No matter how well you take care of your children, at some time, something may go wrong with their health. If it’s something as simple as a strep throat or the flu, then the child goes to the doctor. However, if the situation is a bit more dire than that, your child will end up in the hands of a Pediatric surgeon. These surgeons specialize in operating on children of all ages. There are many things that you need to know about the medical specialty. We’ll go into some detail on it here.
Types of Pediatric Surgery
There are many different types of Pediatric surgeons. You won’t find one who can handle a number of different surgical tasks, although some can do a number of broad things. Instead, each has a certain part of the body, from the brain to the cardiovascular system (among others) that they specialize in. It’s the same way with adults – surgeons pick their desired practice in school and then learn everything that they can about that particular system. Here are some examples of what a Pediatric surgeon may specialize in:
A neurologic surgeon is one who specializes in the brain and the skull. For example, if your child has issues with the plates in his or her skull, such as premature fusing while their brain is still growing, then you’ll need to see this type of surgeon. They are experienced in these types of cases.
A maxillofacial surgeon understands how to correct facial malformations, such as a cleft lip or palette. If your child is born with one of these conditions or even has sinus issues, then a maxillofacial surgeon will be able to correct them.
An orthopedic surgeon, like an orthopedic doctor (some do double duty) handle issues that pertain to the bones, joints, and ligaments throughout the body – just not the ones in the brain. Any problems with knees, ankles, hips, and so on can be corrected by one of these surgeons.
Pediatric Surgeon Age Ranges
The number one thing to remember here is that children aren’t the same as adults. They are smaller sized humans who are still growing. This means that Pediatric surgeons handle children of all ages – including some who haven’t even been born yet. You’ve no doubt heard the stories of children having heart and spinal abnormalities correct while still in the womb. So, some Pediatric surgeons can handle fetuses, babies, and children of various ages. It all depends on what needs to be done and the age of the patient. However, once children become older teenagers (also known as young adults) and have reached their full heights and levels of physical maturity, they may be operated on by adult surgeons. Again, there are many factors to consider here.
What Type of Credentials Should a Surgeon Have?
Overall, a Pediatric surgeon needs to have a medical degree. For the most part, they majored in subjects like biology, anatomy, and even pre-medicine while an undergrad. They have a bachelor’s degree in science. In addition to this, they have that medical degree (as previously mentioned) which requires four additional years of school. After they finish that degree, they move on to do a general (or specialty) surgery rotation in a hospital for five years, which prepares them for the next step, two years of training as a Pediatric surgeon. Once they complete this, they receive their official certifications and can go into practice as a surgeon without having any direct oversight from a more senior surgeon. However, this doesn’t mean that the surgeon works alone. These specialists often consult with their colleagues and are usually part of a larger hospital system or network. Thanks to their many years of training, these surgeons are obviously experts in their fields.
Preparing Your Child for Surgery
Now that you know what a Pediatric surgeon does, how much schooling they must have, and what their general specialties are, it’s time to learn about one additional thing – how to prepare your child for surgery. Having a child that needs surgery is a very nerve-wracking time, and you don’t want to transfer your fears and anxiety onto your child. This means that you need to remain calm and collected no matter what. It’s all about your mindset. On top of this, you also need to follow the surgeon’s instructions. There may be a number of things that you need to do leading up to the surgery. Make sure to follow them to the letter in order to help produce the best possible outcome.
Hopefully, this has cleared some of the mysteries surrounding Pediatric surgery. You know more about this medical specialty and understand the training process. You also know how to prepare your child for surgery, should he or she need to undergo it. The basics of Pediatric surgery have been examined here.
This article is a contribution of Paul Swan promoting Samitivej Hospital, Bangkok, a premier hospital for Pediatric Surgery in Thailand