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Minimally invasive expert named pediatric surgery chief at Packard Children's Hospital

STANFORD, Calif. – Craig T. Albanese, MD, a pioneer in minimal access surgery for infants, children, and fetuses, has joined Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital as the director of pediatric surgery. Minimal access surgery – a technique in which specialized surgical instruments are inserted through incisions small enough to be covered by a Band-Aid – results in less pain, quicker recovery, shorter hospital stays and improved self-image due to smaller scars.

“Small kids need small incisions,” said Albanese, who will also serve as chief of the division of pediatric general surgery and professor of surgery at Stanford University School of Medicine. “Many kids can go home the same day after minimal access surgery, and some can combat their post-treatment pain with acetaminophen rather than narcotics.”

“Dr. Albanese’s arrival illustrates our continued dedication to providing world-class surgical care to children,” said Christopher Dawes, president and CEO of Packard Children’s Hospital. “His groundbreaking work helps solidify Packard’s position as a pre-eminent children’s hospital.”

Albanese joins the hospital from UC-San Francisco, where he was the co-director of the Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment Group. His work in fetal therapy has been instrumental in standardizing the use of minimal access surgery to treat fetuses with congenital abnormalities.    

“Dr. Albanese brings a superb training background and renowned expertise in all areas of pediatric surgery,” said Thomas Krummel, MD, chief of surgery at Stanford University School of Medicine and Packard Children’s Hospital’s newly appointed surgeon-in-chief. “He has garnered international recognition for his work in pre- and post-natal minimal access surgery and fetal diagnosis. His skills uniquely complement the growing expertise in advanced technologies in surgical care throughout Stanford University Medical Center and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital.”

“I hope to continue to do many firsts here at Packard,” said Albanese. “Minimal access surgery is approaching the gold standard of treatment for many pediatric conditions. There really is no reason why many of these kids should have a large, open incision.”

Albanese earned his medical degree from SUNY-Health Science Center, Brooklyn. He completed a residency in general surgery at Mount Sinai Medical Center, with fellowships in pediatric surgery and research and critical care at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. He remained on the faculty of Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh for several years before being recruited to UCSF in 1996.

His work has been reported in more than 130 publications and many book chapters. He is the co-author of the leading textbook in pediatric minimal access surgery. He has chaired multiple symposia, and trained many postdoctoral fellows in both clinical and research projects. He is also the principal or co-principal investigator on multiple NIH-funded clinical trials to understand the role of fetal therapy in altering the natural history of life-threatening congenital anomalies.

“My life is focused on kids,” said Albanese, who lives in a local community with his wife, a pediatric anesthesiologist, and their two daughters, ages 7 and 10. He coaches youth soccer and softball and is a member of the Peninsula Auxiliary Board.

“I was drawn to Packard by its combination of vision, resources and talent,” he added. “Packard has a unique multidisciplinary team approach to assess and implement the most appropriate treatment for each patient. Why would you want to bring your child anywhere else?”

Stanford Medicine integrates research, medical education and health care at its three institutions - Stanford School of Medicine, Stanford Health Care, and Stanford Children's Health. For more information, please visit the Office of Communications website at

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