Our Clinical Advantage

The University of Michigan Department of Surgery is one of the oldest departments of its kind in the country. Since 1849, we’ve been healing patients with a blend of Midwestern compassion and nationally renowned clinical expertise.

Michigan surgeons invented transhiatal esophagectomy, the Greenfield filter for pulmonary embolism treatment, and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), an advanced life-support technology.

We’re proud of our history, and where we’re going. Today, we treat more than 16,000 surgical cases a year, bringing to bear the combined knowledge and experience of over 100 faculty physicians across more than 20 specialties.

Here’s a snapshot of our strengths in clinical care.

World-Class Care

The Department of Surgery serves as a referral center for every county in the state of Michigan, and families frequently travel from out of state to seek treatment here.

In particular, our strengths in cancer care, fetal surgery, burn treatment, and solid organ transplant set us apart for their multidisciplinary and innovative approach.

Nationally, we’re ranked in the top 5 for the quality of our clinical care, a fact that demonstrates the strengths we draw from our position within Michigan Medicine. Our academic medical center is ranked first by U.S. News & World Report in the state, and has received straight-A grades in patient safety from Leapfrog Group.

Because of the breadth of the talent and resources of Michigan Medicine and its nearly 2,000 faculty, we’re able to offer a caliber of care found only in a high-volume academic medical center.

Advancing Knowledge Through Research

Beyond the OR, Department of Surgery faculty draw on deep strengths in medical research to synthesize the most effective and tested approaches.

Collaborations nationally and globally inform and enrich our understanding of novel treatments, while extending the reach of this life-saving knowledge.

Some of our recent advances:

  • Beginning the first human clinical trials of new drugs to target stem cells that trigger the growth and spread of pancreatic cancer.
  • Using advanced imaging to better understand the development of heterotopic ossification, a musculoskeletal disorder that can affect victims of trauma, including as many as 65% of severely injured veterans.
  • Understanding the molecular mechanisms that explain how bariatric surgical procedures can lead to profound weight loss and improvement in diabetes.
  • Developing methods for a large-scale multimedia coaching program to improve technical skills among practicing surgeons, ultimately improving outcomes for patients.

Unique Medical Talent

Seven of our surgeons have been inducted into the Institute of Medicine, the highest honor bestowed on physicians in the U.S. No other surgery department in the country has as many. Michigan surgeons are recognized pacesetters in their specialties, serving as leaders of national surgical associations and writing textbooks used by thousands of trainees.

They also appear each year among the Best Doctors in America, a list compiled by fellow physicians to recognize the top 5% of doctors in the country.

As one measure of Michigan surgeons’ lasting impact, our department holds more than 100 patents in domains as diverse as biotechnology, diagnostic tools, medical appliances, and pharmaceuticals.

Learn More

Surgical Specialties

Explore the breadth of expertise in our 7 sections

Research & Innovation

See the impact we’re making on the wider field of medicine