Spotlight on Surgical Expertise

Surgery

Surgical excellence stems from experience, and surgeons at Children’s National Health System perform upward of 18,000 procedures annually.

Surgeons at Children’s National have the opportunity to master complicated surgeries, employing the gamut of innovative technologies, which range from leading-edge operating rooms equipped with MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and CT scanners to state-of-the-art, minimally invasive operating rooms, equipped for robot-assisted laparoscopy.

Timothy D. Kane, MD, Chief of the Division of Pediatric General and Thoracic Surgery at Children’s National and the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation, notes that while technological advancements provide improved means for treatment, the unimpeachable talents each provider brings to the table reinforce the system’s capabilities.

World Renowned Surgical Expertise

“Each member of our faculty is a nationally or internationally renowned as an expert,” Dr. Kane says. “When physicians refer their patients here, they know they’re accessing the best of the best. We have assembled an elite group of surgeons, scientists, and academicians to provide the highest standard of pediatric surgical care.”

Importantly, all providers’ talents coalesce to offer collaborative care. This emphasis on cross-disciplinary care is one of the distinguishing qualities of Children’s National, notes Tony Sandler, MD, Senior Vice President and Surgeon-in-Chief of the Joseph E. Robert Jr. Center for Surgical Care, Diane and Norman Bernstein Chair in Pediatric Surgery, and Principal Investigator at the Sheikh Zayed Institute.

“We have a very robust surgical program, comprised of all the subspecialties a facility can have,” Dr. Sandler says. “Our patients profoundly benefit from our ability to include multiple specialists for referral and consultation, and the patients benefit from a level of collaboration that is not available at all institutions.”

The Importance of Anesthesiology

Pediatric anesthesiology is a key component of surgical care. It’s important that anesthesiologists are prepared to handle potential complications even from the most routine illnesses that may arise from the intricacies of pediatric care.

“In some centers, anesthesiologists may put a 70-year-old patient to sleep for heart or lung procedures and then take care of a 12 year old for an appendectomy,” Dr. Kane explains. “There’s a wide range of variability between those ages. Because our anesthesiologists are dedicated to pediatrics, our patients receive consistent, specialized care.”

Easing the Family’s Burden

While their children are in expert hands inside the operating rooms, families waiting outside may be in crisis mode. To address the needs of the entire family, Children’s National employs a support staff to help parents handle the stress of their situations.

Families experience our support network upon arrival. Children undergoing surgery are invited to take a presurgical tour of the facilities with their families.

“From parents’ perspectives, giving their child to someone else, who is going to anesthetize and operate on the child, is a stressful situation,” Dr. Sandler says. “The tour isn’t just for the patient, but the family as well. Giving them the prelude of the experience – the physical appreciation of where they’ll be, what they’ll do, and what to expect – alleviates a great deal of the stress that comes with being in a foreign environment in which they feel they may be losing control.”

Completing the circle of comprehensive, family-centered care, Child Life Specialists help families through stressful situations – dressing changes for burns or preoperative preparation for surgery, for example – acting as a resource for patients and families, answering questions, addressing their needs, and keeping their anxiety level as low as possible.

Find this article and others in Advancing Pediatrics, quarterly publication.

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