Robert Kelly, Jr., MD
A surgeon, educator and researcher, Dr. Kelly has served as chief of the department of surgery at CHKD for the past 16 years. He is also chief of the division of pediatric surgery at EVMS, as well as professor of clinical surgery and pediatrics. He has been at CHKD for over 20 years.
An internationally recognized expert in treatment of chest wall abnormalities, Dr. Kelly’s large clinical expertise includes introduction of new surgical techniques for pectus excavatum and pectus carinatum. With Dr. Donald Nuss, developer of the Nuss procedure, Dr. Kelly pioneered development of a clinic devoted to chest wall repair. CHKD is a world leader in minimally invasive pectus excavatum surgery, but also offers the non-invasive vacuum bell treatment introduced to CHKD's pectus program by partner Dr. Robert Obermeyer.
Dr. Kelly led a multicenter, multiyear study of pectus excavatum, which compared surgical results and complications, effects on lung and heart function, changes in body image, and improvement in chest shape resulting from surgical treatment of pectus excavatum. The study, organized at CHKD/EVMS, led to multiple publications in leading journals. Dr. Kelly has led the internationally attended Nuss Lecture Series at CHKD/EVMS for the past several years. He also introduced to CHKD the Argentine brace, which is now the favored treatment for pectus carinatum internationally. Patients who do not achieve the desired results from brace treatment are offered the "reverse Nuss" procedure, introduced to the United States by Dr. Kelly, or the standard open operation.
Since his arrival at CHKD, Dr. Kelly has pioneered many well-regarded collaborations, including ongoing work with Old Dominion University's engineering department to develop a simulator for teaching surgeons the Nuss procedure. Another collaboration with ODU's department of psychology has grown out of the multicenter study and examines body image effects following correction of pectus carinatum.
Dr. Kelly, who completed fellowships in surgical research at UCLA and pediatric surgery at Children's Hospital of Buffalo, has published more than 55 research studies, along with a number of book chapters. A sought-after speaker, he has lectured at medical conferences around the world. He is a devoted educator, and has been recognized by the surgical residents at EVMS for outstanding service to teaching and education.
Dr. Kelly graduated from Spring Hill College in Mobile, Ala., before beginning his pursuit of a pediatric medicine career. His wife, Cynthia, practices pediatric allergy and immunology at CHKD. The couple has three children.