Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
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Monroe Carell Jr.
Children's Hospital
at Vanderbilt
2200 Children's Way
Nashville, TN 37232

(615) 936-1000

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Conditions We Treat


Children's Hospital's Pediatric General and Thoracic surgery team treats many conditions, diseases, and injuries. You'll find more information below on the services we provide.

Search for more information about diseases and conditions in our Health and Wellness Library.


We provide comprehensive care of pediatric trauma injuries in our independently functioning Level I Pediatric Trauma Center.

We treat all types of injuries children sustain, from blunt to penetrating, including

  • Thoracic (chest)
  • Abdominal
  • Genitourinary - related to genital and urinary organs or their functions
  • Muscular and skeletal
  • Vascular (blood vessels)
  • Central nervous system
  • Burns
  • Injuries related to abuse


Our Pediatric General Surgery team has a special interest in the biological study of neuroblastoma. These efforts have led to Children's Hospital's designation as a Center for Excellence in Neuroblastoma Research.

We operate on all tumors arising in the kidneys, including Wilms' tumor, rhabdomyosarcoma, renal cell carcinoma, clear cell sarcoma, rhabdoid tumor of the kidney, rare sarcomas, and congenital mesoblastic nephromas. Our group has a special interest in Wilms' tumor research.

Rhabdomyosarcoma is the most common type of sarcoma found in the soft tissues of children. It can occur in many places in the body. We operate in any area these tumors may appear.

We operate on all tumors arising in the liver, including hepatoblastoma and hepatocellular carcinoma. Our group has a special interest in hepatoblastoma research.

We provide surgical support for children diagnosed with all types of lymphoma cancer of the lymph nodes or tissues. We will resect (surgically remove) all masses not responsive to chemotherapies.

We treat teratomas and other germ cell tumors that arise in all regions of the body, including the ovary and testis.

We treat all tumors arising in the mediastinum - the area between the lungs where the heart, esophagus, bronchi, and windpipe are located.

We operate on all tumors arising in endocrine glands, such as the thyroid, pancreas, adrenal gland, and parathyroid. Our group has special expertise in the treatment of thyroid tumors, both benign and malignant.

We treat all tumors arising in the gonads - ovaries, testes, and scrotum.

We operate on lesions, or damaged areas, of the neck, including cystic hygroma, thyroglossal duct cyst, branchial cleft sinuses, and cysts, among others.

Airway, lung, and chest cavity

We correct tracheoesophageal fistula, a birth defect in which the airway and esophagus do not completely separate.

We treat all congenital anomalies of the lung and airway development, including congenital cystic airway malformation (CCAM), intra and extralobar sequestration, and bronchogenic cysts.

We treat cases of pneumonia where fluid accumulates requiring drainiage. Many of these procedures can be performed with minimally-invasive techniques.

When pectus (chest wall) deformities with minimally-invasive approaches and traditional techniques. We also treat Poland's syndrome and other abnormalities of chest wall development.

We can respond to chylothorax - an accumulation of "chyle" (lymphatic fluid) around the lung.

We treat all tumors of the lung, including pulmonoblastoma and inflammatory myofibroblastic tumors.


We operatively treat all congenital malformations of the esophagus including esophageal atresia and tracheoesophageal fistula.

We correct esophageal stenosis, is an hourglass-shaped narrowing of the airway that may form as a birth defect. This occurs when cartilage remains in the esophageal wall when it and the trachea separate during fetal development.

Stricture, or narrowing, of the esophagus can occur from reflux or ingestion of caustic materials that cause burning and corrosion. Some of these conditions may be resolved with medical treatment. In some circumstances, we replace the esophagus in a small segment or in its entirety.

We treat esophageal ruptures and perforations.

We sometimes recommend surgery to correct gastroesophageal reflux.

We can perform a surgical procedure known as a Heller myotomy to correct achalasia, a condition in which the muscle normally controlling reflux becomes so tight that the child cannot swallow solid foods. We can do this with a minimally-invasive laparoscopic approach.

Abdominal wall, peritoneum, and diaphragm

Our Pediatric General Surergy team is able to correct abdominal wall defects such as  gastroschisis and omphalocele. Gastroschisis is a developmental disorder in which a baby is born with its bowel, and occasionally other organs, outside the abdominal cavity. With omphalocele a large abdominal wall defect exists, but the bowel and other abdominal structures remain contained within a sac that protrudes from the abdominal cavity.

These disorders are associated with other anomalies in approximately half of cases.

A variety of umbilical defects occur, which we treat, from hernias to urachal remnants between the umbilical cord and bladder. to omphalomesenteric defects (defects in the veins that are present when the fetus is developing).

We correct disorders of the inguinal canal and region in boys and girls, such as inguinal hernia, and undescended testis

We treat both newborns and older infants with congenital diaphragmatic hernia - abnormal openings in the diaphragm. Our comprehensive ECMO team provides support to newborns with underdeveloped lungs who need help oxygenating blood and eliminating waste.

Stomach, Duodenum, and Small Intestine

We treat hypertrophic pyloric stenosis - blockage of the pyloric channel leading from the stomach into the small bowel - in infants two to 12 weeks of age, with both traditional open surgical approaches and with laparoscopy.

We treat all developmental abnormalities of the duodenum - the first section of the small intestine - such as duodenal atresia and stenosis. In certain newborns who have blockage of the duodenum we are able to repair this anomaly with minimally-invasive laparoscopic techniques.

Malrotation and volvulus - improper rotation of the intestines - can present with mild symptoms, such as vomiting and intolerance of feedings. More severe symptoms may include a twisting bowel twists that becomes deficient in blood supply. This condition most commonly appears in the neonatal or infant period. We often treat it as a surgical urgency or even emergency.

Necrotizing enterocolitis, a result of intestinal infection, is the most common surgical emergency in newborns.

Short-bowel syndrome can arise when another congenital anomaly leads to loss of bowel length. This can be associated with gastroschisis, necrotizing enterocolitis, mid-gut volvulus, and bowel atresia. Our comprehensive care of these patients includes several surgical approaches to attempt bowel lengthening.

Intussusception results when the bowel telescopes in on itself, leading to intestinal blockage. While most of babies with this condition can have their intussusception relieved with an air enema, some require surgery. All patients will be admitted to Children's  Hospital under the care of a surgeon regardless of who corrects the abnormality.

We manage all surgical indications for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.

Colon, rectum, and anus

We manage gastrointestinal bleeding when surgery is required.

In collaboration with our gastroenterologists, we operate on children having such polypoid conditions as familial adenomatous polyposis, Peutz-Jegher's syndrome, Gardner's syndrome, Turcot's, and others.

Appendectomy - or removal of the appendix - is the most common emergency surgical procedure we perform on children.

We care for children of all ages born with Hirschsprung's disease, which causes severe constipation or intestinal obstruction. We perform both minimally invasive laparoscopic and open procedures to correct this condition, and very rarely need to perform a colostomy.

We correct imperforate anus with both minimally-invasive laparoscopic techniques and with the Pena procedure (posterior sagittal anorectoplasty), which creates a connection between the rectum and the newly-created anal opening.

Children with cystic fibrosis may also have a condition at birth called meconium ileus, or intestinal blockage, due to the "stickiness" of the stool (meconium). While this condition may resolve with contrast enemas, on occasion the obstruction will need to be relieved with surgery.

Liver, biliary tract, pancreas, and spleen

We perform the complex Kasai procedure (porto-enterostomy) in babies affected with biliary atresia. This condition results from progressive scarring of the bile ducts, leading to blockage of bile flowing into the intestine. Affected babies become jaundiced with lightly colored stools and darkened urine. Ideally, the correction must be performed as soon as the diagnosis is made and before three months of age.

Our department has special expertise in treating choledochal cysts, an abnormality of the bile duct that requires surgery to correct.

Portal hypertension is an increase in the pressure within the portal vein that carries blood from the digestive organs to the liver.

Gall stones may arise in children for a variety of reasons, including standard cholesterol stones to pigmented stones, in association with certain disorders such as sickle-cell disease or congenital heart defects. We perform most of these procedures laparoscopically.

We have special interest in the surgical care of children with hereditary pancreatitis, other pancreatic duct abnormalities (divisum), pancreatic pseudocysts (from trauma or other causes), and rare tumors. We also treat hyperinsulinism in infants who have low blood sugar levels.

We treat all cysts, trauma-related or epithelial, of the spleen, as well as hemolytic conditions involving the breakdown of red blood cells.

Kidney, ureter, and bladder

We treat the full spectrum of kidney tumors arising in children 18 years and under.

Cloacal exstrophy is rare birth defect in which much of the abdominal organs are exposed. We treat all of the general surgical conditions associated with this complex anomaly.


We treat undescended testicles and testicular tumors.

We treat all ovarian disorders of young girls, including tumors, twists, and cysts.

We treat disorders of sexual differentiation, such as ambiguous genitalia.

We manage all conjoined twins, or babies whose bodies are joined in the uterus during development. We have special expertise with these babies.

Skin, soft tissue, and blood vessels

We treat hemangiomas and vascular malformations, birthmarks and blood vessel abnormalities, as well as lymphangiomas and lymphatic malformations.

Last Edited: November 22, 2016
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