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Pediatric Surgery (General)

Providing expert diagnosis and treatment of a variety of general and thoracic surgical disorders for children of all ages.

If your child needs surgery, you need a healthcare facility dedicated to children with experienced pediatric surgeons, advanced minimally invasive techniques, and a child-friendly atmosphere. At Duke Children's, our surgeons provide expert diagnosis and treatment of a variety of general and thoracic surgical disorders for children of all ages. In addition, we are leaders in innovative and minimally invasive techniques to minimize pain and recovery time for children.

Our surgical team consists of three pediatric general surgeons and three pediatric surgery nurse practitioners skilled in the surgical and postoperative care of premature babies, neonates, children and adolescents up to the age of 19 years. We also have a busy and patient-friendly day surgery program.

Why Choose Us?

When you come for a surgical procedure at Duke Children’s, you and your child will have access to:

  • Family-centered care. We are dedicated to providing comprehensive evaluation and expert treatment for the child and the family as a whole, including counseling, support and other special services. Families are considered part of the patient care team, and are encouraged to participate with doctors and nurses in the patient’s care plan. We support parent and family advocacy and education organizations. 
  • Expert team approach. Our program takes an integrated, team approach--before, during, and after surgery--to provide the most comprehensive care possible. Working closely with specialists from pediatric anesthesiology, pediatric critical care, and neonatology, our team consists of highly experienced board-certified pediatric surgeons, with a singular focus on the care of children. We ensure that your child is receiving the most comprehensive care possible.  
  • Minimally invasive treatment options. We strive to use minimally invasive surgical techniques whenever possible and have a well-established bloodless surgery program. We are committed to eliminating or reducing blood transfusions for our pediatric surgical patients, putting safety as our highest priority while respecting the religious and personal values of our patients. 

  • Personalized care plan. Each child is different and requires a treatment plan tailored to his or her specific needs. Before the procedure, we will discuss with you in detail about what to expect during the procedure and what the recovery period will be like for your child. 
  • Superior outcomes. Our surgeons use advanced surgical procedures, including the most sophisticated surgical technology available to ensure best outcomes, resulting in quicker recovery and less stress for the family. 

What to expect

When you and your child have been referred to Duke Pediatric Surgery, you will receive a telephone call to schedule an appointment for an initial consult with one of our pediatric surgeons or pediatric surgery nurse practitioners. If you have been referred and have not received an appointment, please call 919-681-5077.

  • Preoperative consultation. Our clinic is located on the second floor of the Duke Children’s Health Center. Please arrive 15 minutes early for your initial clinic visit. During your initial consult, you will have the opportunity to speak with your surgeon about your child’s condition, explore treatment options, and ask questions.
  • Preoperative preparation. If you and your surgeon decide that surgery is the best option for your child, a surgery day will be scheduled. Ask your surgeon how long he or she expects your child to stay in the hospital following surgery. Your child will also need to be evaluated by a pediatric anesthesiologist prior to surgery. This may involve a phone conversation, or you may need to come in for a visit. Anesthesia preoperative visits are on the third floor of the Duke Children’s Health Center. The exact time of your child’s surgery will not be determined until 3pm the day prior to the surgery. You will receive a call after 3pm on the day before your child’s surgery that will provide you with instructions about what time to arrive and when your child will need to stop eating or drinking.
  • Day of surgery. Please come to the third floor of the Duke Children’s Health Center preoperative waiting area. The OR time may change, even on the day of surgery, to accommodate emergencies. You will again have an opportunity to speak with the surgeon and ask any final questions prior to surgery. During the surgery, There is a surgery waiting area where the surgeon will speak with you if there are updates on your child’s condition or to explain the results of the surgery. Please inform the waiting room staff if you leave this area so that the Pediatric Surgery team will know how to best contact you. If you have additional needs, such as access to a breast pump, please let our team know so that we can best accommodate you.
  • Postoperative care. Many children are able to return home the same day as their surgery. Other children will need to stay in the hospital to recover. Your surgeon will instruct you about when the surgical dressings may be removed, how to treat postoperative pain, when your child can bathe, when your child can eat, and if you need a return visit. Many children do so well after surgery that they do not need to return for a postoperative visit. We ask that you call our office in one to two weeks and give us an update about how your child is doing postoperatively. If you have any questions or concerns postoperatively, please call our office at 919-681-5077. 


Our service covers the surgical needs of children of all age groups for care with congenital malformations, endocrine disorders, tumors, injuries and various acquired conditions, including:

  • surgery and related endoscopy of the head and neck, thorax, abdomen and extremities;
  • tumors, benign and malignant, at any site except the central nervous system;
  • all thoracic surgery except cardiac operations;
  • vascular surgery;
  • gastrointestinal, hepatic and splenic surgery;
  • some urologic and gynecologic surgery; and
  • anomalies of the inguinal canal including hernias and undescended testes.

Common diagnoses include inguinal hernias, umbilical hernias, undescended testes, pyloric stenosis and appendicitis.

Commonly Performed Procedures

All of our operative procedures are performed at the Duke University Medical Center, with expert assistance of a multidisciplinary group including fully trained pediatric anesthesiologists, and consultants in pediatric critical care medicine, neonatology, and a comprehensive range of pediatric subspecialties. Nursing and supportive personnel have a broad experience with the care of children, which allows integrated care for all patients.

Procedures performed by our pediatric general surgeons include abdominal and thoracic surgery, minimally invasive surgery, oncologic surgery, and trauma surgery.

Physicians and Staff


Name Areas of Special Interest
Obinna O. Adibe, MD Advanced pediatric minimally invasive surgery, neonatal surgery, anorectal malformations, inflammatory bowel disease, prenatal counseling, fetal therapy, pediatric outcomes research
Henry E. Rice, MD Neonatal surgery, prenatal counseling, general pediatric thoracic and abdominal surgery
Elisabeth T. Tracy, MD Infants and children with surgical diseases, including congenital and vascular anomalies, childhood cancer, and abnormalities of the lungs and esophagus

Pediatric Surgery Nurse Practitioners

NameAreas of Special Interest
Caitlin Curtis, RN, MSN, FNP-BC Pediatric Surgery Nurse Practitioner
Michelle Schweitzer, RN, MSN, CPNP-AC Pediatric Surgery Nurse Practitioner
Megan Nute, RN, MSN, CPNP-AC Pediatric Surgery Nurse Practitioner

Clinic Hours and Location

Duke Children's Hospital & Health Center
2301 Erwin Road
Durham, NC 27710
Tel: 919-668-4000