Nathan's Story
Stefan Scholz, MD, PhD, FAAP, director
of Minimally Invasive Surgery at Children’s
Hospital performs a minimally invasive surgery
technique on a patient.
Nathan Coltura has no visible scarring
on his abdomen after an appendectomy was
performed at Children's using minimally
invasive surgery techniques.
His team reviewed records of 29 children younger than 12
months old treated with transperitoneal laparoscopic pyeloplasty
for UPJ obstruction from May 2005 to February 2012. Of the 24
patients for whom follow-up data was available, 22 (92 percent)
had successful repairs.
“Our early experience reveals a developing success rate
comparable to that of other treatment modalities with minimal
morbidity,” says Dr. Ost. The findings are published in the April
issue of “The Journal of Urology.”
Minimally invasive and robot-assisted surgeries are done only at
Children's Hospital's main campus in the Lawrenceville section of
Pittsburgh. At Children's North in Wexford, endoscopic abdominal
evaluations can be performed.
In October 2012, 10-year-old Nathan
Coltura, fromWest Newton, Pa., complained
of stomach pains. His mother, Tracey,
immediately thought he may have eaten
too much and had a stomachache.
However, when Nathan woke up the
next morning, he felt even worse. Tracey
pushed on his side, and that unleashed a
sharp abdominal pain in her son.
The family took Nathan to their
local emergency room, where doctors
suspected that Nathan’s appendix was
inflamed. They sent him via ambulance to
Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.
At Children’s Hospital, Nathan
underwent a physical exam and
abdominal ultrasound. Based on the
results, Nathan was diagnosed with
acute appendicitis: an inflammation
and infection of the appendix. This is
the most common cause of emergency
surgery in childhood.
The family met with Stefan Scholz, MD,
PhD, FAAP, director of Minimally Invasive
Surgery at Children’s Hospital, who told
them that Nathan needed to have his
appendix removed. After discussing
options with the family, Dr. Scholz would
perform a single-incision laparoscopic
Children’s Hospital is a national leader
in minimally invasive surgical techniques,
including single-incision laparoscopic
surgeries (SILS) and laparo-endoscopic
single-site surgeries (LESS). In traditional
laparoscopic surgery, a number of incisions
(ports) are made through which the
surgical instruments are guided. Single-
port surgery is more challenging for the
surgeon than traditional minimally invasive
techniques, since all the instruments
needed in the surgery must use the same
point of entry, but there are theoretical
advantages for the patient.
Nathan’s surgery was successful.
Because the single incision Dr. Scholz
used went through his belly button and
was just 1.2 cm, he has no visible scarring
on his abdomen. He was at Children’s for
only three days total. He missed three
days of school after being released; had
he had an open appendectomy rather
than a minimally invasive procedure, he
likely would have missed a week.
Annually, Children’s Hospital
performs about 500 appendectomies.
Today, more than 99 percent of all
appendectomies are performed using
the minimally invasive technique.
To learn more about minimally invasive
and robotic-assisted surgeries at Children’s
Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, please visit
Contact Us
General andThoracic Surgery
412-692-7280: Press 2, then 1
Pediatric Otolaryngology
Pediatric Neurosurgery
Pediatric Urology
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