WVU Medicine Children’s uses more minimally invasive surgeries to save lives

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – When a child needs to have major surgery, it can be scary for parents, and Dan Parrish, MD, should know.

Parrish is a pediatric surgeon at WVU Medicine Children’s whose son had to undergo surgery at roughly 22 months old to get a feeding tube implanted. However, because of a minimally invasive procedure done with a little incision, Parrish’s son is now 10-years-old and healthy. The only real evidence that he had anything done was the fact that he had a gastrostomy tube, which had a little bigger hole where it was.

These kinds of minimally invasive procedures, Parrish said, are the future and should be implemented as much as possible.


It decreases their pain, decreases the amount of time they spend in the hospital, which right now is really important. It’s also a better cosmetic appearance since they only have small incisions. But decreasing the amount of pain is helpful; usually, we don’t even require any narcotics or opioids, so being able to decrease their amount of pain is a big deal and get them out of the hospital.

Dan Parrish, MD

Nowadays, Parrish said, he tries to do everything through minimally invasive procedures, rather than traditionally, with big holes. In fact, he said his own experience with his son is one of the primary reasons he’s such an advocate for these types of procedures.

Parrish in the operating room

After seeing the recovery success of his son, he said he had a desire to do more advanced surgical techniques and be able to better relate with parents and children who have to go through the same difficulties.

“I know what their parents are going through. I know that even if it’s a simple boring case for me, something that I do a million times, it’s not for them,” Parrish said. “Their kid’s going to sleep, their kids are having an operation, and going through that personally even though it might not be a big deal for me, it might be the hardest day of their lives that they’re having to go through.”

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