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General Surgery

The Division of General Surgery has maintained its tradition of excellence while growing and expanding in new directions. Historically, the emphasis of the General Surgery Training Program has been to train broadly based general surgeons. While this remains our primary goal, we are experiencing a clear shift toward faculty specialization. This has occurred partly because of the number of specialty groups that exist within the department, but more directly as a response to a national trend to focus more on specialized care in virtually all areas of medical practice.

Areas of specialization include:

Minimally Invasive Surgery

Laparoscopic surgery has grown exponentially over the past 10 years, and all of the surgeons in the Division of General Surgery now perform select procedures laparoscopically. For example, the number of laparoscopic colon resections performed for both benign and malignant disease has increased with the recruitment of a colorectal surgeon with a special interest in laparoscopic surgery. Transplant surgeons now are doing most of their living-related donors' nephrectomies laparoscopically.

In response to the increasing demand for this surgical practice, the department now has laparoscopic fellowship-trained faculty members.

In addition, Gary C. Vitale focuses on hepatobiliary problems with special expertise in ERCP. Under his direction, this area has advanced to an exceptionally high level and offers much sought-after ERCP fellowships.

Colorectal Surgery

Our faculty members' expertise and practice have enhanced the resident and student exposure to inflammatory bowel disease, fecal incontinence, primary and recurrent colorectal cancer, as well common anorectal problems.

This has led to development of a one-year accredited fellowship in Colorectal Surgery. We offer one-on-one interaction between the faculty and the fellow, as well as exposure to all aspects of treatment of colorectal disease including complex tertiary referral re-operative surgery, endoscopy, laparoscopy, anorectal surgery and physiology.

Research in this area also has grown tremendously, and the success of these efforts has resulted in the development of the Digestive Surgery Research Laboratory.

Research fellowships positions are available. Three fellows over the past five years have obtained PhD degrees during their research fellowship. Research opportunities for medical and undergraduate students also are available.

To learn more about the Colorectal service, please click here.

Trauma/Critical Care

The Trauma Service is one of the foremost programs in the country. The Trauma/Critical Care Fellowship Program continues to thrive despite a national decline in physician interest in trauma surgery as a career. Our nationally recognized training program offers a one- or two-year postgraduate training program in Trauma, Burn, Emergency General Surgery and Surgical Critical Care. The Surgical Critical Care program is accredited by the American Board of Surgery. Numerous fellows have completed the program and are in academic trauma surgery throughout the country.

Department of Surgery physicians are an integral part of the Trauma Institute at University Hospital - the region's only Level I Trauma Center and Burn Center. Specialized care, services, equipment and staff stand ready to treat serious trauma injuries. Admitting more than 2,400 trauma patients per year in addition to emergency general surgery patients, the Trauma Service holds true to the original concept as an emergency surgery service that began more than 60 years ago. The majority of these patients are blunt trauma patients (80 percent), and nearly 60 percent come from the scene, most from the metropolitan Louisville area. The remaining 40 percent of patients are transferred from more than 70 referring hospitals in the region.

The Trauma Center facilities include 14 trauma/surgical ICU beds, five burn beds, 24-hour dedicated operating room, 49 critical care beds and outpatient clinics. The Burn Unit features five intensive care treatment beds and is the area's only adult burn unit in the state.