Summer 2012

Department of Surgery Highlights

UCSF is widely recognized for its world-class surgeons who provide outstanding care to patients. Yet some community members may not know that these faculty also conduct groundbreaking research on how to better treat, cure and prevent diseases such as cancer, diabetes and stroke.

"This integration of research and clinical care has allowed us to make a number of pioneering discoveries," said Nancy L. Ascher, M.D., Ph.D., chair of the Department of Surgery, the Isis Distinguished Professor in Transplantation, and the Leon Goldman, M.D. Distinguished Professor in Surgery. "Our surgeon-scientists bring their experience from the operating room into the laboratory to develop new treatments that will directly improve patients’ lives."

Some of the highlights of the Department of Surgery at UCSF Medical Center include:

  • The Division of Pediatric Surgery provides expert care for fetuses, infants, children and adolescents with congenital and acquired conditions. It is a leader in developing minimally invasive approaches to replace more invasive open procedures. The division includes the Fetal Treatment Center, the birthplace of fetal surgery, providing state-of-the-art diagnosis and treatment of fetal problems that are most effectively addressed before birth.
  • The Division of Transplant Surgery has performed more than 12,000 kidney, liver, pancreas, islet cell and small bowel transplants since 1964, and has performed more kidney transplants than any other center in the world. Faculty have developed innovative techniques for abdominal organ transplantation, and care for some of the most complex patients while producing superior outcomes. The division also conducts advanced research in areas ranging from reducing risk of rejection to developing a cure for diabetes through islet cell transplantation.
  • The Division of Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery performs intricate, demanding procedures such as repair of complex heart defects. The faculty are internationally recognized experts in both research and clinical care, and have developed many of the treatments we offer.
  • The Division of Adult Cardiothoracic Surgery includes expert surgical teams in several areas:
    • The Cardiac Surgery Section performs coronary artery bypass surgery as well as surgery of the aorta, heart valves and many other procedures.
    • The Heart and Lung Transplant Program provides a long-term, team approach to patient care, has excellent outcomes, and is a leader in offering dual-organ transplants.
    • The General Thoracic Surgery Section works closely with medical and radiation oncologists to aggressively treat patients with advanced lung cancer, achieving favorable outcomes even in patients deemed inoperable at other institutions. The team also treats patients with esophageal cancer and mesothelioma, and has a world-renowned research program investigating the genetic basis of thoracic cancers.
  • The Vascular and Endovascular Surgery Division cares for patients with complex cardiovascular problems such as aortic aneurysms, and conducts novel research to improve prevention and treatment of peripheral artery disease and other vascular diseases.
  • The Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery provides multidisciplinary treatment of complex wounds and craniofacial anomalies such as cleft palate, and performs highly specialized procedures such as toe-to-thumb transfer. By applying cosmetic surgery techniques to produce aesthetically pleasing results, surgeons enhance functionality as well as patients' social well-being. Faculty research includes investigating how future stem cell therapies could prevent deformities and re-stimulate normal development of bone, muscle and skin.
  • The Division of General Surgery encompasses a broad range of surgical specialties and subspecialties, including bariatric, breast care, colorectal, endocrine and gastrointestinal surgery. Faculty have pioneered the development of minimally invasive procedures.
    • Surgeons provide comprehensive care for patients with malignant and benign endocrine tumors (including the thyroid, parathyroid and adrenal glands) and gastrointestinal tumors (including the esophagus, liver, spleen, pancreas, gall bladder and stomach). They also offer bariatric surgery for patients with a medical need for weight loss.
    • The nationally recognized Carol Franc Buck Breast Care Center provides state-of-the-art health care services, clinical trials and extensive psychological support to patients with breast cancer or other breast problems.
    • The Colorectal Surgery Section provides surgical and nonsurgical care for problems of the colon, rectum and anus, including cancer, colitis, Crohn’s disease, constipation and incontinence.
    • The Surgical Hospitalist Program ensures that a board-certified general surgeon is on call 24 hours a day to evaluate patients.
  • The Trauma Surgery Service at San Francisco General Hospital — the city's only Level I trauma center — excels in treating patients with injuries, burns, complex wounds, surgical infections and patients requiring surgical critical care.

Consultations and Referrals:

For more information about the UCSF Department of Surgery, visit


Inside Surgery — Summer 2012 Index

Related Information

News Releases

UCSF Medical Center Implements Electronic Medical Record
UCSF Medical Center has taken a major step forward in advancing patient safety and quality of care by implementing one of the most comprehensive electronic health records systems in the U.S.

HealthGrades Gives UCSF Top Marks in Patient Safety, Satisfaction
HealthGrades, a leading provider of comprehensive information about physicians and hospitals, recently published a list of hospitals in the U.S receiving the 2012 HealthGrade awards for outstanding patient experience and excellence in patient safety.

Organ Transplant Chief Elected President of National Board
Dr. John Roberts, chief of UCSF's Organ Transplant Service, has been elected president of the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network/United Network for Organ Sharing (OPTN/UNOS) board of directors.