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Emergency (Acute Care) Surgery

Acute care surgery refers to surgical management of serious, emergency conditions. UC San Diego Health is a national leader in acute surgery.

Surgical emergencies include trauma and acute surgical diseases throughout the body. UC San Diego Health surgeons in the critical care environment make rapid surgical assessment of your condition. That involves prioritizing procedures to best address complex surgical needs. 

The acute surgical care team is involved in following situations:

  • Emergency abdominal surgery, such as removal of the gallbladder or appendix
  • Life threatening surgical infection
  • Acute bowel obstruction
  • Acute hernias

Acute care surgeons and others trained in critical care medicine are sometimes referred to as intensivists.

We work collaboratively with surgeons throughout UC San Diego Health’s surgical specialties, including neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons, plastic surgeons and others, to provide our expertise in critical care situations. Our surgeons, experienced nursing staff and other team members are dedicated to your successful treatment and recovery.

UC San Diego Health concentrates acute surgical care to UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest. We provide coordinated, team-based care from the emergency department, to the Surgical Intensive Care Unit (SICU), to the surgical progressive care unit and through discharge home. We follow you in our weekly clinics until you have recovered or can be managed by your primary care physicians.

Surgical Intensive Care Unit

Your acute surgical care may take place in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit (SICU). At the SICU, we will manage the complex care you need through coordinated multispecialty medical teams. Highly skilled nursing care, advanced monitoring systems and other technologies in the SICU are necessary for critically ill surgical and trauma patients.