What is a Pediatric Surgeon?
Every Pediatric Surgeon is a physician who has graduated from medical school and completed a five-year residency in General Adult Surgery, followed by two more years of specialized training in Pediatric Surgery. In addition, many Pediatric Surgeons—including most in our group of surgeons—have completed additional years of training in Graduate School, Laboratory Research, Trauma, Organ Transplantation, Critical Care, or Advanced Minimally Invasive Surgery (laparoscopy and thoracoscopy) in order to acquire the training needed to render to every child the best possible surgical treatment available anywhere. Finally, after having completed these years of training, the ability to pass rigorous testing allows the most proficient surgeons to become Board Certified. Every surgeon in our group is Board Certified.
Are Pediatric Surgeons also Pediatricians?
No, they are surgeons whose patients are all in the pediatric age group and who range from premature infants weighing one pound to 18-year-old football linemen. In general, Pediatricians treat most medical conditions in children that do NOT require surgery while Pediatric Surgeons treat medical conditions in children that DO require surgery, although this treatment may require a combination of surgical and non-surgical care. Pediatric Surgeons do not see children for routine health concerns or for well-child checkups or for the administration of immunizations.
What types of conditions are treated by Pediatric Surgeons?
The list of conditions treated by Pediatric Surgeons is far too long to state here. Decades ago, Pediatric Surgeons treated all surgical conditions in children. As care became more specialized, however, it became impossible for a single individual to maintain proficiency in all types of surgery, and surgeons began limiting their areas of expertise. Some of these specialized areas with which Pediatric Surgeons have only limited involvement include Ophthalmology (eye), Otolaryngology (ear, nose, and throat—ENT), Orthopedics (bone), Neurosurgery (brain and spinal cord), and Cardiac (heart). This still leaves a huge number of disorders to be treated by Pediatric Surgeons including nearly every surgical condition occurring within the chest and abdomen, most involving the skin and soft tissues, most birth defects, and most malignancies. Having said this, however, if your child has a condition better treated by a more specialized surgeon, we will refer you to him or her.
When should I take my child to see a Pediatric Surgeon?
If your child has, or is suspected of having, a condition that might best be treated with surgery, he or she may be referred to see a Pediatric Surgeon. Children are not simply little adults. They have their own special concerns, and a Pediatric Surgeon—who deals strictly with children rather than with adults—is specially trained to deal with surgical and medical conditions of children. Furthermore, Pediatric Surgeons deal with a very broad range of conditions covering nearly every organ and system of the body and associate closely with surgeons who are trained in all other pediatric surgical specialties, therefore if we determine that your child has a condition better treated by a more specialized surgeon, we can readily refer you to him or her.