Robert Weinsheimer
Robert L. Weinsheimer, MD

Robert L. Weinsheimer, MD

Robert L. Weinsheimer, MD
Specialty

Pediatric General Surgery

Clinical Interests / Special Procedures Performed

Biliary Surgery, Biopsy, Birth Defects, Breast Disorders, Breast Surgery, Chest Wall Resections, Cholecystectomy (Gallbladder), Cholecystectomy (Laproscopic), Chronic Wound Care, Colorectal Surgery, Gall Bladder Surgery, Gallstone Disorders, Gastrointestinal Surgery, Gynecological Surgery, Head and Neck Surgery, Hepatobiliary, Hernia Repair, Hernia Surgery, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Minimally Invasive Surgery, Neonatal Surgery, Pectus excavatum repair for adults, Pectus excavatum repair for pediatrics, Pediatric Surgery, Pediatric Urologic Surgery, Thyroid Surgery

  • Accepting Children: Yes
  • Accepting New Patients: Yes
  • Accepting Medicare: Yes
  • Accepting Medicaid/DSHS: Yes
Payment Methods Accepted:

We accept most insurance plans and payment methods.

Insurance Accepted:

Contact this office for accepted insurance plans.

Additional Information:

My special interests are neonatal surgery, thyroid surgery, chest wall deformity correction, surgical outcomes research, and minimally invasive surgical techniques such as laparoscopy. I am a member of the American College of Surgeons and the International Pediatric Endosurgical Group.


 

Dr. Weinsheimer was voted "Top Doctors" in Seattle Metropolitan Magazine (2013)

Physicians, nurses and physician assistants in King, Kitsap and Snohomish counties nominated colleagues they would choose to treat themselves and their loved ones.

News Release

Dr. Weinsheimer was voted "Top Doctors" in Seattle Magazine (2013, 2014).

Surveys were mailed to physicians in King, Pierce, Snohomish and Kitsap counties. The survey asked physicians to name the provider they would seek out or recommend to loved ones.

News Release

Personal Interests

Having been born and raised north of Chicago, I am delighted to call the Pacific Northwest home. I enjoy participating in the area’s abundant outdoor activities and spending time with my wife and two daughters.

Medical School

Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, New Hampshire

Residency

General Surgery, University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center

Fellowship(s)

Pediatric Surgery, IWK Health Centre, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Board Certifications

General Surgery, Pediatric Surgery

Languages:

English, Spanish

Professional Associations:

American College of Surgeons, International Pediatric Endosurgery Group, American Pediatric Surgical Association, Seattle Surgical Society, Canadian Association of Pediatric Surgeons

Additional Information:

My special interests are neonatal surgery, thyroid surgery, chest wall deformity correction, surgical outcomes research, and minimally invasive surgical techniques such as laparoscopy. I am a member of the American College of Surgeons and the International Pediatric Endosurgical Group.


 

Dr. Weinsheimer was voted "Top Doctors" in Seattle Metropolitan Magazine (2013)

Physicians, nurses and physician assistants in King, Kitsap and Snohomish counties nominated colleagues they would choose to treat themselves and their loved ones.

News Release

Dr. Weinsheimer was voted "Top Doctors" in Seattle Magazine (2013, 2014).

Surveys were mailed to physicians in King, Pierce, Snohomish and Kitsap counties. The survey asked physicians to name the provider they would seek out or recommend to loved ones.

News Release

Current research projects optimizing the evaluation and treatment of children with appendicitis.

Lymph nodes in children

One of the most common referrals to my pediatric surgery practice is (in the parents’ words) “to check out this lump and make sure it’s nothing to worry about.”  Lymph nodes are part of the less publicized part of the circulatory system: the lymphatics.  Lymphatics play a key role in our body’s immune system, and lymph nodes grow in response to an infection in the “neighborhood” to produce cells necessary to hopefully resolve the infection. 

About half of all children will develop enlarged lymph nodes (cervical lymphadenitis) in the neck for example, and the vast majority of these are in response to a minor infection in the area (sore throat, sinus infection, ear infection, etc.).  Often the infection is quite subtle and might not be identified.  These nodes typically go through a pattern of growing and then receding in size once the infection resolves.  This process can take several weeks to months.  The nodes may become tender, warm, and there may be some redness of the overlying skin.  Your child might complain of pain in the area, be fussier, have fever, and/or have decreased appetite.  If the node itself becomes infected, it can turn into an abscess and would require antibiotics and a drainage procedure.  Any possibly infected lymph node should be evaluated by your doctor.
 
Some enlarged lymph nodes ...

When a belly ache or stomach pain might mean appendicitis

As a pediatric surgeon, I am often asked when to “worry” about abdominal pain. Children often report aches or pains near the belly button (umbilicus), and the question arises around when this might mean something significant such as appendicitis.

Appendicitis is a common occurrence affecting about 7% of people over their lifetime, and it begins with vague abdominal pain of the central abdomen. Once the appendix becomes obstructed and begins to suffer from lack of circulation (ischemia), the body can detect more accurately the exact source of the pain. After this localization occurs, children older than 6 or so can identify that the pain is most severe in the right lower part of the abdomen. The localization usually occurs within 24 hours of feeling unwell. The pain is typically worse with movement of the appendix during activities such as walking, coughing, and change in position. I often ask children to jump up and down (on their bed is something kids are excited to do!) and watch their face to see if they wince. Typically with appendicitis, a child will either refuse to jump or may try it once but will not continue due to the pain.

Distraction is also frequently used in children that seem to be particularly “focused” on their pain. In gently feeling the abdomen of a child with early appendicitis that is distracted, the abdomen is soft until palpating the area of the appendix. This right lower part of the abdomen is...

Neck lumps in children: focus on the thyroid

There are a wide variety of nodules or lumps of the neck. We often group these growths by their location. While many lumps are simply lymph nodes, which come and go, growths near the “Adam’s apple” merit special attention. Lumps in the front/center of the neck are most likely related to the thyroid gland.

The thyroid gland produces thyroid hormone ,which is a chemical that influences a wide range of the body’s functions such as digestion, heart rate, mood, appetite, temperature, and growth. Younger children tend to have a congenital remnant called a thyroglossal duct cyst. During fetal development, the thyroid gland originates from the base of the tongue and then descends down the front of the neck to its eventual home just below the “Adam’s apple.” These cysts often get infected because they maintain a connection to the throat allowing bacteria to enter. If infected, we treat these initially with antibiotics and then perform a surgery to remove the cyst and its connection. The procedure is typically performed as a day surgery.

Actual thyroid nodules are increasing in number with an estimate around 1% of children developing an abnormal thyroid growth. These can vary from not at all threatening to cancerous (malignant). Firm, solid nodules that grow over time tend to be more concerning; but regardless of how they feel, these lumps should be evaluated by your physician. Sometimes the nodules cause an overactive thyroid gland which can lead to symptoms such as: feeling warmer than others, rapid or irregular pulse, anxiety/nervousness, insomnia, tremor, weight loss. Other times the nodule due to its size may cause symptoms such as pain, hoarse voice, difficulty swallowing.

Evaluation of these nodules includes ...

Hernias: why are some watched while others are repaired?

The most common thing that I see as a pediatric surgeon is a child with a lump that is thought to be a hernia. A hernia is a bulging of tissue through an opening in the muscle layers that isn’t normally present. In children, these openings are usually the result of a developmental process that just didn’t quite reach completion. Some hernias need surgery emergently, while others are observed for years with the expectation that they will close on their own.

Here are some pointers to help understand this wide range of approaches to hernias:

Location is very important in considering how aggressive to be with hernias. Belly button (umbilical) hernias are...

Constipation during infancy

As a pediatric surgeon with a special interest in intestinal issues, I am often contacted by worried parents regarding their baby's infrequent bowel movements. This can be caused by a variety of
problems such as blockages of the intestines or abnormal intestinal function (including a condition called Hirschsprung's disease); but most frequently babies are just efficiently absorbing and thus not needing to poop very often. This is especially true for breastfed babies. So, how can a parent tell the difference?

I would offer the following "red flags" as issues that may indicate a problem needing further medical evaluation:

Fixing Chest Wall Deformities: A Minimally Invasive Option

Pectus excavatum often referred to as either "sunken" or "funnel" chest is the most common congenital chest wall deformity affecting up to one in a thousand children. It results from excessive growth of the cartilage between the ribs and the breast bone (sternum) leading to a sunken (concave) appearance of the chest.

(Image source)

Although present at birth, this usually becomes much more obvious after a child undergoes a growth spurt in their early teens. Pectus excavatum can range from mild to quite severe with the moderate to severe cases involving compression of the heart and lungs. It may not cause any symptoms, however, children with pectus excavatum often report exercise intolerance (shortness of breath or tiring before peers in sports), chest pain, heart problems, and body image difficulties. The last issue deserves some attention as children often are reluctant to discuss how the appearance of their chest affects their self-esteem globally. There is a bias even within the medical community to dismiss the appearance component of pectus excavatum as merely "cosmetic", but I view the surgery to fix this congenital defect as corrective and support the idea that the impact of its appearance should be considered. I have seen patients emotionally transformed in ways that they and their families never expected.

Thanks in great part to the pioneering work of Dr. Donald Nuss (a now retired pediatric surgeon in Virginia), we have a well-proven minimally invasive option to correct pectus excavatum: the Nuss bar procedure. This involves ...

Vomiting in the newborn: when is spit-up something to worry about?

I have never met a baby that didn't on occasion spit-up. Many perfectly healthy babies can even spit-up quite a bit. Reflux is often the label given to babies who vomit, and this rarely amounts to a significant problem.

However, there are a few things that a parent should watch out for:

The most important thing is the color of what a baby is throwing up. Dark yellow and especially green vomit is never normal in a baby and demands immediate medical evaluation as this could represent a dangerous twisting of the intestines (midgut volvulus), which is linked to abnormally positioned intestines (intestinal malrotation).

Another consideration is quantity. If a baby is throwing up...

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