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Skilled Surgery: Specialized Capabilities for the Tiniest of Patients to Teens

June 24, 2020

Rare tumors, birth defects, injuries and disease – the surgeons your child needs are at Goryeb, close to home

When a child from infancy to early adulthood needs surgery, pediatric specialists at Goryeb Children’s Hospital offer a broad range of care. For a newborn’s tiny body, a teen’s growing bones and every child in between, a team of surgeons offers the training, experience and advanced techniques they need.  

“Our surgeons use minimally invasive techniques wherever appropriate, and perform diagnostic and surgical treatment of the head, neck, chest, abdomen and spine. A full range of endoscopic, laparoscopic and thoracoscopic services are also available,” says Walter D. Rosenfeld, MD

Our surgeons use minimally invasive techniques wherever appropriate and perform diagnostic and surgical treatment of the head, neck, chest, abdomen and spine. A full range of endoscopic, laparoscopic and thoracoscopic services are also available.”

– Walter D. Rosenfeld, MD, Chair of Pediatrics, Children’s Health and Goryeb Children’s Hospital


 No Child Is Too Tiny 

One of the most recent advances at Goryeb is special laparoscopy techniques for ever-smaller children. (See the “Moments” story about baby Bryce.) This allows surgeons to use smaller incisions, or cuts, compared to some types of surgery, and gives them exceptional control over tiny tools. 

“With our equipment and training, no child is too tiny to give them the advantages these techniques offer,” says Jennifer Murphy, MD, a pediatric surgeon for Atlantic Medical Group who has special expertise in these techniques. 

Other advances at Goryeb involve robot-assisted devices for children’s surgery.

“We’re fortunate to have a team of pediatric physicians, nurses and operating room staff dedicated to robotic urology,” says Michaella Prasad, MD, pediatric urologist for Goryeb. She’s a specialist in the urinary tract system, including the kidneys, genitals and testicles. “We’re often working in a space that’s only about the width of a pencil, and it can’t be overstated how important this team and their experience are for our patients.”

Pediatric Specialists Working Together

For many children and their families, it’s finding a broad range of specialists in one location that offers other important benefits.

“When infants through teens need orthopedic, or bone surgery, for example, their care can be complicated,” says Bensen Fan, MD, a Goryeb specialist in orthopedic surgery for children. “We consult regularly with pediatric specialists in neurology (nerves), breathing, genetics and many other areas. It’s clear to me that everyone here is working toward what’s best for each child.” 

We consult regularly with pediatric specialists in neurology (nerves), breathing, genetics and many other areas.”

– Bensen Fan, MD, Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon


Some of the Most Advanced Care in the Country

That teamwork and specialization in pediatric care is important, too, for children with cancer. For example, there are only a handful of centers in the country where specialists solely practice surgery for cancer that is in or starts in the bone, muscle and other soft tissues, says James C. Wittig, MD, chairman and medical director of orthopedic surgery, orthopedic oncology and sarcoma (cancer) surgery for Morristown Medical Center.

“We are one of those highly specialized centers,” he says, “and we’re bringing new treatments to our patients to save more lives as well as patients’ arms and legs, and reduce scarring, pain, risk of infection, and even the need for future surgery.”

For example, for a child who needs part of a bone in the leg removed due to cancer, one exciting advancement is a device Dr. Wittig implants in the leg, which adjusts as the child grows.

"We gradually increase it in length during a simple office visit, to keep the legs the same length,” he says. Otherwise, the child might need a dozen additional surgeries over his lifetime to accomplish the same thing. Besides Goryeb, a very limited number of other hospitals offer it today.

Atlantic Health System’s pediatric specialists offer some of the very latest procedures in spine care, too. One example is a new technique, called tethering, that holds huge promise for patients with severe scoliosis, or curvature of the spine, says Jason Lowenstein, MD, director of the Scoliosis & Spinal Deformity Center for Morristown Medical Center. He recently became one of the first 75 surgeons in the nation to learn this technique.
“This is a big advancement, and it’s exciting that our patients can benefit from it,” he says.

For One Time or a Lifetime

Many children at Goryeb who need surgery return home after treatment, fully cured and healed. Some need ongoing care for months or years. Others, like those with multiple sclerosis, need care for a lifetime. At Atlantic Health System, the team of pediatric specialists ensures each child has the best care possible, and the best quality of life.