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Department of Surgery News and Stories

Patient Care

Research    Patient Care    lungs

A Better Understanding of Survival Rates for Lung Transplant Recipients

For John Iguidbashian and Alejandro Suarez-Pierre, general surgery residents in the Department of Surgery at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, the research started as a way to give patients who were eligible for lung transplants more accurate information about their life expectancy after the surgery. 


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date June 17, 2022
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Patient Care    Awareness    Transplant Center

“One in a Billion Odds”

It happened so fast, and it was so unexpected.

In August 2020, Mario Carrasco got what he suspected was COVID-19 and took Tylenol to combat his high fever. When that didn’t work, he took an antibiotic he had received from Mexico and eventually felt better. For several months afterward, he felt fine. He felt like he always does.


Author Rachel Sauer | Publish Date June 15, 2022
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Patient Care    Community    Mental Health

Low Testosterone: Separating Fact From Fiction

Men looking for information on their physical and sexual health often turn to the internet, where low testosterone is a commonly searched — and commonly misunderstood — topic.


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date June 10, 2022
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Research    Patient Care    Community

Socially Vulnerable Colectomy Patients Are at Greater Risk for Post-Operative Complications

Patients who come from socially vulnerable backgrounds are at greater risk for complications following colon surgery, recently published research has found.


Author Rachel Sauer | Publish Date May 27, 2022
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Research    Patient Care    Education    Community

Online Assessment Tool Helps Predict ICU Need Following Surgery

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, intensive care unit (ICU) beds were in limited supply, and the pandemic only exacerbated this growing concern. Since the pandemic began, ICU resources have been in such demand that clinicians across the United States and world have struggled to meet the need.


Author Rachel Sauer | Publish Date May 24, 2022
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Research    Patient Care

How a Leaky Gut Leads to Inflamed Lungs 

Why are older adults more likely to get seriously ill or even die from pneumonia? It turns out the cause may have as much to do with the gut as it does with the lungs. 


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date May 11, 2022
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Patient Care    Community    Awareness    Transplant Center

Living Organ Donation Journey Inspires Doctor to Normalize the Experience for Others

At first, she was reluctant to talk about it – a little sheepish, even. The obvious question was, “Why are you doing this?” And though she had answers, none of them were quick or easy.


Author Rachel Sauer | Publish Date April 06, 2022
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Patient Care    Community    Pediatrics    Urology

Transitioning Pediatric Urology Patients to Adult Care 

For children with urologic disorders, the relationships they form early on with their urologists often turn out to be among the most important connections of their young lives.  


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date March 02, 2022
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Patient Care    Community    Transplant Center

Navy Veteran Donates Part of His Liver to a Community Member He’d Never Met

Service members join the military with a passion to serve, and that passion remains long after they have fulfilled their formal commitments. Upon their departure from military service, many veterans remain committed to serving others. Their military experience often inspires them to become active in their communities at home.


Author Khushnuma Damkevala | Publish Date February 14, 2022
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Research    Patient Care    Plastic Surgery

New Cosmetic Cream Created at CU Leaves Skin 'Silky' Smooth

From Silly Putty to the microwave oven, there is a long history of consumer products “accidentally” discovered during the scientific discovery process. 


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date February 03, 2022
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Patient Care    Quality and Clinical Effectiveness

Reducing Catheter-Caused UTIs in Surgery Patients 

When they realized their number of patients with urinary tract infections caused by urinary catheters was tracking above the national average, urologic oncologist Janet Kukreja, MD, and Shannon Bortolotto, APRN, clinical nurse specialist at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital, knew they had to take action. 


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date February 01, 2022
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Research    Patient Care    Community    Surgical Oncology

Research Finds Patients and Providers Differ in Opinions About Immediate Access to Medical Records

While both patients and clinicians prioritize information transparency, a 21st Century Cures Act requirement for the immediate release of test and lab results is proving more controversial, according to recently published survey results of clinicians and patients.


Author Rachel Sauer | Publish Date January 21, 2022
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Patient Care    Faculty    Clinical Research    Clinical Trials

Clinical Trial Allows Participants to Avoid an Ileostomy During Surgery for Rectal Cancer

After the chemotherapy and radiation treatments, when she was discussing necessary surgery with her UCHealth Cancer Center care team, Irma Lechuga learned her rectal cancer surgery would include creation of a temporary ileostomy.


Author Rachel Sauer | Publish Date January 05, 2022
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Patient Care    Press Coverage    Pediatric Cancer    Kidney Cancer    Urology

'I'm Just so Proud of Him': Crested Butte Family Shares 2-year-old's Journey with Kidney Cancer

In 2021, a Crested Butte family received a life-changing diagnosis. During the holiday season, their story is an apparent reminder that sometimes the best gifts are never found under a tree.


Author Denver 7 | Publish Date December 23, 2021
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Research    Patient Care    Education    Community    Faculty

Supporting Surgeon-Scientists in Research to Find New and Better Ways of Caring for Patients

For the 50 years of his career, Ernest Moore, MD, a distinguished professor of surgery, has been eager to go to work ­­– not just caring for patients or the challenges of the operating room, but for the myriad paths of research he has pursued since he was an undergraduate.


Author Rachel Sauer | Publish Date December 20, 2021
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Research    Patient Care    Education    Community

CU Department of Surgery Top Stories of 2021

The University of Colorado Department of Surgery's commitment to improve every life was spotlighted numerous times by faculty, staff, trainees, and students throughout 2021.


Author Department of Surgery | Publish Date December 16, 2021
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Innovation    Patient Care    Education    Community    Transplant Center

National and Regional Need for Organ and Tissue Donation Remains Strong

Empower Field at Mile High in Denver seats about 76,000 – a huge space with the population of a small city when filled to capacity.


Author Rachel Sauer | Publish Date December 15, 2021
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Patient Care    Community    Prostate Cancer    Bladder Cancer    Urology

Two Urology Experts Explain the Basics of Men’s Health and Why It’s So Important to Talk About It

Happy Movember! No, that’s not a spelling error. Movember has been celebrated each November since 2003 to bring awareness (and funding) to men’s health issues, particularly prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health and suicide prevention.


Author Valerie Gleaton | Publish Date November 18, 2021
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Patient Care    Community    Cardiothoracic Surgery   

Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at CU School of Medicine Celebrates a ‘Herstoric’ Moment

With two female cardiothoracic surgeons in its ranks, the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University of Colorado School of Medicine is ahead of the curve when it comes to gender representation in the field. By one recent estimate, just 8% of cardiothoracic surgeons in the country are female.


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date November 17, 2021
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Patient Care    Community    Plastic Surgery   

Gender Affirmation Surgery Helps Patient Feel Whole for the First Time in 71 Years

The victory lap came 50 years after high school, in a female restroom at Denver’s East High School.


Author Rachel Sauer | Publish Date November 15, 2021
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Patient Care    Press Coverage

After Four Brain Surgeries, 17-year-old Continues to Win at Chess and Inspire

Back on Feb. 25, competing in a chess tournament was only a hope for Griffin McConnell, now 17, of Golden. Doctors had just finished his second hemispherectomy, a procedure that disconnects the left and right side of the brain and causes some paralysis. The brain surgery was Griffin’s fourth since being diagnosed at age 5 with epilepsy.


Author The Denver Post | Publish Date November 01, 2021
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Research    Patient Care    Community   

Study Finds that Patients Approach Surgery with Strong, Pre-Formed Ideas about Opioid Use

There’s a significant body of research on opioids ­­– how they’re metabolized, how they react with other drugs, the physiology of addiction, and how they’re prescribed, among the many areas of focus.


Author Rachel Sauer | Publish Date October 27, 2021
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Research    Patient Care    Press Releases   

Fluid Dynamics

The U.S. Department of Defense is funding a study by Arek Wiktor, MD, associate professor of GI, trauma, and endocrine surgery and interim medical director of the UCHealth Burn and Frostbite Center – Anschutz Medical Campus, to aid in treatment of military and civilian burn patients.


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date October 19, 2021
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Patient Care    Community    Transplant Center

Transplant Clinic Serves Hispanic Population of Colorado

Research shows that Hispanic patients spend longer on the transplant waiting list than other ethnic groups. They also face higher mortality rates while waiting for a transplant. With a goal to change this disparity in transplantation, Elizabeth Pomfret, MD, PhD, chief of the Division of Transplant Surgery at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, created a clinic to better serve the Hispanic community in the Rocky Mountain region.


Author Khushnuma Damkevala | Publish Date October 13, 2021
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Patient Care    Community    Child & Adolescent    GITES

CU Surgeon Looking to Extend Bariatric Surgery Services to Adolescent Patients

Over the past five decades, childhood overweight and obesity has transitioned from public health concern to public health crisis. In 1971, 5.2% of U.S. children ages 2 to 19 were experiencing obesity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a number that increased to 19.3% by 2018.


Author Rachel Sauer | Publish Date September 30, 2021
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Patient Care    Education    Community    Vascular Surgery

New Vascular Surgery Residency Program Allows Residents to Focus on Surgical Specialty for Entire Training

The traditional path for surgeons after they’ve completed medical school is a five-year general surgery residency followed by a two-year fellowship in an area of specialization. Even for surgeons who choose their specialty in medical school, this has been the most common training path.


Author Rachel Sauer | Publish Date September 10, 2021
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Research    Patient Care    Community    COVID-19    Quality and Clinical Effectiveness   

Multidisciplinary Team Designs Novel Mask in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

Ideas and innovation don’t always co-exist with convenience. On the CU Anschutz Medical Campus, the road to a novel mask design to address the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic took some unexpected twists and turns.


Author Rachel Sauer | Publish Date September 08, 2021
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Patient Care    Community    Plastic Surgery

Young Craniofacial Patient Battles Multiple Surgeries With Positive Outlook

“Basketball, playing with sheep, playing with goats, playing with dogs, horse camp, friends ...”

Nine-year-old Danner Plumhoff is rattling off a list of her summer plans. Many of these activities wouldn’t have been possible for her last summer, when she was fresh off an intensive craniofacial surgery. It was her biggest surgery to date, but as a child with a rare variant of Crouzon syndrome, it was hardly her first.


Author Valerie Gleaton | Publish Date July 20, 2021
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Research    Patient Care    Vascular Surgery

Better Patient Care Through Clinical Pathways

Clinical pathways are a vital tool in providing patients with high-quality, standardized care, as well as improving the value of health care. But they are only helpful if physicians actually use them.


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date July 12, 2021
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Research    Patient Care

New Study Explores Opioid Prescribing Preferences and Practices Among Residents and Faculty

Opioid prescribing preferences and practices among surgical residents and faculty differ, according to a new study published in the journal Surgery.


Author Valerie Gleaton | Publish Date July 06, 2021
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Research    Patient Care    Education    Community

Department of Surgery Celebrates 2021 Graduates

The University of Colorado School of Medicine Department of Surgery hosted its Resident and Fellowship Graduation at Denver Botanic Gardens on June 11.


Author Valerie Gleaton | Publish Date June 16, 2021
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Research    Patient Care    Community   

Patients Now Have Immediate Access to Their Medical Records. How Can Providers Help Them Make Sense of the Data?

Patients’ rights advocates scored a major victory in April, when a provision went into effect that allows patients immediate access to all information in their medical records, including physician notes and test results. The change is part of the 21st Century Cures Act, which was passed by Congress in 2016 and continues to be updated.


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date June 14, 2021
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Research    Patient Care    Community    Burn    GITES

University of Colorado Burn Center Completes Three-Year Verification Survey

Last month, the University of Colorado Burn Center underwent the American Burn Association (ABA) Survey, a verification process that occurs every three years. The Burn Center has achieved continual verification since its first ABA Survey in 1998, and that trend continues this year. The Burn Center received its verification confirmation on May 19, 2021, to continue through April 2024.  


Author Valerie Gleaton | Publish Date June 03, 2021
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Research    Patient Care    GITES

Bariatric Surgery Public Health Initiative Improves Lives for Patients with Obesity

Fredric Pieracci, MD, MPH/MSPH, an associate professor in the University of Colorado School of Medicine Department of Surgery, is the senior author on a new paper published in Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases that details the results of a public health initiative to provide affordable bariatric surgery to uninsured Denver County residents.  


Author Valerie Gleaton | Publish Date April 28, 2021
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Patient Care    Community    Cardiothoracic Surgery

University of Colorado Surgeon Performs State’s First COVID-19 Lung Transplant

Bryan Raymond was very nearly just another grim entry on the ever-growing list of COVID-19 fatalities. But thanks to efforts by faculty members in the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Department of Surgery, Raymond is a COVID statistic of a different sort — the first person in Colorado to receive a lung transplant related to the virus.


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date April 26, 2021
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Patient Care    Community    Plastic Surgery

Wide-Awake Hand Surgery Offers Colorado Patient Relief from Carpal Tunnel Pain

In the past, even relatively minor hand surgery was a major event. For patients, it required anesthesia and numerous hours at the hospital. And for hospitals and providers, it used up extensive material resources and time.


Author Valerie Gleaton | Publish Date April 23, 2021
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Patient Care    Community    Awareness    Health equity    Transplant Center

Two Transplant Doctors Explain the Basics of Organ Donation and What’s New in Transplants

April is National Donate Life Month — an awareness month that encourages Americans to register as organ, eye, and tissue donors and that honors those who have saved lives through the gift of donation.


Author Valerie Gleaton | Publish Date April 09, 2021
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Research    Patient Care   

Following Patients’ Progress After Surgery 

For the past nine years, the Surgical Outcomes and Applied Research (SOAR) group at the University of Colorado School of Medicine has been conducting research on health services within the Department of Surgery. A large part of that research has to do with clinical outcomes for surgery patients and how patients fare — in the short term and the long term — after an operation.


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date April 07, 2021
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Patient Care    Clinics    Vascular Surgery

New Vascular Surgery Clinic Offers Easier Access to Care

A new vascular surgery clinic opened in February on the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, offering easy access for patients with venous disease, peripheral artery disease, and mesenteric and renal artery disease. The clinic also offers hemodialysis procedures for arteriovenous fistula and graft maintenance.


Author Department of Surgery | Publish Date March 02, 2021
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Research    Patient Care    Quality and Clinical Effectiveness

Safety and Quality Are a Primary Focus for the CU Department of Surgery

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought new attention to the safety of patients during surgery. But long before the concerns brought on by coronavirus, the CU Department of Surgery was working to make patient safety a priority.


Author Department of Surgery | Publish Date January 06, 2021
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Patient Care    Plastic Surgery

Improving Confidence with Reconstructive Surgery After a Double Mastectomy

Knowing your family health history is one of the first steps to finding out if you may have a higher risk of cancer and might need early screenings. Ela Carta is no stranger to the struggles of having a family history of cancer. At the age of 30, Carta’s aunt, Audie, began urging Carta to get a mammogram. With a long family history of breast cancer and fibrocystic breast disease, Carta knew she had to be proactive with her health.


Author Chanthy Na | Publish Date October 21, 2020
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Research    Patient Care    Community    Prostate Cancer    Urology

Improving Patient Outcomes in Prostate Cancer

Although prostate cancer is treatable when found early, there are common fears that men share concerning prostate cancer.

“I hear from patients all the time stating they do not want to get tested and they do not want to know if they have prostate cancer. Due to the possible side effects associated with treatment,” says Paul Maroni, MD, associate professor in the Department of Surgery, Urology Division, program director of the Urologic Cancer Care Center and University of Colorado (CU) Cancer Center member.


Author Department of Surgery | Publish Date October 01, 2020
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Research    Patient Care    Community    Prostate Cancer    Cancer    Urology

Former Broncos Punter Wants Men to Share Their Experience With Prostate Cancer

Growing up, Douglas “Bucky” Dilts was all too familiar with the dangers of cancer. “My mother ran a cancer tumor registry at St Joseph's Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia for over 25 years. She was always telling us about different types of cancer, so cancer was always at the forefront.”  


Author Department of Surgery | Publish Date September 23, 2020
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Patient Care

2020 Top Doctors

For more than 25 years, 5280 magazine has asked physicians in the Denver area whom they would trust to treat themselves or a loved one. This year 21 of our surgeons in 12 specialties made the list.


Author Shelly Lange | Publish Date August 10, 2020
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Patient Care    Community    Plastic Surgery

Cleft Lip Reconstruction Transforms Jennifer's Outlook Making Her Brave Enough to Teach

As a young child, Jennifer Falomir-Lopez just wanted to look “normal” like all the other kids. She knew she was different but couldn’t explain to her friends why she looked different. Jennifer was born with a cleft lip and cleft alveolus.


Author Chanthy Na | Publish Date July 28, 2020
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Patient Care    Vascular Surgery

Vascular Surgery Clinic Receives TCAR Center of Excellence Designation

The UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital Vascular Surgery Clinic has been named a TCAR Center of Excellence by Silk Road Medical, for the high quality of its care team and patient outcomes for transcarotid artery revascularization (TCAR) to treat carotid artery stenosis.


Author Shelly Lange | Publish Date July 17, 2020
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Patient Care    Community

Tips for Men's Health Month

As the end of Men’s Health Month approaches, it is important to acknowledge that men often do not visit the doctor unless there is a serious issue or concern. In addition to exercising and a healthy diet, men need to make sure they are up to date on important health screenings to focus on preventative care and health maintenance.


Author Department of Surgery | Publish Date June 26, 2020
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Patient Care

U.S. News Ranks Pediatric Surgical Specialties Provided by DOS Faculty Among Nation’s Best

U.S. News and World Report released its 2020-21 Best Children’s Hospitals rankings this week, placing three pediatric surgical specialties at Children’s Hospital Colorado provided by University of Colorado School of Medicine Department of Surgery faculty in the top 10, including No. 1 for gastroenterology and gastrointestinal surgery.


Author Department of Surgery | Publish Date June 17, 2020
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Patient Care    Community

2019 Top Doctors

Each year 5280 magazine has asked physicians in the Denver area whom they would trust to treat themselves or a loved one. This year 24 of our surgeons in 12 specialties made the list.


Author Department of Surgery | Publish Date September 02, 2019
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Patient Care    Community    Trauma    GITES

From Trauma to Triumph

Trapped by a fire in her Aurora apartment building, Alina Miller was forced to jump from a fourth-story window to escape the flames. The fall left her with a broken back and a crushed foot.


Author Department of Surgery | Publish Date January 09, 2019
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Patient Care    Community

2018 Top Doctors

Every year, Denver's 5280 Magazine polls doctors from the Denver metro area, asking whom they would trust if they needed medical treatment for themselves or a loved one. The results are collected and published in the magazine's annual "Top Doctors" issue.


Author Department of Surgery | Publish Date December 09, 2018
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Patient Care    Pancreatic Cancer    Cancer

The Power of a Second Opinion: Karen Possehl's Story

Karen Possehl was diagnosed with cancer in November 2016. At the Mayo Clinic in Arizona, her doctor told her that the type of cancer she had was inoperable and wouldn't respond to radiation or chemotherapy. He expected her to live only a few more months.


Author Department of Surgery | Publish Date November 30, 2018
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Research    Patient Care    Community    Sarcoma

Dr. Breelyn Wilky Joins Sarcoma Team

The CU Sarcoma Clinic is pleased to welcome Breelyn A. Wilky, MD, to our multidisciplinary team. Dr. Wilky joined the Medical Oncology faculty in the cancer clinic on November 1, 2018.


Author Department of Surgery | Publish Date November 01, 2018
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Patient Care    Community    Trauma    GITES

University of Colorado Hospital recognized as Level I Trauma Center

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and the American College of Surgeons have designated UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital a Level I trauma center, making it one of only five hospitals in the state with the highest capabilities for trauma care.


Author Department of Surgery | Publish Date October 12, 2018
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Research    Patient Care    Community

Dr. Schulick to lead CU Cancer Center

Dr. Richard Schulick, Chair of the Department of Surgery, has been named Director of the University of Colorado Cancer Center.


Author Department of Surgery | Publish Date June 29, 2018
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Research    Patient Care    Community

CU Anschutz and GSK Join Forces to Advance Immunotherapies for Cancer

Every year, 14 million people around the world, including 1.7 million Americans, are diagnosed with cancer. One of the major challenges in fighting cancer is to understand and manipulate the response of the body's immune system to cancer cells. Recently, an area that has received growing attention and has shown promise in clinical trials is the use of immune checkpoint inhibitors.


Author Department of Surgery | Publish Date April 02, 2018
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Patient Care    Community

Saving the Life of a Fellow Fan and Friend

A friendship between two couples that began over CU football games ended up saving a life—and leading to the promise of more lives saved in the future.


Author Department of Surgery | Publish Date November 01, 2017
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Research    Patient Care    Community

Vaping and Surgery: What are the Risks?

The health hazards of smoking have been documented for decades, but research on “vaping,” the smoking of electronic cigarettes, is still in its infancy.


Author Department of Surgery | Publish Date January 27, 2017
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Patient Care    Community

Transplant Division Welcomes Wife-Husband Team to Faculty

The Division of Transplant Surgery is pleased to introduce two new faculty members.


Author Department of Surgery | Publish Date October 09, 2016
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Research    Patient Care    Community

Dr. Gene Moore receives SUS Lifetime Achievement Award

The Society of University Surgeons (SUS) has awarded Dr. Ernest "Gene" Moore its prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award. Each year since 2005, the Society has conferred this award on a single surgeon who has made substantial contributions to surgical science over the course of a full career. Previous winners include Frank G. Moody, Ben Eiseman, and Patricia K. Donohoe.


Author Department of Surgery | Publish Date March 22, 2016
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Patient Care    Community

Dr. Tom Robinson appointed Chief of Surgery at VA

The Department of Surgery is pleased to congratulate Thomas Robinson, MD, on his promotion to Chief of Surgery at the Denver Veterans Administration Medical Center.


Author Department of Surgery | Publish Date January 26, 2015
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Research    Patient Care    Community

Jean and Joe Barban Donate Endowed Chair

Joe and Jean Barban were so moved by the care they received at the Anschutz Medical Campus that they were inspired to give back so that others may benefit as well. Their gift of an endowed chair allows CU to recognize top faculty’s talents, hard work and achievements. In turn, the top faculty who hold endowed chairs and professorships elevate the entire university community: attracting other passionate teachers and scholars, igniting students’ curiosity and making ground-breaking discoveries that bring us closer to solving some of the most challenging problems we face today.


Author Department of Surgery | Publish Date April 02, 2014
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Department of Surgery In the News

Legal Reader

Exploding E-cigs are Injuring Unsuspecting Teens, Authorities Warn

news outletLegal Reader
Publish DateJune 02, 2022

Over a four-year period, 15 teenagers sustained injuries from e-cigs that exploded, according to the surgeons who treated some of these patients.

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News Medical

Online Tool Accurately Predicts the Likelihood for Post-Operative ICU Need

news outletNews Medical
Publish DateMay 26, 2022

Recently published research shows that when clinicians input eight pre-operative variables into the Surgical Risk Preoperative Assessment System (SURPAS), the SURPAS model accurately predicts post-operative ICU use across nine surgical specialties.

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MSN

11 Potential Signs You’re Drinking Too Much Water, from Doctors

news outletMSN
Publish DateMay 17, 2022

Health authorities have educated us that drinking enough water is absolutely vital for our bodies to function properly. And it is—unless you drink too much of it.

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News Medical

Research Reveals How a Leaky Gut Leads to Inflammation in the Lungs

news outletNews Medical
Publish DateMay 13, 2022

Why are older adults more likely to get seriously ill or even die from pneumonia? It turns out the cause may have as much to do with the gut as it does with the lungs.

Full Story