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Specialty Programs

Cook Children's handles many childhood surgical conditions, including:

  • Congenital malformations of the abdomen and chest
  • Head and neck masses (thyroglossal duct cysts, enlarged lymph nodes, branchial anomalies, thyroid masses and torticollis)
  • Abdominal/gastrointestinal (appendicitis, gallbladder disease, gastroesophageal reflux, hernias, intestinal and anorectal disorders)
  • Genitourinary (circumcisions, hernias, undescended testes, torsion of ovary or teste, varicocele)
  • Thoracic (chest wall deformities, diaphragmatic hernias, hyperhidrosis and empyema)
  • Tumors and malignancies
  • Pectus excavatum and pectus carinatum
  • Thoroscopy and laparoscopy

What is "minimally invasive" surgery?

Many procedures can be performed with minimally invasive techniques, including laparoscopy and thoracoscopy.

"My daughter needs to undergo a surgical procedure, and the doctor has recommended "minimally invasive" surgery. What type of surgery is this? Will it be as safe – and effective – as standard surgery?" - Julie

Minimally invasive surgery is becoming more and more common in hospitals. These procedures are performed through tiny incisions instead of one large opening. Because the incisions are small, patients tend to have quicker recovery times and less discomfort than with conventional surgery – all with the same benefits.

During a minimally invasive procedure, surgeons make several small incisions in the skin – just a few millimeters, in some cases. A long, thin telescope with a miniature camera attached at the end (called an endoscope) is passed through one of the incisions. Small instruments are passed through the other openings to perform the procedure.

Images from the endoscope are projected onto monitors in the operating room so that surgeons can get a clear (and magnified) view of the surgical area. By using special instruments, surgeons are able to explore, remove, or repair what is wrong inside the body.

In some cases, a patient might be scheduled for a minimally invasive procedure, but after getting a view inside the body the surgeon might have to "convert" the procedure to an open (conventional) surgery. This may be because the problem or the anatomy is different from what the surgeon expected and a different technique is needed.

Minimally invasive surgery means less tissue is affected, so patients have less chance of infection. They also lose less blood, feel less pain, and have less scarring.

Not all procedures can (or should) be done through minimally invasive methods. Your doctor will explain the type of procedure that is best for your child. Be sure to ask about the possible risks associated with any procedure, as well as the potential benefits.

We're here to help.

If your child requires surgery, you probably have lots of questions. We can help. If you would like to speak to our staff, please call our offices at 682-885-7080.