From traumatic injuries to complex malformations and everything in between, the Division of General Pediatric Surgery at Lurie Children’s treats conditions common and rare, from before birth to adolescence. Our 17 surgeons perform more pediatric operations than any other pediatric hospital in the Chicago metropolitan area, using the most advanced techniques and minimally invasive approaches.
Medicine is a team sport. Our surgeons collaborate with a wide range of specialists at Lurie Children’s — radiology, cardiology, neurology, gastroenterology, neonatology and general pediatrics — to provide multidisciplinary, individualized care. Each child receives the safest, timeliest and most appropriate treatment, including radiation-free imaging alternatives, as well as low-dose radiation protocols for pediatric CT scans.
We aim to treat the child with the disease, not the disease itself. To do so we address all aspects of a child’s hospital experience, through individualized, multidisciplinary and culturally-sensitive care that involves the whole family. Our family-focused approach includes the services of a full-time Spanish medical interpreter, a social worker and a nutritionist.
A child life specialist works with pediatric surgery to help normalize the hospital experience for children undergoing minor and complex surgeries through use of medical play and other techniques. We use pain and anxiety-reduction approaches for wound care and other surgical procedures.
The Division of General Surgery has developed specialized programs to treat certain conditions in the most comprehensive way possible. Browse our list of programs to learn more about the expert-led initiatives that can help treat your child.
Our surgeons are established leaders and trailblazers in the field of pediatric surgery, providing the highest level of diagnostics, treatment and care. Children are not small adults – their growing bodies require special surgical approaches and in-depth understanding of child health. This is why all of our physicians receive two additional years of advanced training in pediatric surgery after training as general surgeons.
Our team includes 13 senior surgeons — all of whom have academic appointments at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine — two surgical fellows and 18 advanced practice nurses, all of whom are also trained in pediatric surgery.
Division head Fizan Abdullah, MD, PhD, joined Lurie Children’s in 2015 after spending a decade at Johns Hopkins Medicine as a pediatric surgeon, a physician-scientist and an educator. A world-renowned authority in the fields of minimally invasive surgery and chest wall deformities, Dr. Abdullah is also an expert on neonatal surgery, abdominal wall defects, congenital diaphragmatic hernia, and esophageal and gastrointestinal anomalies, among others. His research interests focus on surgical outcomes, patient safety, access to care and quality of care.
Marleta Reynolds, MD, Lurie Children’s Surgeon-in-Chief and director of the Department of Surgery, is an international leader in pediatric surgery and an internationally known expert on developmental anomalies of the lung, diaphragm, intestines and abdominal wall. She is a leader in the field of prenatal counseling for fetal anomalies, minimally invasive surgery, endocrine surgery, and pediatric cardio-thoracic and critical-care surgery, including extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO).
Our work doesn’t stop in the operating room or in clinic. We are studying the underlying causes of the diseases we see in the exam room and treat in the operating room. We are conducting lab research to understand how conditions such as necrotizing enterocolitis and inflammatory bowel disease develop, and what makes certain tumors evade chemotherapy.
We are also studying surgical safety, quality and access to care in the hope of finding ways to make surgery better and safer for kids in Chicago and around the world.
The Division of General Pediatric Surgery offers a surgery fellowship in partnership with Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine. Review the Feinberg School’s information to learn how to apply.
Lurie Children’s offers the country’s second oldest pediatric surgery training program. In addition to training pediatric surgery’s future leaders in our fellowship program, we provide pediatric training for general surgery residents from a number of programs throughout the city.
Pediatric surgeons from around the world have benefitted from our surgical simulation training, which uses 3-D printed models and simulated procedures to teach advanced surgical techniques.
Perhaps the clearest illustration of how basic discoveries in the lab can lead to life-altering treatments comes from our very own Orvar Swenson, MD. In the 1940s, Dr. Swenson discovered the cause behind an often-fatal condition called Hirschsprung’s disease, marked by a malfunctioning colon. Swenson found that the condition stemmed from lack of nerve cells that would normally “tell” the colon to contract. Using this newfound knowledge, in 1948 Dr. Swenson performed a surgical procedure known as a “pull through,” which removed “diseased” portions of the colon and restored its function. That discovery has saved countless children’s lives all over the world. Dr. Swenson served as our chief of surgery from 1960 through 1973.
Your support is vital for our mission of transforming pediatric medicine and health of all children. Lurie Children’s Division of Pediatric Surgery relies on philanthropic funding to enhance its programs, services and research that alters the lives of children in Chicago and beyond.