If your child requires surgery, you want to provide them with the best care possible. You want a surgeon that’s both experienced and qualified to perform surgery on children whose body structures are fragile in nature. Surgeons who specialise in general surgery are more than capable of performing operations for children. However, another kind of surgeon exists that provides comprehensive surgical care specifically for young patients. They are referred to as paediatric surgeons.
Paediatric surgeons, as the name implies, perform paediatric surgery to patients from their newborn stages all the way up to their teenage years. In addition to achieving board certification and completing training, paediatric surgeons undergo two more additional years of training that’s exclusive to child surgery. Upon completion, they’ll receive a special certification that qualifies them to perform paediatric surgery.
As a parent, it’s crucial to know what paediatric surgery is, who paediatric surgeons are, and what medical conditions require such procedures. Here is everything you need to know about paediatric surgery.
The role of paediatric surgeons in treating children
Paediatric surgeons provide a specialised form of care to young patients where they diagnose and manage their surgical needs. Some newborns may have congenital anomalies or other problems that require operation to provide them with better quality of life. Neonatologists, paediatricians, and family physicians work closely together to identify medical conditions that require surgical intervention. Paediatric surgeons cooperate with these specialists to determine whether surgery is the best option for the overall health and well-being of the child.
You’ll often see paediatric surgeons practice their specialty in a wide range of medical institutions such as children’s hospitals, urban community hospitals, and medical centers that offer major paediatric services.
The focus of paediatric surgery
Paediatric surgeons use their expertise to provide surgical care for nearly every medical condition in children that needs surgical intervention. They mostly perform transplant operations, laparoscopic surgery, and surgery for repair of birth defects. Paediatric surgeons offer the following services:
- Neonatal surgery: Paediatric surgeons surgically repair congenital anomalies in both infants and children, some of which can prove life-threatening if not treated.
- Prenatal surgery: Paediatric surgeons work with radiologists in using ultrasound and other technologies to detect any abnormalities during a child’s developmental stages. From there they plan the corrective surgery and educate the parents about the surgery prior to the baby’s birth. Prenatal diagnosis can lead to fetal surgery which sits at the forefront of paediatric surgery subspecialties. Currently, fetal surgical techniques are still in the experimental stages.
- Trauma surgery: Paediatric surgeons also specialise in trauma surgery, often handling critical situations where the young patient has sustained severe injury. Many paediatric surgeons are a part of accident prevention programs in their local communities as a way of combating traumatic injuries sustained by young children.
- Pediatric Oncology: Paediatric surgeons are responsible for the diagnosis and surgical care of young patients with benign growths as well as malignant tumors.
How paediatric surgeons undergo training and certification
Let’s take a look at the career path of a paediatric surgeon to find out how they acquire their skills and expertise in child surgery.
Step 1: Complete a Bachelor’s Degree
Aspiring paediatric surgeons must first earn a bachelor’s degree prior to entering medical school. While there are no specific undergraduate majors for medical school, prospective students should have completed coursework in physics, biology, organic chemistry, math, and English.
Step 2: Go to medical school
Once the student has earned a Bachelor’s Degree, the next step is to apply to medical school. Medical schools are highly selective and they take into account letters of recommendation, undergraduate academic performance, personal characteristics, and extracurricular activities when selecting applicants. Usually, students are required to have an interview with an admissions panel prior to entering medical school.
The students are also required to submit exam results from the MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test) where the exam is divided into four sections, namely writing, biological sciences, physical sciences, and verbal reasoning.
Step 3: Earn a Medical Degree
nts spend their first two years doing lab work and classroom lectures regarding pathology and anatomy. The next two years are devoted to aspects with patient care where they work with patients under the supervision of experienced doctors.
Step 4: Finish a residency and fellowship
Medical students must finish a residency in a medical specialty of their choice. Residents usually spend three to eight years of training and aspiring paediatric surgeons spend 5 years in general surgical residency and an additional two years in a fellowship that specialises in child surgery.
Step 5: Become licensed and board certified
The career path of a paediatric surgeons starts at earning a bachelor’s degree, a doctorate in medicine, finishing residency, acquiring a license, and lastly, becoming board certified. It takes years of training and education to become a paediatric surgeon. Their experience and expertise is what allows them to better understand the surgical needs of children, providing them with an opportunity to witness their patients transition from a productive young life well into their adolescence.
Having a solid understanding of what paediatric surgery is about enables parents to better identify the special needs of their children. Ask your pediatrician about the necessity of surgery for certain conditions. Also, look around for such local keywords such as paediatric surgery Perth as you never know who might be around. It’s important to discuss things in full detail with your child’s paediatric surgeon to know which treatments are best for your child’s health and wellness.