Pediatric Surgery

UCLA Health pediatric surgeons lead the nation in advanced techniques and excellent outcomes. We offer the full range of procedures in the hospital and on an outpatient basis, with expertise treating newborns, children and adolescents.

Doctor's hands in gloves holding child's hands.
Pediatric Surgery at UCLA

UCLA Health excellence in pediatric surgery

UCLA Health pediatric surgeons are at the forefront of the latest surgical techniques and comprehensive care. We work closely with primary care pediatricians, family physicians and pediatric specialists to provide effective treatments. Highlights of our program include:

Specialty expertise: Our outstanding surgical team has specialized experience in many different areas, including gastrointestinal (GI), colorectal, oncology and thoracic surgeries. We’re also skilled at minimally invasive techniques that require fewer stitches and less recovery time. This means we’re able to perform procedures that address your child’s needs and deliver precise, effective treatments.

World-renowned program: UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital is a major referral center for treating chest anomalies, including pectus excavatum (sunken chest syndrome). This disorder causes the chest to cave in toward the backbone. Patients come to us from all over the United States and around the world for surgical procedures to treat these conditions. Our surgeons lead the way in these and other techniques, which result in excellent outcomes.

Experience treating the youngest babies: At the UCLA Health Fetal Care Center, our labor and delivery department is located right next to neonatal care. This means we’re able to deliver advanced care to babies immediately after they’re born. A multispecialty team of surgeons, maternal fetal medicine specialists, cardiologists and neonatologists come together to offer exceptional care for babies with the full spectrum of conditions. Learn more about the UCLA Health Fetal Care Center.

Convenience and accessibility: Our expert surgeons are committed to serving members of our community at several locations throughout the Los Angeles area. Your child receives world-class outpatient treatments close to where you live. We focus on delivering convenient, full-service care to each patient.

Our areas of care

UCLA Health pediatric surgeons deliver effective care using the latest surgical techniques. You can feel comfortable knowing that your child is in expert hands. Our services include:

Inpatient and outpatient procedures

UCLA Health pediatric surgeons are skilled at performing a spectrum of surgeries, from common outpatient procedures to complex operations that require a hospital stay. No matter what type of procedure your child needs, our team of specialists is here to deliver the most advanced treatments and excellent surgical care.

We offer several minimally invasive procedures, including robotic surgery techniques that are extremely precise. Minimally invasive surgeries usually involve smaller incisions, fewer stitches and less recovery time than traditional (open) surgery. Our experts are also available to provide lifesaving trauma surgical support at the UCLA Mattel Pediatric Trauma Center and Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.

UCLA Health Fetal Care Center

At this multispecialty care center, pediatric surgeons work alongside experts from maternal fetal medicine, pediatrics and neonatology. Our team offers the full continuum of care for babies with congenital abnormalities and those who need surgical care when they’re born. Our unique setup allows us to care for moms and babies before, during and after delivery, all on the same floor.

During pregnancy, we offer parents prenatal consultations, compassionate support and important information about their baby’s treatment plan. On delivery day, babies transition directly to neonatal care (and receive neonatal surgery if necessary) right after they’re born. Babies receive vital care immediately after birth, without needing to be transferred to a different hospital.

This approach enables our surgeons to deliver treatments as soon as possible, leading to better outcomes. It also allows parents and babies to stay close during treatment.

Pectus excavatum and pectus carinatum repair

UCLA Health pediatric surgeons pioneered some of the first techniques to treat pectus excavatum, a common chest deformity in children. Pectus excavatum is also called sunken chest syndrome or funnel chest. The condition causes the front ribs and breastbone (sternum) to appear sunken in or indented toward the spine. In severe cases, the disorder can lead to breathing problems and heart issues.

Pectus carinatum (pigeon chest) causes the chest to stick out or protrude. Both disorders result from abnormal cartilage growth, usually during childhood or puberty.

Our surgeons specialize in minimally invasive techniques as well as traditional (open) surgery to treat these chest anomalies. Minimally invasive procedures are typically less painful and require a shorter hospital stay than traditional surgery. As a major referral center, we treat children from all over the world with these disorders. We work closely with you and your child to deliver effective treatments that we customize based on your child’s age, lifestyle and overall health.

Oncological (cancer) surgery

UCLA Health pediatric surgeons have experience performing the latest techniques to remove cancerous and benign (noncancerous) tumors. We partner with your child’s oncology team to deliver coordinated care and unwavering support at every step. As leaders in comprehensive cancer care for children, we specialize in a range of procedures, including thoracic surgery to remove tumors on the lungs or chest wall.

Bariatric surgery

UCLA Health pediatric surgeons have specialized expertise in weight loss surgery for children and adolescents. We understand the unique needs of children who have obesity. Our highly specialized expertise allows us to deliver safe, effective treatments designed for young patients.

We partner with the UCLA Health FIT for Healthy Weight Program to offer bariatric surgery, along with proven strategies to lose weight, keep it off and improve each child’s physical well-being. To support your child before and after surgery, we offer classes on exercising and adopting healthier habits for life. Registered dietitians create detailed nutrition plans to maximize your child’s health.

Vascular anomalies

Our expert team treats all types of vascular anomalies in children using the latest surgical techniques. Vascular anomalies (such as hemangiomas) and malformations are growths or birthmarks that form when blood vessels develop abnormally.

We use sophisticated imaging to plan and perform these surgeries, which often require a high level of precision. UCLA Health pediatric surgeons are skilled at advanced techniques, including lasers, to remove vascular anomalies safely while minimizing scarring as much as possible. Using a team approach, we work with pediatric dermatologists, hematologists, interventional radiologists and plastic and reconstructive surgeons to deliver the most effective care.

Conditions we treat

As worldwide leaders in pediatric surgery, our team treats the full range of conditions, disorders and diseases. We specialize in helping babies, children and adolescents with conditions that are present at birth. Our expertise also includes treating acquired conditions, such as injuries that result from accidents and trauma. Some of the most common conditions we treat include:

  • Birth defects, including tracheoesophageal fistula, which happens when an abnormal opening develops between the windpipe and the esophagus (the tube that carries food to the stomach)
  • Childhood cancers, including Wilms tumor (growth on the kidney), neuroblastoma (cancer that starts in nerve tissue), childhood ovarian masses and rhabdomyosarcoma (soft tissue tumor)
  • Childhood obesity
  • Colorectal disorders such as Hirschsprung disease, encopresis and anorectal malformations (abnormalities of the lower intestines)
  • Hernias, including umbilical hernia (intestines stick out through the wall of the abdomen through the belly button) and inguinal hernia (intestines bulge through the abdominal wall through the groin)
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease
  • Pectus excavatum (sunken chest syndrome) and pectus carinatum (pigeon chest)

Operations we offer

UCLA Health pediatric surgeons are highly skilled at performing even the most complex procedures. We have experience treating babies, children and teens. We specialize in:

Cryoablation techniques: We use extreme cold to remove damaged or abnormal tissues from anywhere on the body. Cryoablation procedures involve less pain and scarring than open surgery.

Hernia repair: UCLA Health surgeons are skilled at minimally invasive techniques to repair many types of hernias in children.

IBD surgery: Surgery for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis depends on the type and severity of the condition. We specialize in all surgical procedures, including restorative proctocolectomy. During this surgery, we remove the diseased part of the intestines while keeping the anus intact, allowing the child to have normal control of bowel movements. We also specialize in advanced GI procedures, including those to remove all or part of the colon.

Nuss procedure: This procedure is a minimally invasive option to treat pectus excavatum. Using several small incisions, surgeons insert a custom-made, curved bar into the chest and then rotate it so it pushes the chest out. The bar stays in place for 2 to 3 years. Surgeons remove the bar during an outpatient procedure.

Orchiopexy (correction of undescended testicle): During this procedure, surgeons gently move the testicle into the proper place in the scrotum and stitch it in place.

Removal of benign growths: We perform several of these procedures on an outpatient basis. These include operations to remove benign (noncancerous) cysts, masses and lumps from the head, neck, trunk, arms and legs.

Sleeve gastrectomy: This weight-loss surgery involves removing up to 80% of the stomach, decreasing the amount a child is able to eat while still allowing them to absorb the nutrients they need to grow.

Surgical oncology: Our surgeons work closely with pediatric oncologists to treat a range of childhood cancers. We remove tumors using the latest technology and advanced techniques.

Meet our team

All UCLA Health pediatric surgeons are distinguished as Fellows of the American College of Surgeons (F.A.C.S.) and Fellows of the American Academy of Pediatrics (F.A.A.P.). We deliver outstanding surgical care to your child with unparalleled expertise in inpatient and outpatient surgical procedures.

All faculty are distinguished as Fellows of the American College Surgeons (F.A.C.S.) and Fellows of the American Academy of Pediatrics (F.A.A.P.).

Contact us

UCLA Health pediatric surgeons use the latest advances in surgical techniques to provide exceptional care to every child. Call 310-206-2429 to connect with an expert.

Find your care

UCLA Health pediatric surgeons specialize in delivering outstanding surgical care to every child. Call 310-206-2429 to connect with an expert.

Preparing for Surgery

For additional information regarding your child’s upcoming surgery, please visit our patient and family guide to preparing for surgery.