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Pediatric Surgical Services Newsletter - December 2021


In this issue:

  • New PICU Opens at Oakland Campus
  • Radiation-free Spine and Posture Assessment
  • Treating Keratoconus with Corneal Cross-linking


New PICU Opens at Oakland Campus

A new, state-of-the-art Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) is fully operational at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland. Opened in September, it marks the completion of the first phase of a 10-year plan to develop new and replacement facilities across the UCSF Benioff Children’s 11-acre Oakland campus.

At 20?,0?00 square feet, the space is four times larger than the former PICU units, and complements the Oakland location’s designation as a Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center.

Each of the 21 private and one double-occupancy patient rooms is equipped with the latest technology to care for the most complex cases, including:

  • Dual booms to accommodate equipment in a fully customizable manner
  • Overhead lifts for safer patient handling
  • In-unit anesthesia capabilities

Every room includes a sleep couch and nightstand to accommodate overnight visitors. A private lounge for parents is also available.

The project was funded through hospital capital improvement funds and philanthropic support from the community.


Radiation-free Spine and Posture Assessment

Dynamic spine and posture analysis without the use of radiation is now available in the orthopaedic surgery department at UCSF Benioff Children’s. The DIERS formetric 4D technology is radiation-free and contactless. It uses surface topography to produce 3D and 4D images of the spine in real time.

Some of the clinical applications for this new dynamic measurement tool include:

  • Adolescent scoliosis
  • Hyper or hypo lordosis
  • Pelvic obliquity, rotation and torsion
  • Posture-related pain symptoms

Incorporating the DIERS into the spine evaluation may reduce the frequency of radiation exposure from X-rays during subsequent clinic visits. Families appreciate the 3D and 4D images of the spine produced by the DIERS machine, compared to the 2D results from Xrays.

For more information about spinal assessment with the DIERS machine, call 1-877-UC CHILD (1-877-822-4453).


Treating Keratoconus with Corneal Cross-linking

Keratoconus is a condition in which the cornea becomes progressively thinned, steep and irregular. The UCSF ophthalmology division offers a minimally invasive treatment for keratoconus, called corneal collagen cross-linking, which slows the progression of the condition.

Corneal cross-linking strengthens collagen fibers in the cornea, thereby making it less susceptible to thinning. The treatment involves:

  • Introducing riboflavin drops to the patient’s cornea
  • Shining a focused beam of UV light at the cornea, which activates the riboflavin to stimulate formation of new collagen bonds

Patients undergoing this treatment have demonstrated stability in their disease progression, thereby avoiding the need for more aggressive intervention such as corneal transplantation.

Call 1-877-UC CHILD (1-877-822-4453) for information about this procedure. Or contact Maanasa Indaram, MD, Medical Director for Pediatric Ophthalmology at UCSF, at