Fall 2004

Little People, Little Incisions

Although first developed for adults, minimally invasive surgery perhaps finds its most apt use in pediatrics. Pediatric surgeons can use small instruments to successfully perform complex, fine procedures that would require much larger incisions if performed directly by human hands. The smaller tissue disturbance also can lead to faster recovery times.

UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital is recognized around the world for pioneering the use of laparoscopic surgery in the womb environment, both on the fetus and -- in the case of twin-twin transfusion syndrome -- the placenta. But UCSF also has pioneered many laparoscopic techniques for other, more common, pediatric procedures.

Hanmin Lee, M.D.

"We are committed to helping our little patients, and one of the ways to do this is to use the smallest incisions possible," says Dr. Hanmin Lee, director of the Fetal Treatment Center Laboratory and director of Minimally Invasive Pediatric Surgery at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital. "Our motto is, "Little people, little incisions." There truly is nothing more gratifying than watching a child recover from a potentially devastating congenital anomaly or acquired illness, and go on to lead a perfectly normal life. It is an honor to be involved in such a noble profession, and our group takes our responsibilities towards providing the best possible patient care very seriously."

Lee and his colleagues -- Dr. Diana Farmer, Dr. Kerilyn Nobuhara and Dr. Michael Harrison -- are experts in the minimally invasive repair of various pediatric anomalies, including inguinal hernias, imperforate anus and Hirschsprung's disease, removal of lung masses, spleen diseases, thymic diseases, complex biliary anomalies, pectus excavatum, esophageal atresia and tracheoesophageal fistula. The UCSF group was the first from the United States to report laparoscopic repair of biliary atresia. These and other pioneering efforts keep their group at the forefront of pediatric surgery.

"People send us patients from all over the world and we also teach courses for both fetal surgery and minimally invasive pediatric surgery," Lee says.

The minimally invasive pediatric surgeons can be contacted at (415) 476-2538.

Related Information

News Releases

UCSF Medical Center Moves Up to No. 6 in Nation
In pediatric care, UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital is No. 11, making it the highest-ranked pediatric center in California, according to the "America's Best Hospitals" ranking by U.S. News & World Report. This year, UCSF Medical Center moved up a spot to tie at sixth.

UCSF to Benefit from Children's Hospital Bond Measure
UC officials are heartened by voter approval of Proposition 61, the children's hospital bond measure, that authorizes $750 million in general obligation bonds for grants to children's hospitals. Each of the five UC children's hospitals are eligible for $30 million, which adds up to 20 percent of total funding from the proposition.

Institute of Medicine Elects Six
UCSF Faculty

Dr. Philip D. Darney, an obstetrician and gynecologist, and Nancy S. Padian, director of international research for the AIDS Research Institute and associate director of research for Global Health Sciences -- both professors of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at UCSF -- were elected in October to the Institute of Medicine, along with four UCSF colleagues.