Recently, Marc Levitt, M.D., colorectal and pelvic reconstructive surgeon, joined our Children’s National Hospital community to lead our new, highly-specialized colorectal surgery program. This program will be the first in the mid-Atlantic region to fully integrate surgery, urology, gynecology and gastroenterology into one cohesive program for children. Dr. Levitt is an internationally recognized expert in the surgical care and treatment of pediatric colorectal disorders. He has performed over 10,000 surgeries to address a wide spectrum of problems involving the colon and rectum – more than any other full-time practicing pediatric surgeon in the world.
Dr. Levitt went to medical school in New York, where he intended to specialize in surgery. “When I was growing up, I would always be the one to fix things. If my mom had a broken vase, all of the pieces would be sitting on the kitchen table with some glue, and I would know what I had to do. So I always really liked the idea of surgery,” recalls Dr. Levitt. “While I was in medical school, I really liked my pediatrics rotation. I actually became frustrated because I wanted to do both surgery and pediatrics. When I learned that there was a pediatric surgery specialty, I knew that was what I wanted to do.”
While in medical school, Dr. Levitt took an elective in pediatric colorectal surgery. “My taking that class started me on the 25 year journey that brought me to where I am today,” he explains. “When I was in school, I quickly realized that partnering with other doctors in various specialties was going to be the key to providing my patients with quality care.”
This realization led to Dr. Levitt dedicating his career to the development of pediatric colorectal centers at various institutions across the country. “Pediatric colorectal surgery takes care of very rare cases,” says Dr. Levitt. “There are very few hospitals that have dedicated pediatric colorectal centers. A center concept for the care of these children was unique.”
Dr. Levitt is now helping to bring this concept to Washington, D.C. “In the 25 years that I’ve been passionate about helping children with colorectal and pelvic conditions, I’ve learned that collaborative and integrated programs are the best way to care for them,” he says. “With the broad range of expertise at Children’s National, including the nation’s best NICU, superb urology, gynecology, GI motility, neurosurgery and orthopedics already in place, I am confident that colorectal patients will get better, integrated care faster and more effectively here than anywhere else in the world.”
The program provides diagnosis and treatment for every type of colorectal disorder occurring in infants, children and adolescents, from the most common to the most complex. These conditions include anorectal malformations (imperforate anus), Hirschsprung disease, severe constipation/motility disorders, and fecal/urinary incontinence associated with spina bifida. Every necessary specialty is integrated into the program in one convenient location to provide seamless care for all colon and rectum conditions.
“Every child receives a customized treatment plan to address his or her unique needs,” Dr. Levitt says about the program. “Additionally, our surgeons often combine complex procedures across specialties to reduce the number of surgeries a child requires. It isn’t unusual for us to include urology, gynecology and gastroenterology teams in the operating room alongside the colorectal surgeons so multiple issues can be addressed in a single procedure – we know that when possible, fewer surgeries are always better for the child.”
The program already has 300 referrals across 18 states and 14 countries. “We’re absolutely thrilled to welcome Dr. Marc Levitt and launch the comprehensive colorectal program under his expert leadership,” says Anthony Sandler, M.D., surgeon-in-chief and vice president of the Joseph E. Robert, Jr., Center for Surgical Care at Children’s National. “There are few in the world that can provide the expertise and leadership in colorectal diagnoses and treatment that Marc brings with him to Children’s. Many children and families from the region and from around the world will benefit from his expertise and from the program in general.”
Welcome to Children’s National, Dr. Levitt!