Pediatric Abdominal Surgery

Pediatric Abdominal Surgery






Our pediatric surgeons are trained to treat congenital disorders and acquired illnesses that affect the abdomen in children, utilizing minimally invasive surgery whenever possible. Just a few examples of conditions we treat include:

  • Appendicitis
  • Congenital diaphragmatic hernias (CDH)
  • Hernias
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (see colorectal)
  • Splenic complications of blood diseases (splenomegaly from hereditary spherocytosis)
  • Hirschsprung’s disease
  • Chronic constipation/Incontinence
  • Feeding tubes/access

Schedule an appointment with our pediatric surgeons

Conditions we treat:

Appendicitis: Appendicitis is the condition when the appendix, a small pouch that projects from the colon in the lower right side of the abdomen, becomes inflamed. It causes pain in the lower right abdomen, which typically increases as inflammation worsens. Standard treatment is surgical removal of the appendix, called an appendectomy.

Chronic Constipation/Fecal Incontinence: Fecal incontinence is when a child doesn’t have the ability to control bowel movements. It can be caused by diarrhea or constipation, as well as underlying medical conditions such as Hirschsprung’s disease or spina bifida. Depending on what is causing the incontinence, treatments can range from lifestyle changes to, if needed, surgical interventions such as a cecostomy.

Congenital diaphragmatic hernias (CDH): Learn more

Hernias: In babies and children, hernias are defects in the abdominal wall musculature that can be present since birth or acquired. Different kinds of hernia include inguinal, umbilical and epigastric hernias.  These represent defects in the abdominal wall that can lead to bowel getting “stuck” in the hernia and becoming compromised.  Hydroceles are often included in this group.

Hydroceles: A hydrocele happens when fluid collects in the thin sheath surrounding a testicle, causing the scrotum to swell. During gestation, testicles in males initially form higher in the abdomen, near the kidneys, and then descend through the inguinal canal around 34 weeks. If that passageway doesn’t close, allowing fluid to go up and down between the two areas, the opening in considered a hernia. Hydroceles can be caused by fluid that's left over from after that passage has closed. Other times, hydroceles can occur because of infection. If a child has fluid accumulating the testicle that doesn’t resolve after nine months, the fluid may be the result of a hernia, rather than a hydrocele, and draining the fluid and looking for a hernia may be recommended. Otherwise, hydroceles often resolve on their own, but if the swelling is causing additional symptoms or discomfort, it can be drained.

Hirschsprung’s disease: Learn more

Procedures and Services We Offer:

Appendectomy: This surgery removes the appendix, which cures appendicitis. An open appendectomy involves making one larger cut, or incision, below and to the right of your belly button. A laparoscopic appendectomy involves smaller incisions, a camera and long narrow instruments to remove the appendix.

Hernia Repair: Hernia repairs can be done using open or laparoscopic surgery. Regardless of the method used, the repair typically includes pushing the bulging tissue back into place and closing the defect.

Gastrostomies: A gastrostomy is the process of inserting a feeding tube directly into the stomach, through the skin and stomach wall.

Cecostomies: A cecostomy, also called a C-tube, is when a surgeon places a small plastic tube in the first part of the large intestine. Through the C-tube, medicine can be injected into the intestine to flush stool through the anus out of the body. Cecostomies are used to help children who have fecal incontinence and are unable to control bowel movements, perhaps for a variety of reasons.

Laparoscopic Splenectomies: A splenectomy is a procedure to remove the spleen. While in some cases an open procedure may be necessary, most splenectomies can be completed laparoscopically, using a small camera and minimally invasive instruments to remove the spleen.

Make an Appointment

For the best surgical care in Tucson, Southern Arizona or the Southwest, make an appointment by calling

(520) 694-8888.

Contact Us

University of Arizona Department of Surgery

Division of Pediatric Surgery

PO Box 245131

Tucson, AZ 85724-5131

Office Phone: (520) 621-8745

Fax: (520) 626-2247