Summer 2011

Capsaicin Skin Patch Approved for Postherpetic Neuralgia

Severe, often debilitating pain of postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), caused by shingles rash, now can be treated with a single, one-hour application of a patch called Qutenza, containing 8 percent capsaicin. The first FDA-approved capsaicin skin patch, it provides up to three months of pain relief. Capsaicin, the active component of chili peppers, interferes with the pain signals of small peripheral nerve fibers. In research, the mean pain scores of 106 patients treated with the patch declined by 31 percent after 12 weeks.

The UCSF Pain Management Center offers the patch for shingles and other peripheral neuropathic pain, in addition to other therapies such as epidural steroid injections, nerve blocks, spinal cord stimulation and intrathecal drug delivery; neuropathic pain medications; psychology-based approaches; and physical therapy, including transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS). To refer a patient, call (415) 885-3552. Patients can request an appointment online at

New Aging and Telemedicine Program for HIV/AIDS

UCSF has two new HIV/AIDS programs — the HIV and Aging Program, addressing the needs of patients over age 50, and the Urban HIV Telemedicine Program, connecting UCSF experts by video with San Francisco community clinics. The HIV and Aging Program cares for patients who are living longer due to treatment advances and often develop conditions requiring specialized care. Older adults are one of the fastest growing groups among HIV and AIDS patients. The Urban HIV Telemedicine Program, the first of its kind in the U.S., uses broadband video to consult with doctors, nurses and staff, caring for disadvantaged HIV patients at the Haight-Ashbury Free Clinic, Maxine Hall Health Center, South of Market Health Center and Black Coalition on AIDS community center.

For more information about these programs, contact the UCSF HIV/AIDS Program at (415) 353-2119 or visit

Low-dose CT Scans Available for Heart and Lung

UCSF Medical Center is the only center in the Bay Area offering 64-slice computed tomography (CT) scans that reduce radiation exposure by 50 to 80 percent by combining enhanced image reconstruction technology and specific UCSF protocols. UCSF low-dose CT protocols include annual screening of heavy smokers for lung cancer and coronary CT angiography, which can be used in patients with lower heart rates. For more information or to refer a patient, call Radiology at (415) 353-2573. Patient referrals can be faxed to (415) 353-7140 or visit

Pediatric Urgent Care Clinic Opens

UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital has opened a Pediatric Urgent Care Clinic staffed by pediatricians and pediatric nurses trained in urgent care. The clinic is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., daily. No appointment is necessary. The clinic is located in the Emergency Department, 505 Parnassus Ave., San Francisco. For more information, visit

New High School Requirement for Whooping Cough Vaccine

Students in the 7th to 12th grade this fall must show proof of tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap) booster shots before starting school because of new state legislation (Assembly bill 354), approved last fall after a whooping cough outbreak. About 1.4 million students in California must be immunized. Patients and parents can be notified through reminder and recall systems, automated phone messages and other communication. Shots must be clearly documented and patients must be provided a receipt. Primary care doctors are encouraged to stock Tdap along with other vaccines for meningococcal, varicella dose 2, HPV and the flu. For more information, visit, the San Francisco Department of Public Health's Communicable Disease Prevention Unit at (415) 554-2852 or your local public health department.

Mini-open Resection for Spinal Tumors

The UCSF Spine Center is the only center on the West Coast to perform mini-open resection for the removal of spinal tumors. The procedure has been shown to result in less blood loss and a shorter hospital stay compared to the standard open approach. UCSF developed these minimally invasive techniques, published in the January 2011 and March 2011 issues of the Journal of Neurosurgery. * Standard open approaches to thoracic intradural tumors often involve a large incision and significant tissue destruction. For information about referring a patient, contact the UCSF Spine Center at (866) 81-SPINE or (866) 817-7463, or visit

* Journal of Neurosurgery Articles

  • A comparison of mini-open and open approaches for resection of thoracolumbar intradural spinal tumors. Lu DC, Chou D, Mummaneni PV. J Neurosurg Spine. 2011 Mar 11.
  • Mini-open transpedicular corpectomies with expandable cage reconstruction. Technical note. Chou D, Lu DC. J Neurosurg Spine. 2011 Jan;14(1):71-7. Epub 2010 Dec 17.

Continuing Medical Education

UCSF's Continuing Medical Education (CME) Program offers courses throughout the year including these conferences:

For more information, call the CME office at (415) 476-4251 or visit

Need Help Making a Referral?

UCSF Medical Center

The Physician Liaison Service assists physicians, medical groups and health plans to refer patients or arrange consultations. For more information, visit Members of Hill Physicians Medical Group can access referral and patient information electronically via RelayHealth.

Phone (800) 444-2559
Fax (415) 353-4395

UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital

A toll-free Physician Admitting Hotline is the gateway for inpatient services at UCSF Benioff Childrens Hospital. For more information, visit

Phone: (877) UC-CHILD or (877) 822-4453

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Physician Liaison Service

Phone: (800) 444-2559
Fax: (415) 353-4395

The Physician Liaison Service offers a communication link and referral coordination for referring physicians, medical groups and health plans. For additional assistance in the referral process or information about programs and services at UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital San Francisco, please call the Physician Liaison Service or visit

Transfer Center

The UCSF Transfer Center is open 24 hours daily to coordinate the transfer of your patients to UCSF Medical Center from hospitals throughout the region.

Phone: (415) 353-9166
Fax: (415) 353-9172

If you're unable to link directly to the Web addresses above, please copy and paste the links into your Web browser.

To contact UCSF Medical Center, visit

UCSF Medical Center is located at 505 Parnassus Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94143-0296.

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