Small Incisions, Faster Recovery: Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS) for Children at Medical Center at Augusta University

The Pediatric Surgery Department at the Children’s Hospital of Georgia in Augusta, provides minimally invasive surgery procedures (MIS) such as pediatric laparoscopy for children patients in Georgia, South Carolina and the Southeast.

Children, especially infants, present special challenges in pediatric surgery. The simple fact that children are small poses unique challenges for pediatric surgeons. In addition, infants and children react differently to surgery than adults.

Although minimally invasive techniques are widely used in adults nationwide, such procedures are less common in children. For many years, doctors have recognized the need to develop such techniques to help children. In fact, minimally invasive surgery may offer the most benefits to children.

These benefits may include:

  • Less pain
  • Less scarring
  • Faster recovery
  • Less injury to tissue
  • Reduced blood loss
  • Shorter hospital stays
  • Quicker return to school and activities

For Which Conditions is Pediatric MIS Used?

Common pediatric surgical conditions treated with minimally invasive surgery include:

  • Gallstones
  • Appendicitis
  • Pyloric stenosis
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Evaluation of inguinal hernia
  • Undescended testicles

Pediatric Endosuite at Medical Center at Augusta University

Children’s Hospital of Georgia's new high-tech pediatric endosuite allows surgeons to perform the most sophisticated operations in children through tiny “keyhole” incisions, instead of large incisions. This results in shorter recovery and less pain. The suite is part of the new Center for Minimally Invasive Surgery for Children, led by Dr. Walt Pipkin.

“Minimally invasive surgery is rapidly becoming the surgery of choice both for families and surgeons, when it is appropriate,” said Dr. Pipkin, who specializes in laparoscopic and thoracoscopic techniques. “As in adults, minimally invasive surgery allows children to heal faster, with less pain, less scarring and less risk of infection. Families are able to get back to their lives more quickly.”

In the new endosuite, the state-of-the-art equipment is ceiling-mounted and responds to computer control. Included in the specialized equipment are tiny telescopes used to view the inside of the abdomen and chest. These telescopes connect to sophisticated monitors to allow surgeons to see interior structures at a larger and clearer size. The monitors are mobile, allowing OR staff to adjust them as needed during the surgery. The number and orientation of the monitors means that no matter where surgeons look, they will have a comfortable view to guide them easily and safely during surgery.

When appropriate, minimally invasive procedures can mean better outcomes for pediatric patients. The Children’s Hospital of Georgia continually strives to find new and different methods, technologies and treatments for the benefit of their patients.

For more information on the Augusta University Medical Center for Minimally Invasive Surgery for Children, please call 706-721-3941.