Minimally Invasive Surgery

At Children’s National Health System, our surgical team strives to use the least invasive surgical technique possible. Minimally invasive surgery results in less pain and a shorter recovery period for your child. We perform minimally invasive procedures for children of all ages, from newborns to young adults.

Minimally Invasive Surgery at Children’s National: Our Approach

Our team has vast experience in performing minimally invasive procedures. We are constantly working to expand the procedures we can perform using a minimally invasive approach. Features of our program include:

  • Renowned surgeons. Our surgeons are leaders in the field of minimally invasive surgery and are involved in training other pediatric surgeons. We have special expertise in neonatal minimally invasive surgery and can repair complex abnormalities using minimally invasive techniques. Our team also includes pioneers in robotic-assisted surgery for infants, children, and teenagers.
  • Expertise in surgery for newborns. Our depth of experience in neonatal laparoscopic surgery program sets us apart. We have the resources and skills to perform minimally invasive procedures on infants, even those requiring surgery immediately after birth. 
  • Full spectrum of surgery. We are comfortable with all different types of minimally invasive procedures, as well as traditional, open surgery. You can feel confident that we are basing our treatment decision on our vast knowledge and experience. No matter what, we always have your child’s safety and health in mind.

What to Expect During Minimally Invasive Surgery

Every child and every surgery, is different. While your child’s particular experience will depend on his or her age, condition, and type of surgery, here is a general idea of what you can expect. We will:

  1. Administer anesthesia to your child. He or she will be asleep during the entire procedure and not feel any pain. We guarantee 24/7 access to a pediatric anesthesiologist. Learn more about anesthesia at Children’s National.
  2. Make a few small incisions (rather than a large abdominal or chest incision used during traditional surgery).
  3. Insert miniature surgical instruments, such as an endoscope, into the incision. Endoscopes are narrow, thin tubes with a light and camera attached to the end. If we are performing a robotic surgery, we will use the da Vinci® Surgical System.
  4. Perform the surgery.
  5. Remove the instruments and close the incisions.
  6. Transfer your child to one of our dedicated recovery units.
  7. Discuss any postoperative instructions with you before your child’s discharge.

Learn more about surgical endoscopy at Children's National.

Benefits of Minimally Invasive Surgery for Children

A minimally invasive procedure provides many benefits. These include:

  • Less pain
  • Shorter hospitalization
  • Shorter recovery time
  • Less chance of infection and bleeding
  • Smaller scars

While these benefits apply to both adults and children who undergo minimally invasive surgery, there are further benefits for children. Because children’s bodies are small and still developing, minimally invasive procedures provide a safer surgical experience, protecting children’s future growth. With minimally invasive surgery, there is:

  • Less chance of postoperative complications such as bowel obstruction
  • Less risk of spine and back complications, such as scoliosis or shoulder weakness

Minimally Invasive Surgery Research at Children’s National

Our surgical team is never satisfied. It’s not enough for us to use the most advanced minimally invasive procedures today. We also are actively involved in developing the next generation of surgical devices and techniques. Research projects we are working on include:

  • Developing an endoscopic tool to treat pyloric stenosis in babies. This would allow us to perform the procedure endoscopically instead of using an open procedure.
  • Developing a technique to insert a pacemaker in children using a less invasive approach. The goal is to avoid a chest incision by using an endoscopic approach instead.

Family Resources

Our goal is to maximize the quality of our patients’ lives and ease the stress on families. Children’s National provides many family-centered services because we understand that when a child is ill, it affects the entire family.

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Contact Us

For more information, call us at 202-476-2151.

Children's Team

Children's Team

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Children's Locations that Perform this Procedure

Children's Locations that Perform this Procedure

Treatment Service Locations

main hospital

Main Hospital

111 Michigan Avenue, NW
Washington, District of Columbia 20010

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Our Stories

Our Stories

Craig Peters

Craig Peters' Story

Craig Peters, MD, is the chief of Surgical Technology and Translation and Principal Investigator in the bioengineering initiative at the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation.

Rebecca's Story

At only 15-days old, Rebecca would need to undergo surgery to treat intestinal malrotation and volvulus. Find out how Children's team used minimally invasive surgery to treat the infant.

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