Diana L. Diesen, M.D., is an Associate Professor in the Department of Surgery at UT Southwestern Medical Center. She is also on the Pediatric General Surgery faculty at Children’s Health in Dallas and Plano, Texas. 

She treats children of all ages – from newborns to young adults – who suffer from a wide range of operable conditions.

Dr. Diesen is certified by the American Board of Surgery in both general and pediatric surgery. She also holds specialty certifications in pediatric advanced life support, advanced trauma life support, advanced critical life support, and laparoscopic surgery fundamentals.

Her clinical research interests include outcomes of pediatric thyroid surgery, trauma, and empyema. She has published approximately 30 journal articles and authored or co-authored 11 book chapters. Her team is also participating in multiple clinical trials including research on necrotizing enterocolitis, blood transfusion, esophageal atresia (NEST), and congenital diaphgramatic hernia (DREAMS).

With a strong interest in medical education, she serves as the Director of UT Southwestern’s Pediatric Surgery Fellowship Program as well as teaches medical students and residents.

Dr. Diesen earned her medical degree at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. She completed a surgery residency at Duke University Medical Center and a pediatric surgery fellowship at Children's Health in Dallas. She joined the UT Southwestern faculty in 2013.

She is a member of the American College of Surgeons, the American Pediatric Surgical Association, the Association for Academic Surgery, and the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons, among other professional organizations.

Personal Note

Dr. Diesen holds a private pilot’s license and is certified in open-water scuba diving.

Meet Dr. Diesen

Pediatric Surgeon in Dallas

Diana Diesen, M.D., knew as a teenager that she wanted to become a surgeon, and she discovered during her training that pediatric surgery was a perfect fit for her interests and aptitudes. In 2013, she joined the surgical faculties of UT Southwestern Medical Center and Children’s Health in Dallas and Plano, Texas. 

As a pediatric surgeon, Dr. Diesen treats children of all ages – from newborns to young adults – who suffer from a vast array of operable conditions, both congenital and acquired. 

Her work includes thoracic, trauma, colorectal, endocrine, gynecologic, and acute care surgery, as well as the surgical treatment of cancer. In fact, she and her colleagues treat children with nearly all operable conditions that aren’t related to the heart, brain, spine, and bones.

Children’s Surgery Specialist

Dr. Diesen has special expertise in the surgical treatment of newborns with congenital disorders, as well as pediatric patients with thyroid disorders.

“Pediatric surgery is a specialty in the uncommon,” she says. “So many of the conditions we treat are rare things that we may see only a few times a year, which in itself is both challenging and rewarding.

“Being at a large academic medical center and a children’s hospital with a Pediatric Level 1 Trauma Center and a Level 4 NICU gives us a great advantage because we have access to every resource and pediatric subspecialist we might need to care for critically ill children and infants.”

The surgical treatment of pediatric thyroid nodules and thyroid cancer are a particular focus for Dr. Diesen. While thyroid cancer is uncommon in children, it tends to be relatively aggressive.

“We’re fortunate that our thyroid center at Children’s Health has a group of surgeons, endocrinologist, anesthesiologist, pathologist, and radiologist dedicated to the care of pediatric thyroid patients,” Dr. Diesen says. 

Fellowship trained and board certified in pediatric surgery, Dr. Diesen performs both open surgeries and minimally invasive procedures.

“I feel honored and privileged to have families entrust me with the care of the most precious thing they have – their children – and I take that trust very seriously,” Dr. Diesen says. “It’s very gratifying to be able to treat conditions and allow children to grow up and live normal lives with normal life expectancies.”

Dr. Diesen also has a passion for medical education.

“I really enjoy teaching the next generation of doctors and surgeons,” she says. “I’m proud to be part of an institution that focuses on both delivering excellent patient care and providing an outstanding medical education to tomorrow’s clinicians. That enables us to stay current with and help define the evolving fields of surgery.”

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Education & Training
  • Fellowship - UT Southwestern/Children's Medical Center (2011-2013), Pediatric Surgery
  • Residency - Duke University Medical Center (2004-2011), Surgery
  • Medical School - University of Virginia School of Medicine (2000-2004)
Professional Associations & Affiliations
  • Association for Academic Surgery (2018), Member
  • American Pediatric Surgical Association (2010), Member; Member Education Committee
  • American College of Surgeons (2006), Fellow (FACS)
  • Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (2012), Member; Co-chair Pediatric Committee; Member of Quality Outcomes Committee
Honors & Awards
  • D Magazine Best Doctor 2022
  • D Magazine Best Pediatric Specialist 2020-2021
  • The R. Randal Bollinger Award for Outstanding Master Educator 2010
  • APSA Clinical Poster of Distinction Award 2010
  • The Bollinger Outstanding Research Resident Award 2007
Books & Publications
  • Resident and medical student education
  • Pediatric solid tumors
  • Pediatric Endocrine and thyroid conditions
  • Neonatal surgery
  • Clinical outcomes research

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