Nationwide Children’s Hospital Surgical Services is one of the largest children’s surgical programs in the world. We are dedicated to clinical excellence, generation of new knowledge through research and the training of the next generation of leaders in children’s surgery. Under the umbrella of a unified program, 10 surgical departments share a common mission, philosophy and approach to patient care.

Because of our unified team approach to children’s surgery, we are in a position to collaborate and innovate in ways that are very special. Our multidisciplinary approach to patient care enables us to treat complex patients collaboratively and without barriers.
R. Lawrence Moss, MD
Surgeon-in-Chief at Nationwide Children’s Hospital

Our central focus is the well-being of the child and the family. With unrivaled clinical care across our specialties, we are breaking new ground. For example, our institution has led the world in the discovery that childhood appendicitis can often be successfully treated without surgery. We have created a new process for evaluating and preventing surgical complications that has become a national standard adopted by many other children’s surgery programs. We are the only institution implanting tissue engineered blood vessels into human infants with congenital heart defects. We recently celebrated more than 1,000 days without a surgical site infection for orthopedic spinal fusions. We were able to accomplish all these things through a focus on quality and commitment to our strategic plan. All members of the team, from the surgeon to the anesthesiologist to the dentist and nurse are trained and dedicated to maximizing patient care and safety.

We are a high-volume center with over 90 children’s specialty surgeons. And we are continually growing in size, scope and volume. With our new surgical departments Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology and Abdominal Transplantation, we are expanding the services offered to patients and their families.

Expanding Research

In the last five years, the surgical research program has grown to become a world-class model of clinical and translational research. Surgeon-scientists are breaking new ground and developing new innovations to improve the lives of children everywhere. Surgical research at Nationwide Children’s is fully integrated into The Research Institute, a top 10 National Institutes of Health-funded research institution.

“We have an amazing synergy happening in research at Nationwide Children’s,” says Christopher Breuer, MD, pediatric surgeon, director of Surgical Research and principal investigator in the Center for Cardiovascular Research in The Research Institute. “We have expert clinicians, innovative researchers, resources and institutional support, which all together are enabling us to accomplish great things.”

From tissue engineering to the non-operative management of appendicitis, surgical research at Nationwide Children’s is committed to looking at old treatments in new ways. We’re also looking to improve how research is done. A recent study by Katherine J. Deans, MD, and Peter C. Minneci, MD, pediatric surgeons, co-directors of the Center for Surgical Outcomes Research and principal investigators in the Center for Innovation in Pediatric Practice in The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s, addresses stakeholder involvement in clinical trial participation and retention.

Our researchers are using advanced technology to influence the future of surgery through research. By applying high-performance computing to the field of otolaryngology, a team of researchers is developing a simulation environment for teaching surgical techniques related to the temporal bone. Through the Epilepsy Research Program, a team of neurosurgeons and neurologists is working to develop numerous studies including mathematical modeling of EEG changes, an epilepsy surgery database and an algorithm for analyzing histopathology samples from surgery. In the Department of Urology, surgeons and researchers are working together using DNA analysis to evaluate how the body’s microbiome changes as children age, and how the microbiome responds to urinary tract infections.

Preparing Future Surgeons

We are teaching tomorrow’s surgeons. Teaching them the skills they will need to advance the field of surgery and influence care across the world. Nationwide Children’s Department of Surgery offers 15 surgical subspecialty fellowships in nearly every specialty and includes a highly respected pediatric dentistry residency. Integration with The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s, one of the top NIH-funded free-standing pediatric research institutions, offers a top-rated education to residents and fellows. Our mission to help kids everywhere fuels our prioritization of academic and clinical education.

As a destination for children’s surgical education, we have the resources, opportunity and obligation to make a difference for all children. We expect our graduates to carry our commitment to excellence to all corners of the world.
R. Lawrence Moss, MD
Surgeon-in-Chief at Nationwide Children’s Hospital
Collaboration for Success

Collaboration is at the core of what we do. With 45 interdisciplinary programs involving surgery at Nationwide Children’s, working together is just part of who we are. This interdisciplinary collaboration results in more innovation and ultimately better outcomes for our patients. Some procedures require the teamwork of specialists in different areas — for example, separating conjoined twins.

In September 2015, a multidisciplinary team with specialists from Pediatric Surgery, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Neurosurgery and Colorectal Surgery successfully separated conjoined twins Acen and Apio.

“Every part of this superb team was essential to the success of the separation surgery,” says Gail Besner, MD, chief of Pediatric Surgery and lead surgeon for the twins. “We had the opportunity to take two patients who would never have been able to have a normal life as they were before and make them into two separate individuals who, I expect, will have healthy and normal lives.”

The 22q Center is another example of collaboration and innovation across the institution. As experts in 22q.11.2 deletion syndrome, we are positioned to provide diagnosis and early intervention services to optimize care and deliver best outcomes for every child. Through the 22q Center, led by the Section of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, multidisciplinary, family-centered care spanning surgery, orthodontics, pediatric dentistry, psychosocial considerations and others are offered to patients and their families. Given the wide spectrum of medical, developmental and psychological needs of patients with 22q.11.2 deletion syndrome, our individualized and comprehensive approach affords each child the opportunity to reach his or her full potential.

Our interdisciplinary clinical programs are mirrored by collaborations in research that encompass the entire institution. Whether in the operating room or in the laboratory, our surgeons, clinicians and researchers are working together to bring the best possible outcomes to children everywhere.