Research at the Division of General, Thoracic, and Fetal Surgery

The Division of General, Thoracic, and Fetal Surgery at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) has a long history of providing compassionate, multidisciplinary care that is among the best in the nation. Research is critical to our ability to drive this care forward. Research within the division is focused on developing new, innovative minimally invasive procedures specifically applicable to the unique and challenging surgical problems of children, understanding the basic mechanisms of diseases that require surgery, and investigating a variety of cutting-edge therapies to preventing and treating various conditions and diseases.

Areas of focus

The Division of General, Thoracic, and Fetal Surgery is home to several prospective clinical trials, as well as multiple retrospective studies. It maintains multiple registries that capture extensive amounts of disease-specific patient data through the development of integrative longitudinal data capture systems. Collecting this information informs how we approach care, and allows us to better counsel other families in the future. Trials are philanthropically, internally, and federally funded, and include numerous basic and translational science initiatives.

The division participates in multiple multi-center research collaborations, including:

  • The North American Fetal Therapy Network (NAFTNet), an NIH funded association of multiple institutions in the U.S. and Canada with expertise in fetal surgery and other forms of multidisciplinary care for complex disorders of the fetus.
  • The Necrotizing Enterocolitis Surgery Trial (NEST), a multi-center randomized clinical trial that assesses the neurodevelopmental outcomes of two different surgical management strategies for extremely low birth weight infants with necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) or intestinal perforation (IP).
  • The Biliary Atresia Research Consortium (BARC), which collects and correlates data about the presentation, diagnostic interventions, and medical and surgical management of infants with biliary atresia in order to identify risk factors that affect health outcomes.
  • Fetoscopic Endoluminal Tracheal Occlusion (FETO),  an FDA-sponsored clinical trial investigating the effects of inserting a balloon to stimulate lung growth in fetus’ with severe congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH).
  • Renal Anhydramnios Fetal Therapy (RAFT), an NIH funded clinical trial investigating the experimental treatment of repeated injections of fluid (amnioinfusions) into the uterus to promote lung function and growth caused by congenital bilateral renal agenesis and fetal renal failure.
  • Eastern Pediatric Surgical Network (EPSN), a multi-institutional research consortium focusing on high impact pediatric surgical diseases with the goals of improving patient outcomes, developing best practices, and reducing health care expenditures through collaborative research studies.

Fetal surgery

The Richard D. Wood Jr. Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment (CFDT) is comprised of world-renowned fetal surgeons and maternal-fetal medicine specialists dedicated to the transformative care of high-risk fetal pregnancies and enhancing pregnancy outcomes through innovative research projects. Research projects conducted in the Center are used to help provide families with the most up-to-date information and results when determining the best treatment option for their pregnancy.

The Center’s research portfolio includes retrospective, cross-sectional, and prospective clinical trials investigating innovative therapeutic approaches to fetal and neonatal diseases. In addition, the CFDT is home to multiple registries that house clinical and epidemiological information on a variety of disease-specific cohorts, facilitating research and the dissemination of critical clinical information.

Major areas of research include:

  • Complicated twin pregnancies (TTTS, sIUGR, TRAP, conjoined twins)
  • Congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH)
  • Congenital genetic disorders
  • Fetal gene therapy
  • Fetal neurology
  • Fetal radiology
  • Psychosocial factors in families of babies with birth defects
  • Renal agenesis
  • Spina bifida (myelomeningocele)
  • And more

Read more about some of our current research studies and noteworthy publications related to fetal medicine.

General pediatric surgery

CHOP’s pediatric general surgery team is dedicated to outstanding patient care, clinical research focusing on improving the surgical outcomes of pediatric patients and educating the next generation of pediatric surgeons.

Our faculty is actively involved in clinical, educational, and informatics-based research in order to maintain the highest standard of quality, safety and clinical outcomes of our surgical patients. The research portfolio of our faculty includes retrospective, cross-sectional, and prospective studies, as well as, multi-site collaborative research projects with various institutes throughout the country.

Major areas of research include:

  • Abdominal wall defects (gastroschisis, giant omphalocele)
  • Biliary atresia
  • Bowel obstructions
  • Congenital hyperinsulinism
  • Necrotizing enterocolitis
  • Pulmonary hypoplasia
  • Surgical oncology

Read more about some of our current research studies and noteworthy publications related to pediatric surgery.

Where we’re going

Our team is also engaged in pre-clinical, translational research that fosters future discoveries. This is the realm where new ideas take shape. Scientific breakthroughs made in the lab can be transformed into new treatment approaches through clinical trials.

Surgery Patient with Childlife Specialist

Why Choose Us for Your Child's Surgery

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Surgery Prep Family in Prep Room with Doctor

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