patients with breast cancer should identify the women at an increased risk for breast asymmetry preoperatively to effectively address their expectations of treatment outcomes.

    Title Predictors of Re-excision Among Women Undergoing Breast-conserving Surgery for Cancer.
    Date May 2008
    Journal Annals of Surgical Oncology

    BACKGROUND: Up to 60% of breast cancer patients who undergo breast-conserving surgery (BCS) require re-excision to obtain clear margins, causing delays in adjuvant treatment and poor aesthetic results. However, patient and treatment-related factors associated with re-excision are not well defined. METHODS: We surveyed all women undergoing breast conserving surgery between January 2002 and May 2006 regarding their breast disease (n = 714, response rate = 79.5%). The medical record was reviewed to determine the receipt of re-excision lumpectomy following BCS, and obtain tumor stage, histology, and biopsy method (surgical versus needle biopsy). Patient age, breast size, tumor location in the breast, and receipt of chemotherapy were self-reported. Logistic regression was used to determine significant predictors of re-excision lumpectomy. RESULTS: In this sample, 51.4% of women required only one breast excision, 41.9% required two breast excisions, and 6.6% required three breast excisions. Overall, 10.8% of women required a mastectomy following initial attempt at BCS. Factors significantly correlated with re-excision lumpectomy included smaller breast size (A cup: OR = 2.7; 95%CI: 1.32-5.52; B cup: 1.63; 95%CI: 1.02-2.62), lobular histology (OR = 1.93; 95%CI: 1.15-3.25), and receipt of surgical biopsy (OR = 3.35; 95%CI: 2.24-5.02). Women who received adjuvant chemotherapy (OR = 2.49; 95%CI: 1.19-5.22) were more likely to require re-excision compared with women who received neoadjuvant chemotherapy. CONCLUSIONS: Re-excision lumpectomy is common, and is significantly correlated with smaller breast size, lobular histology, surgical biopsy, and chemotherapy timing. Attention to these risk factors can improve the quality of care delivered to BCS patients by decreasing the cost and morbidity associated with multiple re-excision procedures.

    Title Predictors of Breast Asymmetry After Breast-conserving Operation for Breast Cancer.
    Date February 2008
    Journal Journal of the American College of Surgeons

    BACKGROUND: Although breast-conserving surgery is the standard of care for early-stage breast cancer, many women report breast asymmetry after this procedure. Risk factors for poor esthetic outcomes are not well understood. STUDY DESIGN: A self-administered survey was sent to patients who underwent lumpectomy (n = 898) at the University of Michigan Medical Center between January 2002 and May 2006 (n = 714, response rate = 79.5%). Breast asymmetry was assessed using items from the Breast Cancer Treatment and Outcomes Survey. Responses were summed to generate a score, and linear regression was used to generate adjusted breast asymmetry scores by patient-related factors (age, body mass index [BMI], tumor size, and tumor position in the breast) and treatment factors (reexcision lumpectomy, radiation therapy, and postoperative seroma). RESULTS: Patient-related risk factors for breast asymmetry included younger age (asymmetry score: 18.7 versus 16.2, p = 0.03), higher BMI (17.1 versus 19.2, p = 0.007), and larger tumors (16.7 versus 19.1, p = 0.01). Resection of superior medial tumors and inferior lateral tumors was also associated with substantially higher asymmetry. Treatment-related risk factors for asymmetry included reexcision lumpectomy (18.1 versus 16.9, p = 0.013), postoperative seroma (19.3 versus 17.2, p = 0.005), and radiation therapy (17.9 versus 15.0, p = 0.008). Increasing breast asymmetry score was associated with a higher odds of desiring breast reconstruction (odds ratio = 1.2, 95% CI, 1.13 to 1.30). CONCLUSIONS: Both patient- and treatment-related factors place women at risk for poor esthetic outcomes after breast-conserving surgery. Oncoplastic and reconstructive options should be considered for those at a higher risk for poor esthetic outcomes at the time of consultation.

    Title Aging and Surgeon Performance.
    Date December 2007
    Journal Advances in Surgery
    Title Patient Satisfaction with Treatment of Breast Cancer: Does Surgeon Specialization Matter?
    Date September 2007
    Journal Journal of Clinical Oncology : Official Journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology

    PURPOSE: Experience and practice setting vary greatly among surgeons who treat breast cancer patients. However, less is known about how these factors influence patient satisfaction with their care. PATIENTS AND METHODS: We surveyed all ductal carcinoma in situ patients and a 20% random sample of invasive breast cancer patients diagnosed in 2002 reported to the Detroit, MI, and Los Angeles, CA, Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results registries. Attending surgeons were surveyed, yielding dyad information for 64.6% of patients (n = 1,539) and 69.7% of surgeons (n = 318). Logistic regression was used to examine the associations between surgeon specialization (percentage of practice devoted to breast disease) and hospital cancer program status, with four domains of patient satisfaction: (1) the surgical decision, (2) decision-making process, (3) surgeon-patient relationship, and (4) surgeon-patient communication, adjusting for patient and surgeon demographics and disease stage. Results: In this sample, 34.5% of patients were treated by surgeons who devoted less than 30% (low volume) of their practice to breast disease, 32.5% by surgeons who devoted 30% to 60% (medium volume) of their practice to breast disease, and 33.0% by surgeons who devoted more than 60% (high volume) of their practice to breast disease. Compared to patients treated by low-volume surgeons, patients treated by higher volume surgeons were more satisfied with the decision-making process (medium volume, odds ratio [OR], 1.16; 95% CI, 0.80 to 1.67; high volume: OR, 1.79; 95% CI, 1.14 to 2.80) and with the surgeon-patient relationship (medium volume: OR, 1.13; 95% CI, 0.72 to 1.76; high volume: OR, 1.98; 95% CI, 1.08 to 3.61). Treatment setting was not associated with patient satisfaction after controlling for other factors. CONCLUSION: Surgeon specialization is correlated with patient satisfaction. Examining the processes underlying these associations can inform strategies to improve breast cancer care.

    Title Neoadjuvant Systemic Therapy and the Surgical Management of Breast Cancer.
    Date July 2007
    Journal The Surgical Clinics of North America

    Neoadjuvant chemotherapy is standard management for women who have locally advanced or inflammatory breast cancer, but can be applied to all women who may require postoperative chemotherapy for early-stage breast cancer. Disease-free survival and overall survival are equivalent between patients treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy and patients treated with the same regimen postoperatively. Preoperative chemotherapy can offer women less morbid surgical treatment by down-staging both the primary breast tumor and axillary metastases. Finally, response to chemotherapy can inform clinicians of the chemosensitivity of the tumor, and can predict long-term outcome for women who have breast cancer.

    Title Decision Aids and Breast Cancer: Do They Influence Choice for Surgery and Knowledge of Treatment Options?
    Date April 2007
    Journal Journal of Clinical Oncology : Official Journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology

    PURPOSE: To describe the effect of decision aids on the choice for surgery and knowledge of surgical therapy among women with early-stage breast cancer. METHODS: A systematic review was conducted between years 1966 to 2006 of all studies designed to assess the effect of decision aids on surgical therapy. MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health (CINAHL), the Cochrane Network, HAPI databases, and bibliographies were searched. Of the 123 studies screened, 11 studies met criteria. Meta-analyses were performed to assess the pooled relative risk for surgical choice and the pooled mean difference in patient knowledge. RESULTS: Results from randomized controlled trials indicated that women who used a decision aid were 25% more likely to choose breast-conserving surgery over mastectomy (risk ratio, 1.25; 95% CI, 1.11 to 1.40). Decision aids significantly increased patient knowledge by 24% (P = .024). The data also suggested that decision aids decreased decisional conflict and increased satisfaction with the decision-making process. Decision aids were well received by surgeons and patients, facilitated patients' desire for shared decision making, and were feasible to implement into practice. CONCLUSION: Decision aids are important adjuncts for counseling women with early-stage breast cancer. Their use increases the likelihood that women will choose breast-conserving surgery, and enhances patient knowledge of treatment options.

    Title Classifying Cause of Death After Cancer Surgery.
    Date March 2007
    Journal Surgical Innovation

    A retrospective, single-center study was conducted to understand variation in mortality after elective cancer surgery. Fifty-two patients who died perioperatively after elective cancer resections (colon, esophageal, pancreatic, lung, gastric and liver) were identified. A methodology was developed and used during medical record review to capture the occurrence and chronology of 21 postoperative complications. Data were reviewed by 3 attending surgeons who assigned cause of death based on information from the entire clinical record. This methodology demonstrated good construct validity, with 81% agreement between cause of death assigned by expert review of data from the instrument and that assigned by expert review of the clinical records (kappa = 0.75, P < .005). Cause-specific mortality can be reliably and systematically measured after cancer surgery. Understanding variation in cause-specific mortality can inform future quality improvement efforts.

    Title Surgeon Age and Operative Mortality in the United States.
    Date October 2006
    Journal Annals of Surgery

    OBJECTIVES: Although recent studies suggest that physician age is inversely related to clinical performance in primary care, relationships between surgeon age and patient outcomes have not been examined systematically. METHODS: Using national Medicare files, we examined operative mortality in approximately 461,000 patients undergoing 1 of 8 procedures between 1998 and 1999. We used multiple logistic regression to assess relationships between surgeon age (< or =40 years, 41-50 years, 51-60 years, and >60 years) and operative mortality (in-hospital or within 30 days), adjusting for patient characteristics, surgeon procedure volume, and hospital attributes. RESULTS: Although older surgeons had slightly lower procedure volumes than younger surgeons for some procedures, there were few clinically important differences in patient characteristics by surgeon age. Compared with surgeons aged 41 to 50 years, surgeons over 60 years had higher mortality rates with pancreatectomy (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 1.67; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.12-2.49), coronary artery bypass grafting (OR, 1.17; 95% CI, 1.05-1.29), and carotid endarterectomy (OR, 1.21; 95% CI, 1.04-1.40). The effect of surgeon age was largely restricted to those surgeons with low procedure volumes and was unrelated to mortality for esophagectomy, cystectomy, lung resection, aortic valve replacement, or aortic aneurysm repair. Less experienced surgeons (< or =40 years of age) had comparable mortality rates to surgeons aged 41 to 50 years for all procedures. CONCLUSIONS: For some complex procedures, surgeons older than 60 years, particularly those with low procedure volumes, have higher operative mortality rates than their younger counterparts. For most procedures, however, surgeon age is not an important predictor of operative risk.

    Title Individual Health Discount Rate in Patients with Ulcerative Colitis.
    Journal Inflammatory Bowel Diseases

    BACKGROUND:: In cost-effectiveness analysis, discount rates are used in calculating the value of future costs and benefits. However, standard discount rates may not accurately describe the decision-making of patients with ulcerative colitis (UC). These patients often choose the long-term risks of immunosuppressive therapy over the short-term risks of colectomy, demonstrating very high discount rates for future health. In this study we aimed to measure the discount rate in UC patients and identify variables associated with the discount rate. METHODS:: We surveyed patients with UC and patients who were postcolectomy for UC to measure their valuations of UC and colectomy health states. We used Standard Gamble (SG) and Time-Trade-Off (TTO) methods to assess current and future health state valuations and calculated the discount rate. RESULTS:: Participants included 150 subjects with UC and 150 subjects who were postcolectomy for UC. Adjusted discount rates varied widely (0%-100%), with an overall median rate of 55.0% (interquartile range [IQR] 20.6-100), which was significantly higher than the standard rate of 5%. Within the normal range of discount rates, patients' expected discount rate increased by 0.80% for each additional year of age, and female patients had discount rates that averaged ≈8% less than their age-matched counterparts and approached statistical significance. CONCLUSIONS:: The accepted discount rate of 5% grossly underestimates UC patients' preference for long-term over short-term risk. This might explain UC patients' frequent choice of the long-term risks of immunosuppressive medical therapy over the short-term risks of colectomy. (Inflamm Bowel Dis 2010;).

    Title Outcomes Research in Rheumatoid Arthritis.
    Journal Hand Clinics

    Although rheumatoid arthritis causes significant disability for more than 1 million individuals in the United States, prior research regarding surgical treatment options has been limited by study sample size, study design, and methods of comparison. Furthermore, there is wide variation in the referral pattern for hand surgery consideration and type of surgical treatment of rheumatoid hand disease, yet the reasons for these differences are unclear. This review describes the role of outcomes research in rheumatoid hand disease by summarizing variations in surgical treatment, detailing current outcome assessment strategies, and offering potential strategies for designing future studies for rheumatoid hand disease.

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