Gastrointestinal and Minimally Invasive Surgery


Pediatric gastrointestinal and minimally invasive surgery is a surgical specialty that involves the diagnosis and treatment of children with chronic and acute illnesses in the gastrointestinal tract.

What is it?

Pediatric gastrointestinal and minimally invasive surgery is a surgical specialty focusing on the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and disorders of the gastrointestinal tract. Targeted organs for this specialty include the esophagus, pancreas, gallbladder, and stomach. Minimally invasive surgery is an alternative to traditional surgical procedures, which open larger areas of tissues. Minimally invasive surgical techniques require smaller incisions and have the ability to have shorter recovery times for the patient.

What are the subspecialties?

Common subspecialties of pediatric gastrointestinal and minimally invasive surgery include colorectal disorders, stomach disorders, bowel disorders, nutrition, and bariatric surgery.

What are the commonly associated medical diseases and symptoms?

Commonly associated medical diseases and symptoms that will cause one to seek treatment from a pediatric gastrointestinal and minimally invasive surgery include bowel irritations and disruptions, stomach discomfort, obesity, and hernias. These symptoms can be indicative of small gastrointestinal problems or larger ones.

What are the commonly associated medical procedures?

Common minimally invasive procedures are performed laparoscopically, which involves a fiber-optic instrument called a laparoscope that is inserted into the area of repair. In gastrointestinal surgery, this is common for abdominal procedures and areas within the gastrointestinal tract. Common pediatric gastrointestinal procedures include an appendectomy, which is the removal of the appendix, bowel resection, hernia repair, and splenectomy, which is the removal of the spleen.

Are there any preventative measures I can take?

A child with a nutrient rich, high fiber diet is recommended to reduce the risk of gastrointestinal issues or prevent future gastrointestinal abnormalities. Additionally, diets with reduced intake of red meat combined with good sleep and exercise patterns promote healthy, regular gastrointestinal patterns.

What are the common misconceptions about this specialty?

One misconception is that children immediately recognize when they are having pain or discomfort in regard to gastrointestinal problems. Children may not know how to identify or communicate gastrointestinal problems, making it difficult to find relief. It is the job of a pediatric gastroenterologist to not only provide care in the form of treatment of children’s gastrointestinal abnormalities, but to also care for them and provide support during their discomfort.


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