Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
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Monroe Carell Jr.
Children's Hospital
at Vanderbilt
2200 Children's Way
Nashville, TN 37232

(615) 936-1000

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Conditions We Treat


Click on any of the conditions below to see specific conditions and injuries treated by the General and Thoracic Surgery team. Search for information about diseases and conditions in our Health and Wellness Library.


Trauma Injuries

  • We provide comprehensive care for the injured child in our independently functioning Level I Pediatric Trauma Center.
  • We treat all types of injuries that children sustain, from blunt to penetrating.
  • Thoracic (chest) Injuries
  • Trauma of the abdomen
  • Genitourinary Trauma (related to the genital and urinary organs or their functions
  • Injuries of the muscular or skeletal system
  • Vascular (blood vessel) Injuries
  • Central Nervous System Injuries
  • Burns
  • Child Abuse 




A childhood tumor arising from stem cells that should have formed into the adrenal gland or into nerves along the spinal column from the neck to the pelvis. Members of our group have a special interest in the biological study of neuroblastoma. These efforts have led to Children's Hospital being designated as a Center for Excellence in Neuroblastoma Research.

Kidney Tumors (Wilms' tumor and all others)

We operate on all tumors (cancerous or benign) arising in the kidneys, including Wilms' tumor, rhabdomyosarcoma, renal cell carcinoma, clear cell sarcoma, rhabdoid tumor of the kidney, rare sarcomas, and congenital mesoblastic nephromas. Our group has a special interest in research on Wilms' tumor and the mechanisms that cause it to develop.


This type of sarcoma occurs when cancer cells form in muscle tissue. Rhabdomyosarcoma usually begins in muscles that are attached to bones and that help the body move. Rhabdomyosarcoma is the most common type of sarcoma found in the soft tissues of children. It can occur in many places in the body. We operate on all regions of the body affected by these tumors.

Liver Tumors (such as hepatoblastoma among others)

We operate on all tumors arising in the liver, including hepatoblastoma and hepatocellular carcinoma. Our group has a special interest in research on hepatoblastoma and how these tumors originate.


We provide surgical support for children diagnosed with all types of lymphoma, or cnacer of the lymph nodes or tissues. We will resect (surgically remove) all masses not responsive to chemotherapies.

Teratomas and Germ Cell Tumors

We treat teratomas and other germ cell tumors that arise in all regions of the body, including the ovary and testis.

Mediastinal Masses

We treat all tumors arising in the mediastinum (the area between the lungs where the heart, esophagus, bronchi, and windpipe are located).

Endocrine Tumors

We operate on all tumors arising in endocrine glands, such as the thyroid, pancreas, adrenal gland, and parathyroid. Our group has special expertise in the treatment of thyroid tumors, both benign and malignant.

Gonadal Tumors (Ovaries and Testicles)

We treat all tumors arising in the gonads (ovaries, testes, and scrotum)

Cervical Cysts, Sinuses, and Other Neck Lesions

We operate on lesions, or damaged areas, of the neck that include cystic hygroma, thyroglossal duct cyst, branchial cleft sinuses, and cysts, among others.


Airway, Lung, and Chest Cavity

Tracheoesophageal Fistula

A birth defect in which the airway and "food tube" (esophagus) do not completely separate. A communication remains between the airway and esophagus, which can lead to food contents being inhaled into the airway, causing pneumonia.

Congenital Anomalies of the Lung

We treat all anomalies of lung and airway development including CCAM (congenital cystic airway malformation), intra and extralobar sequestration, and bronchogenic cysts.

Infections of the lung and surrounding space (pneumonia)

We treat infections of the lung (pneumonia) when fluid accumulates around the lung and drainiage is required to re-expand the lung. Many of these procedures can be performed with minimally-invasive techniques.

Chest Wall Deformities (pectus excavatum and carinatum)

When significant deformity of the chest wall has occurred, we treat these anomalies (pectus deformities) with minimally-invasive approaches and traditional techniques. We also treat Poland's syndrome and other abnormalities of chest wall development.


Accumulation of "chyle" (lymphatic fluid) around the lung.

Tumors of the Lung

We treat all tumors of the lung, including pulmonoblastoma and inflammatory myofibroblastic tumors.



Esophageal atresia and tracheoesophageal fistula

We operatively treat all congenital malformations of the esophagus including esophageal atresia (EA) and tracheoesophageal fistula (TEF).

Esophageal Stenosis

A narrowing, much like an hourglass, may form as a birth defect when cartilage, normally a part of the airway, remains in the wall of the esophagus when these two structures are separating during fetal development.

Esophageal Stricture and Replacement

Stricture, or narrowing, of the esophagus can occur from reflux and from ingestion of caustic materials that cause burning and corrosion. While some of these conditions may be resolved with medical treatment, in some circumstances, the esophagus may need to be replaced in a small segment or in its entirety.

Esophageal Rupture and Perforation

We treat ruptures and holes in the esophageal wall.

Gastroesophageal Reflux

A condition when gastric juices (stomach acid) back up, or reflux, into the esophagus. If medical therapy to treat reflux fails, surgery is sometimes recommended to correct this condition.


A condition in which the muscle normally controlling reflux becomes so tight that the child cannot swallow solid foods. A surgical procedure, Heller myotomy, can be performed with a minimally-invasive laparoscopic approach.


Abdominal Wall, Peritoneum, and Diaphragm

Abdominal Wall Defects (gastroschisis and omphalocele)

Gastroschisis is a developmental disorder of the abdominal wall in which a baby is born with its bowel, and occasionally other organs, outside of the abdominal cavity. Omphalocele is a disorder in which a large abdominal wall defect exists, but the bowel and other abdominal structures remain contained within a sac that protrudes out of the abdominal cavity. These disorders are associated with other anomalies in approximately half of cases.

Disorders of the Umbilicus (belly button)

A variety of umbilical defects occur, which we treat, from hernias to urachal remnants (remnants between the umbilical cord and the bladder left over from when the fetus was developing) to omphalomesenteric defects (defects in the veins that are present when the fetus is developing).

Disorders of the Inguinal Canal (such as inguinal hernia and undescended testis)

We treat all abnormalities of the inguinal region (groin) in both boys and girls. These disorders range from typical hernias, to undescended testes, to other rare masses.

Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia and ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation)

We treat both newborns and older infants who have congenital diaphragmatic hernia (abnormal openings in the diaphragm). Our comprehensive ECMO team provides support to those newborns with underdeveloped lungs needing additional support to oxygenate blood and eliminate waste (CO2).


Stomach, Duodenum, and Small Intestine

Hypertrophic Pyloric Stenosis

Blockage of the pyloric channel leading from stomach into the small bowel. We treat this condition in young infants (two to 12 weeks of age) with both traditional open surgical approaches and with laparoscopy.

Duodenal Atresia and Stenosis

We treat all developmental abnormalities of the duodenum (the first section of the small intestine). In certain newborns who have blockage of the duodenum we are able to repair this anomaly with minimally-invasive laparoscopic techniques.

Malrotation and Volvulus

This condition of improper rotation of the intestines can present with mild symptoms (such as vomiting and intolerance of feedings) to more severe symptoms in which the bowel twists (volvulus) and becomes deficient in blood supply, leading to gangrenous bowel. This condition most commonly presents in the neonatal or infant period and is often a surgical urgency or even emergency.

Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC)

NEC is the most common surgical emergency of the newborn and is a result of intestinal infection.

Short-Bowel Syndrome (STEP procedure)

Short bowel syndrome can arise when another congenital anomaly leads to loss of bowel length, as can be associated with gastroschisis (an opening in the abdominal wall), NEC, mid-gut volvulus (twisting), and bowel atresia (blockage). We have several surgical approaches in the comprehensive care of these patients to attempt bowel lengthening.


This condition results when the bowel "telescopes" in on itself and leads to intestinal blockage. While most of these babies (most commonly ages 3-18 months) can have their intussusception reduced with the assistance of a radiologist using an air enema, where the bowel is filled with air, some require surgery. All of these babies will be admitted to the hospital under the care of a surgeon regardless of who corrects the abnormality.

Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis

We manage all surgical indications for these two inflammatory bowel conditions.


Colon, Rectum, and Anus

Gastrointestinal Bleeding

We manage gastrointestinal bleeding when surgery is required.

Polypoid Diseases of the Gastrointestinal Tract

In collaboration with our gastroenterologists, we operate on children having such polypoid conditions as FAP (familial adenomatous polyposis), Peutz-Jegher's syndrome, Gardner's syndrome, Turcot's, and others.


Appendectomy, or removal of the appendix, is the most common emergency surgical procedure we perform on children.

Hirschsprung's Disease

We care for children of all ages born with Hirschsprung's disease, a disease of the large intestine that causes severe constipation or intestinal obstruction. We perform both minimally invasive laparoscopic and open procedures to correct this condition and very rarely need to perform a colostomy.

Anorectal Disorders and Imperforate Anus

A birth defect where the anus or rectum forms improperly. We correct this complex anomaly with both minimally-invasive laparoscopic techniques and with the Pena procedure (posterior sagittal anorectoplasty), which creates a connection between the rectum and the newly-created anal opening.

Obturation Obstruction of the Intestine (cystic fibrosis)

Children who have the genetic syndrome Cystic Fibrosis can have a condition at birth called meconium ileus, or intestinal blockage due to the "stickiness" of the stool (meconium). While this condition may resolve with contrast enemas, on occasion the obstruction will need to be relieved with surgery.


Liver, Biliary Tract, Pancreas, and Spleen

Biliary Atresia

We perform the complex Kasai procedure (porto-enterostomy) in babies affected with biliary atresia. This condition results from progressive scarring of the bile ducts and leads to blockage of bile flowing into the intestine. Babies become jaundiced with lightly colored stools and darkened urine. Ideally, the correction needs to be performed as soon as the diagnosis is made and before 3 months of age.

Choledochal Cyst

This birth defect is an abnormality of the bile duct that requires surgery to correct. Our department has special expertise in treating choledochal cysts.

Portal Hypertension

An increase in the pressure within the portal vein that carries blood from the digestive organs to the liver.

Gallbladder Disease

Gall stones may arise in children for a variety of reasons, including standard cholesterol stones to pigmented stones, in association with certain disorders such as Sickle Cell Disease or congenital heart defects. We perform most of these procedures laparoscopically, where a camera is passed through a small incisions.

Disorders of the Pancreas (inflammatory, tumors and hyperinsulinism)

We have special interest in the surgical care of children who have hereditary pancreatitis, other pancreatic duct abnormalities (divisum), pancreatic pseudocysts (from trauma or other causes), and rare tumors. We also treat hyperinsulinism in infants who have low blood sugar levels.

Disorders of the Spleen

All cysts (trauma-related or epithelial) and hemolytic conditions (conditions involving the breakdown of red blood cells).


Kidney, Ureter, and Bladder

Renal Tumors (Wilms and all other kidney tumors)

We treat the full spectrum of kidney tumors arising in children 18 years and younger. See Tumors.

Cloacal exstrophy

A rare birth defect where much of the abdominal organs (such as the bladder and intestines) are exposed. We treat all of the general surgical conditions associated with this complex anomaly.



Male External Genitalia

We treat undescended testicles and testicular tumors.

Female Genital Tract (ovarian conditions)

We treat all ovarian disorders of young girls, including tumors, twists and cysts.

Ambiguous Genitalia

We treat disorders of sexual differentiation.

Conjoined Twins

We manage all conjoined twins, or babies whose bodies are joined in the uterus during development. We have special expertise with these babies.


Skin, Soft Tissue, and Blood Vessels

Hemangiomas and Vascular Malformations

Birthmarks and blood vessel abnormalities

Lymphangiomas and Lymphatic Malformations

Tumors or abnormalities in the lymph vessels

Last Edited: October 12, 2016