Fall 2007

UCSF/SFGH Surgical Training Center

This fall marks the opening of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery Surgical Training Center, which comprises a six-bed, digitally simulated operating room and state-of-the-art conference center at San Francisco General Hospital (SFGH). Live surgical dissections by expert surgeon-instructors will provide hands-on instruction on the latest equipment and techniques related to fracture care and trauma surgery.

"With medical technology advancing at an exponential rate, this lab provides health care professionals a way to keep up with recent innovations," says Theodore Miclau, M.D., director of orthopaedic trauma and chief of Orthopaedic Surgery. "The instruction format of 'see one, do one, teach one' is no longer sufficient. With these advanced trainings, our goal is to ensure physicians are proficient in these new techniques before working with patients."

With bird's-eye-view cameras, the center allows for cadaveric clinical teaching and procedure-based research via live broadcast to lecture halls and hospitals locally, nationally and internationally. Fluoroscopic images can be transmitted from three of the center's stations. To allow students to learn within the lab, there is a flat-screen television for instructional videos and the facilitation of live, two-way training. Further, the lab will provide a much needed location for procedure-based research in areas such as computer-assisted surgery.

The focus of these new techniques and technologies is to be less invasive, for faster recovery and reduced complications such as infection. The techniques use radiology and fluoroscopy to spare soft tissues on the bone.

"The problem is that surgeons are used to making big cuts and putting bones back together like a jigsaw puzzle, and these techniques take a less invasive approach, so training is essential," says Miclau. "We are exploring the benefits of computer navigation to facilitate these techniques."

The faculty will teach a full range of health care professionals, from medical students and residents to UCSF surgeons and outside physicians to nurses and allied health care professionals. Given the missions of both UCSF and SFGH to serve the community, the faculty will also work with the next generation of medical professionals through outreach programs with local schools and community organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club.

The surgical training facility is one component of the SFGH Teaching Center, which will also include anesthesia and trauma simulators, conference rooms, and an auditorium. The center was funded by a grant from the SFGH Foundation Hearts in San Francisco project, along with other in-kind and private donations, and is the first of its kind in the Bay Area.

"Since orthopaedic surgery is such a highly technology-reliant subspecialty, these trainings are essential," says Miclau. "With this lab, we are improving the clinical skills of our physicians and educating outside health care professionals, while enhancing the care of patients not only in the Bay Area, but across the US and potentially across the globe."

For more information, call Theodore Miclau, M.D., at (415) 206-8812.

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