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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Designated as a Level I trauma program in 1995, the increased volume of trauma has led to the initiation of new protocols and investigational opportunities. The Trauma Program has generated several presentations at national meetings and publications in refereed journals. Dr. Steven Moulton is Director of the Trauma Program.
The Burn Center at The Children's Hospital is the only pediatric burn program in the Rocky Mountain area. Members of the Burn Team regularly participate in national meetings. The Director of the Burn Program is Dr. Steven Moulton.