Ryan Merkow

UChicago Faculty Physicians

Ryan Merkow, MD, MS

Associate Professor of Surgery Director for Surgical Cancer Quality, University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center and Cancer Service Line
Associate Director of Health Services Research, Department of Surgery
Director, Hepatic Artery Infusion Pump Program

Ryan Merkow, MD, MS, is a board-certified surgical oncologist with a clinical practice that focuses on treating complex gastrointestinal cancers, including metastatic cancers that have spread to the liver. Dr. Merkow is an expert in liver, bile duct, pancreas, stomach, small bowel, appendix, neuroendocrine and peritoneal surface cancers. He specializes in patient-centered treatment options for complex cancers, allowing the delivery of comprehensive care that is customized to each patient’s individual needs and healthcare goals.

In order to provide his patients with the best solution(s), Dr. Merkow offers both nonsurgical and surgical options. His treatments include regional cancer therapies, such as hepatic artery infusion (HAI) pump chemotherapy, a technique that supplies high doses of chemotherapy directly to the liver. This therapy is used to kill any remaining cancer cells after visible tumors have been surgically removed, as well as to convert someone from unresectable (all tumors cannot be removed) to resectable (all tumors are able to be cleared from the liver). He also provides other liver directed therapies, such as ablation, designed to selectively target liver tumors without injuring nearby healthy tissue.

In addition to regional therapies, Dr. Merkow performs minimally invasive and robotic surgery to treat cancer, offering accuracy and precision while removing life-threatening tumors. This allows his patients to recovery faster with less pain and scarring so they can get back to their daily lives sooner.

Along with his dedication to his clinical practice, Dr. Merkow is passionate about advancing treatment through clinical research and making surgery and cancer care delivery safer, more efficient and patient-centered. His research focuses primarily on surgical outcomes, quality improvement and patient safety, which has been published in over 150 peer-reviewed articles in highly respected, medical journals, like the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI), British Journal of Quality and Patient Safety, Annals of Surgery, Annals of Surgical Oncology and more. With his research expertise, Dr. Merkow will join the University of Chicago’s Health Services Research Center.

Dr. Merkow is active, and has held leadership roles, in several national healthcare organizations, including serving as chair of the Association for Academic Surgery Clinical and Health Services Research Committee. Additionally, with healthcare constantly evolving, he provides clinical training to medical students, residents and fellows, mentoring them as they embark on their medical careers.

Board Certifications

  • Surgery
  • Complex General Surgical Oncology

Memberships & Medical Societies

  • American College of Surgeons
  • Association for Academic Surgery
  • Society of Surgical Oncology
  • Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract
  • Americas Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Association

Languages Spoken

  • English

Medical Education

  • University of Colorado School of Medicine


  • University of Colorado Hospitals; University of Chicago Hospitals


  • Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Ctr.

  • Aetna HMO (specialists only)
  • Aetna POS
  • Aetna PPO
  • BCBS Blue Precision HMO (specialists only)
  • BCBS HMO (HMOI) (specialists only)
  • Cigna HMO
  • Cigna POS
  • Cigna PPO
  • CountyCare *see insurance page
  • Aetna Better Health *see insurance page
  • Medicare
  • Multiplan PPO
  • United Choice Plus POS/PPO
  • United Options (PPO)
  • United Select (HMO & EPO) (specialists only)
  • United W500 Emergent Wrap
  • Aetna Medicare Advantage HMO & PPO
  • BCBS Medicare Advantage HMO & PPO
  • Humana Medicare Advantage Choice PPO
  • Humana Medicare Advantage Gold Choice PFFS
  • Humana Medicare Advantage Gold Plus HMO
  • United Choice HMO (specialists only)
  • University of Chicago Health Plan (UCHP)

Our list of accepted insurance providers is subject to change at any time. You should contact your insurance company to confirm UChicago Medicine participates in their network before scheduling your appointment. If your insurance company is not listed here, or if you have any other questions, please contact Managed.Care@uchospitals.edu.

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Hepatic Artery Infusion (HAI) Pump Chemotherapy for Liver Metastases

Hepatic artery infusion pump chemotherapy, or HAI, is an advanced treatment for tumors that have spread to the liver due to metastatic colorectal cancer or metastatic bile duct cancer. HAI is a powerful tool to shrink liver tumors and reduces the risk of tumor recurrence.

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