Complex Abdominal Surgery Program

The Complex Abdominal Surgery Program specializes in state-of-the-art surgical repair and rehabilitation for patients with the most complicated abdominal conditions. These include severe acute pancreatitis, enterocutaneous fistula (ECF) and complex ventral hernia.

Our team is part of a high-volume service that routinely performs complex abdominal procedures, such as islet autotransplantation to manage diabetes resulting from a pancreatectomy — procedures that may not be available at other medical centers. In fact, UCSF is the only medical center in the West offering islet auto transplants for diabetes. We also perform the latest treatments for complex ventral hernias, such as the progressive pneumoperitoneum procedure, a specialized approach for treating particularly large ventral hernias.

Patients with complex abdominal conditions often require long-term care from experts in many specialties. For example, patients with acute pancreatitis have an average hospital stay of two months, followed by a lengthy recovery period. Those with enterocutaneous fistulas often need specialized wound care, nutritional rehabilitation and physical rehabilitation.

In addition to surgeons, our team includes specialists in nursing, nutrition, intensive care medicine, wound-care, plastic surgery, pharmacology and infectious disease. Our depth and breadth of experience helps ensure that each patient receives the best possible care at each stage of treatment.

Patient Outcomes

Our patient outcomes far surpass the national average. Patients with complex ventral hernias treated at UCSF have a recurrence rate of approximately 18 percent, compared to a 30 to 40 percent recurrence rate nationally. The mortality rate for patients with severe acute pancreatitis treated at UCSF is abouty 7 percent, compared to a 25 to 40 percent mortality rate nationally.


Gastrointestinal Surgery — Our gastrointestinal surgeons are known for their ability to treat high-risk patients, including those routinely turned down for surgery at other medical centers.

Physical Rehabilitation — Physical therapists work to reduce the risk of post-operative complications by ensuring that patients mobilize or become active as soon as possible. They provide education to patients and their caregivers on abdominal incisions and training on movement techniques to reduce discomfort.

Long-term Care — Many patients require care that can last from six to nine months. Our three-step approach includes an initial evaluation, treatment optimization and management.

Wound Care — Our team of wound-care specialists is trained in advanced techniques, customizing each treatment plan to the patient's individual needs.

Plastic Surgery — Plastic surgeons restore the integrity of the abdominal wall fascia, muscle or skin following surgery for complex abdominal conditions.

Innovations and Research

Severe Acute Pancreatitis — Surgeons have developed and perform innovative, evidence-based surgical techniques for blunt necrosectomy and step-up necrosectomy. Together with state-of-the-art management techniques, these procedures result in decreased mortality and morbidity.

Enterocutaneous Fstulas (ECF) — Patients with enterocutaneous fistulas in particular benefit from a team approach that includes general surgeons, nurses, enterostomal therapists, social workers and nutritionists, all familiar with the complex problems these patients often experience.

Complex Ventral Hernias — UCSF Medical Center conducts clinical and basic science research to further our understanding of complex venetral hernias. Our general surgery team has expertise in the full range of therapeutic options. General and plastic surgeons work closely to perform optimal abdominal wall reconstruction.

Our Team


Dr. Hobart W. Harris
Chief of General Surgery
Gastrointestinal surgeon

Dr. Jonathan T. Carter
Gastrointestinal surgeon

Dr. Scott Hansen
Chief of Hand and Microvascular Surgery
Plastic and reconstructive surgeon

Dr. Stanley Rogers
Chief of Minimally Invasive Surgery
Bariatric and laparoscopic surgeon

Dr. Hani Sbitany
Plastic and reconstructive surgeon

Dr. David M. Young
Plastic and reconstructive surgeon

Other Experts

Susan Barbour
Registered nurse
Wound care specialist

Rebecca Ferrier
Physical therapist

Elaine Law

Mercedes Rose
Nurse practitioner

Vivica Ross
Nutritionist and dietition

Related Information

How to Reach Us

Complex Abdominal Surgery
400 Parnassus Ave., Sixth Floor
San Francisco, CA 94143

Phone: (415) 353-2161
Fax: (415) 353-2505

Hours: Monday to Friday,
8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.