The first surgeon in the world to perform a minimally invasive surgery to repair an esophagus with a large gap, just saved a little boy's life in Denver.
Dr. Steve Rothenberg performed surgery on Luke Allen, December 7, 2017 at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children. Luke had a large gap in his esophagus, meaning the top of the esophagus wasn't connected to the bottom. It's called long gap esophageal atresia.
Back in 1999, Dr. Rothenberg, the world leader in minimally invasive surgery for kids, performed the first surgery to fix the gap using small incisions. Before Dr. Rothenberg's approach, surgeons would use a large incision and open the baby's chest to fix the gap. Those large incisions created many problems, including increasing the risk of infection and growth issues as the babies aged.
Dr. Rothenberg uses this minimally invasive approach to fix the esophagus in babies, more than any other surgeon in the world. It's a tricky procedure and some pediatric surgeons still approach it with a large incision. Dr. Rothenberg and his partners at Rocky Mountain Pediatric Surgery, know the minimally invasive approach is the best for these tiny patients. Dr. Rothenberg is asked to teach this technique all over the world, and has performed the surgery in 20 countries.