Pediatric Surgery

Children have special needs that require special care close to home, which is why Gundersen Health System now offers the expertise of renowned pediatric surgeons from UW Health who perform pediatric surgery at Gundersen in La Crosse.

The Pediatric Surgery team, which includes Erin Connolly, NP, provides evaluation and treatment of a full range of pediatric conditions that may require surgical intervention, such as:

  • Appendicitis
  • Cancer
  • Chest wall deformity including pectus excavatum and pectus carinatum
  • Gastrointestinal reflux
  • Hernia
  • Large or small bowel problem
  • Lung mass or cyst
  • Malnutrition with need for gastrostomy tube
  • Neonatal birth defects
  • Pyloric stenosis
  • Soft tissue mass

Pediatric Surgery team

Pediatric Surgeon Jonathan Kohler, MD

Jonathan E. Kohler, MD

Dr. Kohler is certified by the American Board of Surgery in both General Surgery and Pediatric Surgery. His clinical practice emphasizes minimally invasive approaches to all types of pediatric and neonatal surgical disorders. He specializes in general and thoracic pediatric surgery, oncology, and trauma care. His research interests focus on health communications.

MD: University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, Chicago, Ill.
MA: Emerson College in collaboration with Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Mass.
Research Fellowship: Brigham & Women's Hospital/Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass.
Residency: University of Washington, Seattle, Wash.
Fellowship: University of Chicago, Chicago, Ill.

Pediatric Surgeon Hau Le, MD

Hau D. Le, MD

Dr. Le is board certified in pediatric surgery. He practices emphasizes minimally invasive approaches to pediatric and neonatal surgery and he specializes in general and thoracic pediatric surgery, oncology, and trauma care.

MD: Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Mass.
Research Fellowship: Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass.
Residency: Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass.
Fellowship: The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada

Pediatric Surgeon Charles Leys MD

Charles M. Leys, MD

Dr. Leys specializes in minimally-invasive approaches to pediatric and newborn surgical diseases, including birth anomalies, problems of the abdomen and chest, tumors and gastrointestinal disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease and reflux.

MD: University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, Wis.
Residency: Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tenn.
Pediatric Surgery Fellowship: Children’s Mercy Hospital, Kansas City, Mo.

Pediatric Surgeon Peter Nichol, MD, PhD

Peter F. Nichol, MD, PhD

Dr. Nichol is board certified in pediatric surgery. In addition to pediatric general surgery, including minimally invasive procedures, he specializes in pediatric chest and trauma surgery. He has particular interest in pediatric nutrition and intestinal problems.

MD: Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Mo.
Residency: University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, Madison, Wis.
Fellowship: Pediatric Surgery Fellowship, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa.

Erin Connolly, NP

Erin Connolly, NP

Erin has worked in the department of General Surgery at Gundersen since 2012. She is expanding her practice to work in collaboration with the UW surgeons to help provide continuity of care for pediatric surgery patients.

NP: Viterbo University, La Crosse, Wis.
Board certification: American Academy of Nurse Practitioners

Conditions treated


  • Abdominal pain - acute
  • Abdominal pain - chronic
  • Abdominal incisions
  • Abdominal wall defects
  • Achalasia
  • Acute abdominal pain
  • Acute cholecystis
  • Acute pancreatitis
  • Adhesions
  • Adrenal mass
  • Adrenal tumors
  • Adrenal incidentaloma
  • Anal fissures
  • Appendicitis
  • Appendicolith


  • Bilious vomiting
  • Bites
  • Bowel management
  • Branchial cleft fistulas
  • Breast
  • Burkitt's lymphoma


  • Congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH)
  • Cervical (neck) lymphadenopathy
  • Central venous catheter sepsis
  • Central venous catheter/line (CVL)
  • Choledochal cyst
  • Cholecystitis
  • Chronic pancreatitis
  • Chronic abdominal pain
  • Colostomy/stoma/ostomy
  • Congenital pulmonary adenomatous malformations
  • Crohn's disease
  • Cystic fibrosis


  • Demoids cysts
  • Duodenal Atresia


  • Endoscopy
  • Empyema
  • Epigastric hernias
  • Esophageal atresia and tracheo-esophageal fistulas (EA-TEF)
  • Esophageal perforation
  • Ewing's sarcoma


  • Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP)
  • Fecal incontinence
  • Felon
  • Femoral hernias
  • Fetal/newborn abdominal wall defects
  • Fistula-in-ano
  • Foreign body ingestion (airway, esophagus, stomach)
  • Funnel chest (pectus excavatum)


  • Gallbladder dyskinesia
  • Gallstones
  • Gallstone pancreatitis
  • Gastrocutaneous fistulas
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Gastroesophageal reflux and neurological impairment
  • Gastroesophageal reflux and respiratory symptoms
  • Gastroschisis/newborn/fetal abdominal wall defects
  • Gynecomastia


  • Hepatic cysts
  • Hepatoblastoma
  • Hernia
  • Hiatal hernia
  • Hidradenitis suppurativa
  • Hirschspring's disease
  • Hodgkin's disease/lymphoma
  • Hydrocele
  • Hypothermia


  • Ileostomy/stoma/ostomy
  • Incarcerated inguinal hernias
  • Imperforate anus
  • Imperforate hymen
  • Ingrown toenails
  • Inguinal hernia
  • Inguinal hernia in premature babies
  • Intestinal atresias
  • Intestinal duplications
  • Intussusception


  • Jaundice


  • Keloids


  • Labial adhesions in infants
  • Laparoscopic adrenalectomy
  • Laparoscopic appendectomy
  • Laparoscopic bowel resection
  • Laparoscopic cholecystectomy
  • Laparoscopic cholecystectomy vs. open cholecystectomy
  • Laparoscopic fundoplication
  • Laparoscopic splenectomy
  • Laparoscopy for undescended testis
  • Liver focal nodular hyperplasia
  • Lymphoma
  • Lymphangiomas


  • Malrotation
  • Meckel's diverticulum
  • Meconium ileus
  • Mesenteric adenitis
  • Midline neck masses
  • Muscle biopsy


  • Neck adenopathy
  • Neck lymph node enlargement
  • NEC/necrotizing enterocolitis
  • Necrotizing enterocolitis/NEC
  • Neonatal jaundice
  • Neonatal laparoscopy
  • Neonatal ovarian cysts
  • Neuroblastoma
  • Newborn/fetal abdominal wall defects
  • Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma


  • Omphalocele
  • Ostomy/stomas
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Ovarian torsion
  • Ovarian tumors


  • Pancreatic pseudocysts
  • Pancreatic trauma
  • Pancreatitis
  • Paraesophageal hernias
  • Pectus carinatum
  • Pectus excavatum (funnel chest)
  • Peptic ulcer disease
  • Peritonal dialysis
  • Perforated appendicitis
  • Perianal abscess
  • Perianal fistula
  • Pilonidal sinus
  • Port-a-cath (central venous catheter/line - CVL)
  • Pulmonary sequestration
  • Pyloric stenosis



  • Rhabdomyosarcoma
  • Rectal prolapse
  • Recurrent abdominal pain
  • Recurrent inguinal hernias
  • Retching
  • Retractile testis


  • Sacrococcygeal dimples
  • Short bowel syndrome
  • Spherocytosis
  • Splenic trauma
  • Spontaneous pneumothorax
  • Stomas/ostomies


  • Testicular masses
  • Testicular torsion
  • Thoracoscopy
  • Thyroglossal duct cyst
  • Tracheomalacia


  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Umbilicus
  • Umbilical granuloma
  • Undescended testis


  • Vomiting


  • Wound infections
  • Wilms tumor
Love + Medicine

Every day, Gundersen Health System staff deliver great medicine plus a little something extra—we call it Love + Medicine.

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