By Fombe Ndiforchu, M.D., medical director, Henry L. Guenther Pediatric Surgical Center, Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach

The possibility of your child requiring surgery can be daunting. Understanding the type of surgery your child needs and how it will benefit them is important. At the Henry L. Guenther Pediatric Surgical Center at Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach, a number of procedures never thought possible are now done minimally invasively, including surgeries done on the esophagus, hernia, tumors and more.

Traditionally, surgical procedures were performed through large incisions using “open” incision techniques. Whenever possible, surgical procedures are now being done through tiny incisions, often less than an inch long, using “keyhole” techniques.

In most minimally invasive surgeries, a camera and light-weight surgical instruments are introduced to the area requiring surgery through these keyhole incisions. Guided by greatly magnified images on a television monitor, surgeons may perform complex procedures less invasively.

The advantages of minimally invasive surgery include less pain, shorter or eliminated overnight hospital stay, improved recovery times and minimized scarring.

At Miller Children’s Pediatric Surgical Center, patients are treated at the newest, state-of-the-art pediatric surgical center in the region – dedicated and designed exclusively for infants, children and teens. The pediatric surgeons at Miller Children’s are skilled and trained extensively in the use of minimally invasive surgery techniques and are some of the only Southern California physicians who can provide this level of specialized care.

To be a board-certified pediatric surgeon, five years are spent training in hospitals after medical school to become a general surgeon, and two to three additional years are spent training in children’s hospitals. At Miller Children’s Pediatric Surgical Center, surgeons are specially trained to treat children, who know how to make them comfortable and pay attention to their needs.

Patients remain the No.1 priority at Miller Children’s, where children await surgery in a pre-op playroom, Child Life Specialists are available to help ease patient anxieties and parents are allowed to back to accompany their child while receiving anesthesia. The Pediatric Surgical Center sees as many as 5,600 patients requiring surgery a year, and its focus on family centered care make Miller Children’s the best place to send a child in need of surgery.

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