Gastrointestinal pediatric surgery – Tomas Wester's research group

Our research group is involved in research projects on malformations and surgical disorders of the gastrointestinal tract in children. We focus on the short- and long-term outcomes of the surgical treatment. These studies are important to inform the parents about what to expect when their child gets older. We are also involved in interventional studies and studies to better understand etiology and pathogenesis.

Research projects

Colorectal surgery

Pediatric colorectal malformations are rare. They comprise developmental defects as anorectal malformations and Hirschsprung disease, which require highly specialized care for optimal functional outcomes. Impaired bowel function needs proper management and may despite that affect social functioning and quality of life. Our research group has focused on clinical outcome studies and registry studies. We are also part of studies where we try to understand molecular mechanisms of Hirschsprung-associated enterocolitis. We cooperate with several centers in Sweden and internationally.

Acute appendicitis

Acute appendicitis is the most common surgical emergency in children. Standard treatment for appendicitis is appendectomy. Recent studies have shown than non-perforated acute appendicits can be treated with antibiotics in adults. We are currently part of an international randomized controlled trial comparing antibiotics and appendectomy for non-perforated acute appendicitis in children. Our research group is also doing clinical outcome studies and registry studies on acute appendicitis in children.

Necrotizing enterocolitis

Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a serious inflammatory bowel disease, particularly affecting premature babies. The mortality and morbidity are high. Our group is involved in evaluation of different diagnostic methods of NEC. We also do outcome studies and registry studies where one specific aim is to look at neurological outcomes.

Esophageal atresia

Esophageal atresia is a rare congenital malformation affecting the esophagus and airways of newborn children. The management of these children require highly specialized care involving a multidisciplinary team of specialists. This malformation and its treatment often affect the patient through childhood and also in adult life. The optimal treatment of complicated cases remains to be elucidated. Our research group focuses both on clinical outcome studies/epidemiological studies and intervention studies/clinical trials. We cooperate with numerous national and international centres as well within international organizations.

Eosinophilic esophagitis is an inflammatory disease of the esophagus causing swallowing difficulties and mechanical obstruction of the food pipe. This diagnosis is still not fully understood and the knowledge of both its pathogenesis and treatment is still limited. Recent studies suggest that eosinophilic esophagitis may be more common in children treated for esophageal atresia than in the population as a whole. Our research focus on the epidemiology of the disease, with special regards to esophageal atresia and on the pathogenesis of the disease.

Congenital diaphragmatic hernia and abdominal wall defects

Our main area of research interests are prenatally diagnosed malformations; congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) and abdominal wall defects (gastroschisis and omphalocele). We try to increase understanding along the whole spectrum, from early fetal development and throughout childhood and into adulthood.

We perform epidemiological studies based on data from national registries administered by the National Board of Health and Welfare and Statistics Sweden. For CDH we also perform experimental studies, clinical trials and follow up studies. We collect amniotic fluid, cord blood and placenta samples from pregnancies with CDH and controls and investigate different developmental pathways and evaluate the correlation between prenatal prognostic factors and outcome.

We are involved in several international register studies and international multicenter collaboration to perform randomized control trials in these patients.

Staff and contact

Group leader

All members of the group