Fall 2007

Orthopaedic and Plastic Surgeons Work Hand in Glove

Reconstructing an arm smashed in an accident is not an easy process. It may take multiple staged surgeries by both orthopaedic surgeons and plastic surgeons. With such complex cases involving separate surgical teams, the best outcomes occur when the two work hand in glove with each other.

The UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery has built a service with precisely that principle in mind. The combined orthopaedic surgery and plastic surgery service promotes regular communication between the two groups of surgeons and creates a foundation for the best care possible.

From the time a patient is referred or arrives immediately after trauma, UCSF orthopaedic and plastic surgeons work together to develop individualized treatment plans that take into account all aspects of the case. "It is necessary for both teams to understand the goals of the other's surgery, as well as the challenges, and how one intervention might affect the other," says UCSF orthopaedic surgeon Lisa Lattanza, M.D. "When the two teams plan together from start to finish, the end result is better care and outcomes for the patients with fewer complications."

When orthopaedic surgeons and plastic surgeons are able to plan joint operations, there are often fewer procedures, less patient inconvenience and improved outcomes. The UCSF orthopaedics and plastic surgery service specializes in a wide variety of surgeries for various combined bone and soft tissue problems. These include:

  • Brachial plexus injuries
  • Complications of trauma, fractures and dislocations
  • Limb salvage surgery, microsurgery and flap reconstruction of the extremities, face and chest
  • Complex hand, wrist and elbow surgery
  • Congenital hand and wrist problems
  • Chronic wound problems and osteomyelitis
  • Skin and bone grafts

The success of the service and the volume of cases have prompted UCSF to cooperate with St. Mary's Medical Center in San Francisco to jointly open the Plastic, Reconstructive and Orthopaedic Surgery (PROS) Center located at St. Mary's Medical Center.

For more information, call Lisa Lattanza, M.D., at (415) 476-1167.

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