General Surgery

Bruce Schirmer, MD (middle), Division Chief, General Surgery

The Division of General Surgery at the University of Virginia currently includes seven full time attending surgeons with training representing the entire spectrum of surgical experience. All faculty members have full-time appointments to the University of Virginia with adjunct teaching appointments to the Salem Veterans Administration Hospital in Salem, Virginia.

All members of the Division actively engage in the academic mission of the Department of Surgery – clinical excellence, teaching and research. Members of the Division of General Surgery have won Medical School and University Teaching Awards, received NIH grant support, and have spoken at national and international symposiums on a wide range of topics.  All members of the Division of General Surgery are either American Board of Surgery diplomates or are Board eligible. Dr.  Bruce Schirmer has served as a Director of the American Board of Surgery and several others serve on advisory committees to the Board and to the American College of Surgeons. Several have leadership positions in national surgical societies.

The faculty members in the Division of General Surgery are fully responsible for the clinical care and disposition of their patients. Additionally, the academic mission places strong emphasis on resident exposure in the operating room, clinics and in the research setting. To that end, the Division of General Surgery strongly believes that the Resident is a supervised colleague of the faculty member. All faculty members work to increase the individual resident’s sense of responsibility in the workup and ultimate disposition in patient care. Surgical cases and clinic exposure to patients are supervised by attending faculty members. As such, the resident who obtains the level of Chief Resident has excellent credentials in patient management, clinical understanding of disease processess, as well as a background in research in a specialized area. All members of the Division of General Surgery are actively involved in resident teaching conferences and case presentations.

In the Division of General Surgery, the average caseload for an attending surgeon exceeds 300 major procedures a year. Each attending has one or two clinics per week. Chief Residents head four surgery teams and each team has an active schedule which usually includes three operating days and two clinic days. The fifth Chief Resident heads the surgical service at the Salem VA Hospital. A Fourth Year Resident currently serves as a Chief Resident at Augusta Medical Center in Fishersville, Virginia.

The University of Virginia Hospital has continued to expand its operating capacity and now has 29 major operating rooms, of which six are used by the General Surgery Division. Ambulatory surgery is performed in 6 operating rooms in the free-standing Outpatient Surgery Center. Clinics are available in the Cancer Center, Digestive Health Center and, Primary Care Building.  Research laboratories are available in the MR4 facilities and allows ample research space for funded members of the Department.

Residency Program

The General Surgery Program at the University of Virginia offers a unique commitment to the residents through a rigorous clinical experience, dedicated research and a structured curriculum.s

Colorectal Surgery

Photo: UVA Health patient consultationThe Colon and Rectal Surgery Service exists within the Department of Surgery provides comprehensive care for patients suffering from surgical diseases of the colon and rectum. Specifically, it provides up-to-date diagnostic and therapeutic service for patients with colorectal cancer, including sphincter saving approaches and adjuvant therapy, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, diverticular disease, rectal prolapse, anal sphincter injury, and a wide variety of benign anorectal conditions including hemorrhoids, fissures, and fistula-in-ano. Additionally, the service provides complete diagnostic and therapeutic colonoscopy, as well as laparoscopic colon surgery, robotic surgery and transanal endoscopic microsurgery (TEM). State of the art ostomy care is also available from Certified Enterostomal Therapists.

The service also provides a full range of educational opportunities for physicians, nurses, and patients regarding the treatment of colorectal disease, and is active in the recruitment of patients in up to date clinical protocols for the treatment of colorectal disease.

For questions about the Colon and Rectal Surgery Service at the University of Virginia, or for patient referrals, please call: 434-243-9970.

frielandhedrickCharles Friel, MD, Chief

Dr. Charles Friel joined the Colorectal Surgical Service in 2001.During this time, he has worked closely with the Division of Gastroenterology in the Department of Medicine, to provide a wide range of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures for patients with colorectal diseases.   These procedures take advantage of a wide range of collaboration in endoscopy, laparoscopic and open colon resection procedures, as well as evaluation of patients of all ages with inflammatory bowel disease, anorectal problems and bowel malignancies. Dr. Friel and his partner, Dr. Traci Hedrick, work closely with the UVA Digestive Disease Center of Excellence which has been a vital collaboration for the Section of Colorectal Surgery. Currently, Dr. Friel performs over 300 major procedures and over 100 endoscopics each year with the Surgical Residents. This experience more than doubles the minimum requirements by the American Board of Surgery.  Dr. Friel also serves as the Program Director for the Surgery residency training program.

Charles Friel, MD, FACS, FACRS
Professor of Surgery
Office: (434) 243-9970
cmf2x@virginia.edu


Traci Hedrick, M.D.

Dr. Hedrick completed her General Surgery Residency at the University of Virginia in 2009.  She went on to complete a Colorectal Fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania in 2010 and then returned to UVA in Charlottesville to join Dr. Friel.  Dr. Hedrick has been a recognized leader in bringing to UVA minimally invasive techniques and clinical protocol for decreasing the length of stay for colorectal patients.  She is nationally and internationally known for her role in developing ERAS (Early Recover After Surgery). The ERAS protocols have improved outcomes and shortened lengths of hospital stay for our general surgery patients as well as patients in other divisions.

Traci L. Hedrick, MD, FACS, FACRS
Associate Professor of Surgery
Office: (434) 243-2670
th8q@virginia.edu


Sook Hoang, M.D.

Dr. Hoang completed her internship and general surgery training at the University of Massachusetts and a subspecialty fellowship in colon and rectal surgery at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University in Providence, RI. She is double board certified in General Surgery and in Colon and Rectal Surgery.  Sr. Hoang specializes in the treatment of all colon and rectal surgery conditions including colon and rectal cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, and fecal incontinence, specializing in minimally invasive approaches including laparoscopy.

Sook Hoang, MD
Assistant Professor of Surgery
Office: (434) 243-9970
sh7je@virginia.edu


Nurse Practitioners

Robert Rowell, RN, ANP
Office: (434) 243-9970
email: rer5v@virginia.edu

Connie Roberts, RN, MSN, ANP
Office: (434) 243-9970
email: clr2h@virginia.edu

 

Laparoscopic Surgery

laproscopic surgery being performedThe Laparoscopic Surgery Group at the University of Virginia provides a complete and full range of laparoscopic surgical services for those operations often done elsewhere by a large abdominal incision. Complete diagnostic and therapeutic services for the surgical problem are provided, as is the appropriate recommendation for operations via a laparoscopic approach where this approach offers potential benefit.

Laparoscopic surgery has been shown to cause less post-operative pain, allows for a faster discharge from the hospital, more rapid return to normal activities, avoids the large, painful incision for “open” abdominal operations with smaller permanent scars. Most patients have now heard of laparoscopic removal of the gallbladder, but some still confuse the term “laser surgery” with “laparoscopic” surgery. In laparoscopic surgery, lasers are usually not used (they usually are not needed) but instead the operation is done by passing the instruments through small tubes into the abdominal cavity. A telescope is passed through one of the tubes to allow visualization of the operation.

GenSurg1Laparoscopic surgery is an essential part of clinical training in General Surgery. Dr. Bruce Schirmer is a nationally recognized laparoscopic surgeon who introduced the modern techniques of laparoscopic cholecystectomy to UVA in 1990.  He is a past President of SAGES.  Since then, thousands of laparoscopic procedures have been done by UVA faculty and residents.  Surgical residents are exposed to laparoscopic approaches to appendectomy, colectomy, gastrectomy, pancreatectomy, hepatic resection, adrenalectomy, donor nephrectomy for transplantation, as well as bariatric procedures.  Resident case loads in these advanced procedures easily exceed three times the required volume suggested by the American Board of Surgery.

A Laparoscopic Fellowship was initiated in 1999 and has been extremely successful.  This Fellow has served as a Clinical Instructor during their Fellowship year and, as such, participates fully as care and resident teaching.

  • Cholecystectomy (gall bladder removal)
  • Bile duct operation
  • Liver biopsy
  • Diagnostic laparoscopy
  • Closure and treatment for perforated ulcers and other ulcer problems including vagotomy (both truncal and highly selective), intestinal obstruction -conditions requiring removal of part of the stomach, (either cutting scar tissue or intestinal bypass if needed) conditions requiring removal of a piece of the intestine,
  • Conditions requiring removal of part or all of the colon (colectomy)
  • Operations to treat pancreatitis and its complications or pancreatic tumors
  • Operations to remove the spleen
  • Operations to remove one or both adrenal glands
  • Weight reduction operations
  • Operations to remove a section of the liver or to treat liver cysts
  • Operations to create or reverse colostomies
  • Operations to treat rectal prolapse
  • Inguinal hernia repair
  • Abdominal wall hernia repair
  • Feeding jejunostomy
  • Donor nephrectomy for living related kidney transplantation

The Laparoscopy Institute of Virginia provides surgeons and their assisting health care personnel a setting for further instruction and “hands on” training in laparoscopic techniques and procedures. Individual instruction to maximize teaching efficiency is available, as is small group instruction. Interested individuals should call (434)924-2520.

Charles M. Friel, MD
Professor of Surgery
Office: (434) 243-9970
Email: cmf2x@virginia.edu
Bruce D. Schirmer, M.D., FACS
Professor of Surgery
Office: (434) 924-2104
Email: bs@virginia.edu
Peter T. Hallowell, M.D.
Associate Professor of Surgery
Office: (434) 243-4811
Email: pth2f@virginia.edu
Traci Hedrick, M.D. Assistant Professor of SurgeryOffice: (434) 243-9970
Email: th8q@virginia.edu
Sook Hoang, MD
Assistant Professor of Surgery
Office: (434) 243-9970
Email: sh7je@virginia.edu
Hernia Surgery

The General Surgery Service is capable of dealing with and receiving referrals for hernias of all types and clinical presentations. The capability of employing laparoscopic approach to such hernia problems as recurrent inguinal hernias, recurrent incisional hernias, abdominal wall hernias, diaphragmatic hernias, and parastomal hernias is provided. The use of primary or mesh repair is also provided by the General Surgery Group. Dr. Hallowell also sees patients with sports hernias.

The General Surgery Service provides a full range of educational opportunities for physicians, nurses and patients in the treatment and evaluation of patients throughout the entire spectrum of hernia disease. This group is active in recruiting the patients for up-to-date clinical protocols and treatment of hernia problems

Peter T. Hallowell, MD
Associate Professor of Surgery
Office: (434) 243-4811
Email: pth2f@virginia.edu
Bruce D. Schirmer, MD, FACS
Professor of Surgery
Office: (434) 924-2104
Email: bs@virginia.edu
Charles Friel, MD, FACS
Professor of Surgery
Office: (434) 243-9970
Email: cmf2x@virginia.edu
Traci Hedrick, MD
Associate Professor of Surgery
Office: (434) 243-9970
Email: th8q@virginia.edu
Sook Hoang, MD
Assistant Professor of Surgery
Office: (434) 243-9970
Email: sh7je@virginia.edu