Surgical Research


The Department of Paediatric Surgery, John Hunter Children's Hospital has a major commitment to Paediatric Surgery Research.

Our Department is host to various research activities especially in Neonatal Surgery. Our extensive research initiatives are mainly clinically based providing research training opportunities to a large number of medical students and surgical registrars. Our research has improved the understanding of children with varying health problems and has greatly improved the long term outcomes of children. 

One of our main areas of interest is doing minimal invasive surgery in children which is also known as "key hole surgery", we are proud to be pioneers in this field in Australasia.

The Department of Paediatric Surgery consistently presents their findings at a number of international meetings each year. 

Paediatric Surgical Research

Ward reduction of Gastroschisis

Gastroschisis is a condition where the baby is born with the bowel laying outside the abdomen. The incidence of gastroschisis seems to be increasing with the highest recorded incidents being in the Newcastle area.  The cause of this condition is unknown and the treatment has been simplified in our unit by reducing the bowel into the abdomen and then applying a steristrip. The entire process is done without the patient having to undergo surgery. We have published papers on this condition and presented papers at local and international meetings.

Antenal Cystic Adenomatous Malformation

Congenital cystic malformations are conditions where cysts are diagnosed in the unborn baby. A cyst in the lung can compress normal lung tissue and can also affect the baby's heart. This condition has, again, been closely followed at John Hunter Children's Hospital. We have published and presented papers on this particular condition. Children born with this condition are closely monitored.

Necrotising Enterocolitis in extremely low birth weight infants 

Babies with extremely low birth weight (less than 800grams) seem to suffer with the condition known as Necrotising Enterocolitis. The incidence of this condition seems to be increasing world wide and the cause is unknown.  Our unit concentrates on Necrotising Enterocolitis and follows these children carefully with prospective data. The department has presented papers on this condition.


Fundoplication is a procedure commonly performed in children with developmental delay who cannot swallow and vomit. Our unit started performing innovative key hole surgery called "anterior fundoplication" and this seems to achieve very good results in children with neurological developmental delay.  We have published papers on this new procedure and we follow these children up carefully.


Research on trauma is a mainstay in our department. In combination with the adult trauma unit we closely monitor children with varying injuries and publish regularly on this subject. Prospective data is maintained on children with varying injuries especially splenic and liver injuries, this research is ongoing.