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1-17-12 Pediatric surgeon performs innovative procedure
First minimally invasive surgery to repair a duodenal atresia in a newborn infant at LLU Children’s Hospital.

By Briana Pastorino
Ana Garcia holds her two-month-old daughter, Jayla, while Edward Tagge, MD, performs a post-operative checkup at Loma Linda University Medical Center–Murrieta, Ca.  
Pediatric surgeons at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital are known for pushing the barriers of surgery when it comes to the welfare of their young patients.

Pediatric surgeon Edward P. Tagge, MD, and LLU’s first pediatric surgery fellow Shannon Longshore, MD, recently performed the first minimally invasive surgery to repair a duodenal atresia in a newborn infant at LLU Children’s Hospital.

Duodenal atresia is a condition diagnosed prenatally in which the small bowel (duodenum) is not completely developed, causing a blockage between the stomach and small bowel.

This blockage does not allow for the passage of stomach contents, and if gone untreated, can be fatal. The blockage is typically repaired surgically by making a large incision across the abdomen, which leads to scarring and a lengthy healing process.

The minimally invasive alternative is done laparoscopically through three small abdominal incisions, roughly three millimeters each, causing minimal scarring and even less pain.

“This complicated operation is one that takes advanced laparoscopic skills and a well-coordinated surgical, anesthesia, and nursing team,” says Dr. Tagge.

“This is the newest operation in the growing field of minimally invasive procedures that can be performed by pediatric surgeons at Children’s Hospital.”

Ana Garcia and Benjamin Molina found out just two days before their daughter, Jayla, was born that she had duodenal atresia after a routine ultrasound. “We were very scared and worried for our daughter,” Ms. Garcia says, “but everyone at the hospital made us feel at ease.” 

With Jayla at just three days old, Drs. Tagge and Longshore repaired the blockage by sewing the two pieces of bowel together using a suture at the end of a foot-long needle visualized by laparoscopic camera. During the procedure, the doctors discovered Jayla also had malrotation—a twisting of the intestines caused by abnormal development—which required laparoscopic repair as well as an appendectomy.

Now two months old, Jayla is a happy, healthy, baby eating and sleeping perfectly.
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