If your child needs pediatric surgery, it’s good to know that Nemours 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) including abdominal wall, chest wall, endocrine system (glands), gastrointestinal tract, lungs, head and neck masses
- 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.
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- Your Child's Surgery Guide (PDF) in English or Spanish: What to expect before, during and right after surgery at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children.
Pediatric surgery is very different from surgery for adults. That’s why our surgical teams at Nemours duPont Pediatrics, Philadelphia, are specially trained in pediatric surgery and pediatric surgical subspecialties to help children of all ages and sizes — from the smallest newborns just entering the world, to teens on the verge of adulthood.
Here at the office, our board-certified, pediatric surgeons will provide your child with expert evaluation and surgical follow-up care.
To give your child the very best treatment, our pediatric surgeons work together as a team with any other specialists that may be involved in your child’s care. We also work closely with the nursing and anesthesiology teams, so everyone involved is well-informed on your child’s behalf. Our goal is to make sure you and your child understand what’s going on every step of the way — and that you’re coping with all of the emotions and stresses you may be feeling.
We also perform surgeries at the downtown Nemours duPont Pediatrics at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, one of the health care providers we collaborate with to make it easy for your child to get Nemours’ quality pediatric care — personalized to your child’s individual needs.
What We Do: Types of Pediatric Surgery and Procedures
Our pediatric surgeons’ areas of expertise range from gastrointestinal diseases (like inflammatory bowel disease) to tumors (like neuroblastoma), from bariatric surgery (to control obesity) to newborn surgery (to repair defects and treat problems like pyloric stenosis, intestinal malrotation, and necrotizing enterocolitis).
We also offer a Neonatal Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation Program (or ECMO). One of the first of its kind in the country, the program gives babies special cardiac (heart) and respiratory (breathing) support.
In general, we offer:
- diagnosis and treatment of pediatric surgical conditions
- minimally invasive surgery, when appropriate (surgeries with smaller incisions resulting in faster healing)
Modern technology makes it possible for our highly skilled Nemours pediatric surgeons to perform certain procedures in a “minimally invasive” way. In other words, some operations typically done with “open surgery” (which requires larger “open” incisions) can be performed using the patient’s natural openings (like the mouth and throat) or through 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
- much smaller scars
Minimally invasive procedures can be performed through either:
- Endoscopy, in which a small lighted telescope is passed through a body opening. The scope can be used 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). So some procedures can be done without any cut at all – and the child can usually be sent home that very same day.
- Laparoscopy, which involves a few half-inch “keyhole” incisions rather than a large open incision, can be used for diagnosis (to figure out what the problem is) and/or treatment (to repair or remove a problem). 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.
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.
What to Expect With Pediatric Surgery
If your child needs surgery, you can trust our pediatric surgical team at Nemours. Our pediatric surgical specialists (surgeons, anesthesiologists and nurses) understand what kids need, psychologically and physically. Our guidebook provides step-by-step instructions and information about what to expect before, during and right after surgery at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children.
Top 10 Things Kids Need to Know About Surgery
Take your child on a pediatric surgery video tour with Sheridan on her surgery day. This fun, kid-friendly video shows children and teens what to expect, step-by-step, if they need an operation at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children.