At Children’s Hospital of Greenville Health System (GHS), there is a growing team of surgeons who specialize in performing operations on children. There are general pediatric surgeons, pediatric urologists, pediatric orthopedic surgeons, a pediatric otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat doctor), a pediatric neurosurgeon and a pediatric ophthalmologist (eye doctor). Offering advanced pediatric surgical services in a child-friendly environment, the GHS pediatric surgeons draw patients from upstate and midlands South Carolina as well as parts of northeast Georgia and southwest North Carolina.
The Children’s Hospital – Department of Pediatrics is composed of 4 surgeons with extensive (over 70 years combined) experience in general pediatric surgery. The conditions treated by our surgeons are truly general, from the head to the feet, from neonates to 18 years or beyond. The conditions range from congenital to oncologic (cancer) to trauma, in all areas of the body other than the brain and heart.
Supported by the Children’s Hospital, there are all the appropriate support staff and sub-specialty pediatricians in a child-friendly environment.
For more information or to refer a patient, call Children’s Hospital at (864) 455-8860.
General Pediatric Surgery
Pediatric Surgery is a broad field, treating a full spectrum of surgical diseases in children ranging from newborns to age 18 and beyond. These conditions include congenital lesions, cancer and trauma to mention a few, but hernias and appendicitis top the list.
“Sending a child to a hospital that offers pediatric-oriented surgical care makes the procedure a safer and more pleasant experience for the child and the family.” John Chandler, MD, FACS, FAAP, Senior Medical Director for Pediatric Surgical Services
Dr. Chandler and the other pediatric surgeons of Children’s Hospital have trained specifically to work with children. In addition, there are five pediatric anesthesiologists on staff at GHS and numerous pediatric subspecialists to evaluate and treat children. This training is important as there are conditions in children which adult doctors may not see much of or may not understand how it is different in a child. Consider that appendicitis presents in both the adult and pediatric population, but that children are more likely to experience a perforation, or that most pediatric blunt abdominal trauma patients can be observed closely without having to go to the operating room.
A Minimally Invasive Approach
Children’s Hospital surgeons are dedicated to using the least invasive methods on their patients to minimize recovery time, pain and scarring. Surgical scarring is a particularly important issue in the care of adolescents whose self-esteem can be greatly affected by cosmetic results. A full spectrum of laparoscopic (abdominal) and thoracoscopic (chest) procedures are performed at GHS Children’s Hospital.
Now retired from clinical activity but remaining active in research, Michael Gauderer, MD, FACS, FAAP, is a nationally- and internationally-recognized pioneer in minimally invasive surgical techniques. Nearly 25 years ago he conceived and developed the percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) procedure that is now the standard for gastric access worldwide. He has published a technique for treating pyloric stenosis (thickened muscle at the stomach outlet) that is not only less invasive but also safer than some of the traditional approaches. He also fine-tuned an individualized approach to appendectomy to help ensure that patients receive the least-invasive option suitable for their circumstances.
Pectus excavatum (“sunken chest”) is also amenable to a minimally invasive technique. Pediatric surgeons Robert Gates, James Green and Charles Hartin have adopted and stream-lined the procedure, reducing the pain, discomfort, time in hospital and time to full recovery for these patients.
Surgical Oncology (Cancer Care)
GHS Children’s Hospital has a robust cancer service and the pediatric surgeons are frequently members of the team of any given patient, whether to biopsy or resect a tumor or to provide long-term intravenous access by placing a port or Broviac catheter. Team communication is enhanced by bi-weekly meetings of the Pediatric Tumor Board.
In October 2007, Children’s Hospital boosted its capability to treat children with brain tumors with the addition of Christopher Troup, MD. To help support a growing caseload, fellowship-trained pediatric neuro-oncologist Nichole Bryant, MD was brought in as well.
Trauma is the leading cause of death and disability in the pediatric population. Efforts at the Children’s Hospital to reduce that include honing the skills of the team caring for the injured child, reviewing cases to seek opportunities for improvement and participating in injury prevention outreach programs with the community.
In addition to the Brain Tumor program mentioned above, Children’s Hospital holds a spasticity clinic involving neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons, neurologists and physiatrist. There is a tremendous population of children with cerebral palsy and spasticity in the Upstate, and there has previously not been an opportunity to see multiple specialists the same day in the same location.
“We’re in the process of creating a pediatric neuroscience program unlike anything else in the Upstate.” Christ Troup, MD, pediatric neurosurgeon
Children’s Hospital supports treatment of both chronic and acute orthopedic problems. GHS pediatric orthopedic surgeons Michael Beckish and Christopher Bray treat basic and complex fractures as well as perform corrective procedures for clubfoot, scoliosis and sports-related injuries, including those with symptoms of sports overuse.
“We treat any patient under age 18 who has an orthopedic condition.” Michael Beckish, MD, Director of Pediatric Orthopedic Surgery
The team’s surgical expertise and comprehensive pediatric orthopedic surgery services draw patients from Greenville, Asheville, Columbia and areas throughout the region. The physicians see patients who present for emergency orthopedic care at Children’s Hospital, which has its own entrance separate from the adult Emergency Department. On average, the Division of Pediatric Orthopedic Surgery has 110 outptient visits per week, 200 inpatient consults annually and 300 operations are performed per year. They collaborate closely with the infectious disease physicians for an increasing number of cases of myelitis (bone infection).
Greenville has been fortunate to have a growing Pediatric Urology service. J. Lynn Teague MD, MHA, FAAP came to the Children’s Hospital in 2005 and was joined by Regina Norris, MD a few years later. In addition to providing care for kidney stones, hydronephrosis and bladder problems, Drs. Teague and Norris perform reconstruction for congenital abnormalities such as hypospadias and undescended testes.
“I see a growing demand for pediatric urology services in the Upstate and beyond.” J. Lynn Teague, MD, MHA, FAAP, Medical Director for Pediatric Urology
In addition to the caseload at Children’s Hospital, they also staff clinics in Spartanburg and at Shriners’ Hospital for Children, Greenville Unit. At Shriners’ they treat children with urinary incontinence and other urologic problems commonly associated with spinal cord defects such as spina bifida.
Pediatric Otolaryngology (Head and Neck or ENT Surgery)
Pediatric ENT surgery consists of much more than inserting tubes into patients’ ears or removing tonsils. Nate Alexander, MD, pediatric ENT, also performs endoscopic sinus procedures on children, evaluates voice or vocal problems and recommend treatments. He also helps with obstructive airway problems, such as tracheostomy or tracheal reconstruction. He also removes benign and malignant tumors of the neck and face and cares for pediatric facial trauma. Dr. Alexander also performs cochlear implants for certain forms of deafness.
Children’s Hospital has also added a craniofacial surgeon, Dr. Cart Debrux, a plastic surgeon trained to treat both adults and children with structural abnormalities. While plastic surgeons have been and will continue to treat cleft lips and palates , this specialist is helping us to expand to see more of a complete range of craniofacial problems.
Research and Education
The faculty of Children’s Hospital is known for its active role in research and clinical trials.
Students and residents from both Surgery and Pediatrics play important roles in providing surgical care at Children’s Hospital. While it is clearly a beneficial learning experience for them, they are an advantage when participating in a child’s care. These trainees can provide more individual attention and ask provoking questions.
“The residents are really an integral part of the practice,” says Dr. Becksish. “They help with inpatient and outpatient evaluations, provide treatments and assist with surgical management. It is a valuable part of their education and offers our patients even better care.”
Dr. Chandler concurs. “We offer an academic setting with high-quality physicians, some of the top people in the state and nation. GHS is growing continuously, and the standard of care continues to improve.”
For more information about our Pediatric Surgical Services, or to refer a patient, call the Children’s Hospital at (864) 455-8860.