• Pediatric Surgical Oncology

    Cancer patients in need of surgery, including pediatric neurosurgery, at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center have access to world-class pediatric surgical oncologists, state-of-the-art facilities, and a dedicated anesthesiology department for pre-, peri- and postoperative care.

    Working alongside patient care teams, our pediatric surgical oncologists are able to quickly and effectively respond to the needs of our patients when surgery is required. Our clinical resources, such as our anesthesiology department, medical subspecialty programs, intensive care units, and radiological capabilities provide families and patients with convenience during what can be a very stressful time.

    Working together with treatment teams from all of our pediatric cancer and blood disorders centers, our surgical oncologists are prepared at all times for surgical intervention as a primary or complimentary component of a patient’s treatment plan.

    Surgical Oncology Overview

    Surgery can be required for multiple reasons:

    • As part of diagnosis: There are many instances where surgical intervention, such as a biopsy or sampling of involved tissues, is required to define the exact type of cancer, to determine the true nature of the tumor (malignant or benign), and to appropriately determine if the tumor has spread to other organs or areas in the body.
    • In support of treatment: Surgery may be needed to prepare patients for treatments that require chemotherapy or drugs by providing a route of access (intravenous [IV]) by placement of a central venous line or port-a-cath to administer these agents, or to help address complications of treatment, such as infections or obstructions.
    • As a primary component of treatment: Sometimes surgery is the best option in the treatment of a child’s tumor, or it may be part of a multi-modality approach (in combination with chemotherapy, radiotherapy, immunotherapy, etc.) to the global treatment of a cancerous tumor. Our pediatric oncologic surgeons are skilled in minimally invasive and open surgical procedures for removing all types of tumors in the body, and they have dedicated their entire clinical practices to the treatment of children with tumors. Furthermore, they are active in all major local, regional, national and international clinical cooperative trials to ensure your child receives the best and most current therapies.


    One of the many benefits we offer patients is a state-of-the-art anesthesiology department available for all peri-operative care and needs (preoperative evaluation, postoperative intensive care unit medicine, pain management, etc.). Prior to surgery, the surgeon and anesthesiologist will visit with the child and her parents to discuss the surgical procedure and answer any questions they may have regarding the pre-, peri-, and postoperative care. After surgery, patients go to a post-anesthesia care unit or the intensive care unit (ICU) depending on the type of surgery and medical complexity involved. Generally, you and your child will experience one of several options after a surgical procedure:

    • The recovery room or post-anesthesia care unit (PACU) for several hours and then be sent home (generally for minor procedures including biopsies and venous access placement)
    • A hospital in patient unit to recover for 24 hours or less for more invasive procedures or for the initiation of postoperative treatments
    • A hospital unit to recover for a few days for more invasive or involved operations
    • An intensive care unit for a few days followed by transfer to an inpatient hospital unit until your child is ready for discharge home (can be up to 7-10 days) for major operations

    In some cases, children can go home the same day they have a minor surgical procedure. After major surgery, however, the child may need to stay in the hospital for a few days or sometimes longer. When the surgeon determines the child can be discharged, the medical team and your surgeon will discuss home care and provide parents with clear instructions for care and any prescriptions that are needed.


    Our pediatric neurosurgeons have one of the nation’s few operating rooms with an MRI inside, which means they can simultaneously perform surgery and obtain detailed images to ensure maximum removal of your child’s tumor. 

    Learn more about pediatric neurosurgery at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's.

  • Contact Us

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    Genetic Testing

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