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About neonatal surgery and newborn congenital anomalies

Some babies are born with a congenital anomaly and require surgical treatment. There are many types of congenital anomalies that pediatric surgeons treat, including:

  • Congenital diaphragmatic hernia
  • Esophageal atresia
  • Imperforate anus
  • Hirschsprung's disease
  • Intestinal atresia
  • Congenital lung lesions
  • Abdominal wall defects
  • Vascular and lymphatic anomalies
  • Malrotation

Our approach to treatment

Operating on a newborn presents unique challenges and requires specialized expertise. Our pediatric surgeons are experts in the field and offer the most advanced surgical treatments for neonatal conditions. In fact, we are a regional referral center for neonatal surgery. The goal of our neonatal surgery program is to deliver safe and efficient care to newborns, to allow them to live as normal and healthy a life as possible.

Our relationship with families often starts before their baby is even born, in cases where they are diagnosed with a congenital anomaly prenatally. (Other times, the relationship starts after birth, when a diagnosis is made.) Our surgeons collaborate with the Maternal Fetal Medicine Group and dedicated specialists (such as neonatologists and cardiologists) to educate the family about their baby’s condition, the surgical procedure itself and the pre and post-operative expectations, and we answer any questions they may have. This gives them an idea of what to expect after their baby is born, and helps quell anxieties as much as possible. After birth, we work with the neonatologist to prepare the baby for surgery.

We treat a wide variety of congenital anomalies. We take a minimally invasive approach for all surgeries, either laparoscopically or thoracoscopically, when appropriate. This provides for decreased pain and sometimes shorter length of stay in the hospital. If extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) if necessary, rest assured that we have one of the most active programs in the region and the only one on Long Island. (ECMO refers to using advanced equipment to act as a child’s temporary heart and lung.) We have the largest pediatric surgical staff in New York state, and every single member is trained in the most advanced techniques for ECMO, allowing for 24/7 coverage.

After surgery, we provide comprehensive post-operative care, in tandem with our neonatologists, physician assistant and nurses. We also have designated social workers in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) to help plan discharge and follow up visits.