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Pediatric Surgery Clinical Services

Pediatric surgeons treat children for a wide variety of congenital, infectious, traumatic, and other specialized problems. An increasing number of cases are being performed laparoscopically or thoracoscopically with minimally invasive surgical techniques. 

The majority of services provided by the faculty in this Division are performed at The Children’s Hospital (TCH). In addition to services at the main campus and 5 satellite locations, the faculty provides neonatal surgical support to the University Hospital and pediatric surgical support to the Denver Health Medical Center and Saint Joseph’s Hospital. The surgeons of the Division of Pediatric Surgery are the only group in Colorado who perform the Nuss procedure for pectus excavatum. The division chair, Frederick Karrer, is also the pediatric transplant surgeon for liver and kidney, and the leader in treatment of pediatric hepatobiliary disease (biliary atresia). The trauma director and the other faculty have a strong commitment to pediatric trauma care.

Minimally Invasive Surgery

Laparoscopy and thoracoscopy are now utilized for diagnoses as well as treatment of many standard pediatric surgery diagnoses. These include appendicitis, cholelithiasis, gastroesophageal reflux, lung lesions, Hirschsprung’s disease, chest wall deformities, splenic pathology, and tumors. These techniques are being requested and applied more and more because of the advantages of reduced recovery time, shorter hospital stays, less discomfort, smaller scars, and in some cases lower costs.

Hepatobiliary Surgery

The Liver Center (a joint program between Gastroenterology and Surgery) serves as a large referral population of children with liver and bile duct diseases. The Liver Center serves as a regional center for care of children with biliary atresia, choledochal cyst and other liver diseases. All of the liver transplant recipients are also followed in the liver center clinic.

Oncology Surgery

TCH is a regional referral site for treatment of pediatric cancer. Pediatric Surgery, in cooperation with Oncology, provides surgical care for infants and children with cancer, including surgical resection of tumors of the neck, chest, abdomen, and extremities, as well as placement of hundreds of lines and ports for intravenous access for chemotherapy.

Neonatal Surgery

Neonatal surgery is a vital area for training and education in pediatric surgery. TCH is a regional referral center for infants with respiratory problems, particularly those infants with pulmonary hypertension, requiring cutting-edge therapies such as high-frequency ventilation, nitric oxide, and ECMO.

Bowel Management Program

The Colorectal/Bowel Management Program at TCH was established in early 2006. It is the only pediatric colorectal program in the western United States and is affiliated with the Colorectal Center at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital directed by Dr. Alberto Pena and Dr. Marc Levitt. The Colorectal Program offers a broad scope of treatment for patients with anorectal malformations. The treatment options include surgical revision for children with poor outcomes, ACE procedures, urologic and medical evaluation and management, and an intensive week of bowel management training. Dr. John Bealer is the interim director of the program, and instruction and support of families is provided by a dedicated Nurse Practitioner.

Transplant Program

The Liver and Kidney Transplant Programs were established in 1990. They are the only pediatric liver and kidney transplant program in the Rocky Mountain region, and this is a fertile area of new clinical investigation. A new option for transplant recipients is living-related liver transplantation. Living-related kidney donation is facilitated by the addition of minimally invasive donor nephrectomy.

Trauma Program

Children’s Hospital Colorado is verified by the American College of Surgeons and the State of Colorado as a Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center. We serve a large geographic area extending south from the Canadian border through Montana, Wyoming, North and South Dakota, Western Nebraska, Kansas, and the entire state of Colorado.

As a tertiary and quaternary referral center, Children’s provides comprehensive trauma care for the most complex pediatric injuries. This care begins at the time of initial contact with our transfer center (720-777-8838), which coordinates two-way communication between pre-hospital/referring hospital providers and our emergency-medicine physicians and trauma surgeons. This allows us to anticipate each patient’s unique needs prior to his or her arrival.

Pediatric trauma care at Children’s Hospital Colorado is provided by a multidisciplinary group composed of pediatric surgeons, sub-specialty surgeons, medical specialists, nurses, physical and occupational therapists, nutritionists, and rehabilitation specialists. Dr. Steven Moulton is Director of the Trauma Program.

See more info on the Trauma Program on the Children’s Hospital website.

Burn Program

Children’s Hospital Colorado is home to the only pediatric burn center in a seven-state region. Our burn team includes burn surgeons, specially trained nurses, physical and occupational therapists who specialize in the care of burn-injured children, child life specialists, a psychologist, nutritionists, and social workers.

Our focus, as a team, is to provide comprehensive burn care for children with all types of burn injuries, from very small superficial burns of the hands or face that heal on their own to very large, deep burns that require surgical management. Burn care at Children’s Hospital Colorado extends beyond the physical healing to include psychosocial support. Support programs include school reentry, burn camps, and community engagement through our outreach efforts and juvenile fire-setting program. This work would not be possible without the philanthropic support of multiple donors and partner organizations, including Schomp Automotive, Denver Fire Fighters Burn Foundation, Hot Times Kool Cars, and the Colorado Firefighter Calendar group. The Director of the Burn Program is Dr. Steven Moulton.

See more info on the Burn Program on the Children’s Hospital website.