Erin E. Rowell, MD

Attending Physician, Pediatric Surgery; Medical Director, Fertility & Hormone Preservation & Restoration Program; Co-Director, Pediatric Surgery, The Chicago Institute for Fetal Health; Associate Director, Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO); Member, Lurie Children's Surgical Foundation

Associate Professor of Surgery (Pediatric Surgery), Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine



Lurie Children's Hospital Outpatient Center in Arlington Heights

Busse Center for Specialty Medicine
880 W. Central Rd, Ste 6400
Arlington Heights, Illinois 60005

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

225 E. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, Illinois 60611

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Additional Information

Dr. Erin Rowell is a pediatric surgeon who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of congenital anomalies and acquired diseases in newborns, infants, children and adolescents.

She is a leader in the field of fertility preservation for children and adolescents undergoing treatment or procedures with a high risk of fertility loss.  As the Director of the Fertility and Hormone Preservation and Restoration Program at Lurie Children’s, Dr. Rowell leads a multidisciplinary team of clinicians dedicated to fertility preservation in children and adolescents.

She is an investigative leader of the NIH-sponsored study by the National Physicians Cooperative of the Oncofertility Consortium evaluating ovarian tissue cryopreservation in pre- and post-adolescent girls.  Dr. Rowell, an expert in minimally invasive surgery for children of all ages, devotes her research time to the study of the surgical techniques of gonad removal in pediatric patients who are undergoing ovarian and testicular cryopreservation procedures.

Dr. Rowell is also committed to the study of ethics in medicine and teaches a course on Surgical Ethics at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine.

Dr. Rowell’s Philosophy

Dr. Rowell believes that surgical expertise and clinical acumen – while essential in pediatric surgery — are only the foundation. She deems empathy and compassion as two equally vital ingredients in the practice of pediatric medicine. Dr. Rowell believes it is critical to involve the entire family in their child’s care and in the decision-making about treatments—a partnership, she believes not only increases the family’s trust in their physician but also portends better overall outcomes for the patient.

“As a mother, I try to put myself in the place of the parents and understand their questions, concerns and fears, and reassure them that I’ll give their child the same care I would expect for my own children,” Dr. Rowell says. “I think this makes me a more compassionate, more engaged and, ultimately, a better pediatric surgeon.”

Dr. Rowell also believes that the practice of medicine is more than the mere accumulation and application of hard scientific knowledge. Medicine, Dr. Rowell says, is at its core a humanistic discipline. That belief compelled her to study art history and spend time abroad as an art student. Before attending medical school, she earned a degree in art history from Dartmouth College.

Procedures Performed/Conditions Treated

Congenital Abnormalities

  • Intestinal atresia
  • Congenital diaphragmatic hernia
  • Gastroschisis and omphalocele (abdominal wall defects)
  • Tracheo-esophageal fistula
  • Chest and abdominal masses
  • Imperforate anus

Esophageal and Alimentary Tract Surgeries

  • Esophageal duplication or masses
  • Nissen fundoplication
  • Gastric tubes (G-tubes)
  • Bowel resection for inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease)
  • Hirschsprung’s disease
  • Malrotation of the intestinal tract
  • Intussusception
  • Cholecystectomy
  • Splenic surgery (complete and partial for cysts, sickle cell disease, idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura)
  • Appendicitis
  • Pyloric stenosis
  • Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC)

Abdominal Tumors

  • Neuroblastoma
  • Wilms’ tumor
  • Mesenteric cyst and mesenteric tumor resection
  • Ovarian masses

Chest Surgeries

  • Congenital lung masses (CPAM, CCAM, pulmonary sequestration)
  • Acquired lung masses (lung metastases, benign lung lesions)
  • Chest and mediastinal masses
  • Recurrent pneumothorax
  • Rib lesions

Endocrine Surgery

  • Adrenal
  • Thyroid
  • Pancreatic

Gynecologic Surgery

  • Ovarian cryopreservation
  • Ovary cyst or torsion (ovarian sparing or oophorectomy)
  • Ovarian masses
  • Pelvic cyst
  • Hematometrocolpos

Congenital Neck Cyst Excision and Drainage

  • Branchial cyst
  • Thyroglossal duct cyst

Other Procedures Performed

  • Extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO)
  • Traumatic injuries
  • Lymph node biopsy and excision
  • Breast surgery
  • Soft tissue masses
  • Vascular malformations
  • Inguinal, umbilical, epigastric and incisional hernias
  • Undescended testicles
  • Muscle biopsies
  • Circumcision

Clinical Interests

​Fertility-restoration and fertility preservation in pre- and post-pubertal children, including those undergoing cancer treatment; onco-fertility, ovarian cryopreservation, testicular tissue preservation, medical ethics, surgical ethics, prenatal counseling, congenital malformations


Education & Training

Education: Medical University of South Carolina College of Medicine, 2000

Postgraduate Training: Fellowship in pediatric surgery, Children's Memorial Hospital, 2006-2008; Residency in general surgery, Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital, Lebanon, NH, 2000-2006

Board Certifications: Pediatric Surgery