Specialized, Advanced Care for Children with Gastrointestinal Conditions
Pediatric interventional endoscopy is a minimally invasive technique doctors use to test and treat many conditions that affect a child’s gastrointestinal (GI) system. This technique helps doctors access parts of the GI tract that are more difficult to reach with open surgery. Interventional endoscopy involves less pain and a faster recovery than invasive surgical methods.
Interventional endoscopy procedures can be diagnostic (focused on testing), therapeutic (focused on treatment), or both. Endoscopists at Cincinnati Children’s have the highest level of advanced training and experience needed to perform interventional endoscopic procedures on children safely and effectively. This specialization is necessary because children with GI conditions have unique medical needs.
The Interventional Endoscopy Center at Cincinnati Children’s is one of only a few programs in the United States to offer interventional endoscopy services for children. Our team has more than a decade of experience, with our pediatric providers offering these procedures since 2012.
Our services include highly specialized procedures that are not available at most pediatric hospitals: pediatric endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), pediatric endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) and pediatric double balloon enteroscopy. Adult hospitals that offer these procedures for children typically do not have extensive experience or specialized smaller equipment for pediatric patients.”
All of the physicians at the Interventional Endoscopy Center are board-certified pediatric gastroenterologists, and our director, David Vitale, MD, is also fellowship-trained in advanced endoscopy. When caring for children with complex medical needs, they work closely with other pediatric specialty teams throughout Cincinnati Children’s, including our Pancreas Care Center, which is recognized as a National Pancreas Foundation (NPF) Center of Excellence. We also have close working relationships with the medical center’s Liver Care Center, Department of Surgery, Cancer and Blood Diseases Institute and other specialty areas.
Why Pediatric Specialization Matters
The interventional endoscopy team’s pediatric specialization means your child benefits from the following.
- Expertise in treating conditions more commonly found in children than adults, such as congenital anomalies (problems that are present at birth)
- Access to minimally invasive procedures that aren’t available to children at most other institutions. That can mean less pain and a shorter recovery for your child compared to more invasive procedures.
- Experience that comes from performing these procedures frequently on children—something you won’t find at an adult care hospital.
- Specialized endoscopic equipment that can be used for children of all ages, including newborns.
- Immediate access to other specialty providers when needed—for example, developmental-behavioral pediatricians and child-life specialists
If your child needs an interventional endoscopy procedure, it’s reassuring to know that this level of expertise is available at Cincinnati Children’s from a team that cares for kids every day.
What Is Interventional Endoscopy?
Interventional endoscopy combines two types of technology:
- Endoscopy—Use of a thin, flexible tube with a camera and a light source on the end
- Imaging—Use of X-ray and/or ultrasound, which provide detailed pictures of internal organs
Instead of making an incision in the skin to access the GI tract, an endoscopist guides a flexible endoscope through a natural opening: the mouth or the anus. Sometimes this technology is only used to see inside the body to understand what is going on. Other times, the doctor provides diagnosis or treatment by sliding tiny tools through the endoscope.
Cutting-Edge Research to Improve Care for Children
Our team participates in research to discover new ways of safely and effectively using pediatric interventional endoscopy. Patients may qualify for clinical research studies that give them access to experimental tests and therapies that are unavailable elsewhere.
Virtual visits are available for children who live in Ohio and Kentucky. We also offer online second opinions for children receiving care at another institution.