Fizan Abdullah, MD, PhD

Attending Physician, Pediatric Surgery

Professor of Surgery, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

More information. Offering Telemedicine Visits:


Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago

225 E. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, Illinois 60611

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Additional Information

Dr. Abdullah is a recognized leader in the field of pediatric surgery, a world renowned authority on minimally invasive surgery and chest wall deformities and a pioneer and thought leader in the arena of health services research and surgical quality improvement.

He joined Lurie Children’s after spending a decade at Johns Hopkins Medicine as a pediatric surgeon, a physician-scientist and an educator.

Dr. Abdullah’s clinical areas of expertise include neonatal surgery, pulmonary and upper airway malformations, congenital diaphragmatic hernia, abdominal wall defects, esophageal and gastrointestinal anomalies, among others.

As an academician, Dr. Abdullah has devoted much of his research to studying systemic predictors that influence the quality and safety of surgical care, affect patient outcomes and have the potential to reduce complications, length of stay and cost of care. He has published more than 100 peer-reviewed research articles.

Dr. Abdullah has an interest in global health and disparities stemming from access to surgical care. He is a founding member of the Board of Directors of the G4 Alliance, an advocacy organization dedicated to catalyzing systemic changes on a global scale to improve the availability of surgical, obstetric, trauma and anesthesia care in underserved and impoverished areas of the world, as part of universal health coverage.

Recently, Dr. Abdullah led the American Pediatric Surgical Association (APSA) national working group charged with developing evidence-based standards and practice guidelines. He was appointed to the combined Task Force for Children’s Surgical Care, a multi-organizational effort charged with defining and setting system requirements needed for the delivery of safe, reliable and quality surgical care to children across the United States.

Dr. Abdullah is a Senior Member and past Director of the American Board of Surgery (ABS), an organization designed to improve the safety of surgical care by assessing the technical qualifications of individual providers and granting board certifications to surgeons. Dr. Abdullah is also a past Director of ABS’ Board of Pediatric Surgery, which grants certifications to U.S. pediatric surgeons. 

Philosophy: Surgical Care Doesn’t Begin Nor End in the Operating Room

Dr. Abdullah believes that delivering the safest, most appropriate and timeliest surgical care is predicated on a variety of factors outside of the operating room. Surgical care should begin long before patients enter the OR, and last well after they leave it.

This is why, as a surgical leader and a scientist, Dr. Abdullah is focused on fostering a culture of innovation and discovery that occur at the intersection of clinic, lab, bedside and public health. He is dedicated to ensuring that pediatric surgeons are not merely treating the diseases they encounter in the operating room, but also working actively to unravel the basic mechanisms that cause them, as well as identify the systemic factors that influence the quality of care patients receive and how well they fare thereafter. 

Conditions Treated

  • Hirschsprung’s disease
  • Hernia (umbilical,  inguinal)
  • Congenital diaphragmatic hernia
  • Undescended testicle
  • Appendicitis
  • Abdominal wall defects—gastroschisis and omphalocele
  • Pyloric stenosis
  • Intussusception (intestinal obstruction, intestinal telescoping)
  • CPAM (congenital pulmonary airway malformation)​
  • Branchial cleft cyst
  • Necrotizing enterocolitis (newborn intestinal necrosis)
  • Chronic constipation
  • Ovarian cryopreservation
  • Breast lumps in children
  • Chest wall deformities including pectus excavatum (sunken) and pectus carinatum (pigeon chest)
  • Abnormal ribs
  • Extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO)
  • Pediatric trauma​ 

Procedures Performed 

  • Thorascopic Nuss procedure for pectus excavatum
  • Abdominal and alimentary tract surgeries
  • Bowel surgery
  • Mesenteric cyst and mesenteric tumor resection
  • Breast surgery
  • Pancreatic surgery
  • Retroperitoneal tumor resection
  • Endocrine surgeries, including surgeries of the adrenal gland
  • Congenital neck cyst excision and drainage​
  • Gynecologic surgeries, including ovary surgery and removal (oophorectomy), hysterectomy and pelvic cyst and tumor removal
  • Spleen surgery, splenectomy
  • Lymph node biopsy and excision
  • Rectal surgery
  • Diaphragmatic surgery
  • Thoracotomy
  • Vascular malformation removal
  • Muscle biopsies​

Click here to find patient reflections, before and after photos and other insight from patients who have undergone repair of Pectus Excavatum with Dr. Abdullah.

Learn more about the Modified Nuss Procedure for pectus excavatum in the video below. 

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Dr. Abdullah in the News

Clinical Interests

Chest wall deformities,  pectus excavatum , abdominal wall defects, neonatal surgery, pulmonary and upper airway malformations, congenital diaphragmatic hernia, esophageal and gastrointestinal anomalies, hernia repair, tissue engineering, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), surgical safety protocols and surgical infections.

Education & Training

Education: Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, 1998

Postgraduate Training: Fellowship in pediatric surgery, Children's Hospital of Los Angeles, 2003-2005; Residency in general surgery, Yale-New Haven Medical Center, CT, 1998-2003

Board Certifications: Pediatric Surgery, General Surgery

Professional Organizations: American College of Surgeons, American Pediatric Surgical Association