As part of Mayo Clinic's Children's Center, the Division of Pediatric Surgery at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota offers the latest diagnostic and treatment methods. The mission of the Division of Pediatric Surgery is to provide the highest quality child and family-centered care in an environment that focuses on best practices, excellence in education, and cutting-edge research on a national and international level.

With care customized to meet the individual needs of each child, Mayo's skilled pediatric surgeons operate on the neck, chest, abdomen and pelvis, offering minimally invasive surgery when possible. Other Mayo divisions offer additional types of surgery for children.

You can be assured that Mayo's Division of Pediatric Surgery will provide expert and family-focused care using a multispecialty team approach.

Why choose Mayo Clinic for pediatric surgery

  • Comprehensive care for complex conditions. Pediatric experts from a variety of specialties quickly come together as a team to thoroughly test and evaluate your child — no matter how complicated the issues — providing rapid results and the best treatment plan tailored to your child's needs.
  • Extensive experience in minimally invasive surgeries. Mayo Clinic's pediatric surgeons perform minimally invasive surgery whenever possible. Compared with open surgery, this approach typically results in smaller incisions, less pain, a shorter hospital stay and faster recovery for your child. In abdominal surgeries, a single, nearly invisible incision placed within the belly button is often an option, with excellent results and improved cosmetic appearance compared with other approaches.
  • Advanced technology. Mayo Clinic offers ultrafast CT, MRI and magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) scanning technology. All CT scanners are set so that your child receives minimal exposure to radiation. Proton beam therapy precisely targets tumors and avoids healthy tissue, safely delivering radiation directly to the tumors. Mayo Clinic uses the latest technology to locate exactly where tumors are in the body (localize tumors) both before and during surgery. Surgical planning is aided by the creation of 3D models.
  • The latest pain management techniques. These methods include, for example, cryoablation for pain control after chest surgery. This procedure involves inserting a probe through the skin to freeze and numb the nerves under the ribs, blocking pain signals. This significantly reduces pain and the need for opioids after surgery.

Areas of expertise

  • Chest wall surgery. Mayo pediatric surgeons often use minimally invasive surgery to correct a sunken chest (pectus excavatum). This means smaller incisions, minimal or hidden scars, and a shorter recovery time.
  • Cancer surgery. Comprehensive pediatric surgical care is provided for many types of cancer in children, including but not limited to cancer of the liver and kidney, as well as adrenal cancer, ovarian cancer, lung tumors and sarcomas.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease surgery. This includes J-pouch surgery (ileoanal anastomosis) for a diseased colon due to ulcerative colitis or familial adenomatous polyposis. These surgeries are usually done with minimally invasive approaches, which means smaller incisions, minimal or hidden scars, and a shorter recovery time.
  • Surgery for congenital disorders. Pediatric surgery can benefit children who are born with certain disorders, including congenital diaphragmatic hernia, gastroschisis, omphalocele, intestinal atresia, imperforate anus, Hirschsprung's disease, lung cysts, esophageal atresia, long QT syndrome and other disorders. Whenever possible, pediatric surgeons perform minimally invasive surgery.
  • Surgery for vascular malformations. Children whose blood and lymphatic vessels don't develop properly may need pediatric surgery. Pediatric surgery services are part of the comprehensive approach to care in Mayo's Vascular Anomalies Clinic for a wide range of vascular malformations.
  • General pediatric surgery. This includes surgery to remove the appendix (appendectomy), colon (colectomy), gallbladder (cholecystectomy), spleen (splenectomy) and other organs. It includes surgery for inguinal hernia and umbilical hernia. Also, pediatric surgeons can construct an artificial opening in the stomach to introduce food (gastrostomy) and perform vascular access procedures to reduce the need for repeated needle sticks. Whenever possible, surgeons use minimally invasive approaches, often with just a single incision.

Team approach and coordinated care

For decades, Mayo Clinic has been offering a full range of pediatric general surgery services. Highly skilled pediatric surgeons lead experienced surgical teams that include pediatric anesthesiologists and pediatric surgical nurses.

Pediatric surgery specialists coordinate care as needed with a wide range of areas and experts in the Mayo Clinic Children's Center, including:

  • Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center. The American College of Surgeons verifies that Mayo Eugenio Litta Children's Hospital has a Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center, providing the highest level of surgical care to children with serious injuries and significantly increasing the chances of survival.
  • Fetal care team. The Mayo Clinic fetal care team uses a coordinated, multispecialty approach to help people who have high-risk pregnancies.
  • Intensive care units. Mayo's Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) specializes in care of critically ill newborns. Mayo's Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) specializes in the care of critically ill children and teens.
  • Multispecialty pediatric clinics. Mayo Clinic offers expert care in pediatric clinics, such as the Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease Clinic and the Pediatric Liver Clinic. Other clinics focus on muscular and skeletal disorders, nervous system diseases, genetic and metabolic disorders, chest and lung-related diseases, and more.
  • Experts in cancer care in children. Highly skilled experts from Mayo Clinic's Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology work as part of a multispecialty team to provide customized care for children and teenagers who have cancer or blood disorders.
  • Pain management experts. With a caring and compassionate focus, Mayo Clinic offers a unique pain management treatment plan using a multispecialty team approach to prevent and relieve your child's pain.
  • Complementary and integrative therapies. Your Mayo doctor or nurse can request complementary therapies — such as massage therapy, music therapy or pet therapy — to help your child during the recovery process.
  • Fertility Preservation Program. Children with cancer who need certain chemotherapy and radiation treatments may be at risk of impaired fertility. Mayo's Fertility Preservation Program offers several options for fertility preservation, depending on the child's age, stage of puberty, diagnosis and proposed treatment plan.

Care teams might also include dietitians, physical and occupational therapists, pharmacists and others, as needed. Child life specialists in the Child Life Program can help you and your child deal with anxieties about illness, medical procedures and hospital care.

For children who may need lifelong follow-up for medical issues, Mayo Clinic provides a smooth transition from pediatric specialists to adult experts.

Advanced surgical and critical care suites

At Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, pediatric surgery is performed at Mayo Eugenio Litta Children's Hospital in highly advanced imaging facilities and operating rooms, designed with the specific needs of children in mind. The health care team includes nurses and other staff who are specially trained in treating infants, children and teenagers.

Proton beam therapy

Mayo Clinic's Proton Beam Therapy Program offers one of the most technologically advanced treatments to children with cancer who have complex tumors. This amazingly precise therapy:

  • Improves control of radiation doses
  • Avoids harm to healthy tissue
  • Shortens treatment times
  • Has fewer side effects

Because proton beam therapy precisely targets cancer, it reduces the risk of injury to nearby structures. This precision can also help preserve current and future fertility in children with cancer.



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The Division of Pediatric Surgery has both laboratory and clinical research interests in the field of pediatric surgery. These investigations include novel techniques to treat abnormalities present at birth (congenital anomalies). We also have active clinical investigations in the surgical fields of trauma, single-site laparoscopic surgery, fetal surgery, inflammatory bowel disease, cancer (oncology), cardiac conduction abnormalities and pediatric general surgery.

We work together with our Mayo Clinic colleagues in all disciplines to apply the latest knowledge and research to the care of children.


See a list of publications about pediatric surgery by Mayo Clinic doctors on PubMed, a service of the National Library of Medicine.


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