At Children’s National Health System, our expert surgical team has the resources and experience to perform surgery on even the smallest patients. We use laparoscopy, a minimally invasive surgical technique, for infants born with a defect or abnormality.
Neonatal Laparoscopic Surgery at Children’s National
Our fetal medicine team may have diagnosed your baby with an abnormality during the pregnancy. You may be anxious and concerned about what will happen after the birth. We will work with you during your pregnancy to educate you about the next steps. Learn more about our Fetal Medicine Program.
We also may diagnose your child soon after birth. No matter when you come to us, we are ready to begin immediate intervention and treatment.
Features of our neonatal laparoscopic surgery program include:
- Unique expertise. Our high volume and wide range of laparoscopic surgeries set us apart from other facilities. We perform procedures at our hospital that no one else in the region is performing.
- Full spectrum of care. We work with families during pregnancy, to diagnose abnormalities and to set up a care plan for after the baby is born. Our team of pediatric specialists, from fetal medicine physicians to neonatal surgeons, is ready and prepared to provide the services your baby needs.
- Collaborative care. We work with specialists across many departments to ensure your baby receives the comprehensive, expert care he or she needs. We constantly consult and collaborate with each other, combining every member’s expertise to make the best recommendations for care and next steps.
- Protecting your baby’s growth. Our commitment to laparoscopic procedures in babies is about more than just a small scar. Minimally invasive surgeries offer your child the best chance for optimal results and long-term health.
Laparoscopic Surgery for Newborns: What to Expect
While every surgery differs, based on your child’s age, condition, and specific procedure, here is a general idea of what you can expect. We will:
- Administer anesthesia to your child, who will be asleep during the procedure and not feel any pain. We guarantee 24/7 access to a pediatric anesthesiologist. Learn more about anesthesia at Children’s National.
- Make several small incisions (instead of a large, open incision).
- Insert miniature instruments and a camera into the incisions.
- Perform the surgery, using a nearby monitor to see high-resolution, detailed images of the operating site.
- Remove the instruments and close the incisions.
- Transfer your child to one of our recovery units.
Benefits of Laparoscopic Surgery for Newborns
There are many advantages to laparoscopic surgery, a type of minimally invasive procedure. Benefits include less pain, shorter recovery, and smaller scar. However, for infants, the benefits go beyond that. Laparoscopic surgery is often better for your baby’s long-term health and development:
- Avoid postoperative complications. Performing a procedure without a large abdominal incision helps avoid postoperative bowel obstructions. Approximately 15 percent of babies who undergo open procedures return to the hospital with a bowel obstruction. For babies who undergo a laparoscopic procedure, the number is close to zero.
- Decreased risk of upper body complications. If we need to operate on the chest wall, a large chest incision increases your child’s risk for developing scoliosis or shoulder girdle weakness. This risk decreases dramatically if we use a minimally invasive procedure, since we do not have to open up the chest. Learn more about minimally invasive chest wall defects surgery.
We are committed to using the least invasive procedure possible. However, keep in mind that our team always has your child’s health and best outcome in mind. Sometimes, we may decide that a traditional, open approach will lead to a better result. No matter what approach we choose, our surgeons have the skills and experience to provide a safe, effective surgery.
For more information, call us at 202-476-2151.