What is a Pediatric Surgeon and What Do They Do?

When your child is in need of medical attention, you want to give them the best form of care possible. Children have unique medical needs compared to adults because of their fragile bodies, especially if surgery is involved. If your child requires an operation, it should be in your best interest to consult the right person for the job. While surgeons that specialize in general surgery are more than qualified to provide surgical care for children, it’s the pediatric surgeon in Perth that you should call when your child needs surgery.

A pediatric surgeon is a specially trained surgeon that performs surgery on children whose developmental ranges start from newborn all the way to their teenage years. They undergo complete training and achieve board certification to qualify for this type of work. They also complete two more additional years of training that’s exclusive to children’s surgery, which means they’re surgical experts under the subspecialty of pediatric surgery.

In short, they know just about everything there is in terms of handling the surgical needs of children. Get to know pediatric surgeons more in this article.

The role of pediatric surgeons

Pediatric surgeons are focused on diagnosing surgical problems in children, whether it be preoperative, operative, or postoperative. In some cases, newborns have medical conditions that may affect their quality of life if not addressed surgically. Pediatric surgeons work harmoniously with neonatologists and pediatricians in evaluating a child’s health and determining the best options possible to correct any congenital disorders.

Pediatric surgeons provide surgical care to children who have health problems and conditions that require surgical intervention. Here are their areas of expertise:

  • Neonatal surgery – Pediatric surgeons are well-trained in repairing birth defects to premature and full-term infants.
  • Prenatal diagnosis – Pediatric surgeons cooperate with radiologists to detect any abnormalities during the child’s fetal stage development. From there, they plan corrective surgery and inform the parents of how the procedure will go. Prenatal diagnosis can eventually lead to fetal surgery, which is a new area of expertise under the subspecialty of pediatric surgery.
  • Trauma surgery – Pediatric surgeons are adept at addressing critical care situations that require immediate surgical attention. This involves surgically repairing traumatic injuries as a result of accidents. Plenty of pediatric surgeons participate in accident prevention programs to provide trauma surgery for children.
  • Pediatric Oncology – Pediatric surgeons also collaborate with pediatric hematologists/oncologists in diagnosing malignant/benign tumors in children and suggesting the right surgical procedure in removing them.

Usually, you’ll find pediatric surgeons practice their specialty in a wide range of medical institutions like medical centers, children’s hospitals, urban community hospitals.

How pediatric surgeons receive training and certification

Aspiring pediatric surgeons enter an accredited medical school where they spend four years studying medicine. After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree, they complete five additional years of residency before completing a 2-year training in pediatric surgery. Following their 2-year residency training, they focus on becoming board certified in general surgery before taking an oral and written exam. Some pediatric surgeons pursue membership in a fellowship program to further enhance their surgical skills and boost their credentials.

A written and oral examination is important to verify their surgical knowledge and ensure it’s of the highest level. This determines their ability to manage a variety of surgical problems that are commonly found in children and infants. Once they pass the exams with flying colours, the aspiring pediatric surgeons are awarded with a certificate in the subspecialties of pediatric surgery. This certificate is to be renewed every 10 years to ensure the pediatric surgeon’s skills are competent and up-to-date with the latest practices and advancements made in the realm of pediatric surgery.

Why children need pediatric surgeons

Because the physiology of children are unique to that of adults, their organs may not always be located at the right places. It takes considerable amount of knowledge, skill, and experience to perform surgery on an infant. One wrong move can have serious implications on the child’s health, which is why pediatric surgeons undergo years and years of studying pediatric surgery to perform them with exact precision.

They can perform both invasive and minimally invasive surgical procedures in children. Invasive surgeries require bigger cuts, which technically increases the surgical risk. Minimally invasive surgeries on the other hand, require smaller incisions (i.e. laparoscopy) with the use of a tiny scope to improve accuracy and precision. It’s because of these reasons why children need pediatric surgeons as they provide the best form of surgical care possible for young patients with underdeveloped bodies.

If you’re looking for a highly qualified pediatric surgeon within the Perth area, look no further than Dr. Jill Orford. She’s been attending to the surgical needs of Australia’s youngest patients for more than two decades and has the experience and expertise to handle complex surgical needs of children and infants. Contact Dr. Jill Orford today regarding your child’s surgical needs.