Evaluating the impact of a minimally invasive pediatric surgeon on hospital practice: comparison of two children’s hospitals

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Surgical Endoscopy








Minimally invasive surgery; Pediatrics; Technology


© 2015, Springer Science+Business Media New York. Purpose: Widespread adoption of minimally invasive surgery (MIS) techniques in pediatric surgery has progressed slowly, and the shift in practice patterns has been variable among surgeons. We hypothesized that a pediatric surgeon committed to MIS could effectively change surgical practice by creating an emphasis on MIS. Methods: Annual case volumes from 2000 to 2009 at two tertiary care pediatric hospitals, one with a dedicated minimally invasive pediatric surgeon, were evaluated for trends in MIS for ten different operations. Univariate analyses of the differences between hospitals in the use of the open versus laparoscopic approach were performed. The Breslow–Day test was used to examine differences in use of laparoscopic procedures across hospitals in early versus middle and middle versus late time periods. Results: Between the two hospitals, for 9 of the 10 types of surgery, the number of laparoscopic and open procedures differed significantly (p values ranged from <0.0001 to 0.003). Over the 10-year period, the hospital with a dedicated MIS surgeon had a larger proportion of procedures done laparoscopically for all years. This difference reached statistical significance for appendectomy (p < 0.0001), congenital diaphragmatic hernia (p < 0.0002), chest wall reconstruction (p < 0.0001), cholecystectomy (p = <0.0001), gastrostomy (p < 0.0001), nissen fundoplication (p < 0.0001) oophorectomy (p < 0.0001), pyloromyotomy (p < 0.0001) and splenectomy (p = 0.0006). After grouping the years into early (2000–2003), middle (2004–2006) and late (2007–2009) categories, the hospital with a dedicated MIS surgeon had a significantly higher rate of increase in use of laparoscopic surgery between the early and middle years for four procedures: diaphragmatic hernia repair (p = 0.003), chest wall reconstruction (p = 0.0086), cholecystectomy (0.0083) and endorectal pull-through (p = 0.025). Conclusion: The presence of a dedicated minimally invasive pediatric surgeon led to a significant change in surgical practice with an overall trend of increasing MIS several years in advance of a hospital that did not have a dedicated MIS surgeon. This has implications for resident training in academic medical centers and potential patient care outcomes.

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