Richard Wood, MD

Chief of Colorectal and Pelvic Reconstructive Surgery at Nationwide Children’s Hospital

“Nationwide Children’s Hospital is no stranger to patients traveling to Columbus (Ohio) for colorectal and pelvic reconstruction”

Nationwide Children’s Hospital, located in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest pediatric hospitals and research institutes in the United States. It is consistently ranked as one of America’s top 10 children’s hospitals by U.S. News & World Report, the recognized authority in United States hospital rankings. Richard Wood, MD, is Chief of Pediatric Colorectal and Pelvic Reconstructive Surgery at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and associate professor of Surgery at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. Dr. Wood’s areas of clinical interest are complex pelvic reconstructive surgery including anorectal malformations, cloacal malformations, Hirschsprung disease and the surgical management of severe constipation. He is also widely published in these areas, with numerous peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters. Hospitals magazine recently interviewed Dr. Wood about pediatric colorectal and pelvic reconstruction at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

What are the components of a pediatric colorectal and pelvic reconstruction center?

The Center for Colorectal and Pelvic Reconstruction (CCPR) at Nationwide Children’s Hospital comprises a comprehensive team of pediatric surgeons and physicians with special expertise in colorectal surgery, reconstructive urology and gynecology, as well as pediatric gastroenterologists with a specific interest and advanced training in motility disorders. All work collaboratively in a patient- and family-centered care model. Advanced practice providers, nurses and administrative staff also complete a team that meets patient needs and organizes and oversees their care. 

What are the most commonly treated conditions?

Most commonly we treat children with an anorectal malformation, cloacal malformations, cloacal exstrophy, Hirschsprung disease, and severe functional constipation. Because we specialize in the most complex reconstructive problems and have extensive experience in re-operative surgery, we serve as a large referral center and see children of all ages at various stages in their care continuum.

How is the program at Nationwide Children’s Hospital different?

Our program is uniquely qualified to care for patients across their life span. We have an extensive team to take care of all aspects of patient needs. We have published outcomes on all aspects of care and integrated quality improvement and patient reported outcomes measures into our care model. In addition, we have instituted a transitional care program, spearheaded by renowned colorectal surgeon, Dr. Alessandra Gasior, and me, which allows us to care for our patients from birth into adulthood. We also offer long-term follow-up care by an expert team including surgeons, nurse clinicians and advanced practice providers. These teams are dedicated to caring for patients and all their colorectal, gynecologic, and urologic needs. 

Are patients willing to travel in order to receive care?

Nationwide Children’s Hospital is no stranger to patients traveling to Columbus for colorectal and pelvic reconstruction. Currently, 60% of our CCPR patients came to us from outside the state of Ohio, USA. We have treated patients from all 50 states and more than 70 countries. We take pride in our ability to gather pertinent medical history prior to a patient’s visit, to create a plan of care up front and consolidate as much testing and surgery that may be needed for each patient during their visit.

We also have a dedicated team within Nationwide Childrens Hospital, called Global Patient Services, who works directly with CCPR to allow for international patients to travel to Nationwide Children’s Hospital seamlessly for care. 

What type of research are you currently publishing?

We place a significant emphasis on outcomes research and have fully integrated research into our care. In just the past seven years we have published more than 120 peer-reviewed journal articles and conducted 130 presentations at national and international meetings. In addition to outcomes research we place particular emphasis on research involving quality of life for patients and families with anorectal and cloacal malformations and Hirschsprung disease. We have reported on quality of life improvement with our bowel management program and recently on the success of using telehealth to be able to offer successful remote bowel management. New areas of research involve genomic medicine and how aspects of behavioral health impact outcomes and care for our patients. We have run clinical trials and have introduced several new surgical techniques and treatment protocols.

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