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Programs & Services

Pediatric General Surgery

We have board-certified physicians across all our specialties. Our experts are specially trained in surgically correcting many disorders in children and adolescents. For more information on specific conditions, diagnoses and treatments, please click here.

Abdominal Disorders

There are several diseases and conditions that can affect the abdominal area of the body. Since this area contains many vital organs and serves as the center for food digestion, abdominal disorders can be related to the esophagus, pancreas, liver, stomach, intestines, liver or gallbladder. 

Central Venous Lines

Central venous lines are soft plastic or silastic catheters (fine tubes) placed into the large veins of the body that drain directly into the heart. These catheters are used to draw blood and administer medication and nutrition, which could be too irritating to the smaller veins of the arms or the legs.

Some central lines are actually threaded through the smaller veins of the arm or leg and advanced into the larger veins of the chest (so-called PICC lines, or Peripherally Inserted Central Catheters). PICC lines work very well for patients who require an IV for several weeks but cannot be used as long as other central lines. All other central lines are introduced directly into the larger veins of the chest cavity and are usually placed while your child is under anesthesia in the operating room.

Chest Disorders

The chest is the part of the body between your neck and your abdomen. It includes the ribs and breastbone. Inside your chest are several organs, including the heart, lungs and esophagus. The pleura, a large thin sheet of tissue, lines the inside of the chest cavity. There are several disorders that affect the heart, lungs, esophagus and thoracic areas.

The two primary chest wall disorders are pectus excavatum and pectus carinatum. Patients diagnosed with pectus excavatum have a chest that appears sunken, sometimes called “funnel chest,” and can experience symptoms such as exercise intolerance, chest pain, shortness of breath and frequent upper respiratory infections. Pectus carinatum patients have an outward protrusion of the chest wall, and in most cases, the symptoms are minimal.

A third chest wall disorder is slipping rib syndrome. This condition is an uncommon cause of chest and abdominal pain in children as young as 12 years old. It can be difficult to diagnose, even with considerable clinical testing and visual examination.

A subspecialty clinic is available to address pectus excavatum and chest wall anomalies to care for patients diagnosed with irregular configurations of the chest due to abnormally growing rib cartilage. These types of disorders occur in about one in 400 people. Symptoms can be mildly present at birth and may worsen as a child grows.

Gastrostomy Tubes

Gastrostomy tubes are generally used for providing long-term fluid and nutrition for children or adults who cannot take in adequate amounts by mouth. The two most common reasons for G-tubes are dysphagia (difficulty in swallowing) and malnutrition (also called failure to thrive).

The gastrostomy tube is a tube that goes through the skin and tissues of the body wall directly into the stomach. The tube is a convenient way to access the GI tract.

Genitourinary Disorders

Genitourinary is a term used to define the urinary and genital organs. Diseases and conditions that effect the genitourinary area of the body are related to the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. 

Hernias 

Hernias can be quite common in children and adolescents. A hernia is the bulging of an organ or tissue through an abnormal opening. Hernias are caused by a disruption or opening in the fascia, or fibrous tissue, which forms the abdominal wall. It is possible for the bulge associated with a hernia to come and go, but the defect in the tissue will persist.

Neck Disorders

Neck conditions that require surgical intervention typically are related to the parathyroid or thyroid. The parathyroid is a pea-sized gland that makes parathyroid hormone, which helps your body keep the right balance of calcium and phosphorous. The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that makes hormones and controls the rate of many activities in the body.

Prenatal Consultations

Our surgical team offers advanced knowledge and specific skills required to successfully care for patients with certain prenatally diagnosed conditions. For more than 40 years, Phoenix Children’s has been caring for Arizona’s children and has provided comprehensive care to thousands of neonates. Each of our surgeons has extensive training and experience in caring for even the youngest and smallest patients.

Our commitment to exceptional neonatal care begins with an initial family consultation to discuss and formulate an individualized treatment plan. Our surgeons play an integral role in the multidisciplinary teams that these newborn patients and their families need. From delivery through the child’s post-surgical care, we’re available to coordinate and communicate with you and your baby’s specialists.

Skin Lesions

Given that the skin is the largest organ of the human body, there are several conditions that can affect children and adolescents. The skin protects us from microbes and the elements, helps regulate body temperature and permits the sensations of touch, heat and cold. Some skin conditions can be minor and easily resolved. However, others require more extensive intervention depending on their severity.

Trauma

Unfortunately, many children are exposed to traumatic life events. Trauma can include abuse, violence and accidents.

Our experts are specially trained in the surgical intervention for trauma in children and adolescents. As the only ACS-verified Level 1 pediatric trauma center in Arizona, our team is equipped to handle the most severely injured children in the shortest amount of time.

Tumors 

Tumors are lumps of tissue. They form when cells divide and can appear in many different areas throughout the body. Tumors can be benign (not cancerous) and malignant (cancerous). Benign tumors can come back but generally do not spread from their original location. Malignant tumors may spread to other parts of the body. Our experts are specially trained in surgically correcting several types of tumors.

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