A Better Approach to Surgery for Kids

Since it began in 2001, the minimally invasive surgery program at the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital has received recognition worldwide for improving surgery for children and adolescents. In many cases, minimally invasive surgery is the best surgical solution because it causes as little disruption as possible to a child’s body.

Minimally invasive surgery requires smaller instruments and fewer incisions than traditional surgical methods. Children heal faster and have fewer visible signs of their procedures. In most cases, minimally invasive surgery preserves the opportunity for children to resume their favorite activities, regain normal range of motion and even have children of their own one day. Not everyone thinks that far into your child’s future — but our pediatric surgeons do.

Minimally invasive surgery offers advantages over conventional surgery:

  • Less injury to tissue
  • Less post-operative pain
  • Reduced blood loss
  • Less scarring for body-conscious adolescents
  • Shorter hospital stays
  • Faster recovery and return to normal activities

Surgeons perform minimally invasive surgeries through small ports inserted through keyhole-size incisions in the chest (thoracoscopy) or abdomen (laparoscopy). A micro camera called an endoscope is placed through the ports and gives the surgeon a high definition picture inside the body. Other instruments adapted for a child’s body, with tips the size of a pen, enable surgeons to complete the procedure. This method is in stark contrast to open surgery where a long incision is made, much healthy tissue is destroyed and recovery is longer and more painful.

For surgeons, becoming proficient at minimally invasive techniques means acquiring new surgical skills and thinking about pediatric problems in an entirely different way. Pediatric general surgeons at Comer Children’s have performed thousands of minimally invasive procedures with excellent results for their young patients.

The field of minimally invasive surgery is rapidly changing and holds even greater future promise for improved pediatric surgery. Families are welcome to discuss the minimally invasive approach with their child’s surgeon. When it is in your child’s best interests, your surgeon will also present the possibility.