Meet Dr. Maryam Gholizadeh

CHOC Children’s wants its patients and families to get to know its specialists. Today, meet Dr. Maryam Gholizadeh, a pediatric surgeon. Dr. Gholizadeh attended medical school at George Washington University, and completed her residency at Eastern Virginia Medical School. She completed a pediatric surgery fellowship at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington D.C., and a pediatric surgical oncology fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. She is currently the chair of pediatric surgery, and a member of the credentialing, medical executive and medical staff performance committees. She has been on staff at CHOC for 13 years.

Dr. Maryam Gholizadeh

Q: What are your special clinical interests?

A: All aspects of pediatric and neonatal surgery, surgical oncology and minimal invasive surgery.

Q: What are your most common diagnoses?

A: Appendicitis, hernias, lumps and bumps, as well as complex congenital pediatric and neonatal conditions.

Q: What would you most like community/referring providers to know about your division at CHOC?

A: As a general pediatric surgery division, we can take care of a variety of conditions such as hernias, hydroceles, gastrointestinal conditions requiring surgery, thoracic conditions, oncological problems requiring surgery such as neuroblastoma, Wilms’ tumor and teratomas.

Q: What inspires you most about the care being delivered here at CHOC?

A: We have a great group of specialists at CHOC who can deliver a high quality of care to our patients.

Q: Why did you decide to become a pediatric surgeon?

A: I decided to become a pediatric surgeon when I was a third year surgical resident on pediatric surgery rotation. Pediatric general surgery is the only field where you are able to take care of a variety of conditions. I found this field extremely rewarding, at the same time challenging.

Q: If you weren’t a physician, what would you be and why?

A: An athlete. I love the challenge, the discipline, and the fact you are always trying to do your best.

Q: What are your hobbies/interests outside of work?

A: Running, cycling, skiing and playing with my dogs.

Q: What was the funniest thing a patient told you?

A: There was a young child around 8-9 years old and we were going to remove his appendix with laparoscopy. I was standing on his left side because with laparoscopy we make our incision on the left side. Just before he went to sleep he looked up at me and said, “Why are you standing on my left? My appendix is on the right.” I was amazed at how knowledgeable this kid was!

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Breast Masses in Teen Girls: Cancer or Benign Tumors?

Breast masses can be a cause of concern for adolescent girls and their parents.  Fortunately, the majority of these masses are benign tumors, and breast cancer remains very rare among this age group. The size of the mass, however, and associated pain may warrant surgery, says Dr. Maryam Gholizadeh, CHOC pediatric surgeon.  A young patient who detects a mass should be seen by a surgeon to evaluate her options before getting a needle biopsy.

Dr. Gholizadeh has experienced an increase in patients with breast masses, which may point to girls being diligent with breast self-examinations.   The patients are healthy and are experiencing hormonal changes fairly common in adolescence.  All of them are incredibly anxious.

“These young girls, who vary in ages from 13 to 17, are of course very scared, as are their parents.  I spend a lot of time educating them and, should surgery be necessary, reassuring them,” explains Dr. Gholizadeh. “As a woman, I have empathy for what these girls are feeling about their bodies and work really hard to make them feel comfortable with me.”

Surgery to remove the mass is performed under general anesthesia—administered by a pediatric anesthesiologist—an outpatient basis, with no hospitalization required.   Dr. Gholizadeh takes great care to preserve the shape of the breast and to minimize scarring by placing incisions either under the breast or around the nipple.   Her patients are home within a few hours of arriving at CHOC.  Patients can usually return to school within 48 hours and resume activities after two weeks.

“These young ladies are eager to get back to school, sports and other activities, and don’t want to be slowed down.  My goal is to provide the best surgical outcome for them, including a quick recovery,” says Dr. Gholizadeh.

A recognized expert in her field, Dr. Gholizadeh specializes in all areas of pediatric and neonatal surgery. Her clinical interests include pediatric oncology, thoracic surgery and minimally invasive surgery. Dr. Gholizadeh is board certified in general surgery and pediatric surgery.  She can be reached at 714-364-4050.