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It Takes Two

Wyatt and his mom, Amanda

At Shriners Children’s St. Louis, hand surgeons operate as a team

A power team of surgeons at Shriners Children’s St. Louis shows that two is better than one, especially when each is fellowship trained, highly specialized and passionate about helping kids thrive. 

Drs. Goldfarb and Wall perform surgery together, minimizing operating time.

Lindley Wall, M.D., MSc, and Charles Goldfarb, M.D., both specialize in congenital upper extremity anomalies, traumatic injuries and nerve compression. Dr. Wall has additional expertise in cerebral palsy and brachial plexus birth injury, while Dr. Goldfarb specializes in adolescent athletes and sports injuries. 

“The value of being able to work together as two surgeons provides families the next level of care,” Dr. Wall said. 

Less time, more attention

Wyatt, who was born with an extra set of thumbs, is one patient who has benefited from this teamwork-makes-the-dream-work approach. Diagnosed with radial polydactyly and triphalangeal thumbs, Wyatt’s treatment plan included multiple surgeries. 

“In the operating room, performing surgery together allows us to minimize time under anesthesia and to have real-time collaboration about approaches in unique cases,” said Dr. Wall. “While we both treat the pediatric upper limb, we each have areas of particular interest, allowing us to provide comprehensive treatment of nearly all conditions impacting the hand and upper limb in children.” 

For Wyatt’s surgery, Dr. Wall worked on one hand while Dr. Goldfarb worked on the other. 

“Having two surgical teams working simultaneously limited the anesthesia time by half, which meant it was much easier on Wyatt’s little body from a sedation and recovery standpoint,” said Wyatt’s mother, Amanda. “For us, it was a blessing, as the pacing and worrying time was drastically shortened while getting both of his little hands fixed.” 

Successful outcomes

Wyatt shows his repaired thumbs.

Today, Wyatt is a third-grader in Wichita, Kansas, and he has some of the best penmanship in his class. To say he’s found success thanks to his care at Shriners Children’s St. Louis would be an understatement. 

Amanda knows Wyatt’s ability to thrive is due in part to the doctors’ commitment to teamwork. “Knowing that the two often confer and pull from each other’s previous experiences minimizes the unknown and provides such enormous confidence,” she said. “When you have a team of experts you can trust, traveling 500 miles each way for appointments and care is worth every mile. You know that your child is in the best hands to ensure their future success.”