NYM’s Surgical Advancements for Treatment of Childhood Pneumonia

Jan 23, 2008

A pediatric surgeon looking at a newborn child

Edward Shlasko, M.D., chief of pediatric surgery at NYM, cares for a young patient.

New York Methodist Hospital now offers a new pediatric surgical procedure that greatly shortens recovery time for children with complicated cases of pneumonia. This procedure, called video assisted thorascopic surgery (VATS), enables surgeons to drain the fluid that can collect between a child's lungs and ribcage when this lung infection becomes extremely severe. Draining this fluid enables the lungs to expand and helps the child recover much more quickly.

In the past, surgeons sometimes drained this collected fluid by performing a thoracotomy, an operation that entails entering the chest cavity through a large incision between the child's ribs. But since a thoracotomy is major surgery, doctors often avoided conducting this procedure and relied on prolonged courses of antibiotics instead. NYM's new procedure enables surgeons to use modern thorascopic and laparoscopic instruments to drain the collected fluid with just two or three tiny incisions.

"The minimally invasive nature of this operation allows children with complicated cases of pneumonia to recover in a few short weeks, said Edward Shlasko, M.D., chief of pediatric surgery at NYM. "Our new pediatric surgery team has already successfully performed this procedure numerous times during the recent pneumonia and cold season."

"Video assisted thorascopic surgery is a great surgical advance that enables New York Methodist Hospital to improve the treatment of children in the community who are diagnosed with pneumonia, said Karen Chun, M.D., attending physician in the division of pediatric surgery. 'This development will be one of the many ways that the Hospital continues to provide the best surgical care for its pediatric patients."

The Division of Pediatric Surgery has recently been expanded to offer pediatric surgical care 24 hours a day, seven days a week. "New York Methodist Hospital is fortunate to have pediatric surgeons such as Dr. Edward Shlasko and Dr. Karen Chun to provide the highest quality pediatric surgery for any acute pediatric surgical need at our institution, said Stanley Sherbell, M.D., executive vice president for medical affairs. "In addition, NYM newborn patients receive superb timely consultation and neonatal surgical care, when necessary, in our Level III neonatal intensive care unit."

NYM offers pediatric services in a wide variety of subspecialties, such as cardiology, neurology, pulmonology, and sleep disorders, in modern facilities for children from birth through adolescence. For more information on available pediatric surgical procedures at NYM, please call 718-780-5696.