The Penn State Health Children’s Hospital Approach to Pediatric Surgery

Sometimes your child may be born with a disease (congenital) or develop a health problem (acquired) that may require surgery. Our pediatric surgery team at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital is here to help. We use the latest techniques to treat a broad range of diagnoses from routine to highly complex. 

Pediatric Surgeons

Our pediatric surgeons are experienced in many types of children’s surgeries. Our areas of special expertise include:

  • Neonatal surgery (surgery in premature babies and newborns)
  • Pediatric thoracic surgery (surgery between the neck and abdomen)
  • Pediatric surgical oncology (cancer surgery)
  • Pediatric minimally invasive surgery (surgery using smaller instruments and incisions)
  • Prenatal diagnosis and treatment (when there is a problem with the baby’s development during pregnancy)
  • Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) (a pump that circulates blood through an artificial lung then back into the body of a very sick baby)
  • Management of pediatric colorectal problems including anorectal malformations, Hirschsprung disease, inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis) and severe constipation
  • Management of enteric feeding tubes (G-tubes, GJ-tubes)
  • Intestinal rehabilitation for patients with short bowel syndrome and related problems requiring long-term intravenous feeding (Total Parenteral Nutrition or TPN)
  • Pediatric trauma (life-threatening injuries)
  • Pediatric injury prevention
  • Pediatric surgical innovation (software and device development)
  • Pediatric surgery global health care initiatives

Team Approach to Care

Your child will have a caring team of experts before, during and after surgery. Our pediatric surgeons work with other team members who are also specially trained to care for infants, children and teens, including:

  • Anesthesiologists (doctors who keep patients safe and pain-free during surgery)
  • Nurses and nurse practitioners (advanced nurses who can write prescriptions)
  • Dieticians
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Our Experts in Pediatric Surgery Care

The experts at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital are committed to providing our pediatric patients with comprehensive and multidisciplinary care.

Why Choose Penn State Health Children's Hospital for Care?

Penn State Health Children’s Hospital has earned special recognition from the American College of Surgeons (ACS) for providing excellent surgical care. Our hospital is one of eight in the nation and the only one in Pennsylvania to be named a Level 1 Children’s Surgery Center as part of the ACS’s Children’s Surgery Verification Program.

Read Ramiah's story

After spending her first 13 months in the hospital, Ramiah is going home for the first time. Ramiah had an extremely rare developmental abnormality called tracheal agenesis: she was born without a trachea, or windpipe.

Conditions Treated

Our pediatric surgeons treat many common surgical conditions, including:

  • Abscesses requiring surgical drainage
  • Anorectal malformations (imperforate anus and related problems)
  • Appendicitis
  • Chest wall deformities, including pectus excavatum (sunken chest) and pectus carinatum (protruding chest)
  • Circumcision (revision of infant circumcision)
  • Gallbladder disease (poor function, stone disease)
  • Gastrostomy (enteric tube placement)
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) (surgical treatment)
  • Hernia problems in children (inguinal hernia, hydrocele, umbilical hernia and epigastric hernia)
  • Hirschsprung disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis)
  • Pilonidal disease (pilonidal sinus, pilonidal abscess)
  • Pyloric stenosis
  • Tethered lingual frenulum, ankyloglossia, "tongue-tied"
  • Undescended testicle, labial fusion
  • Vascular access (ports, tunneled catheters)

Our pediatric surgeons also have special expertise in treating the following conditions:

  • Biliary atresia (a rare disease of the liver and bile ducts in infants)
  • Biliary dyskinesia (a gallbladder problem where bile does not empty from the gallbladder properly)
  • Choledochal cyst (a cyst in the bile ducts)
  • Congenital diaphragmatic hernia (abdominal organs move into the chest through a hole in the diaphragm)
  • Duodenal /Intestinal atresia (when the intestine isn’t formed completely)
  • Empyema (pus around the lung, usually caused by pneumonia or chest trauma)
  • Esophageal atresia (when a baby is born without part of the esophagus, the tube that connects the throat to the stomach)
  • Foreign bodies of the airway/esophagus (when a child breathes in or swallows something that doesn’t belong)
  • Gastroschisis (when a baby’s intestines stick out of the body through a hole next to the belly button)
  • Intestinal obstruction (blocked bowel)
  • Intussusception (when one part of the bowel slides into another part, causing a blockage)
  • Liver tumors
  • Lumps and Bumps (lymph nodes, neck masses, skin lesions)
  • Lung malformations (when a baby is born with lung problems resulting from the abnormal development of the lung, including CPAM, CLO, sequestration)
  • Malrotation of the intestine (twisted intestines)
  • Meckel’s diverticulum (when a baby is born with a pouch or bulge in part of the small intestine)
  • Meconium ileus (blocked bowel caused by extra thick, sticky meconium, the material within the infants intestine)
  • Necrotizing enterocolitis (when a premature baby’s intestine is injured or begins to die off, causing infection or a hole in the intestine)
  • Neuroblastoma (a cancer that usually starts in the adrenal glands or nearby in the abdomen)
  • Omphalocele (when a baby’s intestines or other organs form outside of the body because of a hole in the belly button)
  • Sarcomas (a cancer in soft tissues, such as fat cells, nerves, muscles, blood vessels and other connective tissues)
  • Teratoma (when a baby is born with a tumor made up of different kinds of tissue)
  • Vascular and lymphatic malformations (when a baby is born with problems in the veins, lymph vessels or both)
  • Wilms tumor (a cancer that starts in the kidneys)

Support Groups

Support groups provide children and their families an opportunity to connect with others in similar situations. Learn more about the support groups offered at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital.

View All Support Groups

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