If your child needs surgery, it’s good to know that our pediatric surgeons and specialized teams are skilled in procedures ranging from routine outpatient surgery to complex inpatient surgeries. Pediatric surgeons perform “general surgery” (also called “pediatric surgery”), which means operations for children on areas of the body other than the “brain, bones, and heart.”
We offer a wide range of surgical services in our advanced pediatric surgery center for kids of any age, from newborns to teens. Some of the common pediatric surgeries our board-certified surgeons perform treat conditions and problems like:
- abnormalities or defects: either congenital (present at birth) or acquired (ones that develop over time) — of the abdominal wall, chest wall, endocrine system (glands), gastrointestinal tract, lungs, head, and neck
- abscesses, lesions, and burns on the skin and soft tissue
- appendicitis: inflammation of the appendix (a small finger-like organ that's attached to the large intestine in the lower right side of the abdomen and is usually accompanied by fever and pain in the lower abdomen and around the belly button that can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation)
- gastrointestinal conditions: such as gastroesophageal reflux, inflammatory bowel disease, and gallbladder disease
- endocrine problems: like thyroid/parathyroid conditions
- hernias: when part of an organ or tissue in the body such as a loop of intestine pushes through an opening or weak spot in a muscle wall
- conditions in infants or newborns — such as pyloric stenosis, intestinal malrotation, intussusception, and necrotizing enterocolitis
- oncology conditions
- obesity: bariatric/lap band surgery
Minimally Invasive Surgical Procedures
In certain cases and at some Nemours locations, our pediatric surgeons are able to offer minimally invasive procedures (including robotic surgery) to diagnose and treat various conditions.
Traditional "open surgery" procedures require larger "open incisions,"
whereas minimally invasive procedures use the patient’s natural openings (like the mouth and throat) or tiny incisions an inch or smaller. And that means shorter hospital stays, quicker recovery times, less pain and discomfort, reduced chance of infection and bleeding, and much smaller scars.
Location: 2nd Floor
Phone: (407) 650-7715
- photo ID
- medical and pharmacy insurance cards
- preferred pharmacy name and phone number
- names and dosage of all medications, including over-the-counter medication, your child is currently taking
- guardianship and custody papers, if a legal guardian rather than a parent accompanies your child
Surgery for children is very different from surgery for adults. That’s why our surgical teams at Nemours Children’s Hospital (NCH) are specially trained to help children of all ages — from newborns just entering the world, to teens on the verge of adulthood.
Bringing New Expertise in Pediatric General & Thoracic Surgery to Central Florida
NCH has attracted world-class pediatric surgeons from top children’s hospitals in the nation. As recognized leaders in their field, each physician shares the spirit of collaboration, research, and education and provides the highest quality of care to Central Florida’s children and families.
Together we’re bringing first-ever programs to the region and offering leading-edge inpatient and outpatient clinical care and treatment currently not offered in our area, including:
- minimally invasive surgery (surgeries with smaller incisions resulting in faster healing) for vascular malformation (and nearly every pediatric condition)
- comprehensive management of intestinal failure
- wound care, including mild to moderate burns
- new procedures to treat aerodigestive disorders (reflux, recurrent pneumonia)
- growing fetal medicine services
We’re completely committed to providing a truly family-centered, whole-child model of care. This means we involve you, the parents, every step of the way – including you in our decision-making and always listening to your thoughts and concerns.
In general, our surgical care team provides:
- diagnosis and advanced surgical treatment for all pediatric conditions in operating rooms that are fully-equipped for minimally invasive procedures
- surgical evaluations in the Nemours pediatric Emergency Department (ED)
- 24-hour neonatal surgery for congenital anomalies in our smallest patients at our Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
What We Do: Types of Pediatric Surgeries and Procedures
NCH brings together a highly trained, interdisciplinary surgical team of pediatric specialists with the expertise to treat a full spectrum of pediatric conditions including gastrointestinal diseases (like inflammatory bowel disease), congenital defects (conditions present at birth), and tumors (like neuroblastoma and Wilm’s tumor).
Our surgeons provide a wide range of surgeries and procedures including cholecystectomy (for gallbladder conditions), Nuss, Ravitch, and bracing procedures (for chest wall deformities), and STEP bowel lengthening technique (for short gut syndrome) using advanced, state-of-the-art thoracic, laparoscopic, and endoscopic technology.
Our number one goal is to use the least invasive surgical procedure available so kids can get back to being kids, sooner – with less pain and discomfort.
Nemours Children’s Hospital has eight operating rooms completely dedicated to performing minimally invasive surgeries for nearly every pediatric condition, such as:
Thoracic Surgery (Thoracoscopy)
- chest wall deformities (Nuss, Ravitch, and non-operative approaches such as bracing using braces customized onsite at NCH)
- diaphragmatic hernias
- tracheoesophageal fistulas
General Surgery (Endoscopy or Laparoscopy)
- anti-reflux disease
- gallstones (cholecystectomy)
- obesity (bariatric surgery)
- inflammatory bowel disease (proctocolectomy, intestinal resection)
Some operations that used to be done with “open surgery” (which requires larger “open” incisions) are now performed in a “minimally invasive” way using patient’s natural openings (like the mouth and throat) or tiny incisions (an inch or smaller).
Minimally invasive surgery refers to:
Endoscopy: a procedure that includes passing a small lighted telescope through a body opening to examine the inside of the body. Instruments can also be passed through the scope to remove small objects such as kidney stones or to take biopsies (when a piece of tissue is obtained for close examination). This means some procedures can be done without any cut at all – and a child can go home the very same day.
Laparoscopy: a procedure that allows us to diagnose and/or repair or treat a problem using one or more small incisions rather than a large open incision. One small incision is used for a tiny camera, which gives the surgeon a magnified view inside the body. The other incisions are used for inserting surgical instruments. The surgeon also inflates the abdomen with gas in order to see the inside of the body more clearly. Laparoscopy is often called “band-aid surgery” because the incisions are small enough that they can be covered with small bandages after surgery instead of a large dressing.
Thoracoscopy: a procedure that helps surgeons diagnose and treat chest conditions. Through small incisions called “ports,” surgeons use cameras and lighted scopes to view inside a patient’s chest cavity and insert instruments to perform procedures. This type of surgery is also referred to as video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery, or VATS.
Basically, whenever you see or hear “oscopy” or “oscopic” at the end of a procedure’s name, it means “use of a scope” and sometimes other instruments to diagnose, inspect, and/or treat a problem.
Minimally invasive surgery offers many benefits, including:
- shorter hospital stays
- quicker recovery times
- less pain and discomfort
- reduced risk of infection and bleeding
- much smaller scars
Nemours surgeons treat congenital anomalies (medical conditions that are present at birth) using advanced minimally invasive procedures for children of all ages, including newborns. Some of the congenital conditions we treat include:
- abdominal wall defects
- anorectal malformations
- diaphragmatic hernias
- intestinal atresia
- lung lesions
- necrotizing enterocolitis
- pyloric stenosis
Our Team Approach to Your Child’s Care
Our pediatric surgeons work together as a team with other Nemours specialists that may be involved in your child’s care (e.g., gastroenterologists, pulmonologists, nutritionists) and you’ll often be able to see many of them all in one location, all on the same day.
Your child’s circle of care will include medical and support providers as well:
- Surgical nurse liaison: keeps you updated about your child’s progress during surgery and makes the process as easy as possible on your family
- Psychologist: helps your child understand and manage emotions before and after surgery
- Child Life specialist: helps your child cope with stress and anxiety through therapeutic play
- Social worker: guides you every step of the way and helps you cope with what’s happening
- Clergy: offers non-denominational spiritual support, hope, and healing
Other Areas of Surgical Excellence
In addition to pediatric general and thoracic surgery, Nemours Children’s Hospital offers surgical expertise in:
Surgical Center of Excellence: Patient Care, Research, and Education
Located in the heart of Lake Nona Medical City, NCH is a dedicated home for science, teaching, and training. Our surgeons (who do not have private practices) are here full-time, developing cures, teaching tomorrow’s leaders in pediatric health care, and bringing the most advanced treatments to bedside, faster.
We’re forming relationships with our Medical City neighbors – and the international medical community – to further groundbreaking advancements in research and education. For example, we’re:
- conducting joint research with Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute to study the role stem cells and gene therapy have in treating wounds (funded by the National Institutes of Health)
- forging academic partnerships with the University of Florida and University of Central Florida colleges of medicine
- bringing in world-renowned pediatric surgical specialists to share their research, knowledge, and expertise with our physicians who are teaching future pediatric specialists
What to Expect If Your Child Needs Surgery
The Nemours Unique Model of Surgical Care
If your child needs surgery, you can trust the highly trained pediatric surgical team at Nemours Children’s Hospital. Our pediatric surgical specialists (surgeons, anesthesiologists, and nurses) understand what kids (and families) need, psychologically, and physically.
Because we truly believe in family-centered care, we invite you (one parent or guardian) to the operating room to be with your child until just after sedation. We also provide our families with a peaceful place to wait (without leaving the surgical floor) in our beautiful rooftop garden.
Before any type of surgical procedure, your child will require a pre-surgical visit. At this visit, you and your child will meet your surgeon, discuss the diagnosis and details of the operation, and get answers to all of your questions or concerns. You may also meet with an anesthesiologist if necessary. We’ll call you before your visit so you know what to bring, like:
- any medications your child is currently taking
- your ID
- insurance and/or Medicaid cards
- proof of guardianship, if applicable
When you arrive for a pre-surgical visit, go directly to the pre-surgical clinic area on the second floor. There, the patient service representative will review and verify your information and insurance. You will also complete a medical history form.
A nurse practitioner will assist with the visit and order any necessary tests. She or he will also inform you about what to expect the day of the surgery, including:
- how your family will be kept updated during the procedure
- when you can expect the doctor to come out and speak with you
- when you can join your child in the recovery room
EmmiKids Programs: Online Educational Videos for Families
At the end of the pre-surgical visit, you and your child may have the option to view an online educational program from EmmiKids about the upcoming surgical procedure and the anesthesia. You can watch these programs at the hospital or you may choose to watch it at home or in your local library. We’ll give you an access code to view the program(s).
The day before surgery, the surgical services staff will call you to check on your child’s health status, give you a time of arrival for the next day, update you on feeding instructions, and answer any questions.
General feeding/drinking instructions are:
No food, milk, formula, or breast milk may be consumed after a specific time (provided by your surgeon) on the day of the surgery. Your child may only have apple juice, Gatorade, water, or Pedialyte up to four hours prior to scheduled surgery time. These are considered “clear liquids.” We ask that you do not substitute other juices. Special Note: Infants 11 months or younger may have breast milk, but only up to six hours prior to surgery.
Suggested items to pack for your child:
- empty baby bottle or cup
- special feeding or suction equipment (if needed)
- favorite stuffed animal and/or blanket
- loose-fitting clothes
- eyeglasses (if needed)
Please remove the following items from your child:
- all jewelry – including earrings
- fingernail polish
- hair accessories
- contact lenses
On the day of surgery, we ask that you be here at the time instructed so your child’s surgery won’t be delayed. We encourage you to allow extra time in your travel plans in case of traffic or unexpected delays.
Parking and Where to Go in the Hospital
When you arrive at the hospital on the day of surgery, you can use our complimentary valet parking, or you can self-park in the garage near the outpatient entrance. Valet services are located at the outpatient entrance and are available Monday - Friday, from 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Once inside the hospital, go straight to the surgical services desk on the second floor. There, the patient service representative will greet you, review your child’s information and insurance status, and check your child in. We’ll give you a case number, as well as a pamphlet with instructions about where to go and what to do during the waiting period. We’ll ask your child to change into a hospital gown and will then check vital signs: temperature, pulse, blood pressure, and weight.
Just Before Surgery
While waiting for surgery, your child can play in our colorful, relaxing surgical commons area featuring many interactive games and activities to help reduce anxiety and pass the time. We also have a “toy store” where your child or teen can choose from a variety of gifts like stuffed animals, ball caps, and electronic items to keep.
When it’s close to the time for surgery, we’ll escort you and your child to a holding area, where you’ll meet the anesthesiologist and operating room nurse. As part of our unique family-centered model of care, our anesthesiologists may allow one parent to accompany your child to the operating room and stay until just after the anesthesia is administered.
You’ll be asked to stay in the surgical waiting area while your child is in the operating room. A nurse liaison or a trained volunteer will keep you updated during the procedure. If you need to leave the area for any reason, please inform a staff member.
After surgery, your child’s surgeon will come out to discuss the procedure and answer any questions you may have. We’ll inform you as soon as you can join your child in the recovery area or “wake up” room.
Patients must be fully awake before discharge. You should plan to stay in the recovery area for at least one hour (or longer, depending on your child). It’s very common for children to experience nausea and/or vomiting just after surgery, and also have a flushed face. We’ll offer clear liquids to drink when your child is ready. If your child will be admitted to the hospital after surgery, you’ll be given instructions ahead of time.
Once your child is ready for discharge, a nurse will review instructions with you regarding diet, wound care, medication, activity, and when your child should return to see the doctor. You may also be given prescriptions.
- a fever of more than 101 degrees Fahrenheit
- persistent nausea or vomiting
- severe pain that’s not relieved by prescribed medication
- excessive bleeding from an incision
A nurse will call to check on your child’s recovery and to address any questions or concerns. We’re committed to making your child’s surgical visit as pleasant and safe as possible – before, during, and after the procedure.
A Hospital Designed by Families, for Families
At Nemours Children’s Hospital, family-centered care is at the heart of everything we do. In fact, families helped shape the unique amenities and convenient services that make our hospital like no other in the region.
You’ll feel right at home in one of our private patient rooms designed with input from families who understand what it’s like to have a child in the hospital.
Our large, comfortable, single-patient rooms have sleeping accommodations for parents, a private bathroom, wireless internet access, connections for DVD players and game systems, and flat-screen TVs. Other in-room features include:
- full floor-to-ceiling windows for natural light
- LED lighting controls for patients to “paint” the room with color
- refrigerator for family meals and snacks
- wardrobe storage for personal items and a hotel-style safe
- GetWellNetwork interactive television, uniquely based on your child’s age, medical condition and more, so your child can watch TV, surf the web, check e-mail, play music and games, and learn about your Nemours health care team
We have many more comforts and amenities, like:
- complimentary valet and parking
- kid-friendly commons areas for siblings
- cafe & coffee shop
- gift shop
- non-denominational chapel
- concierge services
If your child needs medical imaging, we offer some of the area’s most advanced pediatric radiology services here on campus at Nemours Children’s Hospital.
Our unique services include:
- interventional radiology: Our team of experts uses image-guidance to diagnose and treat diseases and tumors throughout the body. Certain conditions that previously required open surgery can now be treated by Nemours pediatric interventional radiologists. We are very fortunate to have the only dual-trained pediatric diagnostic and interventional radiologist in the state.
- neuroradiological, cardiovascular, and fetal MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) imaging: Our subspecialty-trained pediatric radiologists see children with complex conditions who require this highly specialized imaging.
- Central Florida’s only 256-slice Brilliance iCT Scanner: We are one of only a handful of children’s hospitals in the country to have this latest generation CAT (or CT) scanner that scans faster than most machines and produces excellent images in a much shorter time with much less radiation exposure for the child.
Our team of board-certified pediatric radiologists and pediatric radiologic technologists are experts in the safe medical imaging of children of every age, even newborns.
We have also pledged our commitment to the “Image Gently” campaign of the Alliance for Radiation Safety in Pediatric Imaging, which is increasing awareness of the opportunities to promote radiation protection in the imaging of children.
If your child has a complex or chronic condition, we encourage you to take advantage of KidsTRACK, a unique service of Nemours Children’s Hospital. Located on the first floor of our hospital, KidsTRACK is designed to help families cope by providing expert assistance and information on all aspects of your child’s care even before you leave our hospital or clinic.
A KidsTRACK care coordinator is available during every step of diagnosis, treatment and healing —helping your family make a smooth transition from Nemours Children's Hospital to home. Your coordinator works alongside the nursing /case managers in our subspecialty areas and acts as a single point of contact connecting you to medical and community resources. Simply ask your physician for a referral to KidsTRACK or call (407) 650-7715.