Newswise — Victoriya Staab, M.D., a pediatric surgeon at Hackensack Meridian Health K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital, has performed the hospital’s first newborn minimally invasive lung resection. Dr. Staab utilized state-of-the-art highly specialized tiny pediatric surgical instruments to perform an operation to remove a lobe of a newborn’s lung. This cutting-edge minimally invasive technology for surgery on newborns is only performed in the top children’s hospitals in the country. 

Pediatric pulmonologist Nader Nakhleh, D.O. diagnosed two-month-old Jaxson with Congenital Lobar Emphysema (CLE), a condition in which air can enter the lung but cannot escape, thereby causing over-inflation of that lobe.  Jaxson’s over-inflated lung was pressing on his heart and normal lung, causing him to have trouble breathing.  Upon making the diagnosis, Dr. Nakhleh discussed the case with Dr. Staab, who immediately scheduled the urgent surgery to treat this life threatening condition.

With the assistance of a pediatric anesthesiologist, Jeffrey Wu, M.D., and an expert surgical team, the doctors spent five hours performing the operation at K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital at Jersey Shore University Medical Center.  While the procedure has been performed on adults in the past, this was the first time it was done in this region on a newborn using highly specialized medical technology.  Only one company in North America makes this specialized surgical equipment that is miniaturized enough to be used on newborn and premature babies.  Previously, patients would have to travel to New York City or Philadelphia for this level of advanced surgery. 

“It is extremely exciting and rewarding to bring complex minimally invasive pediatric surgery to residents of Monmouth and Ocean counties,” says Dr. Staab.  “These types of cutting-edge surgeries provide the same quality of care as more invasive techniques, but through smaller incisions which results in shorter hospitalization, less pain, and less scarring.” 

Using a minimally invasive surgical approach offers several benefits in comparison to traditional open surgery, especially for children.  In this case, the procedure requires several small incisions of just three to five millimeters, which avoids the need for larger, painful incisions.  Using a tiny camera, all the work is done internally, which provides a magnified view so the surgeon can safely perform the operation.  This also results in lower rates of complications such as wound infections and chest wall deformities.  The results are a faster recovery with less pain and a better cosmetic result. 

Jaxson went home just four days after surgery and made a quick, full recovery. Now almost eight months old, his family is extremely thankful for the team that properly diagnosed their son’s condition and performed the surgery. “Jaxson is such a fighter,” says mom and Freehold resident Janis Masino. “Dr. Nakhleh and Dr. Staab were wonderful, and we feel so lucky to have such incredible care close to home.” Having kept Jaxson away from crowds of people or other children for the past several months to reduce the chance of illness, Janice and her husband, Matt, were excited that their son recently received a clean bill of health and they are looking forward to taking Jaxson out more, playing with cousins, and enjoying time with family and friends.

“Our pediatric specialists are performing some extraordinary procedures, demonstrating that a supportive team, talented physicians, and advanced technology are elevating surgical services to a new level at Jersey Shore University Medical Center,” says Kenneth N. Sable, M.D. MBA, FACEP, president of Jersey Shore University Medical Center and K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital. “We are fortunate to have experts like Dr. Staab who are continuously introducing innovative care that that will benefit the local community and our youngest patients.” 

“This is representative of how Hackensack Meridian Health is using state-of-the-art procedures network-wide to provide the best care possible to children,” says William Faverzani, Vice President, Senior Operations Officer of Children’s Enterprise for Hackensack Meridian Health. “With this procedure being performed at Jersey Shore University Medical Center and at Hackensack University Medical Center, residents have incredible resources in both the southern and northern regions of the state.”


ABOUT HACKENSACK MERIDIAN HEALTH Hackensack Meridian Health is a leading not-for-profit health care organization that is the most comprehensive and truly integrated health care network in New Jersey, offering a complete range of medical services, innovative research and life-enhancing care. Hackensack Meridian Health comprises 16 hospitals from Bergen to Ocean counties, which includes three academic medical centers – Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, JFK Medical Center in Edison; two children’s hospitals - Joseph M. Sanzari Children's Hospital in Hackensack, K. Hovnanian Children's Hospital in Neptune; 11 community hospitals - Ocean Medical Center in Brick, Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, Mountainside Medical Center in Montclair, Palisades Medical Center in North Bergen, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy, Southern Ocean Medical Center in Manahawkin, Bayshore Medical Center in Holmdel, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Old Bridge, and Pascack Valley Medical Center in Westwood, JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute in Edison and Shore Rehabilitation Institute in Brick.


Additionally, the network has more than 160 patient care locations throughout the state which include ambulatory care centers, surgery centers, home health services, long-term care and assisted living communities, ambulance services, lifesaving air medical transportation, fitness and wellness centers, rehabilitation centers, and urgent care and after-hours centers. Hackensack Meridian Health has 33,000 team members, and 6,500 physicians and is a distinguished leader in health care philanthropy, committed to the health and well-being of the communities it serves.


The network's notable distinctions include having one of only five major academic medical centers in the nation to receive Healthgrades America's 50 Best Hospitals Award for five or more consecutive years, four hospitals among the top 10 in New Jersey, including Hackensack University Medical Center which is ranked No. 1 by U.S. News and World Report. Other honors include consistently achieving Magnet® recognition for nursing excellence from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, recipient of the John M. Eisenberg Award for Patient Safety and Quality from The Joint Commission and the National Quality Forum, a six-time recipient of Fortune's "100 Best Companies to Work For," one of the "20 Best Workplaces in Health Care" in the nation, and the number one "Best Place to Work for Women." Hackensack Meridian Health is a member of AllSpire Health Partners, an interstate consortium of leading health systems, to focus on the sharing of best practices in clinical care and achieving efficiencies.


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