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World-renowned Surgeon

Reconstructive surgery helps children function more normally


The patient schedule starts off with a baby born with an abnormal head shape, a toddler with webbed fingers and another with an underdeveloped ear. Suddenly, a call comes in: a teenager needs emergency surgery for severe head and facial wounds from a car crash.

It’s a typical day for Dr. Peter Witt. The medical director of pediatric plastic surgery at Children’s Hospital knows the positive impact that his board-certified, three-member team has on children and their families’ lives.

“Cosmetic surgery enhances what a person already has, and makes them ‘super normal,’” says Dr. Witt. “We do reconstructive surgery to help a child function more normally.”

Board certified in plastic surgery, hand surgery and general surgery with about 25 years’ experience, Dr. Witt specializes in pediatric cleft-craniofacial surgery, congenital hand surgery and vascular anomalies. In addition to treating children at Children’s, he volunteers his medical skills to help other children around the globe who otherwise would not have access to expert pediatric care.

For the past 20 years, for example, Dr. Witt has travelled abroad to perform pediatric cleft lip and palate repair, often at the special request of governments such as China and North Korea.

“Dr. Witt is world-renowned for his expertise and care,” says Dr. David Christensen, senior vice president, medical affairs, and chief medical officer. “He truly cares about each patient and it shows.”

MaryJo and Kenny Burchard of Hanford agree Dr. Witt ranks among the best. Since they adopted their 11-year-old son, Victor, from the Ukraine as a toddler, he has undergone more than a dozen procedures to repair his severe cleft lip and palate.

“We’d tell Victor, ‘We’re going to Children’s because Dr. Witt wants to give you a new nose,’” recalls MaryJo of an operation Victor required. “Early on when he couldn’t talk very well, he’d cross his arms across his chest and say, ‘(I love) Dr. Witt!’ We’ve really been blessed with Children’s.”