Surgical Services

Forging the Future of Surgery

Total Pancreatectomy with Islet Autotransplantation (TPIAT)

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Surgical Services

Nationwide Children’s Hospital Surgical Services is one of the largest children’s surgical programs in the world. We are dedicated to clinical excellence, generation of new knowledge through research and the training of the next generation of leaders in children’s surgery. Under the umbrella of a unified program, 11 surgical departments share a common mission, philosophy and approach to patient care.

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ACS Verification Seal

Nationwide Children’s Hospital is verified as a Level 1 Children’s Surgery Center by the American College of Surgeons Children’s Surgery Verification quality improvement program.

Our central focus is the well-being of the child and the family. With unrivaled clinical care across our specialties, we are breaking new ground. For example, our institution has led the world in the discovery that childhood appendicitis can often be successfully treated without surgery. We have created a new process for evaluating and preventing surgical complications that has become a national standard adopted by many other children’s surgery programs. We are the only institution implanting tissue engineered blood vessels into human infants with congenital heart defects. We have celebrated more than 1,000 days without a surgical site infection for orthopedic spinal fusions. We were able to accomplish all these things through a focus on quality and commitment to our strategic plan. All members of the team, from the surgeon to the anesthesiologist to the dentist and nurse are trained and dedicated to maximizing patient care and safety.

We are a high-volume center with over 90 children’s specialty surgeons. And we are continually growing in size, scope and volume.

Oluyinka O. Olutoye, MD, PhD, Surgeon-In-Chief at Nationwide Children’s Hospital

Oluyinka O. Olutoye

In addition to being the Chief of Surgery at NCH, Dr. Olutoye is a pioneer in the surgical and medical treatments that improve outcomes for both mother and baby. As a pediatric and fetal surgeon, Dr. Olutoye brings specialized clinical expertise in fetal and neonatal surgery. Fetal surgeons work closely with obstetricians and maternal-fetal medicine specialists to provide exceptional care for babies who need surgery in-utero and to improve outcomes for a range of conditions such as congenital diaphragmatic hernia, spina bifida and other congenital anomalies.

Jaimie D. Nathan, MD

Jaimie D. Nathan

Jaimie D. Nathan, MD, FACS, is Chief of Pediatric Abdominal Transplant and Hepatopancreatobiliary Surgery at Nationwide Children’s and surgical director of Liver Transplant. A renowned pediatric transplant surgeon, Dr. Nathan has extensive experience in liver transplants – including performing transplants in patients as young as 12 months. Areas of expertise include utilizing all technical variant grafts in liver transplantation, including split livers, reduced-sized grafts and living donor liver transplantation, to optimize outcomes and minimize time on the waiting list.

Richard Wood

Richard J. Wood

Richard Wood, MD, is chief of the Department of Pediatric Colorectal & Pelvic Reconstructive Surgery at Nationwide Children's Hospital.

Nationwide Children's Hospital Medical Professional

Geri D. Hewitt

Geri D. Hewitt, MD, is the Chief of Gynecology and Obstetrics and the Director of Gynecologic Surgery for the Center for Colorectal and Pelvic Reconstruction at Nationwide Children's Hospital.

Nationwide Children's Hospital Medical Professional

David L. Rogers

David L. Rogers, MD, is Chief of the Department of Ophthalmology.

Nationwide Children's Hospital Medical Professional

Jeffrey R. Leonard

Jeffrey R. Leonard, MD is the Chief of Neurosurgery and the Surgical Director of the Neuro-Oncology Program. 

Nationwide Children's Hospital Medical Professional

Kevin E. Klingele

Kevin E. Klingele, MD is the Chief of Orthopedics.

Nationwide Children's Hospital Medical Professional

Charles A. Elmaraghy

Charles A. Elmaraghy, MD is the Chief of Otolaryngology.

Gail Besner

Gail E. Besner

Gail E. Besner, MD is the Chief of Pediatric Surgery. 

Nationwide Children's Hospital Medical Professional

Richard E. Kirschner

Richard Kirschner is the chief of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, director of the Cleft Lip and Palate-Craniofacial Center and co-director of the 22q Center.

Nationwide Children's Hospital Medical Professional

V. Rama Jayanthi

V. Rama Jayanthi, MD, is the chief of the Department of Pediatric Urology at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and a clinical professor of Urology in the Department of Urology at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. He is also chief of Pediatric Urology at Dayton Children’s Hospital. Dr. Jayanthi is a full-time pediatric urologist with expertise in all aspects of the medical and surgical management of genitourinary problems, including urinary tract infections (UTI), hydronephrosis, urinary incontinence, hypospadias and intersex conditions. He has a strong interest in multispecialty collaborative care for children with complex conditions, as evidenced by his involvement in not only the Kidney and Urinary Tract Center but also in the Center for Colorectal and Pelvic Reconstruction (CCPR).

Janice Townsend

Janice A. Townsend

Janice A. Townsend, DDS, MS, is the chief of Pediatric Dentistry at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

Preparing Future Surgeons 

We are teaching tomorrow’s surgeons. Teaching them the skills they will need to advance the field of surgery and influence care across the world. Nationwide Children’s Department of Surgery offers 15 surgical subspecialty fellowships in nearly every specialty and includes a highly respected pediatric dentistry residency. Integration with The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s, one of the top NIH-funded free-standing pediatric research institutions, offers a top-rated education to residents and fellows. Our mission to help kids everywhere fuels our prioritization of academic and clinical education.

Collaboration for Success 

Collaboration is at the core of what we do. With 45 interdisciplinary programs involving surgery at Nationwide Children’s, working together is just part of who we are. This interdisciplinary collaboration results in more innovation and ultimately better outcomes for our patients. Some procedures require the teamwork of specialists in different areas — for example, separating conjoined twins.

In September 2015, a multidisciplinary team with specialists from Pediatric Surgery, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Neurosurgery and Colorectal Surgery successfully separated conjoined twins Acen and Apio.

“Every part of this superb team was essential to the success of the separation surgery,” says Gail Besner, MD, chief of Pediatric Surgery and lead surgeon for the twins. “We had the opportunity to take two patients who would never have been able to have a normal life as they were before and make them into two separate individuals who, I expect, will have healthy and normal lives.”

The 22q Center is another example of collaboration and innovation across the institution. As experts in 22q.11.2 deletion syndrome, we are positioned to provide diagnosis and early intervention services to optimize care and deliver best outcomes for every child. Through the 22q Center, led by the Section of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, multidisciplinary, family-centered care spanning surgery, orthodontics, pediatric dentistry, psychosocial considerations and others are offered to patients and their families. Given the wide spectrum of medical, developmental and psychological needs of patients with 22q.11.2 deletion syndrome, our individualized and comprehensive approach affords each child the opportunity to reach his or her full potential.

Our interdisciplinary clinical programs are mirrored by collaborations in research that encompass the entire institution. Whether in the operating room or in the laboratory, our surgeons, clinicians and researchers are working together to bring the best possible outcomes to children everywhere.

Expanding Research

The surgical research program is a world-class model of clinical and translational research. Surgeon-scientists are breaking new ground and developing innovations to improve the lives of children everywhere. Surgical research at Nationwide Children’s is fully integrated into The Research Institute, a top-10 National Institutes of Health-funded research institution.

“We have an amazing synergy happening in research at Nationwide Children’s,” says Christopher Breuer, MD, pediatric surgeon and director of the Center for Regenerative Medicine in The Research Institute. “We have expert clinicians, innovative researchers, resources and institutional support, which all together are enabling us to accomplish great things.”

From tissue engineering to the non-operative management of appendicitis, surgical research at Nationwide Children’s is committed to looking at old treatments in new ways. We’re also looking to improve how research is done. A recent study by Katherine J. Deans, MD, and Peter C. Minneci, MD, pediatric surgeons, co-directors of the Center for Surgical Outcomes Research and principal investigators in the Center for Innovation in Pediatric Practice in The Research Institute, addresses stakeholder involvement in clinical trial participation and retention.

Our researchers are using advanced technology to influence the future of surgery through research. By applying high-performance computing to the field of otolaryngology, a team of researchers is developing a simulation environment for teaching surgical techniques related to the temporal bone. Through the Epilepsy Research Program, a team of neurosurgeons and neurologists is working to develop numerous studies including mathematical modeling of EEG changes, an epilepsy surgery database and an algorithm for analyzing histopathology samples from surgery. In the Department of Urology, surgeons and researchers are working together using DNA analysis to evaluate how the body’s microbiome changes as children age, and how the microbiome responds to urinary tract infections.

Dr. Appakalai is shown wearing a white coat, standing near a window at Nationwide Children's

Meet Dr. Balamurugan Appakalai

Dr. Balamurugan Appakalai is among the world’s most experienced in processing human pancreases for clinical islet autotransplantation and allotransplantation. He has processed more than 1,500 pancreases which have been utilized for clinical auto- and allotransplantation and for islet biology research initiatives.

Surgical Services Subspecialties

Surgical Research

conjoined twins post surgery

Conjoined Twins Are Separated at Nationwide Children's Hospital

Acen and Apio, conjoined twin girls from Uganda, were successfully separated at Nationwide Children's. The 16-hour surgery was performed by a surgical team of more than 30 specialists from plastic surgery, colorectal surgery, neurosurgery, anesthesiology and nursing. The team was lead by Dr. Gail Besner of pediatric surgery.