Washington University pediatric surgeons offer comprehensive treatment for a broad spectrum of pediatric and congenital conditions, burns and trauma. Board-certified pediatric surgeons offer compassionate, advanced care in a child-friendly environment at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, which has ranked in the top 10% of children’s hospitals nationwide by U.S. News & World Report for 14 consecutive years. The division is a regional center for open fetal surgery, minimally invasive surgeries and treatment for many types of tumors. Faculty are actively involved in many areas of research and are leaders in education, offering a pediatric surgery fellowship approved by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.
Division of Pediatric Surgery | 2022 Annual Report
Pediatric surgeons at Washington University School of Medicine are part of a multidisciplinary team of experts who provide the highest level of care at the St. Louis Children’s Hospital Emergency and Trauma Center. In addition to treating critical injuries, the pediatric trauma team is making strides to reduce the amount of gun violence within the community. St. Louis Children’s Hospital is nationally recognized by the American College of Surgeons (ACS) as a Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center, the highest classification of trauma care.
he Pediatric Colorectal Center at Washington University provides high-quality care to children with complex colorectal issues, utilizing multi-disciplinary expertise and state-of-the-art technology to provide personalized solutions to improve quality of life for children and their families. The center is dedicated to delivering top patient care through four core focuses: multidisciplinary care, top expertise, technology and judgment, and goal setting.
St. Louis Children’s Hospital chief of surgery, Brad Warner, MD, dedicates part of his practice each month to performing surgeries and clinic visits at CoxHealth in Springfield, Missouri. By providing expert care in a region without dedicated pediatric surgery services, he helps improve the overall care for local children, building a bridge to better care. Warner notes that these visits help create a foundation of trust, allowing patients who require complex care and their families to feel more comfortable traveling to St. Louis for surgeries, having already formed a relationship with their surgeon closer to home.
The Midwest Pediatric Surgery Consortium unites the research efforts of 11 of the top children’s hospitals in the region—including St. Louis Children’s Hospital region to optimize pediatric surgical care. Jacqueline Saito, MD, MSCI, and Patrick Dillion, MD, are authors of over 20 consortium publications. Recent studies include research on the accuracy of chest computed tomography, characteristics associated with the failure of nonoperative management of uncomplicated appendicitis, and risk of peri-umbilical hernia after gastroschisis closure. Brad Warner, MD, leads an NIH-funded basic science program seeking to understand mechanisms of liver injury and fibrosis associated with massive intestinal resection. Dr. Maria Tecos, a University of Nebraska resident working in Warner’s lab, was awarded the Rosenkrantz Basic Science Research Award from the Surgical Section of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Since its establishment, the pediatric surgery fellowship at Washington University and St. Louis Children’s Hospital has continuously trained the very best pediatric surgeons. The program, which accepts one fellow each year, features a breadth of clinical experience including major disease process, gastrointestinal problems, pediatric oncology, pediatric trauma and burn trauma. Previous fellows have gone on to practice across the country, with many achieving leadership positions in academic pediatric surgery. Andrew Yeh, MD, who completed the fellowship in 2022, joins the division as director of trauma at St. Louis Children’s.
Trauma Care and Community Outreach
Pediatric surgeons at Washington University School of Medicine are part of a multidisciplinary team of experts who provide the highest level of care at the St. Louis Children’s Hospital Emergency and Trauma Center. In addition to treating critical injuries, the pediatric trauma team is making strides to reduce the amount of gun violence within the community.
St. Louis Children’s Hospital is nationally recognized by the American College of Surgeons (ACS) as a Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center, the highest classification of trauma care. The hospital, which was re-verified this year, is one of about 50 ACS verified pediatric Level 1 trauma centers in the United States and is the only pediatric hospital within a 200-mile radius of St. Louis to receive the Level 1 designation.
“Parents have a choice of where they take their children, and we hope they will recognize the importance of choosing a hospital that offers services in every pediatric medical and surgical specialty,” says program manager Michele Herndon, RN. “We rely heavily on our EMS colleagues and the vital role they perform at the scene, which then allows us to do our part to achieve the best outcome possible for that child.”
Firearm injuries in children are rising at an alarming rate, and the physicians and staff within the program have been conducting studies to lower gunshot recidivism.
In one study, which was presented at the Pediatric Trauma Society annual meeting, they found a significant increase in both intentional and accidental firearm injuries over the course of the last decade, underscoring the need for both legislative interventions surrounding gun ownership and interventions promoting safe firearm storage practices respectively. The program thus allowed for the distribution and usage of free gun locks to families, demonstrating improvements in safe-storage methods.
“The program has really grown substantially in terms of not just volume, but also quality,” says Chief of Pediatric Surgery Brad Warner, MD. “We have constant quality improvement projects, process improvement, morbidity and mortality conferences and trauma outreach to community. All of that I think is really important.”
Andrew Yeh, MD, who began his role as faculty after completing the section’s pediatric surgery fellowship this year, is the new medical director of trauma services at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.
“It is a privilege to lead our trauma program which provides a vital service not only to our local community but large parts of several states,” says Yeh. “From minor to life-threatening injuries, our multi-disciplinary team works together to provide the best care possible. I hope we can continue to improve on our program’s excellence, whether that is through our community outreach, injury prevention initiatives, or the development and adoption of the most up-to-date evidence-based practices.”
Standardizing Pediatric Colorectal Care
The Pediatric Colorectal Center at Washington University provides high-quality care to children with complex colorectal issues, utilizing multi-disciplinary expertise and state-of-the-art technology to provide personalized solutions to improve quality of life for children and their families.
The center is dedicated to delivering top patient care through four core focuses: multidisciplinary care, top expertise, technology and judgment, and goal setting. Pediatric care facilities at Saint Louis Children’s Hospital have the most up-to-date equipment in the field, and the center has created a standardized approach to treating colorectal conditions including Hirschsprung disease, anorectal malformations and severe chronic constipation. Pediatric colorectal physicians implement specialized bowel management techniques to provide an individualized optimal solution.
The Pediatric Colorectal Center team has grown to include pediatric gastroenterologists, radiologists, psychologists, rehabilitation experts and nursing specialists. The team provides comprehensive colorectal care, from testing and diagnosis to behavioral therapy and surgical care. The center is led by Baddr Shakhsheer, MD, a Washington University pediatric surgeon specializing in colorectal and neonatal surgery, and pediatric gastroenterologists Elizabeth Utterson, MD, and Shannon Joerger, MD.
Shakhsheer specializes in managing complex colorectal issues. He completed residency training in general surgery at the University of Chicago and a fellowship in pediatric surgery at Washington University and St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Shakhsheer is well-versed in both traditional and minimally invasive approaches to colorectal surgery.
The center provides diagnosis and treatment for colorectal conditions in infants, children and adolescents. These conditions often affect more than one system, so the multidisciplinary team of specialists at St. Louis Children’s Hospital work together to deliver the right care for each child. The Pediatric Colorectal Center makes finding the right solution convenient by providing comprehensive care in a single clinical location where families can feel comfortable and familiar with their clinicians.
“These are serious problems that have lifelong implications,” Shakhsheer recognizes. “In pediatric colorectal care, you’re entering a long-term relationship with the family. You see them not only for the surgical procedure, but through the postoperative management as well.”