Aim: This study aimed to investigate the characteristics of the most frequently cited articles published in 3 main journals dedicated to the field of pediatric surgery (Journal of Pediatric Surgery, Pediatric Surgery International and European Journal of Pediatric Surgery). Material and Methods: A search was initiated using the database (1985-2006) of the Science Citation Index of the Institute for Scientific Information. The total number of publications and their citation numbers were found and the most cited articles were investigated in detail. A total of 600 (200 from each journal) most cited articles were identified and chosen for further analysis. Results: The total number of citations in these 3 journals was 20271. The citations of the most cited articles ranged from 10 to 224. The articles were published between 1985 and 2003 and the mean number of citations/article was 33.78. Articles originated from 39 counties and 256 institutions. The leading countries were the United States (203 articles from 75 institutions), Germany (50 articles from 21 institutions), Japan (34 articles from 17 institutions), Switzerland (34 articles from 8 institutions), United Kingdom (32 articles from 19 institutions), and Canada (28 articles from 7 institutions). Of the institutions with the highest number of cited articles, four institutions were from the USA followed by Switzerland with two institutions. The leading topics were the gastrointestinal system (n = 239), respiratory system (n = 94), urology (n = 61) and oncology (n = 56), and diaphragmatic hernia (n = 41) was the most common special topic. There were 42 case reports (7%) and 75 experimental research articles (12.5%). Thirty-four authors from 14 countries and 30 institutions had articles in more than one journal. The most cited author was N. S. Adzick from the USA with 224 citations. Conclusion: In this study, we found that the Journal of Pediatric Surgery predominated with the greatest number of cited articles. The most cited articles, authors and institutions originated from the USA and English-speaking countries. The gastrointestinal system, respiratory system, urology and oncology were the leading topics and diaphragmatic hernia was the most common special topic. © Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart.