Division of General, Acute Care, Trauma and Burn Surgery

Surgeons in the Division of General, Acute Care, Trauma and Burn Surgery offer a full spectrum of highly specialized care using the least invasive procedures for both elective and emergent surgeries. This year, our General, Acute Care and Burn Surgeries saw a dramatic rise in surgical volume, with significantly more robotic and innovative burn surgeries.


The South Carolina Burn Center serves as a regional referral center, offering leading-edge treatments using state of the art equipment, techniques and technologies. Nationally known researcher Steven Kahn, M.D., chief of Burn Surgery, leads the talented team of burn care specialists to provide comprehensive care for adults and children. The center recently hired burn surgeon Deepak Ozhathil, M.D., who completed fellowship training at the University of Texas Medical Branch and Shriners Children’s Texas. This year, the center made an important leap forward as the first U.S. center reported to successfully use a novel combination of two revolutionary products in a minimally invasive skin graft procedure. Patients undergoing treatment using Nexobrid® (an enzyme to remove burn wounds) and Recell® (a skin cell spray) together are less likely to need a skin graft. And, if they do need a graft, it’s about a third of the size. The less invasive treatment reduces risks of complications, and patients recover quicker with less pain and scarring. The burn program also opened a comprehensive laser scar management program for pediatric and adult burn survivors. A unique, advanced laser is used to deliver immunomodulator medications that thin out scars, make them less noticeable, improve range of motion, and decrease symptoms - such as pain and itch, dramatically improving quality of life after injury.


The partnership with Intuitive Surgical and five new state-of-the-art da Vinci XI robots created opportunities to expand robotic access for emergency cases 24/7. Spearheaded by Bruce Crookes, M.D., launching the robotics program for emergency and trauma surgery at MUSC Health involved gaining institutional support, training surgical team members and staff, and collaborating with the Intuitive representative to provide quick acceleration. Crookes, along with his partners Stephen Fann, M.D. and  Heather Evans, M.D., MS, were able to get the program up and running within a short period of time. No longer reserved for elective surgery, the team is using robotic surgery for emergency cases to provide better care with reduced pain, quicker recovery, and less time in the hospital. In a busy Level 1 Trauma Center, shorter stays not only provide a cost saving to the patient, it also frees up space for another patient in need of care. In addition to improved patient care and reduced costs, our surgical residents and critical care fellows are gaining experience with the robot in emergent cases.


Evert Eriksson, M.D., trauma medical director and expert on chest wall injuries, leads the Rib Fracture Clinic at MUSC Health. The clinic treats patients suffering from chronic rib pain, including slipped ribs and non-healing ribs. The multidisciplinary team provides a complete continuum of care, offering diagnostics, testing and treatment options, including pain management, physical therapy and a highly-innovative rib fixation surgery. The new rib fixation technology uses a titanium plate and minimally invasive techniques to enable rib stabilization, leading to better respiration, lower rates of ventilator usage, decreased length of stay in the ICU and, ultimately, a return to normal activities. Recognized for surgical excellence in rib fixation throughout the Southeast, this year the clinic visits grew by 320% and referrals have come from as far away as NY, Texas and Indiana. Improving access to care, 58% of visits were performed via telemedicine .A renowned researcher in chest wall injuries, Eriksson serves on the national research committee for the Chest Wall Injury Society and was the MUSC Health Principal Investigator on a multi-centered clinical trial for rib fixation.


South Carolina has the 4th highest rate of firearm homicide in the United States, and for every individual that dies from a firearm assault, another 4-5 survive. Survivors of firearm injuries are not only likely to face adverse psychological, health and social outcomes, they are more likely to experience ongoing violence. The new MUSC Turning the Tide Violence Intervention Program, spearheaded by trauma surgeon Ashley Hink, M.D. MPH, is the first hospital-based violence intervention program in South Carolina that provides direct services through intensive support, mentorship, case management and community outreach to reduce risks of violence and promote recovery for victims and their families. Hink, an expert on firearm injuries and violence, leads a dedicated staff of violence intervention advocates who serve as a support system that extends beyond the patient’s care at MUSC. The new program serves youths and young adult victims of primarily community firearm violence.

“Transitioning into my clinical role was the relatively easy part of becoming a new faculty member. Being a public health researcher with a focus on firearm violence and implementing violence prevention programs - in South Carolina - is an incredible challenge, but also phenomenally rewarding. Having the support from the MUSC Department of Surgery has been vital to successfully take on the challenge and provoke meaningful change for our hospital, patients and community.”

-Ashley Hink, M.D., MPH, Assistant Professor General Surgery Residency, class of 2018